Bringing you the world's best cafe racers, trackers, scramblers, bobbers & custom motorcycles.

‘01 Harley Sportster by DP Customs


Posted on October 4, 2014 by Scott in Bobber. 20 comments

Harley Sportster_gulf_01

The Del Prado brothers (Jarrod and Justin) from DP Customs in Arizona have been at it again. These brothers are renowned for building top class custom Harleys, which is why they were approached by a motor enthusiast to build him a Sportster. The customer had seen their last Sportster with Elf livery and briefed them on building something similar. “He wanted to know if we’d be willing to do a Gulf themed bike with Steve McQueen’s #20 on it” says Jarrod. “Of course we said “hell yes!”, and it was on.” This time they started with a 2001 1200cc Harley Sportster and began building what they do best.

Harley Sportster_gulf_03

The brothers started by giving the engine some more horses, with the performance being improved with a Revolution Performance 1250cc cylinder and piston kit, as well as a Dynatek’s single fire ignition and coil. The motor now breathes through a tuned CV carb, a Joker Machine intake, and exhales through a custom DP exhaust. The rocker boxes, cam cover, and primary cover were done in gray gun coat.

Harley Sportster_gulf_04

Like a lot of their previous Sportster builds, they have modified the frame by stretching it 4″, and lowering it using a drop hardtail by Led Sled.  The super clean 5 spoke wheels were designed by DP Customs and CNC’d by Thomason Performance. They also upgraded the braking to match the performance – with Brembos front and rear. The tires, 19″ front and 18″ rear are Continental Trail Attacks – designed for adventure touring machines.

Harley Sportster_gulf_05

Adjustable clutch, brake levers and front master cylinder are from the Swedish company ISR. The mid controls were custom made by Shane at Chainsikle. To finish the build off, the bike was given to Walkers Way to paint it in the distinctive Gulf livery. “The client gave us full creative freedom on interpreting the Gulf scheme, and Walkers Way hit a home run with the paint and satin clear. It is by far our favorite part of the bike!”

Harley Sportster_gulf_06

After DP Customs delivered the bike to a very happy client, they discovered that the Sportster would be on display at the very prestigious 64th Annual Pebble Beach Concourse d’Elegance, parked next to a Gulf liveried Fort GT – they even got to ride it on to the 18th green.

Harley Sportster_gulf_07 Harley Sportster_gulf_08 Harley Sportster_gulf_09 Harley Sportster_gulf_011 Harley Sportster_gulf_012 Harley Sportster_gulf_014








  • Colter J

    Looks like it’d be a blast to ride.

  • bjparker

    I’m always impressed with the quality of DP’s builds, and this is no exception. And that paint scheme is right on.

  • John Keegan

    The fit and finish is superb. A lot of very expensive parts. However, a quick perusal of Google images for custom Sportsters (and knowledge of a few builds on HD forums) reveals many examples of this same specific hardtail Sporty bobber theme right down to the spoked wheels and mini fairing. So, nothing really groundbreaking in the look. Spoke wheel conversions from several Jap bikes can be accomplished with little more than a bearing and speedo drive swap. Stretched hardtail frames are common as fleas on a raccoon and the combo of hardtail, spokes and mini fairing on a Sporty is pretty common. The motor remains very mild (the extreme attitude of slapping on the #20 and the orange Gulf/Porsche paint scheme is definitely meant to evoke extreme attitude) with most of the effort on external appearance. So it’s a poser, and that’s okay, just disappointing.

    It seems the goal here was to use the most expensive parts that could be found by outsourcing the work without doing it in-house to achieve results that aren’t truly unique.

    Adding to the plus side, at least they didn’t shod it with oversized Firestone replicas front and rear even though they succumbed to the use of pipe wrap on an otherwise clean and chrome presentation. Inconsistent. I give thumbs up to the paint scheme but thumbs down to the Steve McQueen ref to anything two-wheeled other than a Triumph; and the implied connection between the Gulf/McQueen Porsche to a Sporty is bizarre. A bumper sticker reading “My other tractor is a Ferrari” would make as much relevant sense. No offense to Sporty riders! In the builder’s defense that was a call by the client.

