Bill Steele is in the business of turning heads. This Pittsburgh-based body shop owner has mastered the art of custom paint and fabrication from stripped down shovelheads to this amazing bagger that started its life as a ‘06 Road Glide. This impressive custom dubbed “The Honey Bagger” owes its unique backend to a pair of 1941 Mercury sedan rear fenders, but the entire project hasn’t been sourced from the past — Steele’s incorporated an iPad into the dash and is plugged in with GaugeFace, which connects directly into the H-D data port.
The bike earned its moniker from its distinctive paint job. Steele was inspired by the sweet caramel found in a Snickers bar, and you just might get a toothache admiring his work!
“It is my life. I’ve been painting so long that I don’t remember not painting,” says Steele.
Steele was educated in his craft at a vocational school, and his decades of experience show.
While Steele isn’t looking to relocate to anytown USA to work for you (not even for a Snickers bar), it’s important to be able to offer your V-Twin customers custom paint work, even if it isn’t being fulfilled in your shop.
Steele gets a steady stream of work from a pair of Harley dealers, as well as some local independent shops. If you don’t already have an established relationship with a custom painter, start your search at your local bike night — find the best work, chat up the bike owner and then go straight to the source!
In addition to having a custom painter of Steele’s caliber in your rolodex, offering in-house paint service for smaller jobs is a great value addition for your service department.
The PowerSport Institute now offers custom paint as part of its curriculum, and the school also has offered two- and three-day workshops that teach participants how to take on popular designs, including flames, skulls and pinstripes.
If you’re interested in learning custom paint skills, there’s no time like the present. MPN has turned to our sister publication BodyShop Business for a simple walk-through of a pinstriping job courtesy of David “Hivoltz” Richards, a self-taught pinstriping artist. See examples of his work at www.pinheadlounge.com, and click here to check out his step-by-step guide to pinstriping.