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BLOODY MARVELLOUS. H Garage’s ‘Vampire Squadron’ Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer


Posted on September 19, 2017 by Andrew in Café Racer, Classic. 25 comments

Despite what your over-active imagination may be telling you, the Vampire Squadron was actually an American Airforce group based in Guadalcanal during WWII. Their plane of choice was the unique Lockheed P-38 Lightning. A ‘twin boom and a central nacelle’ design, the aircraft stood out amongst its contemporaries like the dog’s proverbials. Cue Honda’s similarly unique flat four Goldwing. A little BMW, a little Moto Guzzi and a whole lot of engine capacity, it’s a bike that still occupies the outer fringes of the custom scene. But not if Kentucky’s Scott Halbleib has his way.

“After enough Goldwing decompression from the 1000 I built in 2015, a client called wanting to resurrect his ’83 model,” Says H Garage owner and builder, Scott. “It was pretty mangled from an accident the year prior, but he was ready to get back on the horse and had been inquiring about an H Garage build for a few years”.

The front end was replaced, mechanicals looked over and test rides taken. The all clear was given and it was ready to enter the chop shop. The available budget dictated a wise use of time and funds; lofty ideas were brought down to reality and a general concept was agreed upon to get things underway. The theme was a bit of the old school hot rod vibe: low, loud and aggressive.

“First it was off with the stock faux gas tank and over to the H Garage shelving containing a decent collection of old tanks acquired over the years. After numerous measurements and some test fittings, it was determined that a Suzuki GS750 tank would add some nice shape and a more custom look over the rather bland stock item”.

“So the tunnel and the bottom of the gas tank was trimmed out and a hole was cut to access the stock gas cap below. The relocation of some electrical components and a swap to a smaller coolant overflow reservoir meant everything was sitting in its right place. Then a custom trim ring was water-jetted for the tank’s finishing touch. Rather than fill in the stock gas cap hole, it was trimmed out a little and a fuel gauge was mounted”.

Then on to the seat and tail section. The decision was made to reveal some of the frame, have the seat taper out towards the back and then to fab up a custom tailpiece that would drop over the seat and shock mounts. Raised panels were worked in to match the new gas tank with a recessed tail light tucked in behind. Then the seat was upholstered with a simple diamond-shaped stitch by local friend Mike Brewer.

“The front end was cleaned up, wiring re-routed, and a new headlight with built-in turn signals and billet ears was mounted. The stock handlebar mounts on the top triple were shaved, clip-on mounts were installed and the bars were replaced with a cut set of low-rise items to keep the riding position comfortable. New levers, a master cylinder and some switch gear was mounted along with some custom cables and Biltwell diamond grips to match the seat. The stock ignition was replaced with a hidden kill switch and an aluminum start switch was also recessed into the tank”.

The Honda’s stock headers were trimmed back, some new exhaust tubing was welded up, and it was all sent to be ceramic coated. Next came the installation of some carbon fiber exhaust tips. An aftermarket radiator guard was then sourced, stripped and powder coated, along with the bronze wheels and various engine covers. Continental tires were used front and back to keep things nice and beefy. The frame was chopped, detabbed, the centre stand was removed, the kickstand shaved and some little touches were added here and there to clean up the stock unit.

“The paint job went to Josh at La Fountain Custom Paint, who laid down a beautiful base of indigo with some antique white racing stripes. The tail-piece is adorned with the Vampire Squadron logo, in honor of the client’s father who served in the Airforce’s 44th Fighter Squadron. All of this was then clear coated with a little blue pearl that really rolls with the light”.

As always, the Honda was sent to Chad Francis of Retrowrench to clean up the wiring and work his magic with the carbs. Now the bike rumbles at idle and screams on top, with a little touch of that Goldwing whine. Looks like Halbleib’s Goldwing itch is back. Best get ready for his next sortie.

H Garage – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Craig Schneider ]








  • John in Pollock

    Never thought I’d hear “café racer” and “Goldwing” uttered by one human being in one lifespan.
    Cool ass bike though. It looks like one big flexed bicep.

  • Neal English

    Gorgeous build, as always. GL builds are near and dear to my heart. One of these days I’ll have Scott make one of mine pretty.

  • martin hodgson

    This is such a beast, so nicely built, lots of cool little details that don’t distract from the overall design. Really like the choice of bars… just makes you want to find a straight bit of road, get comfy on the seat and wind her out and see where the needle will go!! Great build!!!

    • Frank admission: I don’t think i’ve ever heard a Honda flat four on the gas. Do they sound like VWs/Subarus?

      • guvnor67

        Sort of, but a bit angrier, but having said that, my mate’s one year’s ago wasn’t running much in the way of baffles. . .

      • AB

        Found a video – nicely hammered and sounds sooo good.

      • martin hodgson

        Agree with Guv, at idle quite similar, but once rev’d angrier and far smoother than their fellow flats!

      • Jonesy

        Hmmm—– a Suburu engine
        In a goldwing frame……

  • the watcher

    I really like this bike, but I can’t make myself call it a café-racer. Cafe-cruiser?

    • I’m tempted to agree – especially with it’s obvious hot rod influences…

  • This is one heck of a good looking Gold Wing. It has the stance and vibes of a 60’s muscle car. In fact. I’d call this a muscle cafe or a muscle cruiser. That gas cap looks so familiar but I just can’t place it. A very cool and honest build.

    • Couldn’t agree more, MM.

    • John in Pollock

      I’m pretty sure that it’s a late 70’s Honda CVCC gas cap. Had one on mine.

      • Cash Burnett

        I have an 82 Goldwing, and that’s the same cap I have. Pretty sure it is just the stock cap, unless someone changed mine out sometime in the past.

  • guvnor67

    Wow! Sensational, and kudos for the military salute. The build has a muscle-cruiser vibe for sure, and it’s so nicely executed. Really kool bike.

  • Patriccio

    Go to NGWclub.com. You’ll see a whole gaggle of custom Goldwings.

  • AB

    Nice build. Hey – you know who I’d like to see build one of these – Ed Turner Motorcycles

  • ShS

    Veramente massiccia come moto, ma molto bella, non penso sia facile modificarla come si deve, da diverso tempo ne cerco una ma i prezzi sono elevati…

  • Richard Sunnbobb