This week one of Europe’s largest custom shows, Motor Expo, opens in Verona, Italy. Again, our diaries haven’t allowed a visit which is a real shame but hopefully we’ll report back on the array of exhibits. One of the more zany Italian builders is Marco Matteucci, a man responsible for some striking projects that don’t meet the usual new wave custom criteria. And here’s another, Marco’s latest, Riviera.
Yamaha’s faux Milwaukee cruiser, the XV750, often end up featuring on these pages dressed as a burly street tracker or brutish cafe racer but for this build Marco wanted to impart his elegant flair and plumped for more of a Matteucci vibe. The other, perhaps more important factor, was the need to pass on the petrolhead gene to his son, so Riviera needed to be a practical, luggage-lugging two-seater.
Inspired by a 1970s Tullio Abbate motorboat Marco’s nautical theme began with the fuel tank. First modelled in clay and then laid-up in fibreglass, the tank is somewhat reminiscent of the one mounted to the recent Guzzi V9 Bobber. A French Walnut strip runs from the headstock, up and over the tank and under the seat, bolstering the seafaring influences.
To create the versatility for his vision Marco discarded the XV’s subframe for a bobbed look and welded-in lugs by the shock mounts to allow the pillion seat structure and luggage rack to drop in giving three different configurations.
A comfortable and upright riding position comes courtesy of chrome plated beach cruiser style handlebars, formed and fabricated in-house. Low-profile, polished Motogadget switchgear and a Motoscope Tiny Speedster gauge are minimal additions to an uncluttered cockpit and the ignition barrel is relocated under the hand-stitched leather saddle. Although multi-skilled Marco prefers to utilise specialist craftsman for his projects so the seat pads were upholstered by his friend Marozzi Interni. As with the rest of the bike the levers, master cylinder, throttle housing and brackets have been mirror polished.
Recessed side panniers were made using the extremely time consuming technique of poking a hole in the waterproofed nubuck leather with a bradel before double-threading waxed cotton. The pair took 30 patient hours to produce, and that was by the experts at traditional shoe makers Bottega Vasì di Montegranaro.
The donor bike was bought from a friend who’d taken good care of the mechanicals so the engine didn’t need to come apart. The wheels were also in good nick so left alone, apart from a thorough polishing but the suspension at the bow and stern have been stiffened slightly to allow Marco to drag the pegs in confidence when riding solo.
The front mudguard is stock but trimmed-down slightly but the rear is new, mounted to thin stainless supports. A hunk of aluminium was then machined to house an LED taillight, mirroring the fin on the front guard.
Again Marco has built the bike he wanted to build, rather than follow the herd. And if you like the cut of his jib head to the Motor Expo in Verona from tomorrow.