BMW Motorrad Spezial

DP Customs Gulf Bobber

Harley ironhead
A couple of months ago, DP Customs’ 1979 Harley café racer was a king hit with Bike EXIF readers. So here’s the latest machine from the Arizona outfit: it’s also a ’79 ironhead, but with a totally different vibe. According to DP’s Justin Del Prado, “We started with the idea of building a low slung, stripped down bobber and wanted to incorporate some ideas from the classic Steve McQueen movie Le Mans. We really love that race era, and try to let it show through some of our bikes.” DP tore the stock ’79 apart, chopped the frame and hard-tailed the rear. (“This keeps the factory numbers vs. going with an off-the-shelf aftermarket frame.”) The bike sits 4″ lower and longer than stock. DP laced the wheels (21″ and 16″), built the exhaust, and created the paint and graphics with simplicity in mind. “We’re not into cluttered bikes with too much going on.”

The motor is basically stock with electronic ignition and a performance coil. It ran well to begin with, so DP just cleaned it up and replaced all the seals. The rims and handlebars are powdercoated, while the rest of the bike is painted. Anything that started out polished was worked over with abrasives to tone it down and give the bobber a raw, vintage feel. “Because of its ride height and rigid frame, it’s obviously not made for road racing or cross country tours,” says Del Prado. “It was built for shorter rides around town in nice weather. However, the Biltwell solo seat is so comfortable, you could ride this bike longer than you would think.”

[Images by Jed Strahm.]

Harley ironhead
Harley ironhead
Harley ironhead
Harley ironhead

  • Ken

    I have to admit, the price is part of what makes it beautiful. It also keeps me from being snooty towards another custom hog that looks like other custom hogs. I have to say its a winner!

  • trent reker

    what’s cool about an oil company logo and color scheme? the retro factor? whatever. it’s like occ painted it.

    • Green Goblin

      Only someone who knows nothing about Martini Racing or Gulf Oils racing past would say something as ignorant as that.

  • Bill

    OCC?? Not even in the same park! Its well done, simple, clean and looks great! Now if only I could win the lottery tonight…

  • Tinman

    The rear fender blows it for me, I like the Tank paint, I could live with the Hardtail, but the Bike would look much better with a reasonable rear fender. The flip up fender is just trying to hard, sort of like a kid with a purple mohawk.

  • RobL

    Pretty bike, extraordinarily reasonable price for a custom (paint alone would be around $2K minimum for basic work). Overall, very clean and nice details without any complication.

    I have nothing against a hardtail if that’s what a person wants, but I can only think that if Steve McQueen were to have a say in this bike bearing race livery, he’d want a real suspension rear to put the “Sporty” back in.

  • Zyon

    I would ride the piss out of the motorcycle! I’m doing the same thing to the rear fender on the one I am building right now. God I love hardtails….

  • ChopD

    To each his own, Theme bikes and billboard bikes are overdone and out dated. Overall the bike has a nice stance but if I paint a Ferrari logo on a Honda it still does not make it a Ferrari….The rear fender is a bit on the gay side.

  • KIK

    its been done a thousand times

  • Kerry

    There are a number of details that have been done a number of times before on other bikes. While it may not be your cup of tea, every nail this one is supposed to hit does so squarely sinking it flush with one pound.

    If you like rigid ironhead Sportsters, it pretty much has everything you’re looking for. The color scheme is not my favorite but it’s corporate (that a major company would go this route on a build, instead of say a Bourget or OCC prostreet custom, is amazing). The rear fender might have been shaved a bit smaller on the lower part and I might have used a more robust rear brake . . . but these are just style points.

    It’s a great bike.

    • ” The color scheme is not my favorite but it’s corporate (that a major company would go this route on a build, instead of say a Bourget or OCC prostreet custom, is amazing). ”

      I’m lost. What major company is involved?

    • RobL

      More robust *rear* brake? It’s beefier than the front! Given the typical Harley rider practice of only using the rear brake, I’m impressed that this machine has a real front brake at all!

      I would think this isn’t a Gulf Oil-sponsored bike, if that’s what you mean. The Gulf Oil race livery is iconic, you’re likely to find any kind of privateer racing vehicle (car or bike) using it just for the enjoyable heritage. We’ve already seen a BMW S1000RR and a Ducati on BikeEXIF in this scheme. Works for pretty much anything.

