Bobby Haas left a giant hole in the custom scene when he passed away unexpectedly last year. As the owner and curator of the Haas Moto Museum, he was a bonafide patron of the art of motorcycle customization. And in that role, he formed deep personal relationships with the custom builders that helped to fill his museum’s halls.
With three of his builds already in the Haas Museum, Dirk Oehlerking of Kingston Custom had become a close friend of Bobby’s. So this impossibly elegant BMW R100 is particularly dear to him. Not only is it the longest custom boxer we’ve ever seen, but it was the last Kingston build that Bobby commissioned.
“I discussed a new project with Bobby and Stacey [Mayfield], his life partner and museum director, in July 2021,” Dirk tells us. “At that time, I didn’t know what it would become—all that was clear was that it was going to be the longest BMW R100, and it was going to be Kingston’s fourth motorcycle in the Haas Museum.”
“A Kingston family; related, but each member individualistic. That was my assignment from Bobby and Stacey.”
Dirk started the project the same way he usually does—by furiously sketching out the countless designs that were milling around in his head. Then he stripped the bike down, and set up big cardboard sheets against the chassis, to sketch everything out at a 1:1 scale.
Next, Dirk fleshed out his ideas with construction foam. Inspiration came from the 1930s, “when high speed, aerodynamics and elegance were combined.” By now the project was heading in an art deco streamliner direction, and had earned nickname ‘Eleganza.’
Once Dirk had finalized the BMW’s silhouette, he sent a photo to Bobby, who replied enthusiastically. But four days later, Dirk got a devastating phone call from Stacey informing him of Bobby’s sudden passing.
“I was frozen, shocked,” he says, “I could not and would not believe it. Such a wonderful person is no longer with us? I sank into deep mourning.”
“When Bobby was buried, I was locked down with a video feed from the funeral, and couldn’t say goodbye in person. I covered the project with a cloth and couldn’t work on it for a month, the grief and pain were too much.”
“After a few weeks I received a video call from Stacey—it was an exceptionally emotional conversation from both sides. Stacey told me that the family had decided to let the Eleganza project be completed, as it would have been in Bobby’s best interest.”
Dirk pulled the cloth off the bike, but his connection to the ‘Eleganza’ concept had been severed. He reached out to Stacey and told her that the project needed a new name. That might sound frivolous, but if you know Dirk, you’ll know that he places a lot of value in names.
“Eleganza became ‘Hommage’—a tribute to Bobby Haas,” he says. “It had to be something extraordinary—a work of art, a motorcycle sculpture.”
His passion reignited, Dirk began the arduous task of bringing Bobby’s Hommage to life. We’ve seen the German builder tackle this art deco style before, but we’ve never seen him take the concept to this extreme.
The R100’s elongated full-body fairing was hand-formed out of 2 mm thick aluminum. Divided into four main sections, it’s actually remarkably easy to take apart. Dirk also fabricated a pair of front wheel covers to give the fairing a seamless feel, but designed them to turn with the wheel.
The metalwork is impressive enough, but what really puts this streamliner over the top is the smorgasbord of tasteful details. Up front is a custom-made BMW-style kidney grill, with a headlight hidden behind it. Out back, you’ll find the taillight from a vintage BMW 700 car.
Poking out from the side panels are the boxer’s distinctive cylinder heads, hooked up to custom air intakes that move the carbs to under the bodywork. The customized foot controls, key ignition and choke are all neatly integrated too. And if you take a closer look at the front wheel covers, you’ll notice small cutouts to access the brake calipers, in case you need to bleed the system.
Up top are a set of handmade handlebars, fitted with aftermarket levers and grips. The rider looks down on a vintage-looking speedo bearing Kingston’s logo, and a leather tank belt that matches the seat. The chromed mirror housing comes from a Porsche 356 Speedster.
Other stylish touches include BMW roundels on the sides and front, and a set of chromed fishtail mufflers mounted to handmade exhaust headers.
Most of the donor bike is still intact under the bodywork, with a few notable modifications. The stock fuel tank’s been replaced by a handmade aluminum reservoir, holding three gallons. And the swingarm’s been extended, with a pair of rigid struts replacing the rear suspension.
A swathe of black paint, complemented by gold stripes, takes this graceful BMW over the finish line. And before you ask: yes, it’s rideable.
“The bike runs and is not just a show bike,” Dirk confirms. “I repeat: the bike can be driven and also steered. Of course, it has a large turning circle—but you only need that while maneuvering at low speeds, not while riding.”
Despite this, the Hommage likely won’t rack up too many miles. It’s destined for the Haas Moto Museum, where it’ll take its place as a tribute to a dear friend of the custom motorcycle scene.