Swedish Pride, Husqvarna Inspiration
It may appear as fanciful as a doodle rendered in Photoshop, but the Husqvarna V1000 Gran Turismo is as substantive as any bike you have ever thrown a leg over. Boxy-yet-sexy, in a jackknife-meets-Akira kind of way, this customconcept is one man’s irreverent reinterpretation of a 63-year-old motorcycle that happens to be as culturally relevant as the dodo bird. Why the homage to extinction?
Marcus Carlsson, designer and builder of the V1000 Gran Turismo, elucidates upon a motivation that is unreasonably brilliant. "I wanted to inspire Husqvarna to a rebirth of the glory days," he says, "when Sweden had a motorcycle brand that ruled the racing world!"
Husqvarna, the originally Swedish manufacturer synonymous with all things off-road, began life in 1903 as a builder of road and dirt bikes. By the ’30s, Husqvarna proved it could conquer both tarmac and dirt, but the 1935 500cc road racer became a barren branch in the company’s family tree. Though predecessors proved their mettle at circuits such as the Isle of Man TT, the company eventually abandoned road bikes in favor of rugged motocross and enduro machines.
Husqvarna has revealed no plans to divert its efforts towards road bikes in this day and age, a fact that became even more concrete when the company was acquired by BMW in 2007. That logistical detail only adds to the delicious impossibility of the Gran Turismo. Starting with a stock 1997 Suzuki TL1000S, Carlsson left only the main frame, forks, swingarm, and wheels untouched, spending nearly 1,200 hours over a period of four years employing bespoke, handmade construction. Its 1000cc V-twin incorporates a novel exhaust routing in which one tube bends beneath the seat resolving in a futuristic square tip, while the other spits out into a minimalist underslung unit tucked just below the swingarm.
The bike’s physique recalls body armor; its modularity suggests muscularity and function. Though the creased shapes juxtapose flat linearity with subtly curved edges, delicate details include tiny brass screws that echo the gold tone of the handmade subframe. A theme of bisection carries all the way from the blade-like radiator shrouding to the nose-which gently arcs over the triple clamp-extending all the way to the compact tail section. In profi le, the V1000’s stance is tall and swooping-husky, if you will-and the faceted flare atop the fuel tank and the spareness of the seat reinforce its superbike aspirations; exposed portions of the engine, frame, and mechanical underpinnings play to the café racer roots of modern, fully faired sportbikes.
Partially named in honor of John Britten’s legendary V-twin powered superbike, Carlsson’s V1000 intends to combine sublime aesthetics with real world rideability "to be the perfect bike for fast rides on the curvy roads around Stockholm," he explains, "with a futuristic design that also looks back for inspiration." Carlsson spends his daytime hours as a concept creator at a mobile phone company, but his passion is whole-heartedly 2-wheeled. "My work is in front of a computer," he says, "but I like spending time in the garage to relax and be creative with my motorcycle projects."
Though Carlsson’s brand allegiance to Husqvarna stems from his Swedish background, his affinity for out of the box thinking appears to have been cultivated in Milan, where he graduated with a master of science in mechanical engineering. His definition of speed is reflected in three personal bikes: this V1000 concept, an Aprilia RSV1000R, and a Ducati 996 that will be the donor bike for his next project under the banner of his company, Marcus Moto Design. When asked whether his current creation is roadworthy Carlsson responds, "Hell yes! It is all function! It could be used in a club race any weekend!"
It’s a passionate and heartfelt assertion of the V1000’s ability to transcend the realm of aesthetics, evidence that 1,200 hours of labor have yielded a concept that could be repeated serially if demand dictates. This one-off may be a nod to a past that is as winsome as it is obsolete, but if the V1000 Gran Turismo can be created with the resources and imagination of one man, imagine what could be done under the auspices of an entire company looking towards the future.