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Curly’s began in a little garage in Peoria Arizona in the 1980’s. I’ve been a painter since 1975, which has always been a true passion of mine even when I worked at other jobs to make sure I could knock out a living. I must say, I have been truly blessed. I wound up owning a company that I had been working for and this company had previously purchased some property that had been home to a small body shop.
Well, that’s all it took. It wasn’t long before I began building the Curly’s I had always hoped for.
It took 7 years but Curly’s is now reality!
Curly’s Customs was recently featured in Thunder Roads Arizona Magazine
Tom “Curly” McCormick is one of those guys that wants what he wants, and nothing is going to stand in the way of him getting it. That was the case when it came to Curly wanting a 2006 cobalt blue HD Ultra. It seems that none of the Harley dealers in the Valley could get the color Tom wanted, so he and his wife decided to take a road trip out to Indiana just to buy his “Baby.” I realize you must be asking yourself, “what cobalt blue Ultra?” That’s what makes this story a bit funny.
Tom owns a little paint shop you may have heard of called, Curly’s Customs, located in Youngtown. So, even though Curly knew he was going to paint this bike, he HAD to get it in cobalt blue! Again, the man wants what he wants. Curly admits that he enjoyed the factory paint for a bit but the urge to customize the paint soon got the best of him. He started small by adding some graphics and air brushed art to the original paint. Over the years, his baby underwent several paint jobs but it got little to no bodywork, as Curly didn’t have the time.
“Then,” he explains, “last spring we were at the (paint) shop and decided we needed to show folks what we could do with a few new parts and a little paint.”Making every detail of the bike flow into the next was the ultimate goal of the crew at Curly’s Customs. “We put a set of six inch stretch bags along with a rear fender cover. This gives the bike a full effect from the back as well as a lowered look while keeping the (motorcycle’s) stock height.” The stretched saddlebags will corner with no problems, unless you’re leaning to hard. But like Curly says, “If you want to go real fast around corners, get a sport bike, not a bagger that’s stretched.” A side view of the bike will show you Curly’s custom stretched side covers along with a stretched fuel tank cover that fits right over the stock fuel tank.
To top it off the team added a low profile dash with a sunk in gas cap for a clean look. The front wheel is covered by a custom stretched fender designed to look similar to the stock fender but with a longer look. Curly says that one of the most important parts of this project was to get all the parts on the bike before the paint to make sure they fit. You don’t want to paint all your parts and then carry them home to try to do the install. After Curly was satisfied with the mock up, the team disassembled the bike and prepped it for paint. In case you haven’t figured it out, the paint is called Orange Fire Pearl, made by Planet Color.
Curly explains some of the paint process, “After the prep work was completed we applied the base color and a couple coats of clear (the clear protects the base during the next step). Then it was off to the artist. Dan (the artist) and I discussed the design, but I believe you need to give the artist your thoughts and then step back and allow them to use their creativity.
That in my opinion usually gets the best results.” A few other inexpensive modifications were made to the bike before she was finished. Curly chromed the stock wheels as well as a few other stock parts. Then he had matching rotors made to compliment the wheels. King Designs was responsible for re-upholstering the stock seat.
“Just like that I have a bike that’s my own and still have money in my account,” says Curly. “By doing a little work we have made the bike look a little like a custom.” I have to disagree with the man. This bike IS custom and unique. When you go to a big event there seems to be a thousand bikes that look just like yours. Curly doesn’t have that problem. “You’d be surprised how easy you can personalize your bike.” Curly continues, “You’d also be surprised how reasonably priced the project can be.”
I know you’re all asking yourselves the same question right now. Well, you’ll have to call Curly to find out the answer. But I’ll tell you this; the fear of sticker shock will probably be the only thing keeping you from customizing your bike. You only think you can’t afford it. According to Curly changing the look of your motorcycle is easy. Maybe that’s because he’s been doing it for so long. Or maybe it’s because he has a great team backing him. Either way, if creating this orange dream was easy, I can’t wait to see what he does next.
By: Lloyd Medina