THE EPIC BIKE BUILD GOES TO GLORY | THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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In case you missed it– Bike EXIF ran a great piece on the bike build by Justin Kell and crew at his GLORY Motor Works in LA for the highly anticipated David Fincher film, The Girl with the Dragon TattooAfter seeing the 2009 original, I’ve been going nuts waiting for Fincher’s release– as he’s bound to take Stieg Larsson’s riveting novel to cinematic greatness. He obviously picked the right guy to bring Lisbeth Slander’s bike alive– it will no doubt become a prime object of obsession in itself. Justin chose the humble Honda CL-350 (an unlikely hero, much like Lisbeth herself), whose classic, clean lines don’t need much finessing to quickly blossom into the ultimate bare-bones damaged bastard that packs more punch than meets the eye.

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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Here’s Justin’s own words on the epic experience for which he was given just 30 days, via Bike EXIF–

“I got the call to meet with [director] David Fincher and discuss motorcycles for a new film he was doing [The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo]. I bought all three Larsson books and read them in three days: the character of Lisbeth Salander is killer. As I read the books, I kept thinking that Lisbeth’s bike would be the kind of bike most 20-somethings with limited financial resources would ride. She wouldn’t have an expensive modern bike– she would have an inexpensive, older bike that would be customized to fit her personality. I had to convince Fincher that we could build vintage bikes to be as reliable as modern bikes. David leaves no detail untouched– he knows that a broken motorcycle can delay production and cost the film company thousands of dollars.” 

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycles built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © Jacqui Van Ham, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycles built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © Jacqui Van Ham, see more here

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The three Honda CL350 motorcycles are now back in LA being rebuilt by GLORY Motor Works for the follow-up to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © Jacqui Van Ham, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by Justin Kell and crew at GLORY Motor Works for the David Fincher film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © Jacqui Van Ham, see more here

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The three Honda CL350 motorcycles are now back in LA being rebuilt by GLORY Motor Works for the follow-up to “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © Jacqui Van Ham, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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Honda CL350 motorcycle built by GLORY Motor Works for the film, “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” –Image by © COOP, see more here

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“The ­motorcycle was the thing I ­really didn’t want to do. You know, you’re ­going to be raped, be naked… But as soon as he was like, ‘You’re going to have to ride a motorcycle,’ I was like, ‘Oh, really?’” –Rooney Mara.  

“She was sent over to me to start teaching her to ride,” says Kell. “She had never been on a bike before, so we had to start easy. I’ve trained many actors to ride over the years, and I must say that Rooney was one of the best. She was fearless, but smart. In three days, we had her doing everything that she needed to do on camera at 35 mph.” –Justin Kell

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1968 brochure detailing the Honda CL-350 Scrambler specifications

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1968 brochure detailing the Honda CL-350 Scrambler specifications

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Read the full story at Bike EXIF

See Coop’s incredible photo stream Girl With The Dragon Tattoo: Honda CL350

See Jacqui Van Ham’s photography website– The Vintage Advantage

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31 thoughts on “THE EPIC BIKE BUILD GOES TO GLORY | THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO

  1. I think this will be one remake which far exceeds the original. Check out the trailer – I can’t wait for it.

  2. As always JP, insightful and illuminating, especially having sat through the film three times on cable and contemplating so many questions related to the bike. Makes even more determined to get my ’66 Honda SS125 back on the road.

  3. That should read ‘makes me even more determined . . . ‘, hate it when I don’t edit my own drivel . . . D’oh !!!!

  4. Why can’t you americans watch a film in its original version ?
    Enough with this remake business : It’s spoiling everything !

    The bike is great.

    • @ kittystove

      See my post below

      + 1 The original was outstanding and personally I enjoyed the Swedish dialogue with the subtitles beneath . Somehow after reading the books that felt more authentic . But then again probably 60% of the movies my wife and I watch are foreign w/ subtitles , so maybe we’re the exception

      Doubt I’ll even watch the American one , but I sure do like this m/c better than the one in the Swedish version . Put this bike in that film and it’d be killer

      • Come on, the swedish version sucks! Bad acting from first minute (makes Keanue Reeves sounds like a human). I´m swedish but let´s face it Hollywood knows how to make films! There have been some lame remakes from Hollywood, but they aren´t many…

    • This one is way better than the original which puts me to sleep everytime.More intense,brutal and a way better bike. Please keep making adaptations so we can come back and do them right.

