Nate Hudson creates legacies, every one of them built with a common ingredient: passion.
Individual dust particles dance in a shard of light as he shoulders open the sliding doors to the British American Moto (BAM) workshop, in LA, USA, rammed to the gunnels with Triumphs, old and new, in various states of repair.
It’s like a scene from his childhood home, where his father would build and break old bikes and cars in many of the rooms: “I had two older brothers, so I was just left to get on with it. I never really knew it then but as I got older, it dawned on me with each passing year what an inspiration he was.”
Marion Hugh Hudson used to race a BSA B34 in the late 50s but stopped before Nate was born and died two years ago: “He was always a huge presence of what I thought was cool. He always had old cars around the house and that’s how I got working on old stuff because if it broke, you fixed it.”
‘Creating our own legacies’
The 23-strong British-American team, including Nate’s girlfriend Tamara Wilson and older brother Dave, and are currently adding the finishing touches to an orange and silver 1970 Triumph TR6 brought in for restoration by a man whose father owned it, until death parted them: “He said he wanted to bring it back to its former glory in tribute to his dad. That really resonated with me as I guess we are all creating our own legacy with every bike we turn our hand to.”
‘We would just stare at it, desperate to ride it’
Rewind 30-odd years and Nate remembers vividly the moment he fell in love with Triumph: “My friend had an untouched all-original 64 Bonneville sitting in his garage since the 70s that belonged to his dad. The pistons were frozen but the bike was in really nice shape, with a fine coating of dust from the garage. We would just stare at it, desperate to ride it. That’s how it all began.”
Nate started trail riding aged 12 during summer vacations to Utah, exploring the empty back roads… a joyous, freedom-inspired baptism that goes some way to explaining his love of the new Triumph Street Scrambler.
‘Be individual, express yourself’
Nate revels in the Britishness of his builds and the fact that Triumph attracts crowds wherever he travels through the States: “There’s no doubting the fact that riders who want to be more individual, who want to express themselves more, are turning to Triumphs. A big part of it is the heritage, but in the last 10 years or so, the tech on the new bikes has been incredible, so together they are compelling.”
BAM started as a hobby shop outlet six years ago, but as word spread of the team’s passion the workload grew and grew.
Nate says: “When we started, people would bring their old Triumphs in and if it was just advice they needed or a small job, we wouldn’t charge them because we just wanted them to ride these beautiful classic bikes. We think of ourselves as a service centre to maintain, do performance upgrades, restorations and mild- to full-on custom jobs.”
‘We want people to be happy riding Triumphs whether they’re classics or new’
Within a year, the business had tripled in size through word of mouth and the guys and girls are now edging painstakingly and with much love towards their fortieth custom build: “We get lots of repeat customers from those people we gave free advice to. At the end of the day we want people to be happy and riding Triumphs whether they’re classics or new.”
Nate’s ride of choice is a trusted nine-year-old Scrambler that’s already racked up 100,000km – “Not bad when you consider my commute to work is only three miles!” – most of it is down to camping, rallies and adventures.
“We are passionate about everything we do,”
“That is the key ingredient in every bike because that’s the standard Triumph sets in the factory, so anything less would be a compromise.”
Fresh from success at the Baja Rally, where BAM has got two 1969 T100 Daytonas over the line for the past two years, they are following their own ‘renovate and ride’ mantra by attempting to enter a fleet of desert sled-style Triumphs at the same event next year.
“These old bikes are there to be ridden. Tamara has a modern Triumph and a 66 500 sled,” says Nate. “She has the heart and passion of a true rider and is always looking out for old bikes for me to customise. I’ve had to tell her to stop bringing them in as I haven’t got time to work on them.
“We’ve been on some incredible rides together where we’ve been freezing and she’s had mascara running down her face. Once upon a time that would have mortified her, but now we agree that those are the times you remember forever.”
To see more of what BAM get up to, head over to their website www.britishamericanmotorcycles.com.