When a BMW R80 goes turbo under the magic wand of Kingston Custom, the result can only be a stunning bike that leaves us gazing in awe
Vintage BMW boxers are among the custom builders’ all-time favorites, and it’s not exactly seldom when stunning machines roll out their workshops. However, this particular build brings in so much awesomeness that we could not resist showing it to you. Behold the Kingston BMW Turbo White Phantom, the ugly duckling that turned into a princess.
The donor bike is a 1986 R80RT, arguably one of the least appealing machines of that decade. However, for Kingston Custom’s Dirk Oehlerking, this almost looked like the opportunity he was looking for. A master of minimalist design when needed, Dirk wanted to create a shape that both striking and simple, while reducing everything down to the bare necessities of a retro sport bike.
With the frame and swingarm neatly cleaned and their welds filed to perfect smoothness, Dirk eliminated all the bits, parts and brackets that the bike originally had, but no longer needed. After a painstaking sketching process, the fairing of the White Phantom took shape, blending in design cues from modern sport bikes and speedway machines.
The hull engulfs both the chassis and a large part of the engine, even the turbo blower and the underseat tank. Slim and elegant, the fairing only lets several elements protrude, such as the turbo air intake on the right and the exhaust on the opposite side, the boxer cylinders and the front-mounted oil cooler.
To make things look even sharper, Dirk went for a constructive solution that’s derived straight from the sportscar universe. The entire top section of the body is hinged and lifts just like the engine compartment hood of a Lambo. It houses the seat and fuel tank, while its elongated slim shape also accommodates the dash instruments.
Kingston Custom went for a “telespringer” fork that blends BMW’s signature architecture with the retro bike spring action, low-hanging bars with era-correct rubber grips and controls. The hubs have a killer polished brass look, matching other similar accents on the instruments’ bezels, fuel cap, springs, bolts and cylinder covers. In the rear, the bike has an 18” rim shod with a drag tire, complemented in the front by a huge 23” speedway rim.
And if a drag tire seems a bit too much, knowing that the good-old R80’s rebuilt engine is now producing north of 100 bhp should explain Dirk’s choice.
The bike isn’t exactly a new build, but we figured out that you should know that it celebrates one year as a part of the exclusive, 25-strong exhibition in Los Angeles at the Petersen Automotive Museum, which makes a perfect excuse to mention it.