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Genius Machinist Lives/Works in a Hangar Building Two-Stroke Screamers of His Dreams

Everyone talks about living their dreams, but unfortunately, not every one of us is lucky to experience it. Mark Atkinson, a machinist and land speed champion spend most of his time building vehicles of his dreams in an airplane hangar.
BMW K75 Alpha Landspeeder 10 photos
Photo: YouTube Screenshot/Kristen Dirksen
Mark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's CreationsMark Atkinson's Creations
Mark “Makr” Atkinson didn’t just stumble into building his dream vehicles. After first attending Speed Week at the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1971 as a kid, he set a land speed record at the same venue years later on a motorbike he’d built almost entirely from scratch.

Unlike the rest of us who spend thousands of hours of work to afford our dreams - Atkinson builds his own. He made a couple of unique bikes, machining every nut, bolt, and pulley. While a ton of his work is on motorbikes, there’s nothing in his live-work hangar he can’t mold, from jet parts to furniture.

Atkinson is simply unstoppable when it comes to things he wants to make. If it’s too expensive or out of his reach, he’ll fabricate it.

In the past, he’d build and test his bikes on a lonely road close to the hangar. But that often got him at crossroads with authorities since his custom bikes were illegal (no title), and there was also the possibility of crashing into a cow cruising at 130 mph.

Since none of the local motorcycle crews would put his race bikes on their dynos, and he didn’t have the luxury of spending $40,000 on a professional piece — he built one.

But perhaps the most significant achievement in his life is building the BMW K75 Alpha Landspeeder. Imagined by Turkish industrial designer Mehmet Doruk Erdem, the BMW Alpha is one of the most elegant custom motorbikes ever designed and brought to life by Atkinson.

His live/work hangar is a museum of his artistic genius. There’s a glossy red Mercedes 450 SL convertible neatly parked at the center, a half-built airplane hanging from the roof, a 1929 family-owned Franklin in impeccable condition, and his most prized possessions—a series of hand-built motorbikes (Speed of Cheese Racers).

I go off the deep end. So, I spend years and years in never-never land, and there’s nobody to ask. Because I am off doing stuff nobody has ever done.” Atkinson confessed about the motivation behind his work.

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About the author: Humphrey Bwayo
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Humphrey is a car enthusiast whose love and passion for automobiles extended into collecting, writing, driving, and working on cars. He got his passion for cars from his Dad, who spent thousands of hours working on his old junky 1970 E20 Toyota Corolla. Years later, he would end up doing the same with a series of lemons he’s owned throughout his adult life.
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