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The Corbin Times
John Reed's 1982 Virago
Restoration Project

Photo Galleries

Wrap Up

Work Continues

Work Begins


First Ride

About Erik

Wrap Up
July, 2011: An Afternoon with John Reed

It's a wrap! And to prove it, we even created a new photo gallery above called Wrap Up... Check it out by clicking the aptly named thumbnail above.

It's really it's just a collection of random pics we shot at John's house while we were visiting back in July. He wanted to have Mike, Erik and a couple more of the talented Corbin folks over to say thanks for the hard work on the bike.

Not being one to miss out on some free grub, Chuck tagged along under the pretense of snapping a few pictures. There's quite a few images of the bike on John's lift in the shop, but also a few images from around his place just to give you a feel for things.

Mr Reed... Thanks thanks for the tour. Thanks for lunch. Thanks for the stories... It was a kick!

June, 2011: Paint Restoration is complete!

Naturally we made a new seat for it while we had the seatpan here... well, calling it a seat is a little bit on the optomistic side, it's more of a perch. Well, now it's a beautifully leather wrapped perch!

John has the bike back and is in full assembly mode, so best of luck to him. We'll add some pics of the whole thing when we get the opportunity to shoot it. Rumor has it John may take it to a couple MC events, but won't give us any details. When we know, you will!

Mr Reed was kind enough to send us a first ride video so we posted it on Youtube and linked to it above. Check it out, the bike sounds awesome.

April, 2011: Moving right along!

We've added a bunch of photos in a new gallery above called "Work Continues"... you won't believe how nice these parts are looking!

With multiple layers of gold paint, translucent Kandy, yellow goldleaf, white goldleaf, pinstriping, more pinstriping and finally more clearcoat... Erik has delivered the first pieces back to John so he can start the re-assembly process.

Whew, what an incredible amount of work went into these first few pieces, but they look sweeeeeetttt! It's hard to tell sometimes, but we think John's pretty happy with them too. Even if he's not, they were good enough for him to start putting the bike back together just in time for the CCI show. Rumor has it this bike is going to make some rounds, but we're not allowed to day when or where yet so hang tight.

We'll save you a lot of time reading and just let you get on with the pics in the new gallery above. We've even included a pic of John Reed himself which was no easy task let me tell you! Having proven himself quite elusive in the wild, we had to resort to stealing photos from other websites. Errrr... speaking of which, thanks to Hot Bike, Custom Chrome and someone else that unknowingly volunteered via Google images.

Enough already... check out the pics. More to come as Erik tackles the tank and rear fender.

What is it?
January 19, 2011: Work progresses...

We've added a bunch of photos to the "Work Begins" gallery above, so check there for images that go along with this update.

Erik finished sanding down the existing surface and securing the pieces that were threatening to come off. From there the parts went into the paint booth for a shot of a high quality catalyzed clear coat that will actually be serving as our new base and a sealer. It went on well, but the surfaces were pretty uneven so there is likely another round of sanding and clearcoat before color restoration.

Speaking of restoring, some areas where large chunks have come off will be a complete do-over. With multiple layers of Horst artwork on there, the chips are deep. To make up for this, Erik will be using some filler to make the surface even and will be applying new artwork to blend in with the existing paint. Once that's all done, everything will be cleared over again just like a new paintjob.

The process of matching the colors has also been started. Going through the myriad of paint chips supplied by PPG, Erik is looking for a starting point for the base. He'll be using PPG's Radiance / Vibrance collection of dyes along with PPG Pearls and basecoats. He is also using the PPG Prophet II system for paint analysis. This is an imaging system that reads the color from five different angles simultaneously and presents a color formula. In theory this should get him pretty close, but with the wide variety of metallics and pearls available, it will only be a jumping off point.

Once Erik's settled on a starting point, there will be a series of color sprayouts on multiple test panels so he can fine tune the match by eye under a variety of light sources. Then the fun really begins.

Project Underway!
December 8, 2010: Well, it took a little bit to figure out just how to approach this monumental task while keeping the bike as original as possible. Our painter Erik has come up with the following plan:

He's going to begin by carefully sanding down the existing clear coat to remove as much as possible and smooth out the surface and cracking. This is a painstaking process that is more than just a little nerve rattling.

Once the surface is taken down, he'll be applying a special blend of an acrylic-like glue to the edge/underside of pieces that appear to be lifting. This (we hope) will stop further damage from occurring and rebond the original paintwork to the surface.

Once the damage is under control, Erik will be applying new clear coat to seal all the original work and give a fresh foundation to start applying the restoration. The resto paint will again be clear coated at the end of the process to give each part a uniform surface and like-new appearance. Good luck Erik!

What is it?
December 7, 2010: A bit more info about this bike:

Built by Mr John Reed back in 1982, it started life as a pre-production Yamaha Virago. As you can see, beyond the powerplant, it has very little in common with the venerable metric cruiser.

Fenders and tank are aluminum that has been engraved and gold plated. Interesting note about the plating is the logo you can see engraved in the front fender: "Plating by Drag Specialties". That kinna dates things doesn't it!?

On top of all that goodness is a paint job by none other than Horst! It features a deep red metallic with air brushing, pin striping, gold leaf AND silver leaf... all of which is carefully masked to integrate with the engraved portion of the part.

Ultimately our goal is to have these parts looking as good as the day Horst finished them so that John can re-assemble the bike and ?? Well, he's being a bit cagey about what is going to happen once it's done, but we're looking forward to finding out. Stay tuned!

John Reed's `82 Virago
December 6, 2010: Some of you may remember this bike was the first metric motorcycle to win at the Oakland Roadster Show (now called the Grand National Roadster Show).

You may even remember that it's builder, John Reed, was the first Non-American to win said show back in 1982.

Well, the years haven't been too kind to this amazing bike, so we're working with John to fully restore it back to its original glory! If you'd care to follow along, we'll be posting regular updates to our Facebook Page. If you prefer traditional web, we'll be posting the updates Right Here so please book mark this page!