  5. I remember when Justin was looking for these bikes. Nothing anybody handy with tools and a rattlecan couldn’t have done (and Justin would tell you that himself)… he just happens to know the right people. And Eric gets a cameo!

  6. There’s always something amazing in the eclectic nature of these kinds of bikes that emerge from a creative project. They look so natural and fluid in their appearance but when you look at the stock Honda you realize how special the final result is.

    Now I’m wondering if my Vespa will ever transform into something so cool…

  7. It’s great that they went to so much effort to make a bike that is has character. So often vehicles in films scream product placement. Hopefully Rooney learnt going over 35mph is fun too! ;-)

  8. The bike is top drawer . The movie I have my doubts about . The Swedish version and especially the actress that played ‘ Lisbeth ‘ was so apposite to the books I can’t imagine this American re-make will ever come close .

    Even the looks of the Swedish ‘ Lisbeth ‘ is more true to the novels than the new one .

    But ……. again the Motorcycle gets two thumbs up

  9. About the bike….Is anyone getting tired of black painted rims, knobby tires on the front and wrapped exhaust pipes???? Not to mention the cafe style bars. I wouldn’t want to lean that front tire over very far on the street. Just saying……

    It does look cool….but bikes themselves are really cool because form follows function. In this case form, or “style” defies function….Just saying…

    Miguel

  10. I saw the movie yesterday and it was fantastic. I read the middle book a while back before I even knew there was a movie coming out. Being a vintage motorcycle buff, I was paying close attenting to the bike and I knwe it was a 70″s honda, but guessed a 450. Now I see that it’s a 350. But, the sound of the speeding bike gave it away as well. There is no mistaking the sound. I had a few 305 hondas of late 60″s vintage.

  11. Coolest bike I ever saw (speaking as a 35 year-plus American “biker”) was a BMW R500 in Paris: stripped down to nothing, a pair of carbs with velocity stacks sticking up, upswept maegaphones, Bates solo seat, Ceriani forks, flat fender–nothing else. Half shell helmet, full leathers, splitting lanes, I only saw it for a few seconds.

  12. I saw the movie on Christmas Eve and my wife and I were impressed. I didn’t get good looks at the bike — and the exhaust sound was haunting me. In the brief glimpses I got, the bike had a British/Norton-like look… but the exhaust sound was wrong.

    It sounded exactly like my beloved 1965 Honda 305 scrambler that I rode in the late 60s and early 70s. My brother had an SL350 later but its exhaust was much more subdued, through the factory mufflers. Mine had the shorty mufflers and made that distinctive noise. I probably disturbed the whole neighbourhood when I headed out for my early-morning paper route!

    I hadn’t heard that exhaust note for at least 35 years — but it came back like a shot in the Dragon Tattoo movie.

  13. The movie wasn’t that great. I wasn’t familiar with the story, and was lost during the first 45 minutes. Now I want to see the Swedish version of the movie. When I first saw the motorcycle I thought “why did they use a Honda Scrambler?” I think the bike is a CB350 with exhaust pipes from a Scrambler making it look like a Scrambler. I am not convinced a girl like Lisbeth Salander is going to pick a old Honda to ride, even if it is altered like a cafe racer. I think a old European motorcycle modified to fit the actress would have been more believable. I realize the character didn’t have much money, but she is intelligent and resourceful, and could find a way to own a better motorcycle.

  14. Can one buy one of these custom jobs? (not the actual props, obviously, just one Ike it). I live in LA, and quite interested.

  15. I just bought a CB360 on the cheap, I think they make great cafe bikes. I restore scooters so I will, no doubt, piss off the cafe crowd. I am putting a Corsa Seat off of a Lambretta, brake light from a 1959 allstate and the headlight is from a Monkey Bike (Honda Z50). That’s the beauty of them, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want. I love scooters, but you are pretty limited and it gets expensive to do cut-downs and frame mods.

  16. I bought a brand new ’73 CB 350 for $810 plus tax. My best buddy had a ’72 CL 350. We had a lot of fun on those bikes. And they were stone reliable. 7000rpm at 70mph all day long……

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