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Harley-Davidson Stormracer Is a John Player Special Tribute on Two Wheels

Seeing the names of tobacco brands and makes featured on racing cars is no longer allowed today. But there was a time when the collab between producers of cigarettes and racing teams was so successful that it was hard to distinguish one from the other.
Harley-Davidson Stormracer 10 photos
Photo: Lord Drake
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Just think about it. If you were old enough a couple of decades ago to enjoy racing, then you remember how Marlboro was all Ferrari, Lucky Strike meant McLaren, or Bastos was for a while in cahoots with Cagiva. So, cigarettes and racing went hand in hand, and quite successfully, before laws and regulations banned the advertisement of tobacco products in most parts of the world.

What I personally can't remember is Harley-Davidson ever being involved with tobacco at any official level. So when a bike made in Milwaukee appears in a guise meant to honor the John Player Special racing cars of the late 1960s, it's bound to catch the eye.

John Player is a cigarette brand now operating under the Imperial Tobacco umbrella. It was most visible on racing circuits at the end of the 1960s, when it became a sponsor for the Team Lotus in the Tasman series, and later in the early 1970s as a partner for Norton. It was a name also seen on the tracks of the Indianapolis 500 and IndyCar.

Despite being a much more discreet presence closer to our time than say Marlboro, the John Player name and colors still manage to pop up in the automotive industry news, mostly because custom cars and motorcycles garages keep referencing it.

Most recently, we saw that back in January, when we uncovered a Harley-Davidson Breakout modified by German garage No Limit Custom into a nod to the cigarette company's racing exploits. In fact, the custom ride was even called that, John Player.

The one we have here is called Stormracer, but it too is a nod to John Player. Well, ok, not to John Player per se, but the race cars its name was usually deployed on.

The bike is the work of Spanish custom crew Lord Drake, and it's a cafe racer-style conversion of a Sportster. The shop describes it as one of the "most successful motorcycles" it ever made, and it's actually a pair, with two identical bikes produced for two European Harley dealers.

There are several high-profile changes made to the ride, but the most impressive of its attributes is of course the John Player-inspired shades of black (mostly gloss) and gold pearl sprayed on its body. The proper logos also take part in that, carefully placed on the fuel tank, which has been modified compared to its stock variant.

Sadly, aside from what's visible with the naked eye we don't know all that much about what exact parts were changed on the Stormracer. We get some info on a springless seat being installed on the frame, Sportster R wheels making the connection to the ground, the fitting of an air filter and exhaust system of unspecified make, and new fenders.

Lord Drake says the changes made for the Stormracer can be replicated for any Harley Sportster model, and that it takes about 60 days for a project to be completed. What we don't know is how much such a custom ends up costing.
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About the author: Daniel Patrascu
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Daniel loves writing (or so he claims), and he uses this skill to offer readers a "behind the scenes" look at the automotive industry. He also enjoys talking about space exploration and robots, because in his view the only way forward for humanity is away from this planet, in metal bodies.
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