With his most recent design to commemorate BMW’s 100th anniversary, famous German artist Dirk Oehlerking, who is known for his exquisite bespoke BMW boxers, has once again turned the narrative upside down. His most recent work, a customised BMW R18 entitled “The Crown,” is presently grabbing attention at the BMW Motorrad Days event in Berlin. It displays his distinctive fusion of art deco style, retro-futuristic components, and aeronautical aspects.
Dirk’s method is steadfastly conventional, in contrast to the predominant computerised design techniques nowadays. He disassembled the R18 down to its frame, then fashioned his idea of a vehicle that unconventionally expresses power and speed out of foam and cardboard.
The unique fuselage, made from 2 mm thick aluminium sheeting, is a testament to Dirk’s skill. The 8-liter gasoline tank is integrated into the design without any visible gaps, and the body gracefully tapers from front to back to highlight the exposed shaft drive and looped swingarm of the R18.
Dirk modified the front end to fit the new body, adding a specially engineered front swingarm, a cable-operated steering system, unique handlebars, and a Wilbers shock for more comfort. The R18’s original wheels, brakes, and rear shocks were kept, and Dirk also used the bike’s factory LED headlight, cylinder heads, and chromed original reverse gear lever in his new design.
A pair of closely fitting, slash-cut stainless steel exhausts and a chic champagne and mother-of-pearl livery enhance the bike’s overall look. The pin-striped parts that span the length of the bike are reminiscent of historic BMW fuel tank designs, and small brass fasteners, Kingston Custom logos, and BMW emblems complete this work of art.
Despite having a tough exterior, this customised R18 is only 2 inches longer and 40 kilogrammes lighter than its original shape. We eagerly await Dirk’s next apex as he continues to push the limits of engineering and design with his masterpieces. Check out our list of the top vintage bikes as well if you’re still interested.