Raw Patina: DP Custom’s 1979 Harley Ironhead Cafe Racer

1979 Harley Ironhead Cafe Racer by DP Customs
Arizona-based DP Custom Cycles specializes in Ironheads and Evos, usually turning them into “kick ass bobbers”. So this ’79 Harley is a departure for shop owner Justin Del Prado: low-set and unpainted, it has more of a café racer look.

Del Prado has detailed the process: his latest custom “started out as a stock bike and was torn apart, so all the reusable pieces could be cleaned and detailed. Many parts were discarded to make room for the new setup. I wanted an all-steel café tank rather than fiberglass, and ended up finding the tank on eBay. It’s an Italian Benelli tank and the metal was perfect, so we were able to do a raw steel theme.”

1979 Harley Ironhead Cafe Racer by DP Customs
Del Prado hand-machined and clear coated the tank, and built the seat pan and rear fairing. “We distressed the finish on the primary and cam covers to give them an aged look, along with any other little parts we could.”

The bike is running clubman bars with one-inch risers, a café-style mirror and side-mount light, and vintage grips. The controls, switches and all wiring are new. “This gives the rider the feeling that they’re on a newer bike, even though it’s over 30 years old,” says Del Prado.

“Discs front and rear stop well and the motor pulls hard for an old Ironhead. The previous owner claimed to have already gone through it; since it ran good, we left it alone mechanically. Aside from replacing a few gaskets and seals, the motor cleaned up nice.”

It’s the exhaust that first caught my eye with this bike. “The exhaust was a design we were waiting to do for a while,” says Del Prado. “It’s a 1¾” dual system that uses both sides of the bike. It sounds mean as hell. You can hear it ripping down the road a half mile away… Unfortunately, we didn’t get the bike out enough to really enjoy it before it sold. On the short test rides we took, it rode nice, handled great and really drew some attention.”

I’m not normally drawn to shiny Harleys, but I’ll happily make an exception for this one.

[Images by Jed Strahm.]

1979 Harley Ironhead Cafe Racer by DP Customs
1979 Harley Ironhead Cafe Racer by DP Customs

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