Shaping metal on the English Wheel looks simple—not easy, but simple. It’s used by experienced hands to turn flat metal into complex, beautiful shapes. It’s definitely not easy, as our editor-at-large Sam Smith found out when he mangled half a Norton gas tank, but seeing it in action doesn’t dispel the mystique.

For that matter, it’s not simple, either. We went to a legendary fabricator’s shop—Jeff Fournier has worked for Holman and Moody and Foyt’s IndyCar outfit before hanging his shingle—to watch his witchcraft in action. The transformations were breathtaking, the technique complex, the results improbable.

Then it was our turn. Read about what it takes to use what the British call “the wheeling machine” over at Road & Track.

Photo by Andrew Trahan.