  • Harry Farquhar

    Anything with a Sportster engine has got to be cool.

  • leo

    That is one ugly effen bike. It’s the anti-bobber.

    ” We really love that race era, and try to let it show through some of our bikes.”

    Yeah, nothing says GT40 or 917 like that rear fender. It looks like a brick.

    Sorry. Total swing and a miss, in my book.


  • PaulY

    I do like the overall look (change that rear fender!) of this, seems to be very well done and detailed, but the Gulf sponsored cars were more of a baby blue and orange. Having seen the actuaI cars it’s hard to see this paying homage to the GT40. It would have to hit 200mph, pull 1g plus on the corners and run WFO for 24 hours, but thats always a problem trying to equate a bike to a racecar.

    • RobL

      Pantone blue 290c and pantone orange PMS 165 for the race colors, pantone blue PMS 301 and the same orange for the Gulf logo.

      Not so many hardtail Harleys wear that baby blue color. ;-)

  • Septic the Sceptic.

    It’s not a bobber, it’s a chopper.


    Man, it’s funny that the rear fender is getting so much attention, because that’s the single feature we kept staring at when we made this hog. During the mock-up, we had it rolled back in a nice, ‘typical’ position, where it would never even catch your eye. Then we moved it forward a bit to expose more of the rear tire. Then a little more. Yeah, it’s different… but for some reason, we thought it looked kind of cool, especially from the rear view. We knew it would spark some controversy (especially after seeing the millions of other bobbers out there) but we went with it anyway. Thanks for the feedback, long live BIKEEXIF and Happy Holidays! – DP Customs

    • Triumph Chop

      How about a rainbow colored Jeff Gordon Tide soap sponsored chopper next. C’mon We all know about the GT-40 Gulf car. The Blue isn’t even the correct blue. And that fender, It may be popular in Japan but Damn, It looks like the bike got rear ended. I love a nice little chop or bobber and I admit you got the stance down right. but there are few key elements that take away from the bike overall and it looks like an OCC wannabe theme bike.

  • Rocky0

    A straight forward looking build with enough of a twist (color scheme and rear fender angle) to make it stand above similar styled bikes.The rear fender angle is becoming somewhat popular on harleys in japan and the style certainly grows on you.(it does for me,anyways.)Two thumbs up DP Customs!

  • scarydriver

    Wow, I think this is just awesome. Echoing others, the rear fender isn’t exactly as I would do it, but overall, the whole package is great. I’m a big fan of the Gulf livery, even if the blue isn’t “correct”. :) I think the price is unreal – if I had the money, I would snatch this up SO quickly… great job, DP!

  • MIKE

    Hardtail bobber/chopper….. whole bunch over at XLF forum. Nothing new.

  • The Phantom

    It’s a good example of what it is, but I’m not feeling the Gulf/era appreciation in the build. What exactly was Harley doing during that era? Look it up then think about whether the Gulf heritage is a good fit on a Harley.

    I’m all for cross pollination or whatever you wish to call it, but some things just don’t work with other things.

    The engine looks as tough as, though, and how do you get tyres with your company’s logo embossed on them???

  • Vincent

    oh my god ! she’s perfect, i started to have enough with bobber style : thks for this idea and hourra for the drag’ style

    editor in chief

  • joe momma

    …those rolled steel sheets and screws are far superior to garage door backdrop!…..

  • Jefferson

    If you really don’t understand why the Gulf Oil livery is cool, you probably need to go home, read a book, and figure your life out.

  • Mingh

    to each his own, and all respect to the builders, but this one goed fully agains everything i like about bikes.
    Why a poor handling unsprung and underperforming iron lump that is only useful for a short showoff stroll downtown gets the livery of some of the most iconic ENDURANCE race cars of all time, is beyond me. Take the paint away and no one would notice it between the herds of hogs.

    • Zyon

      I put over 2000 miles on my hardtail springer in 3 months this year. I plan on riding my motorcycle from Easter PA to Sturgis in 2011. Just because YOU can’t handle a hardtail does not mean they don’t handle and they are only useful on short rides. If I had 10K right now this motorcycle would be mine.

