Biker Build-Off winner: El Pobre Gringo
A custom motorcycle builder may reopen a downtown Concord shop after winning a television show contest.
Custom motorcycle builder Greg Westbury won Thursday’s "Biker Build-Off," a TLC television show in which bike builders get two weeks to create a one-of-a-kind motorcycle, from the ground up.
Westbury says now he’s thinking about setting up shop in downtown Concord again, after closing his doors there in 2003 to operate Westbury Handcrafted Motorcycles Inc. from a 10-car garage at his home.
The change would mean hiring new employees to help with machining, painting and the chrome work he now outsources to about nine local subcontractors. Moving those functions in-house "would streamline getting a new product out for sale from a couple months down a few weeks," Westbury said.
With motorcycles, he says "the creative door is completely wide open. With hot rods, it seemed more repetitive."
Westbury’s winning bike, "El Pobre Gringo," beat a motorcycle by Bryan Fuller of Fuller Hot Rods in Atlanta, Georgia.
El Pobre Gringo
The bike wears an impressive paint job utilizing the Hot Wheels Spectraflame color, “Medium Sapphire” from the PPG Vibrance Collection of custom finishes.
“I’ve been using PPG paint products exclusively since PPG Territory Manager Rob Hengemihle introduced me to their excellent product line about six years ago,” Westbury said. “The results have been fantastic. PPG’s new line of Hot Wheels Spectraflame colors are outstanding, and the perfect choice for “El Pobre Gringo.”
The “Gringo” features a 92” S-S round cylinder engine, a Baker drivetrain “torque box,” 6-speed transmission, a Westbury hand-built frame, and a 23” Foose rear wheel. The paint job was created to resemble a dragster from the 1960’s, complete with fish scales. The design was created and executed by veteran painter Eric Reyes of Eric Reyes Design, with assistance from one of Westbury’s long-time associates, Kirk Kafpenstien of Vintage Color Studio.
Aqua Graphic Technology, of Concord, California, crafted a burl wood overlay over the dark blue portions of the design on the tank, fender, and air cleaner. This effect is created by dipping the part into a tank of water, a process called Hydro Graphic Imaging. The main color of the paint scheme is “Medium Sapphire” from the Hot Wheels Spectraflame line, and the job is topped off with old-fashioned silver leafing.
Westbury began building hot rods around 1989. He completed his first bike, built from the ground up, in 1999. When that motorcycle landed on the cover of V.Q. magazine (an upscale motorcycle magazine published by Easyrider), the door opened up to a whole new world of creativity for Greg. Since Greg opened Westbury Hot Rods (WHR), located in a small chassis shop in the corner of an old building in Concord, California, his business has grown to become a highly acclaimed hot rod and motorcycle enterprise that boasts an impressive collection of awards and honors.
Westbury’s work has been featured on the covers of Hot Rod, Rod & Custom, and Custom Rodder magazines. WHR creations have won the 2005 Motorcycle d’ Elegant Award at the San Francisco Hot Rod and Motorcycle Show, the 2005 America’s Most Beautiful Motorcycle award at the Grand National Roadster Show, and the 2006 “Artistry in Iron” award at the Las Vegas Bike Fest.
Westbury called the bike “El Pobre Gringo,” which means “The Broke Whiteboy,” because he built the bike just months after he completed another custom job for the “Artisty in Iron” show, in partnership with PPG. The same weekend he won the “Artistry in Iron” award, where his bike was pitted against 25 custom bike builders from around the world, he was approached to compete in the Biker Build-Off.