After spending eight years in the custom motorcycle businessin Boston with famous mentor and bike-build legend Dave Perewitz of Perewitz Cycle Fab, Souza sold his then pride-and-joy bike for $15,000 to step out and find his own reputed place on the road. Kory Souza Originals hit the ground wheeling, and quickly caught the eyes of bikers internationally—landing on the pages of dozens of motorcycle magazines and websites. After finding the man behind the $50,000 to $100,000 outlandish, intricately detailed custom builds at Sarasota’s recent Thunder By The Bay motorcycle and music festival, SRQ sat down with Souza to talk shop. Since opening his own shop over a decade ago, Souza has ridden every year out to South Dakota’s be-all-end-all Sturgis Motorcycle Rally—sporting his own personalized Harley-Davidson Fat Boy passion project, transformed into a statement rig to rally and rev. The all-matte-black, low-riding Softail Slim turns heads with 24-karat gold leafing (painted on by hand with a fine-tip makeup brush), welded and narrowed handlebars, a full stereo system, an LED Daymaker headlight, diamond-cut cylinders from Las Vegas, and an ’80s rock/hip-hop cassette collection made into a leather seat. The amount of love and inquiries he receives from that cross-country road trip alone is enough to keep him busy with commissions. Bikes of all kinds get shipped from around the US, including New York, California and Georgia, to show up at the garage door of Kory Souza Originals for their extreme, luxury makeovers. From detailed paint jobs to metal fabrication, clients trust Souza’s respected rep so much that most provide little to no input—giving him free reign and creative freedom to do what he sees fit. But for Souza, he makes it a point to become friends with the bike owner, spend time with them in a way that allows him to “put the person’s personality onto their bike,” he says. Over the course of six to seven months that it takes for a custom project to be completed, Souza never leaks any sneak peaks—keeping the final reveal a complete surprise until the “first look.” Souza will be the first to mention it’s not about the money or notoriety, it’s the look on customers’ faces when he presents them with the “wow” factor. With YouTube videos that have gone viral with thousands of views, the emotional and shocking reveals of Souza’s designs shake even the toughest of riders. “I’ve had a grown-a** military, muscle man straight up cry when he saw his new bike come around the corner.”