Following a highly competitive global contest, which encompassed both national and international heats, Laidlaw's Harley-Davidson has emerged victorious as the Global Custom Kings, securing the overall win in the 2019 Battle of the Kings.
The winning creation from Laidlaw's Harley-Davidson, named the "FXGTS Coast Glide," stands as a testament to the extensive customization applied to a Harley-Davidson Sport Glide model, resulting in a truly distinctive ride. Drawing inspiration from FXRT styling with a Southern California twist, the bike pays homage to the Pacific Coast Highway and the significant influence of Southern California on contemporary performance cruisers. A conceptual masterpiece, it not only covers diverse terrain but transcends the sum of its individual components. The team aimed for full functionality with a strong California flair.
Battle of the Kings stands out as the world's largest dealer custom build-off competition, showcasing the pinnacle of customization prowess and the imaginative capabilities of Custom Kings present at Harley-Davidson dealerships worldwide. In 2018, the Custom King title went to first-time entrants Harley-Davidson Bangkok for their Street Bob-based build, "The Prince."
In the 2019 edition, any model from the Harley-Davidson range (excluding Trike and CVO models) could be chosen as the base for the build, providing dealers with unprecedented choices to craft a title contender. Dealers further fueled creativity by selecting from three style categories – Dirt, Chop, and Race – for their builds. The build rules were straightforward: 50 percent of the components had to be genuine Harley-Davidson accessories, and the customization budget was capped at 50 percent of the donor bike's retail price.
U.S. dealers introduced an extra layer to their competition, nurturing the next generation of custom builders by collaborating with trade schools. Students worked alongside dealership teams to conceive and construct their machines.
The grand final runners-up included Warr's Harley-Davidson, The Crook (United Kingdom), Thunderbike Harley-Davidson, Roar (Germany), Calgary Harley-Davidson, Moonshine (Canada), and Harley-Davidson Queretaro, Joe Tracker (Mexico), with their machines showcased at EICMA for the climactic final voting.
Ontario, an integral part of the Harley-Davidson community, also played a notable role in the Battle of the Kings, contributing to the global showcase of custom ingenuity. Laidlaw's Harley-Davidson's triumph in the 2019 competition marks a momentous achievement, celebrated by Steve Lambert, International Marketing Director at Harley-Davidson, who commended the dealership community worldwide for their custom leadership. Lambert expressed, "Huge congratulations to all of our over 300 entries, the regional winners and finalists – and especially to our 2019 champions Laidlaw’s Harley-Davidson. A truly stunning build – and a worthy champion."