READER’S RIDE – LUNGER, Tom Russo’s Motorcycle Tribute to Doc Holliday
All bikers love westerns. It’s just a fact. Retired Lawman Tom Russo has a warm place in his heart for Val Kilmer’s characterization of Doc Holliday in the film Tombstone. This one-of-a-kind tribute to the film took a little over a year to complete. In the film, Doc Holliday died from tuberculosis and at the time, someone who suffered from this disease was called a “lunger”, hence the name of this bike.
Eric Barnes, owner of Airbrush Art USA in Gulfport, Florida, painted this 2019 Harley Street Glide with incredible attention to detail and a strong understanding of the themes of this classic western. “It took Eric and I a lot of time to come up with the right themes for the murals that portray Doc and his friends Wyatt Earp and Wyatt’s brothers Virgil and Morgan,” Tom says. “Eric is an unbelievable painter. Before coming to Florida, he painted drag boats in Australia.”
Instead of powder coating, Tom decided to do the bike in Cerakote C series. This process stands up to 1,800 degrees of heat allowing no discoloration due to excessive temperature. Some parts were powder coated to add to the bike’s individuality. All the Cerakote and Powder coating was done by Andrew and Austin of AB Powder Coating in St Petersburg, Florida.
Tom built the front end using Performance Machine lower legs, a 180mm Native front wheel and Michelin rubber. Suspension Technologies out of Largo handled the front and rear suspension. Tom tells us it handles like a Cadillac.
The exhaust system is a D&D Billet Cat with a ghost pipe. The design on both the exhaust shields and mufflers are one-off, using a special process which took months to achieve. “Of all my years of building bikes, I have never seen a themed exhaust system,” Tom says. “This secret process is something I have to keep close to my heart, it’s one-of-a-kind.”
As for the motor, Tom says that he and his friend Mike Keehen installed a Cycle-Rama 470 cam as well as S&S lifters and push rods to add more ponies and a K&N High Flow air filter helps this beast breathe. “It was our first M8 cam install. We Dynoed the bike at just under 125HP, then with Chuck at Cycle-Rama making two more setting adjustments, the Lunger is running stronger than ever.”
The bagger is lit up thanks to Custom Dynamics LEDs. Full bike lighting was put on by Reno’s Led Sled out of Largo. As for comfort, Tom sits on a Lucky Dave’s custom seat and 12inch apes give him the perfect reach for a cush ride. To further focus the Tombstone theme, Tom used bullet casings which were ground and set into the bike to bring this wild west tribute to life.
Tom is originally from Upstate New York and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida about ten years ago. He tells us that he and Doc Holliday have a few things in common. “Namely a badge and an addiction. I was a good Law Man for almost 30 years but fought and finally fell to the torments of addiction. Finally recovering and putting my life together, I decided to do the thing I loved to do the most… build bikes.”
To sum up this month’s Reader’s Ride, Tom quotes the epic words spoken by Kurt Russell as Wyatt Earp in Tombstone. “You tell them I’m coming and Hell is coming with me! I was Born To Ride.”
—Chopper Daddy Dave
By Dave Nichols and Tom Russo