    Nope, I am not being a troll. Yes, sure, sure, I like it well enough to take it home as a raffle prize, but I just don’t reeeally want it enough to be the slightest bit sad that it isn’t already sitting in my garage.

    • Davidabl2

      Kudos for the bumper sticker suggestion “my other tractor is a Ferrari”
      Although i believe it was another Italian sports car maker that began by making agricultural machinery:-)
      I can remember when any joint reference to Gulf and Sportsters would have been a reference to the bikes’ tendency to mark their spots with 50wt.

      • John Keegan

        You are right on both counts. I owned both a TR-4 in BRG w/red interior (Ferguson Tractor engine derivative) and a ’68 Sporty XLCH iron head. They were both wet dreams. And the TR-4 engine certainly behaved in tractor-like fashion, but it was a hoot to drive.

        When I traded the TR for an XKE 3.8 liter coupe, (also BRG but tan leather interior) I still got many of the same tractor motor comments by those that associated anything built in Coventry. But the little jag was quick to show a lot of Chevy and Ford small blocks a set of rapidly departing tail lights.

        Life was simpler, and so were the choices.

      • That would be Lambo I believe.

        • John Keegan

          Well ain’t that embarrassing?! Yep, @Davidabl2:disqus was referring to the Italian agri-cum-supercar marque and I got lost in the thoughts of my brit trash. Well hell, they both built tractors that Steve McQueen never sat on. That’s not saving my butt so I’ll go to bed quietly now…whimper…

  • Sam Massey

    Tail light, turn signals and license plate? I love the build, but can’t get very far without those things. Can’t figure out where the electrics and battery either. If they are hidden, they are hidden well.

    • With the lack of signals and such, I suspect most of the electrics are under the tank hump or in the headlight bucket. Battery seems to be located in the lower hardtail section in front of the wheel. Beautifully done.

  • DP Customs always bring a smile to my face. Of the highest quality and attention to detail the brothers Del Prado can be counted on for great builds and this is no exception. If I ever dropped my 02 Sporty I would be tempted to take to them to do their magic.

    • I would like to add that with or without the Gulf livery the bike is a jewel.

  • James duke

    I love it

  • Another super nice one!

  • AG

    Beautyful indeed. I would also had the front fork in the same color as the frame – but that is just me. The whole concept of the bike is great.

  • TJ Martin

    Slapping an iconic paint job and decals on yet another ‘ Been There…. Done That ‘ a thousand times or more hard tail Sporty does not qualify in my opinion this to be a ‘ quality ‘ or even a ‘ good ‘ custom . More like a cynical pastiche using an irrelevant [ for motorcycles ] reference from the past in order to compensate for a complete lack of originality . Granted the quality of the work is good … and the majority of the blame for this bikes design falls squarely on its owner .

    But still ! How many times will some wingnut desperate for attention slap a Gulf Racing paint job on another otherwise dull witted custom M/C before we’re finally done with this pathetic and ridiculous trend ? So far in the last 24 months I’ve counted at least six that have found their way online .

    Enough ! Give the attention where its due . Not where its being begged for 😉

    • Davidabl2

      Right, slammed shock rear would be more appropriate than 4″ stretched hard tail.

      • John Keegan

        Actually, throughout the whole composition I can’t help but think there is a better platform (if limiting the build to V-Twins) if branding with the #20 Gulf/Porsche. Can anyone say VRSC?

        • Davidabl2

          “Can anyone say VRSC?” Had thought it but not said it..or how about Buell?

  • Zundap

    Pebble Beach? Thank you very much. I always considerded myself as a hack mechanic, but after seeing this bike making Pebble Beach I feel very good about the machines that have come out of my garden shed over the years. Please do not take this as a negative critique. You made my day. ..Z

  • Classic colours and a flawless build!