Combining his signature pin stripes with an air-brushed fish scale pattern, custom car builder Skratch painted a Custom 500 open face helmet for Bell. The helmet itself marks a return to Bell’s original helmet design of 1954, just here with modern materials and modern safety. The DOT-certified helmet weighs just 880g and features build quality that belies its $140.

“In my early 20s I started striping and painting the Bell 3/4 helmets—the mediums were small and tight, and had great form,” says Skratch. “You could always lay out some killer lines on the spine of the helmet, or panels on the sides. I liked to letter the top—‘Tim Barns – driver’—you know the style.”

“When I was younger, I’d wear a Bell open-face for street racing. It came in handy the one time I made a ramp and jumped a ’78 Monte Carlo,” he continues. “I stuffed the car, broke my nose, sprained both hands, wrapped the steering wheel around the column and pushed the front clip into the doors. I also broke the windshield with my head…which—other than my nose—was fine since I had that Bell on.”

“He started with a silver metal flake base,” describes Bell’s creative director, Casey Potter. “He laid out some side panels and filled them with fish scales, then finished it off with some crazy red candy and pin striping. It turned out gorgeous—the colors are really rich and the paint has a deep texture to it.”


Five images in the gallery below, four of which are exclusive.

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