Josh's Cadillac KZ200
By Anthony van Someren - 20 Jun 13
When 1950s America found itself stationed far from home in the East there was bound to be the occasional unexpected love-child, born from the mating of US muscle with Asian beauty. This unique bike brings that all back to mind, built in 19 gauge steel by professional hot rod builder Josh Allison from Fort Collins, CO. 32 year old Josh grew up riding and building bikes with his dad, so was set on two wheels from an early age. He started working as a successful airbrush artist but wanted to build more, so got himself into WyoTech in Larimie and graduated with a degree in Paint, Body and Advanced Street Rod Technology, and Advanced Sheet Metal Work.
Josh went on to build custom vintage Hot Rods for Tin Element, Pinkees Rod Shop, and Custom Auto which pushed his skills even further, but he still loved building bikes.
This build came from Josh's love of Cadillacs. He just thought it would be cool to have a vintage bike with a Caddy tail light, so, with all the right skills in the bag he simply got building, using a Kawasaki KZ200 as the base. Not being a fan of fibreglass Josh built all the extra bodywork with 19 gauge steel, all designed to look as though it was meant to be there. He shaped the seat pan with a shrinker and stretcher, and a planishing hammer.
The leather insert for the seat was hand made by Josh, as was all the finishing on the tank. The frame was bobbed 4 inches, de-lugged with 11 inch shorty springs from Dime City Cycles. All the electrics are relocated to under the seat and hidden by a smooth plate on the underside.
The motor is stock with just 4,000 original miles on it, fitted with a UniPod filter and an 1 and 1/4 inch hand made custom exhaust, capped with a honeycomb plate. Custom pegs were added, plus hand made clip-ons with old school grips and a DCC starter switch.
Josh then reworked the front end of the bike, centering the speedo and lowering the front 2 inches with old school Triumph external shock springs which he found as a bike salvage yard.
The headlight is the original item fitted, stripped back to the bare metal and wearing an after market cowl. Although Josh is an air brush artist he chose to leave the bike in its raw metal finish, which looks great and reminds us of 1950s jet fighters and passenger planes of the Jet Set era.
Whatever you think of the end result, this is one stand-out motorcycle, lovingly crafted by hand with some superb old school metalwork skills. (...not to mention Josh using loads of tools we've never even heard of). We love it. Great work Josh. Thanks for sharing. See more from Josh at Build&Destroy Customs