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Silver Dream Racer (Gilera Runner)

January 6th, 2010

You could say that race reps are a bit of a no brainer compared to custom bikes with a unique theme. On the other hand, you could say that’s a load of bull…

As much work goes into race reps as custom bikes with one-off themes and this Gilera Runner proves that. It’s a race rep and it has a unique theme – a one of a kind. “Not another Rizla or Rossi turd” according to the owner. And the owner, the mystery man, is PETROL contributor Joe Brown (round of applause if you please). The twist with this race rep is that it’s based on a race bike from a film – Eighties motorcycle flick ‘Silver Dream Racer’ starring David Essex – a ‘heart throb’ according to most housewives who grew up in the Eighties, a ‘greasy old midget’ according to some middle aged men. But, why David Essex? Why Silver Dream? What’s the reason for this choice of theme? It seems that Joe, apparent king of bling, has a secret obsession for silver…

“Silver Dream Machine” was a Top 10 hit in the UK ‘Singles Chart’ for the then ‘heart throb’ David Essex during the Eighties. Not that this has anything to do with Joe’s bike at all. So who was it then that painted this Silver Dream machine? Dream Machine? Nope, it was popular paint man Alan Turner, a talented guy from Goole. He’s done paintjobs for many a feature scoot (including one of my own concoctions). Getting down to the nitty gritty, the engine’s ‘the standard 172 affair’ by Joe’s admission. But living by the motto ‘We Don’t Do Standard’ (he’s even had some garments emblazoned with the slogan), the engine obviously isn’t factory standard, there’s a few horses in there somewhere. And neither is the rest of the bike standard, obviously. PSN were appointed to do the re-tune. Before that, Matthew Preen from saaarff London fitted the Malossi kit. Where Joe’s abilities allow he’s worked on the rest of the bike from upgrading the carb to fitting new brake lines, caliper rebuilds, changing engine mounts and re-fitting the engine. And being a good all-rounder, Joe’s versatility continues with the many stylistic alterations that are visible on his scoot. Such is his resourcefulness that one-off and first-off-the-production-line parts have been produced including carbon undertrays and footplates, and some experimental powder coating by Aerocoat. Cross-pollination from other scooters is evident too with that Piaggio NRG handlebar housing, NRG front wheel and Gilera ICE mudguard.

The seat with its Ace Cafe logo was re-covered by Saz’s Saddles. The flywheel modifications were inflicted by Joe and he’s lost count of the many blue LEDs that are strewn across the bike – all of which can be activated by remote control. Other cunning mod’s include, in his words “a loud as f**k horn”, a fan override switch disguised as a NOS activator, a smart KOSO dash to replace the somewhat moribund standard dash and a KOSO rev counter that sits next to the pretend NOS switch. Now that Joe has pretty much reached the end of modifying SDR, perhaps he’ll go back to finishing ‘Fighter Zip’ – Joe’s badass Piaggio Zip.

Beyond the spanner work, Joe has played an active role in the automatic scooter scene. As well as scribal contributions for PETROL, he’s been involved in organising the Ace Cafe Auto Scooter Sundays plus the occasional rideout. And not so long ago, his scooter antics caught the attention of the BBC which led to his first TV appearance in a documentary about the scooter scene in Luton – Silver Dream on the silver screen. SDR’s also been featured in a brochure for fashion designer, Paul Smith. One would be inclined to think that Joe’s a bit of a media whore with all this attention. The perfect ending to this story would’ve been to say that Joe has raced the scooter round Silverstone – the ultimate re-enactment of the film. It doesn’t seem like he has any plans to race the scooter, so it all remains a dream… silver dream machine.

Words: Paul Robinson
Photos: Paul Baker & Clinton Smith
Model: Nelsa

This article was originally published in the print version of PETROL ISSUE.03

If you’ve got a custom scooter that you reckon is worthy of a feature, get in touch. We’re always on the look out for custom scooters and you never know, we might feature yours.