Cole Foster, son of Hot Rod Hall of Famer Pat Foster, practices his craft under the Salinas Boys moniker in the fertile farmlands of central California. A veteran car builder for over 20 years, Cole came to global prominence in the motorcycle scene on an episode of Discovery Channel's "Biker Build-Off," where the wry and wily fabricator serviced his period-correct pompadour, tongue firmly in cheek. Cole's slighly brooding yet casual demeanor is one of his most endearing qualities. An eye for fit, finish, stance and style is tops among his others.
As one zen master of motorcycle maintence I know sees it, Cole Foster's minimalist aesthetic cast the modern archetype for today's lean, clean (dare I say it?) "bobber" style. When he introduced his stout, narrow motorbikes to chopper freaks raised on reality-show melodrama, Cole's two-wheeled sculptures provided guidance and inspiration for a new breed of garage builder. I know the stripped-down style has been around since WWII, but in my opinion it was Cole Foster and his perfect hair who delivered "bobbers" to the masses. Before Cole, mainstream chopperazzi seemed convinced that if it didn't have spider webs or scary skulls, it wasn't a custom motorcycle.
I saw this panhead for the first time at the David Mann Chopperfest in Ventura, California, December of '09. What struck me about Cole's bike at the time wasn't its period correctness or rich patina. Instead, I was impressed by its paint. In a day when leading painters like Harpoon, French Kiss, and Blue Moon Kustoms couldn't crank out Summer of Love flake jobs fast enough, Cole Foster trotted down from Salinas with a panhead painted like a river dick's jet boat. Whether Cole's choice of livery was a calculated strike against conventional wisdom or merely an homage to "Corvette Summer" is beside the point. The fact that Cole turns left when everyone else is turning right makes the man a saint in my book.
To see more of Cole's work in two wheels and four, visit the Salinas Boys website.