Justin Reid’s Triumph dragger
“Well, it’s definitely different…” Most of the time, that four-word combo plate is a polite way of saying, “Yeah, that’s just weird.” In the case of this Triumph drag racer built by Justin Reid of Longwood Customs, we’re talking about the good kind of different: a custom motorcycle that snatches your attention and holds it because it’s not the same style everyone else is doing— it’s sensible and it’s cool.
Justin acquired a taste for British steel thanks to his father’s Norton Commando. Justin is a total gearhead, but when he told his folks he wanted to get a bike as a youth, they weren’t having it. He liked himself going fast on the street too much. That’s why he went with a Triumph instead of a sportbike. “A friend’s dad was selling a vintage Triumph,” he says. “I bought that because it gave me an ‘in’ with my dad.”
This was also around the time Justin met Dennis Harrold and Steve Blaufeder who were experts in all things old Triumph motorcycle. Justin would go up to their shop for used parts for his own bike, but while he was there he soaked up knowledge like a sponge. He’s been working with them ever since.
That was eight years ago. With the passing of time, Justin pulled up stakes and moved Longwood Customs from New Jersey all the way down the East Coast to the land of humidity, giant cockroaches, and Disneyworld: Florida. Specifically, Jacksonville. As he goes through the process of re- establishing himself and his shop in the local riding community, Justin is hard at work restoring and customizing old Triumph iron into working motorcycles. Many of these are, of course, your traditional bobber and resto jobs, but every so often you need to do something fun for yourself— or at least to make your shop stand out. That’s why he transformed this ’67 trumpet into a period- correct dragger.
Its uniqueness is the big draw here. He and his mentors each put a little something of themselves into what can only be described as a customizer’s melting pot but all with the goal of making a fun little dragbike that looked like it stepped out of a strip in the late 1960s. “The polished engine cases, the nitrous, drag bars, and the racing slick on the back are always cool in my opinion,” he elaborates. “Taking something vintage and making it period correct to its racing heritage was the best part.” Every part of this bike has attention to detail from the paint to the machined aluminum brackets for the nitrous system.
But it’s not a museum piece. Justin builds his Triumphs for riding. His only regret, if you can call it that, is that he didn’t make this bike a street-legal drag racer. Seeing as how he plans on running it at vintage drag races, I don’t think being streetable is such a big deal to him. SC