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ALTER EVO. A Harley Turbo Salt Racer by Argentina’s Lucky Custom

Posted on May 19, 2017 by Andrew in Board Tracker, Bobber, Racer. 22 comments

Written by Marlon Slack.

It’s easy to parrot the line ‘I don’t like Harleys’. It’s an simple trap to fall into, until you realise the huge selection of amazing customs that have been crafted out of Milwaukee’s finest. There’s cafe racers, bobbers, choppers and flat trackers aplenty but my personal favourite has to be the rarely seen board tracker style. And here’s the best goddamn one you’ll find – a stunning turbocharged Harley Evo-engined special crafted by Argentina’s Lucky Custom.

Dubbed ‘The Cheetah’, this gorgeous bike is the forty-seventh build by the Córdoba-based workshop. So it’s safe to say the team there, led by Lucas Layum, know what they’re doing. They’ve produced all manner of bikes from every manufacturer and in every style you can imagine. ‘This time I wanted to do something special to celebrate the tenth anniversary of our shop,’ Lucas explains, ‘I wanted something that showed everything we’d learnt in the last ten years. The only problem was… I only had an engine.’

And that engine was torn from an old Harley Davidson Evo model. If you’re not well versed in the timeline of Harleys, the Evo engine was produced in the mid 1980’s after the dire days of AMF producing increasingly questionable Shovelheads. The Evolution engine is a very reliable and well-built unit – but it’s slower than a Miss Universe entrant. Lucas was going to change that.

“The Evolution engine is a very reliable and well-built unit – but it’s slower than a Miss Universe entrant.”

The engine was taken from 1340 to 1450cc’s with a new set of forged pistons upping the compression. On the outside the Evo is a heavy-looking looking donk that isn’t well suited to a slimline board tracker, so Lucky Custom trimmed back the engine fins to have the barrels looking more sleek. But with plans for a turbo afoot the heat needed to be dissipated somehow, so an oil cooler was added. Then eyes turned to the frame.

The entire tube steel frame was designed and fabricated in-house. But what really makes the whole thing pop is the art-deco inspired front forks. They’re pinched from a diminutive 1960’s Honda Dream scoot – which would have been a Honda Nightmare for the pair but they’ve been beefed up to take the extra heft of the engine, and widened to take the massive front wheel. Both ends are a whopping 23 inches in diameter and run an unusual star spoke pattern.

Up top the fuel tank is in two sections and connected through a series of hoses. Inside one a fuel pump is mounted, making sure the Cheetah sucks in enough gas to feed the turbo. The oil tank, battery box and all the finned covers you see carefully placed around the bike are all built from scratch in the shop. Everything was coming together for the team.

But with all that assembled the guys at Lucky Custom felt the bike was missing something. ‘We needed something to bring the look of the whole bike together,’ Lucas says, ‘It was really difficult until I found a headlight from a 1940 model Ford that set it off perfectly.’ The Ford theme continues with the colour – the blue is a shade from the same time period, matched to some white and gold with a fine fleck throughout.

The end result is amazing blend of board tracker, 1920’s decadence and a smattering of 1950’s hot rod thrown in for good measure. And with that turbo, the thing will scream harder than an exocet missile. Lucas is especially proud of this build, for a simpler reason than you’d expect. Unusually for a workshop in such high demand – he gets to keep this one.

“And with that turbo, the thing will scream harder than an exocet missile.”

‘What I like most about this bike the most is that it’s staying mine!’ he laughs. And it should, with the bike being the end result of months of careful consideration and hard labour and the culmination of ten years of work. ‘Every part of it took imagination and lots of time to fabricate. And what you can’t see in the photos is how it handles. I absolutely love it!’

Lucky Customs – Instagram | Photos by Raul Origlia ]

  • This bike is awesome!!! I like everything about it. It’s beyond “Bobber” and almost into chopper territory which I normally can’t stand, but this thing is unreal! I want it in my living room to stare at for hours. The jump suit and sneakers pictures is pretty much 180 out from Bonneville though, which detracts from the credibility. Love the bike without the rider. Super good job.

    • Agreed.

    • Greybeard1

      Nice build but I’ll never understand the craze for the seat attitude, track or street. As far as I can see it’s putting serious pre-load on your junk, the LAST thing you want on a hard tail!
      My scoms like the least interference possible.

    • LucioFreitas

      Pictures were not taken in Bonneville. It´s one of the many salt flats in Argentina like the Salar Grande.

  • the watcher

    Imagine showing up at the boozer on this. Or sitting next to Joe Spod in his Beemer at the lights. It would almost certainly be a nightmare to ride on British roads but the fun you’d have pissing everybody off would be well worth the price of admission.

    • Easy on, Mr Rebel… 😉

      • the watcher

        Once a rogue, always a rogue…

  • Andy Rappold

    Iam not a big Harley fan but this build is gorgeous! From the color scheme to the engine work and the funky front fork…brilliant.

  • Blackbird

    Very well done. Might be hard seeing the gauges at speed, though.

    • But easier for the pit crew, yes?

      • Blackbird

        The pit crew might be concerned that gauge readings are almost the same at rest as in the “salt burnout” photo.

  • AB

    Yeah – this is what I needed on a Saturday morning – something fresh and just a bit silly. Excellent build. Pass me the keys please.

    • Andrew Jones

      If only we had them…

    • If only we had them…

  • mtnsicl

    It’s a shame it’s Harley powered!

    • Marlon

      I think the Evo engine actually works well in this build. Shaving the fins takes a lot of visual weight off it.

      What would you run in it? It’d have to be an air cooled v-twin of some time, surely?

      • mtnsicl

        Since it’s a custom bike, you could build it with just about any engine. It could even be water cooled. If I were to build something like this, I’d put a KTM 1290 Super Duke motor in it. It would be lighter, more compact and it would have plenty of power. And, I’m talking about for a street legal bike. I could care a less about racing. For me, I’m just not into the Harley scene in any way, shape, form or fashion.

        • Marlon

          With the 1290 motor you’d have to have a radiator, fan and all the plumbing that goes with it. Plus you’d have to fool the CANBUS system and, mount a bigger FI pump and hide the ugly FI bodies.

          It’d honk though, that’s for sure.

    • I’m no Harley freak, I like almost all brands, but a bigTwin with a turbo could easily make 160+ at the wheel with the same amount of torque. So why not a Harley?? If you could care less about racing, why do you care what the powerplant is? It could be a Mazda rotary.

  • Len Farquharson

    What a beautifully built package! So much goodness by way of artistic engineering coming together! Well done and thank you.

  • Dexter Chapin

    It is a stunning piece of work just sitting there, but as a guy who dreams of the salt, there are only two items I am interested in; how fast and where?

  • julien bouvet

    Can someone guess what exacly are the tires and rims used? they look crazy.
    I would personally be quite nervous while putting big torque on these.