Dundalk native Paul Murphy has been fascinated by bicycles, motorcycles and speed ever since he was child.
Today he is a renowned motorcycle restorer/builder based in Canada, and last month he won the Best Italian Motorcycle in Show award at the prestigious Quail Motorcycle Gathering, in Carmel, California.
"Originally, I was brought up on Dublin Rd until my family moved to Blackrock in 1980,” he says. “The previous year I bought my first motorcycle in a dozen boxes and built up my first running motorcycle.”
He was just fourteen when he bought that bike and over the following months, he fully restored the twin-cylinder two-stroke Yamaha 125.
"I wish I still had that little bike today!” he says.
He served his first apprenticeship with the old S+S, Dundalk Engineering Works as as a fitter/turner in 1980. This gave him the skills to turn his fascination with bikes and all things mechanical into a career. Today he holds a Millwright (Industrial Mechanic) licence and will soon get his Red Seal Motorcycle Mechanic licence in Alberta.
Like many of his generation, he emigrated but retained his passion for bikes, which led to him setting up his own business.
“When I first moved to Ontario, Canada in 1987, I continued collecting and restoring motorcycles, most of which I still have today. There are a number of bikes in my garage that I’ve had for 30 years plus!”
Just over a decade later, he returned to Ireland, bringing his beloved Bimota SB2 with him.
“When I moved back to Ravensdale, Dundalk in 1998, I brought the SB2 with me. During that time, it was featured in various UK publications and won many show awards in the UK due to its extreme rarity and outstanding original restored condition.
“In 2011, I moved back to Canada, this time to Edmonton, Alberta. The SB2 came back with me of course with the then growing collection.
He was contacted by the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles, California in December 2019 as they wanted the bike for the primary display in their Silver Shotgun exhibit.
“I personally delivered the bike to LA (3600kms each way) in a snow storm in January,”
The gruelling journey was worthwhile as the bike received Best of Show and Peoples Choice awards on opening night.
Paul has over thirty motorcycles in his collection.
"My speciality is European and classic Japanese plus I enjoy custom work, design and machining my own “special” parts.”
He operates under his Meticulous Moto Restorations banner in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. He is a noted specialist in European and Japanese motorcycle restoration and is particularly well known for his superb Bimota motorcycle collection.
Last month he entered three of his recent restorations, a 1978 Bimota SB2, a 1980 Bimota SB3 and his 1986 Bimota SB4-S in the hotly contested Italian Motorcycle category at the Quail Motorcycle gathering in California.
He is understandably chuffed to have taken the top prize, as he was up against
“It was truly an honour to receive an invite to display some of my work at such a prestigious event as The Quail,” he says. “To take the win is the highest honour one could achieve in North America. It still hasn’t quite sunk in!” he continued.
Needing extensive engineering and a full restoration, Paul originally bought the Bimota SB2 from its previous owner in 1991.
To achieve its current level of perfection has been a painstaking task, mostly completed with the bike being shipped to Ireland before returning to it current location at Paul’s workshops.
Paul is a noted specialist in European and Japanese motorcycle restoration and is particularly well known for his superb Bimota motorcycle collection.
His pristine restorations have been featured in many motorcycle magazines including Cycle Canada and Classic Motorcycle Mechanics and have garnered many Best of Show awards in Canada, USA and England.
“The Quail was a fantastic event with the crème de la crème of motorcycles on display, including the elite of the motorcycle fraternity in attendance,” he says.
With next yea'rs event already in his focus, Paul says “I’ll have to raise the bar with some of my current projects of unobtanium vintage classics and 2-stroke exotica to catch the attention of the judging panel again”
During the award giving ceremony, Paul rode the Bimota up onto the stage with his son Ryan helping to carry away the trophy and champagne. The glass crystal award is from Tiffany & Co, inscribed with The Quail logo and text to include the class and level of the award.