“This is gold, Mr. Bond. All my life I've been in love with its color… its brilliance, its divine heaviness.” —Gert Frobe as Auric Goldfinger in Goldfinger (1965)
People sure love themselves some gold, don’t they? Whether they're fictitious Bond villains, real-life rappers with more dental issues than common sense, or just normal people going through life, folks like the shiny yellow stuff. Gold embodies wealth, and it makes everything around it look bland. So if you're making a bike and you want it to stand out, lacing it with real gold will definitely do that. That fact wasn’t lost on Jeremy Seanor at Luckystrike Designs when he transformed Steve Younkin's 2014 Street Bob.
“Paint took about a month and a half to complete,” Seanor tells us. “The paint is super detailed and filled with old-school effects like lace, endless lines, tape shades, and pinstriping. Then to round it off I hand-laid it and transformed the engine. The 24-karat gold leaf was applied to finish off this one-of-a-kind paint job, and that also gave the bike its name—‘24kt.’ ”
As a custom painter, Seanor gets a lot of phone calls about his work, whether it’s to paint a hot rod, muscle car, truck, or a motorcycle. Often, the conversations are pretty similar: “Customers usually give me their ideas, which are usually accompanied with references and pictures of other projects they have seen that they would like to see on their personal build.”
Younkin’s phone call was not one of those. He wanted his newly built Street Bob to really pop in a crowd, but making that happen was up to Seanor.
They met at the local Harley dealership to brainstorm a plan of attack. “The bike looked awesome with the brass wheels and all the brass accents, but the factory Vivid Black paint was no different than on any of the other bikes in or out of the dealership,” Seanor said. The brass haunted him as he tried to get a feel for what Younkin wanted on his motorcycle. All throughout the conversation Younkin hit on the phrase a lot of artists love, “If it was your (insert project here), what would you do?”
They pored over the many shots of Seanor’s previous bike paint jobs. Younkin was drawn to one covered in metalflake and blue. What if, they asked themselves, we did something in that style, but matched to the brass accents?
Design was the simple part. The real work began when Seanor gathered the parts. After having everything metalflaked gold, he laid out the panels and jumped into the candy graphics. Throughout the entire, painstakingly ornate process, he kept Younkin involved. “I always send customers progress pictures to keep them updated, and to make sure they are happy with where their project is going. Steve was always excited about the ideas I would throw out to him. From painting his headlight housing to putting a ton of 24-karat gold leaf on it to doing some old-school pinstripes on the rear fender, everything was a go.
“Once the bike was finished, I realized that Steve pretty much got exactly what I would have if his Street Bob was my own,” Seanor says. “As I tell this little behind-the-scenes story I find myself laughing. It kind of sucks when I think about it because when I have to paint my own personal bikes I don’t know how I will be able to top his.”
At the end of the day, though, his customer was super excited for his now one-of-a-kind motorcycle—and that's all that matters to Jeremy Seanor.