Inspiration: Festival

Building a custom community

Mark Turner visits Twisted Iron

Husband and wife team Russell and Beverly Cort have created a unique new community that’s helping amateur and seasoned builders develop their passion for building something special.

This Is Your Garage (TIYG) is a place where countless customisers have found inspiration and built their next project in one of seven fully kitted out work bays.

With a background in engineering and design, the couple own four motorcycles, and custom bikes have taken over their lives. Since they started a Facebook page and custom bike event called The Happening three years ago, interest has mushroomed.

They’ve been running a monthly bike meet for the last year at a cool venue near the English university city of Oxford, and the first anniversary of Twisted Iron’s Twisted Turnout meetings was celebrated with a bevy of fantastic custom Triumphs which had featured at The Happening bike show this September.

The main workshop is the hub of TIYG. Each work bay is equipped with a comprehensive tool kit, four post, two post or scissor lift, a workbench with a vice, inspection lamp, exhaust extraction system and seating areas.


The “engine room is a clean room for final engine and gearbox assembly. The room is fully equipped with a comprehensive range of lifting equipment, including, jacks and cranes. There are also air tools, diagnostic equipment and other assorted engine tools.

Oh, did we mention the diner? Upstairs, overlooking the main workshop, is a stylish, diner offering a distinctive setting for events or just to meet friends over a coffee (in a proper mug) and a bacon roll.

The diner offers a full breakfast and lunch menu. You can eat in or order your food to go. Nothing fancy, just great food at decent prices.

Check out the best of The Happening bikes here.

A 1972 Triumph Bobber shed build by James Rogers

This Triumph won Best In Show at The Happening this year and there’s a huge amount of custom fabrication work on it, almost all of it done by James himself. He turned his hand to everything from the fuel tank to the oil tank, battery box and seat frame.

The seat was trimmed by Custom Coach Trimming. James fabricated the bespoke exhaust and all of the steel brackets on the bike. The high standard and attention to detail are something else, with lots of one-off goodies to draw in the eye.

One of the standout features on this motorcycle is the wheels. Through engineering ingenuity, James has managed to fit an awesome pair of 12-spoke Radir spindle mount wheels, usually found on American Hot Rods and Gassers.


Being spindle mount means there was some serious engineering needed to get them to fit. Barlow Engineering machined some spacers and a front disc carrier.

With its black paint, extreme clip-ons and those wheels, James has created a truly individual bike, overflowing with attitude.

1978 US spec Triumph T140V Bonneville

This very different Triumph belonged to Carl Seaman, who has been riding, breaking, repairing and generally messing around with bikes since he was 13.

His truly exquisite build got eyes popping at The Happening this year.

Carl’s Triumph was originally manufactured at the Meriden factory in 1978 just down the road from where Carl now lives and then shipped directly out to the USA.

This Triumph was imported back to the UK in the mid 1990s by a guy called Pinball Geoff and Carl bought the bike from him.

Of course, the bike was still a standard Bonneville and in Carl’s eyes, that just wouldn’t do. So, Joe White of Fenland Choppers was employed to make a frame, rear fender, oil tank and a few footpeg mounting brackets. Over the winter, in his container workshop, Carl built the bike back up, fabricating brackets, rebuilding wheels and brakes, and doing numerous other jobs along the way, until, eventually, it was back together.


The Bonnie was then shipped to Adam, owner of A&E Motorcycles in the UK, for a complete rewire to create this beautiful Triumph Bobber.

Jim Evans’ 1967 750 Bonneville

Jim  has petrol running through his veins. He’s been into bikes since he was 16 and has been building and rebuilding for more than 10 years.

For Twisted Iron, he brought this rebellious Little Black One out to play.

Jim garage-built this cool little bobber in 2012. It’s built on a Fenland Choppers frame, modified by Jim, with forks donated from a BSA B33. BSA also donated the oil tank and front brake, with the rear brake coming from a Triumph.

The tank is a Harley Davidson Sportster item and the distinctive and very cool bars are ⅞” drag bars.

The heart of this wayward, unruly Bonnie is a tuned 750cc engine, rebuilt and modified by Jim. He likes to ride his bikes and ride them fast, so this Triumph bobber had to have the go to match the show.

It breathes through Amal monobloc carbs with fuel and air being taken care of through a gas flowed head. Jim has thrown a set of corello rods in for good measure to ensure the engine is strong enough to take the punishment he dishes out.


Paint is one of the few parts of the build that were not carried out by Jim himself. Tony at Cycle Sprays in Surrey laid on the deep black paint.

There are a host of other details you don’t notice at first but catch your eye the longer you look. Things like the brass oil tank cap and kick-starter foot peg.

Frank Sizer’s black and chrome ‘59 Triumph chopper

If there was an award for coolest arrival and exit from Twisted Iron, Frank would have won it hands down.

He’s a cool guy and a massive petrolhead and has a garage full of toys, with everything from drag bikes to a roof chopped, full race spec Volvo Amazon drag car and a classic street-driven Camaro, pushing nearly 700bhp.

He rocked up at Twisted Iron in the coolest patina’d ‘53 Ford stepside pickup with a stretched, black and chrome ‘59 Triumph chopper in the back.

Frank’s chopper is a true survivor bike. Originally built in 1985 by a company in Northampton, in 1987 it was even featured in Back Street Heroes. one of Europes leading custom bike magazines.

Since 1985 the bike hasn’t done much work, in fact, it’s hardly turned a wheel. It’s spent most of its life in bars and restaurants, being used as a showpiece to entertain the punters.

Frank got his hands on the chopper quite recently and when asked why it hadn’t been in use all these years, he explained that the original front end was made from poor-quality steel and there was too much flex, which made the bike downright dangerous to ride.

M.C.Cycles came to the rescue with a new springer front end, manufactured in high-quality EN20 tool steel and Frank says the bike is a real pleasure to ride now.


The Twisted Turnouts occur every third Sunday of the month, from 10am to 2pm at This is Your Garage, Unit 120, No.1 Site, Culham, Oxon OX14 3DA

The Happening next year is on 15-16 September 2017, in a field at Mill Lane, Chalgrove, Oxon OX44 7SL

Further details available from:
Facebook: TwistedIronTheHappening