Exhibition curator Michael Lichter jokes with ‘Uncle Bunt’ John Reed and co-curator Paul d’Orléans

The world’s most popular custom motorcycle website – the Cyril Huze Post – was kind enough to review my ‘Built for Speed’ exhibit at the Buffalo Chip in Sturgis, which ends tomorrow.  I’ll write my own notes on the show here soon, but 5 days of travel plus the effort of physically mounting a show with 32 motorcycles and 100 pieces of art has left me temporarily drained and ‘away from my desk’.  Enjoy Cyril’s reportage:

Clem Johnson’s Vincent dragster the ‘Barn Job’, loaned by John Stein. A miracle of race design, developed over 40 years.

Sturgis ‘Motorcycle As Art’ by Michael Lichter and Paul d’Orleans.  Race Inspired Motorcycles ‘Built for Speed’

The 14th Annual Michael Lichter’s “Motorcycle As Art” exhibition officially opened on Sunday August 3rd under the theme “Built For Speed”. The who’s who of the motorcycle industry gathered at the Buffalo Chip exhibition hall to admire the  beautiful and rare display of more than 35 race-inspired custom motorcycles curated by internationally famous photographer Michael Lichter and vintage motorcycles expert Paul d’Orleans. Members of the press had the opportunity to get a preview of this exhibition and to learn about the builders and how they found inspiration in one of the many branches of racing: Speedway, Flat Track, Drag Racing, Board Track,  Grand Prix, Land Speed Record, etc. Each machine is displayed with its description and racing style origin, from “Cut-downs” of the 1920s, “Bob-jobs” of the 1930s, “Café Racers” of the 1950s, ‘Drag-bike’ Choppers of the 1960s, and ‘Street Trackers’ of the 1970s.

The flathead Harley custom from Kevin ‘Teach’ Baas, who works with the local High School shop class to build bikes!

As always, entry to the Buffalo Chip’s 7000′ purpose-built Michael Lichter art gallery is FREE and this year, hours have been extended, now opening at 10:30am into the evening concert hours (10:30pm).  The show is open until Friday night August 9.  To find the gallery, head to the Buffalo Chip and turn east on Alkali Road; go to the East entrance.  The gallery is next to the EAST entrance and does not require a ticket to enter.

Paul Cox’s ‘Sword of Damocles’ – a work of functional art, built by a master craftsman

Michael Lichter wants to give a special thanks to the ‘Motorcycle as Art’ industry sponsors; Ace Cafe Orlando, Avon Tires, Baker Drivetrain, Burly Brand, Carhartt, Crusher Exhaust, Hot Leathers, Icon Motorsports, J&P, Kuryakynb, Motor Bike Expo Italy, Mustang Seats, Progressive Suspension, Ridewright Wheels, Tucker Rocky/Biker’s Choice, S&S Cycle.

Indian’s ‘Spirit of Munro’ streamliner, built by Jeb Scolman from a prototype 111 engine, and his own ingenuity. The level of fit and finish on this all-metal machine is peerless

The 32 motorcycles in ‘Built for Speed’ include customs by long established and emerging builders, side by side with factory-loaned machines.  Builders sending bikes include Alan Stulberg (Revival Cycles), Arlen Ness, Bill Dodge (Bling Cycles), Bill Rodencal (Fat Dog Racing), Brandon Holstein (Brawny Built), Can ‘Bacon’ Carr (DC Choppers), Dan Rognsvoog/Skip Schultze, Jason Paul Michaels (Dime City Cycles), John Reed (Uncle Bunt), Kenji Nagai (Ken’s Factory, Japan), Kevin ‘Teach’ Baas (Baas Metal Craft), Kirk Taylor (Custom Design Studios), Matt Olsen (Carl’s Cycle), Michael O’Shea (Medaza Cycles, Ireland), Nate Jacobs (Harlot Cycles), Pat Patterson (Led Sled Customs), Paul Cox (Paul Cox Industries), Paul Wideman (Bare Knuckle Choppers), Roland Sands (RSD), Skeeter Todd, Tator Gilmore, Warren Lane, and Zach Ness (Arlen Ness, Inc).

Artist Conrad Leach sent 3 pieces to the show, including his iconic ‘Lucky 13’, one of 100 photographs and prints on the walls.

Factory-built machines include a custom ‘Street’ 750 from the Harley-Davidson design dep’t, Indian’s ‘Spirit of Munro’ streamliner built by Jeb Scolman, and a Land Speed Racer from Confederate Motorcycles, alongside Icon 1000s’ ‘Iron Lung’ road racer, a replica of George Smith’s ‘Tramp’ from S&S, Deus Ex Machina’s ‘Dakdaak’ Honda CRF 450x, and Clem Johnson’s original Vincent ‘Barn Job’ from John Stein.

‘2nd Place’ by Richie Pan, part of a sacreligious triptych honoring the memory of ‘Big Daddy’ Ed Roth

Artists on the walls include Conrad Leach, Darren McKeag, David Uhl, Eric Hermann, Harpoon, Jeff Nobles, Marc Lacourciere, Michael Lichter, Richie Pan, Scott Jacobs, Scott Takes, Susan McLaughlin and Paul d’Orleans, Tom Fritz, Trish Horstman, and an all new ’21 Helmets’ display of race-inspired Bell Helmets from SeeSee Motor-Coffee in Portland.

The SeeSee Motor-Coffee ’21 Helmets’ exhibit, which included historic Bell racing helmets, and artists like Maxwell Paternoster
The reception crowd was double the number from last year, with an estimated 2300 people passing through the halls that evening. Michael Lichter’s ‘Motorcycle as Art’ shows have been held for 14 years, and attention continues to grow.
The ‘Built for Speed’ curators; Michael Lichter and Paul d’Orléans


Paul d’Orléans is the founder of TheVintagent.com. He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.
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