“John Player Special”: Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer by Ábila Kustom

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

A Goldwing built in memory of Ayrton Senna…

In 1985, Brazilian racing driver Ayrton Senna won his first victory in Formula One.  It was the Portuguese Gran Prix, in very wet conditions, and Senna lapped everyone in the field up to and including the 3rd place driver! So began Senna’s legend. In less than a decade, he would become the fifth-most successful F1 driver of all time, taking 65 pole positions, 41 wins, and 3 championships. Then, in 1994, his career was cut short by a fatal accident at the San Marino Gran Prix.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

Enter Brazil’s Carlos Ábila, who’s been involved with motorcycles since he was a child and went on to turn that passion into a vocation. In 1994, he began painting and customizing helmets and motorcycles — today he works out of his own workshop, Abila Kustom Shop, where he does all of the work himself, from maintenance and fabrication to painting and fiberglass.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

The donor for this project was a 1975 Honda GL1000 Goldwing that Carlos got from a friend who was cleaning out his yard. The bike had spent years outside and was missing many parts, which would prove a challenge, as Goldwings are rare in Brazil. Given his love of F1 and experience with competition helmets and livery, Carlos decided to build a tribute to Senna:

“The bike is a Goldwing that I made in memory of Ayrton Senna’s first victory, driving a Lotus JPS in Portugal in the year 1985.”

JPS Lotus Senna

Below, we get the full story on his “Goldwing Lotus JPS” (John Player Special), along with gorgeous photos from Jamil Eduardo of Gasoline Brotherhood!

Honda GL1000 Cafe Racer: Builder Interview

(A video of the Goldwing “John Player Special” by Kabuto Films.)

• Please tell us a bit about yourself, your history with motorcycles, and your workshop.

My name is Carlos Ábila, I live in Brazil, I’m 45 years old, and I own a small personal workshop. I have worked in customization since 1994, especially in the painting of helmets and motorcycles. I have always been involved with bikes since I was little — my father always had bikes. I am self-taught — I do everything in my workshop from the mechanical part, painting, welding, polishing, metal parts manufacturing, and fiberglass.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

• What’s the make, model, and year of the bike?

The bike is a Honda GL1000 Goldwing, 1975.

• Why was this bike built?

The case of this bike is curious — I got it from a friend who needed to clean the yard. It arrived here missing many parts. I had to import parts from the four corners of the world — it was a very difficult project, because there are few copies of this bike in Brazil. Since many pieces were missing, I decided that I would modify it.

• What was the design concept and what influenced the build?

As I have always worked with competition helmets, and the influence of Formula 1 was great in this project, I decided that I would make the bike equal to the car of three-time champion Ayrton Senna. It would be a two-wheel version of the car of his first victory in F1, which was a Lotus sponsored by John Player Special. The bike would be black and gold just like the car.

• What custom work was done to the bike?

The engine is standard but completely rebuilt — I only changed the carburetors for those of the GL1100.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

I created a special tail and seat for it.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

The front fender was shortened and lowered…

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

…and also I used the false tank and lateral sides of the 1978 model because of the dash panel over the tank.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

I used special gas shock absorbers at the rear and the flasher lights were built into the end of the handlebar and at the top of the shock absorbers.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

The letters of the tires were sanded and applied — Godyear Eagle as in the car.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

And to finish I installed an Emgo fairing and a pair of megaphone exhausts.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

All the work was done by me and my brother in my personal shop. If you want more pictures and the history about her you can see at Gasoline Brotherhood.


• Does the bike have a nickname?

Goldwing Lotus JPS.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

• How would you classify this bike?

Cafe Racer.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

• Was there anything done during this build that you are particularly proud of?

I was able to save a bike that would go to waste, transforming it from trash to a spectacular bike. Also, the side motor stickers done by hand.

Honda Goldwing Cafe Racer

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One Comment

  1. slt , trop d inscription !! si encore y avait un turbo histoire de mimer la veritée!! mais belle machine quand meme , gros taff bien fait !!!

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