While rumors of a sagging California real estate market abound in home sales reports, you won’t find evidence of a downturn in Fabian Terracciano’s garage. The Antelope Valley realtor who helped renowned designer and fabricator Mike Stafford of MGS Custom Bikes in Lancaster close the deal on his new home is the proud owner of one of Stafford’s most mesmerizing creations: the lean, aqueous, orange Fabian chopper.
Stafford, who founded MGS Custom Bikes with his wife Paula after a stint in the pharmaceutical industry, has become one of the premiere builders on the custom scene. MGS creations are raking in hardware at custom shows around the country and Stafford’s flagship Dragon Slayer bike was tapped by the Orange County Choppers crew for a Super Bowl commercial when an East Coast snowstorm stranded the OCC fleet.
Stafford prides himself on the diversity of MGS’s bikes. Each is a completely singular effort, flowing from Stafford’s improvisational technique. Eschewing elaborately sketched designs, Stafford prefers to create during the build. The Jazz approach served him ably while crafting the liquid lines of the Fabian chopper. (Click image to enlarge)
Stafford wanted to do something special for his friend and, after approving the preliminary design, Terracciano left Stafford to percolate with his muse. At the end of the three- and-a-half-month project, he realized that he had gone further up the river of inspiration than he intended. “I did way more than I would have for anyone else,” Stafford says of the project.
The centerpiece of the Fabian bike is the dazzling gas tank. Domed and scalloped, the tank resembles the St. Louis Gateway Arch, if it were ripped from the bank of the Mississippi and planted on the river Styx. The tank’s compound curves were the most difficult part of the bike to fabricate. “Metal just does not want to bend that way…it tried my patience,” Stafford says of the effort required to twist the canteen into existence.
Beyond the one-of-a-kind tank, Stafford continued the clean, rolling lines throughout the bike. Upfront, he included an internal throttle, frenched in a Dakota Digital speedometer below the handlebars and concealed all wires and brake lines for an unpolluted profile. At the rear of the lanky Racing Innovations frame, Stafford discreetly mounted LaserStar lights into chrome billets at the swingarm to appease Terracciano’s safety concerns. (Click image to enlarge)
The low-profile flame-stitched leather seat provides a perfectly organic transition to the three-dimensional MGS Liquid Steel fender. The barbed tailpiece is reminiscent of the company’s popular Batman fenders. “There are so many people doing fenders in a point cut…I’ve got about 25 hours in one of those fenders by the time I’m done with it. They just make the bike stand out,” he says of the effort to craft his signature tailpieces.Beneath the fenders, Stafford mounted a pair of webbed chrome Performance Machine wheels. Terracciano initially wanted a fat 330-rear tire. Stafford talked him down to a 300 Avon, in keeping with his desire to make the bike ride and handle extremely well. Both men are satisfied with the compromise. The Fabian was not destined to live the life of a pampered trailer queen. “He rides the crap out of it,” Stafford indelicately notes with pride. “He just went on a poker run and smoked everyone, doing 80 in the canyons.” If Terracciano needed more power, there’s little doubt he could wring it out of the TP show polished 121 engine, which tops out at 148 mph.
When Terracciano finally does pull the bike to a stop, people are drawn to the Fabian’s luminous orange paint and blue flamework. You have to get close to the bike to appreciate the fact that Dave Little of Little Designs has airbrushed every inch of bike with a subtle skull pattern. Stafford explains, “He’s the only painter that paints for us,” and notes that the two share a simpatico design philosophy and style, plainly stating, “me and him are tied at the hip.” The duo has certainly conspired to bring Fabian Terracciano’s dream chopper to two-wheeled fruition.
Up next, Stafford is joining the ranks of custom builders who have made the jump to Reality TV. As part of a new build-off show, Metric Revolution, Stafford has torn down a Triumph Rocket 3 to its motor and transmission and completely rebuilt it in his own unique vision. “It’s probably the coolest bike I’ve ever built,” Stafford says of the re-envisioned Triumph.
I know a real estate guy in Antelope Valley who might bet a house against it.
TP Engineering Show Polished
BORE & STROKE
4.125” x 4.5”
121 hp @ 5,500 rpm
125 ft lbs @ 3,900 rpm
Baker RSD 6-speed
Legend Air w/ American Suspension front end
Avon 80/90 front, 300 rear
David Little of Little Designs