Sure, we love motorcycles here at BikeBound, but our all-time favorite machine ever created is the North American P-51 Mustang — the king long-range interceptor of WWII, which allowed pilots to escort bombers deep into the heart of Germany and back to their fields in England. The Rolls-Royce Merlin 61 V12 offered a two-stage intercooled supercharger and 1720 horsepower in “War Emergency Power,” propelling the aluminum-skinned fighter to 440 mph in level flight — a world-beating machine.
Enter Eric Buchholz of Spurius Rotis, who is a self-proclaimed “history nerd.” Eric decided to build a bike inspired by the P-51D “Checkertails” of the 325th Fighter Group. We have seen a lot of bikes inspired by WWII warbirds, but honestly, most fail to move our blood. There are a lot of airbrushed rivets and nose art and markings that simply don’t work.
Eric Buchholz went a more authentic route, eschewing tacky airbrushing in favor of custom-fabbed sheetmetal and true AN430 rivets. This is one fighter-inspired custom that does justice to the engineering of the original. Fittingly, this Ducati Monster custom is named “Mustang Sally.”
Below, we get the full story on the build.
Custom Ducati Monster 600: In the Builder’s Words
(Words by Eric Buchholz of Spurius Rotis. Highlights by us.)
My obsession with bikes started as a kid, with a ’73 Honda CB175 that I ended up turning into a bit of a scrambler. Ever since then, I haven’t been able to leave any bike ‘as is’. It’s only recently that I’ve taken a more professional approach to try to turn this addiction into a business. Never content with what’s available, I’ve always made my own parts, whether it’s exhaust, or turn signals.
I don’t really build to one particular style, because on most projects, I use elements from several. I use more textures and metallic tones than glossy paint, because I like to ride and don’t want to worry about every little paint chip. Currently my shop is pretty modest, and consists of me in my garage, but the limited space helps me focus all of my attention on the current project.
This is the latest creation from my shop, Spurius Rotis. I’m a bit of a history nerd, and this build was inspired by the P-51 Mustangs of the 325th fighter group, known as the Checkertails. I’ve seen a lot of airbrushed rivets, but I wanted something I could feel. All of the sheet metal is custom fabbed, brushed finish, adorned with AN430 rivets, and shot with satin clear. The rivets sealed, but still the tank was lined with Caswell 2 part sealant.
Being skeptical of the low fuel light’s reliability, I opted for a conventional petcock with a reserve option. Despite the tank shape, after relocating the electricals, it still has a 3 gallon capacity. An Antigravity 4-cell Lith-ion battery, relays and fuse block now reside in a custom battery box, with a built in vent chamber for the carbs. A Motogadget Motoscope Mini and an array of SMD LEDs are mounted recessed under the dash to eliminate glare and provide a good viewing angle.
Not being content with the plastic options, I made my own LED/304 Stainless fork mounted turn signals. Shinko 009 Ravens take care of the sticking, and the suspension has been upgraded courtesy of later model S4 & 1000DS components.
The ride height, rake and trail were altered slightly to be more shenanigan friendly, leaning towards Hypermotard specs. The ride is much improved and the adjustable Showa dampers provide confident handling. The exhaust is all 304 stainless plumbed through a resonator chamber with just enough packing to take the edge off, and ducted out the 3 ports on each side.
Factory Pro jetted carbs breathing through Uni 2-stage filters and 14/46 JT sprockets help to liven it up, especially considering it weighs just 366 lbs when fueled. For daily rider convenience, I added in little changes like a slightly larger kickstand footprint for parking on hot asphalt, and the steering lock function of the relocated key switch, now operates as the helmet lock.
- Photos by Tyler Breedwell photography: @tbreedphoto
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