Motorcycles have always played a huge part in Russell’s life. His first few custom builds were based around, of all things, Lambretta scooters! In the early 80’s he was a major figure in the thriving English scooter-scene, although he describes himself as one of the “scooter-scum”.
In 1983, after a couple of other custom scooters, twenty year old Russell built the very first ‘Exile’ – a Lambretta chopper to beat all others. It had a coffin tank, twisted forks and a foot-shift, and is still held by many to be the most significant scooter of all time.
Around this time Russell took his first 100mph ride on a ‘big bike’ and he was immediately done with scooters. At the very next Scooter Rally he sold raffle tickets for fifty pence (about one dollar) each and on Saturday night he got on stage, drew a number, and gave “Exile 1” to its new owner.
A smorgasbord of custom motorcycles followed, Russell’s ride depending on his state of poverty at the time. In 1991 Russell came to the US with $9,000, and the next day spent $8,650 on a ’87 Softail.
In 1994, after appearing in a particularly lucrative Marlboro commercial, Russell decided to build a couple of identical customs. He really went to town with the parts design, learning the required welding and machining skills along the way.