While touring the show circuit most custom builders (not me!) and vendors, at one time or the other, have employed one pretty lady or two to greet, promote, distribute catalogs, pose for professional and amateur photographers… And if you are a familiar to the big rallies you may think that Metric Custom Builder Jim Giuffra from AFT Customs is the largest employer of these ladies. Wrong! Yes, Jim is probably the most female accompanied man on the show tour, (never with less than 3 to 7 ladies with him) but only during professional hours and for a very good reason: they are his professional mechanic helpers, responsible for most of what was done under his supervision on some of his custom motorcycles like the one featured here.
Some doubt about their real participation, not me because I know the true story. The interesting part is how Jim Giuffra came up with the idea to promote female custom building in his AFT Customs shop. Nobody is asking him how it happened but I did. Jim told me:
“Six years ago we had 2 of my female friends work at shows in my AFT booth. Everyone was impressed by how professional & classy they acted. The industry needed to rise above the “stripper booth babe.” So people started asking to hire them. These ladies got some of their friends together & formed the AFT Customs Girls Modeling Agency for the powersports industry. I thought they should also come in the shop to help put a bike together so they would have product knowledge. To my surprise they loved it. It exploded from there. I show them what to do. Everything from building engines, valve jobs, lacing wheels, carb work, suspension, and welding ( TIG & MIG), fabrication. They have a blast & are so proud of the work they do. People don’t believe us but we have many non-staged pictures on my website to prove it. Miller Welding sponsors the girls & is working with them to get them certified”
The Kemosabe bike (means “Faithful Friend”) featured here is the 4th bike they have participated in. Jim Giuffra told me that he keeps 7 girls in his Power Sports model agency and that he had 16 different girls in 6 years. On this Honda 750 cc project, the ladies built about 70% of the bike under his supervision. Jim stating “I give them a safe environment to work in & respect them, which is why it works well. This is important for young women in that it builds their self esteem & confidence. They learn the value of team work & friendship. They learn that average isn’t good enough & being successful requires discipline. They are learning how to run a business & how to negotiate. They have a collective say about everything on the bike. Some of these girls have moved on to own their own businesses and to other successful careers. They’re better moms, business owners, employees, wives etc.. When we travel we always incorporate points of interest in the local areas we travel to. I’m teaching them to back a trailer right now and I just picked up a Honda CRF80 to teach the girls that don’t know how to ride. My biggest reward will be years from now when they look back at this time in their life & say they did something they were very proud of. They make history & built world class customs.”
Back to Kemosabe, it’s a 2010 Honda VT 750 cc designed to be ridden in Bonneville by the AFT Girls. They almost doubled the horse power over stock. Most all parts are custom made or modified stock parts.The following companies helped in the project. Miller Welding, Avon Tyre, Renegade Classics, Bozzie Cust, Lyndall Brakes, Motion Pro, Works Conn., Web Cam, JE Piston, Alloy Art, Avon Grips, Grip Ace, TPJ Cust, Kirk Taylor, Cole Foster, Greg Westbury, Kraus Motor Co. (pictures H. Roesler)