      • elven

        WOW!!!!!! that works out at NEARLY 25miles per day for 90 days!
        That’s not even commuting distance.

        • Zyon

          A quick look at my records show that first 2K put on between June and August with a two week vacation in the middle and mostly weekend driving. About 700 miles (estimate) was daily driving. The rest, long weekend trips. I have three kids and don’t get as much time to ride as I would like.

          My point is, don’t think you “know” something is poor handling, underpowered and an iron lump unless you’ve actually ridden the thing you are complaining about. Rigids get a bad wrap and most of those people saying crap never put enough miles on one to know. My last rigid had about 80,000 miles before I sold it. I want 100,00 out of this one before I retire it.

          Oh yah, and I have degenerative disc disease and I still get on my rigid every chance I get.

      • elven

        Get some tools, can’t have cost more than 2k plus the original old bike.

        • Zyon

          Not sure what you are building but I have over 2K in the bike I’m building right now and all I have is a rolling chassis. Kraft Tech frame, DNA springer, Avon wheels and 6 spoke rims. I dont have the figures in front of me but I’d say I’m over 2,300 at this point.

          • elven

            This bike is mostly old iron head with a weld-on hardtail… add in the oil tank, generic back mudguard, seat, car tyre and paint. What else is there?

  • elven

    Nothing new on this one. Even the car back tyre was used in the 1960’s, and I remember how evil they were in the bends.

  • KIK

    Just a little sportster trying to look like big twin, close but not quite, nice try tho

  • Rocky0

    Wow,some of you guys sound like fashionistas,commenting on Mr Blackwells 10 worst fashion list instead of motorcycle enthusiast.I appreciate this bike for what it is, not for what it isn’t.It was built with the builders taste in mind and if it is a miss it won’t sell.I personally think they have a hit.(I can imagine some of the paint/color critics snapping their fingers,”hated it!”,jeez.

  • Mule

    It’s got a really nice rear drive chain and the black handlegrips finish it off really nice! Pure sex on these two points!

  • KIK

    Ok, i like the tires, the roundness and black coloring makes them look cool

  • Anonymous

    @ zion
    what do you know about me? I suggest to stick to commenting bikes and not get personal about other people’s opinions.

  • elven

    He does invite comments back. Just can’t help it!
    1300 miles in 10 weekends.

  • Mule

    Observation here: When “Extreme” customs or choppers are presented, it seems the posts quickly work their way into a debate, mostly personal and somewhat heated, about functionality vs. motorcycle art. At the risk of oversimplifying the situation, I think this is a debate that goes on in bars, on rides, while bench racing over a beer with the guys, at the races and probably every “Forum” on the internet. Since it involves a serious fundemntal difference in motorcycle construction philosophy, does anyone think opinions will be swayed here? Or anywhere else?

    Perhaps it’s time to define the goal of posting a controversial bike? If it’s to welcome back and forth praise/criticism, than it should be an anything goes situation. If it’s only to say positive things and praise an owner or builder’s effort, then perhaps that should be stated. It most likely doesn’t need to get personal.

    Outside of this forum, we would probably all get along looking at bikes, riding bikes or hanging out in the garage just fine. But in this format, emotional and or facial expressions are not present and we have only the cold, hard, permanent printed word. To convey a point of view eloquently in print is a skilled art and for the most part we all tend to be more passionate about motorcycles than being poets or novelists, so misundertstandings are bound to occur.

    I hold no grudges, but still have my own opinions.

    Merry Christmas to all of you regardless of your opinions or views. We all love motorcycles! Ride safe.

    • RobL

      Good points, but I think the fundamental cause of the heat here is also the best thing about BikeEXIF… this site isn’t about hawgs, choppers, sportbikes, customs, prototypes, concepts, cafes, dualsports, any particular brand, etc. It’s about all of these and more. It’s about being exposed to things across the motorcycle spectrum.

      And you know what that means? No matter what the bike, it won’t be some peoples’ choice – in fact, you can bet that some people will have nothing but revulsion. But hopefully, for each of those, there will be many more that like it.

