Few people know this, but London is home to a vintage German 1943 BMW R75 motorcycle complete with sidecar — and machine gun. And that's just one of the many things being restored or created in a garage in south London.
There isn’t much Terry Wolfe doesn’t know when it comes to motorcycles.
After all, he pretty much grew up on two wheels and a motor.
For Wolfe owner of Wolfe Worx, that passion began at the tender age of 12, when he first started riding a Honda 70 around Port Burwell with his friends.
“I basically wore it out in about a year because I was on it all day, everyday,” he said with a laugh. “Blew it up two or three times. I’ve never seen anybody blow one of those up, but we just rode and rode and rode.”
Back then, the kids would work each summer picking tobacco, in order to save up the $1,000 needed for a new bike every year, something Wolfe and his buddies did for as long as he could remember.
“We started riding all these things, and you’d pick up friends and they would all ride bikes too so we’d go everywhere,” said Wolfe, adding the group would keep to back roads and farmers’ fields until they were legal age. “The morning I turned 16, I was in St. Thomas, got my license right there and boom, I was on the road.”
Weekends were for mud runs and cross country treks with the crew, called the Lakeshore Riders, a motorcycle club Wolfe and his friends started in high school.
“We weren’t bikers or anything like that, just guys who liked to ride dirt bikes,” he said, remembering days spent building trails and nights under the stars. “That’s the way we grew up and it was a lot of fun.”
More of a passion than a hobby, the day Wolfe finished high school was the day he was ready to pursue his dream.
“I walked out those doors and right into a motorcycle shop,” he said, recounting the time he impressed his boss the first week, after a customer brought in a Suzuki 185cc. “The kick-starter was messed up and he had to take the whole engine apart. I told him — hey, I can do that.”
Wolfe’s career took him from shop to shop, job to job until he found himself in the tool and die trade, an education he credits as making all the difference when it comes to the type of fabrication possible at his shop.
“It’s very creative and you can all these amazing things, so it made me just explode,” he said. “I’ve done a lot of cool stuff.”
Just some of that ‘cool stuff’ has involved helping to create sets and props for two Rolling Stones’ tours, working on big-budget Hollywood films like Honey I Shrunk the Kids and Driven, and even running the Snow Cross team for Yamaha Motor Canada.
Boasting such an impressive resume, Wolfe says there’s still a lot to do yet, including his dream of building a motorcycle to race at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, in hopes of joining the 200 MPH Club.
But whether it’s working on custom pieces, or racing vintage motocross bikes, getting the chance to do what he loves on a daily basis is something that continues to inspire him everyday.
“What we do, it has to be in your heart,” he said. “It’s more than just a job.”