Steed: Built to Ride

Exotic Steed Customs

V2 Stealth

From 1996 Mikuni Iron & Lace Calendar
Photo by Jim Gianatsis

This is a bike I wanted to build from the moment I saw the Lockheed F-117 Stealth Fighter. Inspired by the Gulf war heroics of the jet fighter, I felt that the lines on the plane could be translated into a bike and would be easily recognizable as the icon of American technology and fighting power.

Built in 1992, I based this project on the then new Kenny Boise big tire rubbermount FXR style frame. At the time a 103" motor was pretty radical, so it seemed like the way to go for the motor. We built the motor from all kinds of components; Delkron cases, S&S jugs, STD heads and I think one of the first Mikuni prototype 45mm carbs.

I started at the drawing board and built full-size models of the body panels out of 'foam-core' a kind of cardboard which is very rigid. We made molds for the rear fender out of fiberglass and laid up the final rear fender in fiberglass. The gas tank was constructed around a stock FXR tank and we welded a skeleton of rods around it to make the shape. I went to a junkyard and found a gas cap lid off a wrecked Audi which was incorporated at the top to flip up and conceal the gas cap. The front fender, chin fairing and headlight fairing were all fabricated out of metal.

The bike was all painted in PPG "pearl in black", and I'll tell you this was the most difficult bike we've ever attempted to finish. Each and every panel had to be perfectly flat and echo the lines on the opposite side of the bike, each with their own angles which intersected each other at points. What a ridiculously time consuming idea! By the time this bike was completed everyone agreed that we would never do another one like it. The mold for the rear fender is setting up in our storage loft, and I can't seem to throw the massive thing out.

The bike was featured in "BIG-TWIN" magazine Spring '95 issue, and really helped put us on the map. All the big customizers at the time, Arlen Ness and Simms, were building big curvy bodybikes and I felt this would go against the grain of the status quo and get noticed. Most people either thought this was the ugliest bike they had ever seen, or one of the coolest. The point is that people remembered it!

The bike recently appeared in the #20 "VQ" (June '98) and also was a feature bike in the 1996 Mikuni "Iron and Lace" calendar, beating out Ness, Simms, Perewitz, Downtown H-D and Don Hotop for the coveted Cover spot.

I sold the bike in 1997 at the Barret-Jackson auction, and last I heard it was spotted in the St. Louis Automotive Museum in Missouri. It's hard to spot when the cloaking device is switched on, E-mail me if you see it.

- John Covington

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