      The thing that is happening here, that’s really not good, is that those people who don’t like a particular bike because it’s not their style feel the need to express it in the most negative terms. Didn’t y’alls mommas ever tell you, “if you ain’t got nothin’ good to say, keep your trap shut?” Seriously, you can something bad about any bike. Like choppers? Then a sportbike is a buzzy rice rocket. Like dualsports? Then any other bike is stuck on the tarmac. Like a tracker? Then any other bike is slow and heavy. Yeah, we get it. But that’s why all sorts of bikes are made and there’s an ass for every seat. Some asses even enjoy multiple seats.

      Personally, I like to view a bike for what it is, and gauge success only in comparison to what the builder was trying to accomplish. Other than on those merits, anything of criticism is just pure whining that it’s not the poster’s favorite bike.

    • Rocky0cruz

      You are totally correct,outside of these forums everybody would get along better because everybody has a common interest in motorcycles.Everybody has their core beliefs on what a motorcycle should be and that is where the friction comes in.I’m pretty sure political forums and religious forums,etc.have the same frictions(core beliefs).We all love motorcycles or we would’nt be here! A good guideline to consider about comments good/bad would be to use the same wording we would use if the builder were face to face with us.(that alone would increase the level of courtesy around here) At the risk of some folks getting an un-welcome education otherwise.

    • “Perhaps it’s time to define the goal of posting a controversial bike?”

      I think a better first step might be to define a “controversial” bike. Why does there have to be such a thing? There’s a small subset of folks that comment on the bikes here who seem to feel the opinion that they hold is far more important than anyone elses, and feel the need to share of from on high. The rest of us, being of fairly open mind, can appreciate most things for what they are.

      The whole rigid thing is a great example of that. 99% of people that raise hell every time they see a rigid bike have probably never ridden one any great distance. Y’all know there are plenty of people riding cross country on rigid bikes, and that rigid motorcycles will actually move under thier own power and all that, right? Although it doesn’t apply to this particular bike, same deal with knobbies…most of the guys that whine about trials tires on a “chopper” or custom have probably never tried it, and fail to realize that they work just as well as a vintage street tire if not better. Same thing with front brakes, if it’s got a little one don’t ride it like it’s a friggin R6. Not everything is gonna have two huge front discs and radial calipers. Some of y’all need to get outside your own little boxes and realize that obviously someone somewhere likes thing a different way than you do, and that doesn’t warrant your scorn.

      Now when it comes to TASTE, taste is what it is and matters of taste are and should be fair game…there’ a big difference between someone saying “Eh, I’m not a huge fan of using the Gulf Oil livery on a rigid IH Sportster” and someone saying “Oh My Christ, it’s a rigid and they’re totally unrideable, no excuse for that in this day and age”. I mean almost anyone can look at pictures of bikes long enough and find something glaring that they don’t care for. I know I can no matter who built it (my own builds included, always see something wrong with mine in pictures). Sometimes it’s worth pointing out, most times it’s really not. I usually don’t see the point in trouncing someone else in public because A: it’s a pretty small world at the end of the day, and B: none of the rest of us are perfect either.

      Merry Christmas!

      • Clay, you put it better than I could have done myself. Some people get so het up about the bikes on here, I wonder why they visit, let alone comment.

        The only thing you won’t see on Bike EXIF is shiny OCC-style choppers. A good 50% of the bikes I post on here I’d never buy or ride myself, but I can see why they’re good examples of their type.

        You can’t please all the people all the time. As RobL said earlier, “there’s an ass for every seat”. I might just make that the slogan for Bike EXIF.

        Merry Christmas, guys.

        • Mule

          Chris, you’re the boss! You pick the bikes. No one else gets to do that. Controversies will fall where they may. No way to really predict where it will lead and maybe thats the point.

          Maybe this is what makes your site so interesting. People that like different styles of bikes all meeting up in one spot. Friction is bound to be occur.

        • Thanks Chris. I just like motorcycles period. There’s a folder I keep on my desktop that is labelled “Inspiration”, I sit down and look at it some times when I burned out, tired of fabricating, or just having a bad day, whatever. Nothing in there but a couple hundred pictures of what I think are really neat motorcycles. Despite the fact that I build what I build within fairly narrow parameters, my “Inspiration” folder isn’t full of rigid British bikes. Sure there’s a few, but there’s also GP bikes, flat track bikes, restored vintage mx bikes, some wild AMD type custom stuff, you name it. They’re all motorcycles, and I guess it just seems to me like they should be appreciated as such.

