El Vaquero Custom Motorcycle Makes Cool From So Not Cool

BlackSmith Motoring Co.’s ‘El Vaquero’ is proof positive that you can indeed make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.

Starting out life as a humble and decidedly unattractive Honda GL1000, this machine is a testament to what an ingenious custom motorcycle builder can do with the most humble of raw materials.

El Vaquero keeps racking up the accolades, and this time around it took both the Retro Mod Class and People’s Choice award at the Cleveland Progressive International Motorcycle Show.

Honda sold an entire battalion of the venerable Honda GL1000’s, mostly to old guys who appreciated the homely machine for it’s tame, predictable handling and a motor which ran all day with a quiet, buttery smoothness on long hauls.

The one thing the Gold Wing never had was, well, any semblance of sex appeal or danger.

It does now, thanks to a handful of builders who’ve taken the old boy out for a makeover.

This version, the Blacksmith Motoring ‘El Vaquero,’ started out looking like this:

…and ended up, after the application of style, BS&T and some beautiful paint and metal work, like this:

Seeing something this magnificent made from one of the ugliest bikes ever to run down the road should give hope to every mullion on God’s Grey Earth that beauty really does reside within. The guys at Blacksmith even managed to make the World’s Most Ungainly Motorcycle Tank look fine.

Though if I have any beefs with this machine, and truth be told I have only one, it would be with the seat. A ride this slick deserves a little more glory applied to the place one drops one’s ass – particularly given the comfy-as-a-sofa legacy of the original donor bike.

Other than that, I think El Vaquero sets the standard by which all Gold Wing customs ought to be judged going forward…


Blacksmith Motoring
Round Lake, IL
Phone: (888)740-2077 ext. 12
By Appointment Only

Leatherwork Service
Phone: 888.740.2077 ext. 11

Blacksmith Motoring NV
Minden, NV
Phone: (888) 740.2077
Mon-Friday 8:30am to 5:30pm


Honda GL1000 Specs
Model:Honda GL 1000 Goldwing
Category:Sport touring
Engine and transmission
Displacement:999.00 ccm (60.96 cubic inches)
Engine type:Four cylinder boxer, four-stroke
Power:82.00 HP (59.9 kW)) @ 7500 RPM
Top speed:196.0 km/h (121.8 mph)
Bore x stroke:72.0 x 61.4 mm (2.8 x 2.4 inches)
Valves per cylinder:2
Fuel control:OHC
Cooling system:Liquid
Transmission type,
final drive:
Shaft drive (cardan)
Chassis, suspension, brakes and wheels
Front tyre dimensions:3.50-19
Rear tyre dimensions:4.50-17
Front brakes:Dual disc
Rear brakes:Single disc
Physical measures and capacities
Weight incl. oil, gas, etc:295.0 kg (650.4 pounds)
Fuel capacity:19.00 litres (5.02 gallons)

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