A single-seat, JPS-inspired tribute to Mario Andretti’s days at Team Lotus…
In 1976, Mario Andretti joined Team Lotus, driving the John Player Special (JPS) F1 cars into championship winning form. The signature gold-and-black livery of the JPS cars — sponsored by the John Player & Sons brand of Imperial Tobacco — has since become iconic in both automotive and motorcycle culture.
Enter Jorge Gonzalez of Hell’s Kitchen Garage — based in Burgos, Spain — who built the JPS-styled BMW R65 cafe racer you see here. The client — a friend of Jorge’s — wanted a tribute to Mario Andretti’s Team Lotus days in the form of a retro, single-seat cafe racer. The result is a black-and-gold beauty that even Andretti would love to behold.
Below, we get the full story on this dark, lovely machine.
BMW Airhead Cafe Racer: Builder Interview
• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.
My attraction for things with motors has been with me since I was little. At the beginning were the cars and then the bikes. That hobby, added to my abilities to build things, led to the creation of Hell’s Kitchen Garage. A talent that I have always had has been painting, which is reflected in all my works. That’s why I started doing painting works for others (which I still do for a few builders), and from there I went on to build and modify American bikes and cars.
I mention that I do 99% of the work, from the design, construction, painting … the only thing I have to do outside is the upholstery.
• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?
BMW R65 1983 “John player special”
• Why was this bike built?
It is a project for a client and friend.
• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?
The design concept is a cafe racer with mono-seat and with a very retro style. The decoration is of John Player Special — tribute to Mario Andretti when he ran with Team Lotus.
• What custom work was done to the bike?
A complete modification work was carried out: front and rear suspension suspension, front and rear mudguards built by hand, dome made of fiber, handles also made by hand, R90 tank, subframe removed and new supports for cushions and seat were built.
Hand-made side registration stand, new footrests and levers, retro-style speedometer, paint with John Player Special decoration and varnish add-ons, metalflakes rainbow, new handmade exhaust line with anti-heat wrap…
• How would you classify this bike?
Café racer, old style.
• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?
The paint job
Follow the Builder
- Web: http://www.hellkitchengarage.es
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/hellkitchengarage/
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/hells_kitchen_garage/