          • Mule

            Clay, I don’t roll with the knobbies on street bikes, but other than that, your bikes are freakin’ gorgeous!!!!! Not pure sex, but pure style and craftsmanship!

  • patrick

    That’s not a bobber, it’s a short chop and only barely because it’s got a rigid rear loop. No offense to the builder, but why doesn’t anybody take time to actually “finish” all the little things anymore. At my shop right now, I am replacing a head gasket on a bike (won’t name names) built by a reported “master builder,” multiple participant of buildoff shows etc, due to the poor overall finish of the bike. I see a lot of potential in the bikes being built by DP, but I just wish I could see more attention to detail and taking time to do the little true custom things. Bolting/welding things on out of a catalog isn’t really customizing…

  • Patrick

    Forgot to ask the builder since he’s replied on here;

    Did you rebuild the engine or anything for that price on that pile-o-AMF? Or are you planning on doing what so many other “master builders,” or wtf ever you wanna call yourself, do too frequently and send the bike out looking “pretty” but not mechanically, structurally sound? Bike I am fixing head gasket on left the shop and went to my customer WITH the head gasket blown, but the builder got his money. I’m not even sure whether to blame greed or incompetence in this instance but these things happen too much and I am tired of fixing the shoddy work of the “master builder.” Hell, you oughta see Chopper Inc’s “Chronic” bike. It’s next door at my friend’s shop being fixed because Billy was greedy. Still looks the same as 5 years ago with no engine. Better fit and finish than most, but still not very impressive on a true hand-built level. You guys say you want to build for the real biker/enthusiast…start with a little more finish and respect to the history and terminology. You do build some nice bobbers, this ain’t one of them…it’s a short chop.

    Just don’t go the greedy/uncaring way of the others.

  • elven

    Agreed what Mule and others say, the first thing about all of us here is that we are PASSIONATE about bikes and there is clearly a divide between pure custom fans and others who look at customising as a way of perfecting the way a bike works on the road, rather than how it looks.
    But if anyone gets personal, I just have to respond!
    There’s also a divide between USA and EU; from this site I guess that Europeans generally ride much longer distances than the average for the USA. My nearest city is Málaga and we see lots of bikes registered in UK, Germany, Denmark; that’s over 5000kms round trip (we used to do it ourselves until we emigrated). In EU bikes without 2 brakes are simply illegal and downright dangerous on our roads, so they can only ever be “show only”.

    As for some of the custom bikes on here from big bucks sellers….
    Bare plastic battery with no cover?
    Spare lugs left on forks instead of being cleaned off?
    I just build bikes for me, not to finish those details is simply lazy engineering.
    Earn your money, take pride in what you do.


    Man, we have to duck in one last time because we’re surprised at the amount of feedback this hog picked up. Some good, some not so good. Regardless, it’s a great thing to get so many opinions and we definitely take it all in for future ideas. Sounds like we could’ve done more detail work, or maybe she’s not customized enough or it’s been done a thousand times before. No worries, we hear you. Thought it might help to explain that we originally made this bike for myself, as my own personal bike to tool around on. It ended up here by a stroke of luck. We never set out to shock the world with a groundbreaking build. However, I personally think it turned out bitchin and it’s a lot of fun to ride.

    DPC isn’t a ‘high-dollar’ builder, nor do we want to be. That’s not our thing. We’re regular guys that work hard and love what we do. We enjoy the simple things, like an ice-cold Pabst. No corporate sponsors or million dollar equipment. Sure, we could get into countless hours of detail work but that would put us in a different market. Our niche focuses on the working man’s budget – and sometimes that means no Brembo’s. Again, thanks to all of you for your thoughts.

    Justin @ DP CUSTOMS

  • Ken


    Thank you for taking all of this in stride. If it were my bike and it was hammared like some people have done, I would be depressed. It takes cajones to put your work out there!

    My original comment was that the price is part of what makes this beautiful. I really think that the fact that you try to make customs that people can afford is great. This is what we need in this economy. I can’t imagine that you make a killing at this, but I hope it pays the bills and then some! Keep up the good work!

    Chris, Mule and Clay, thanks for putting your collective 2 cents out there. Hopefully others will fall in line!