This frame started life as a '49
(Hydra-Glide) wishbone... I can date this one
back to Chicago, 1976 where it was purchased for
the chopper that I bought in '81. At that time
the bike had a 16" overstock narrow Springer. I
modified the frame in '84 changing the rake
angle and building another (4" over) narrow
lasted 'til 1985 when I got splattered on US 61.
The frame was very
nearly a total loss in that wreck -
smashed and twisted from neck to rear axle. The
resulted in a new backbone with
a 2" stretch and a 1.75" stretch on the new
and now straight-leg style down tubes. A
friend donated an old forged neck as mine was
ruined in the crash.
For the next
dozen years, leading up to this rebuild, this
frame had only minor repairs and changes (such
as addition or removal of tabs and brackets for
various combinations of tanks, brakes, etc.)
build, I again cut
the backbone at the seat post being careful to
leave the original forged backbone attachment
post. I removed the front motor mount and cut
the down tubes at about the midway point.
Jim machined a new neck which I fitted to the
new backbone and new down tube sections at a 36
degree rake angle.
of gussets, I chose to give the neck area an
open look so I came up with arc shaped tube
design. My search for a short
piece of the correct diameter tubing came
up empty so I started looking around my shop. My
floor-jack handle was the perfect size and
strength so I bent it on my bench vise with a
pipe to get the correct
I also cut a smaller piece of the same handle
for the short horizontal span across the down
all this in place, I tack welded everything
together and installed the front end
including the wheel. I needed to test the
fork travel with full finished weight and didn't
have a complete motor layin' around, so I loaded
the frame with a stack of old bricks... (I've
got a photo of this...)
front end... 1937 HD
UL Springer (modified)
I pulled the
rear fork piece from a garbage pile about 18
years ago. Someone had botched an extension job
using the old Ford steering struts. It was bent,
broken and rusty but the tree and steering stem
I cut out the
stem, turned it down to accept Timken bearings (the
original bearings were ball type) and
re-welded it back in place. I then cut off
what was left of the rails and fabricated new 6"
overstock ones from mild steel tubing (not an
easy task since the rails are both tapered and
fabricated internal stiffeners out of 3/16" flat
bar which run internally the entire length of
the rear rails up to the top curve. I
plug-welded the stiffeners to the top section at
two places front and back, slipped on the rails,
again plug-welding and finally butt-welding the
rails to the top piece.
I found the
front fork tree in Ocala, Fla about 10 years
ago on a
trip to Bike Week. The original
rails had been cut off with a torch. I
fabricated complete new 6"
over rails to fit. The rockers are from
an old Paugcho front
end that I had layin' around. Archie gave
me the top tree which I trimmed down
general... HD 74"
This motor had a Pan top-end when I bought it.
Cases were busted up in the '85 wreck and
re-welded (twice) near the front motor mount.
In '87 I
installed a "sucker" oil system routing the top
end oil directly into the crankcase side of the
engine. (This is a whole other topic so I wont
go into more details here.) I
was also running a magneto at that time.
Around '91 during a rebuild, I put a 1969 Shovel
top end (as the old Pan top was just slap worn
I also added a '69 oil pump and cam cover
(which made the
motor look just like a Flatside Shovel.) I
ran the Shovel top-end setup until this
bottom end... 1958
like it stock! This time I only had to split the
cases in order to Heli-coil a stripped hole...
other than that, this bottom end is unchanged
from a the last
few years ago.
re-worked 1956 HD
OEM HD bored .060 over with forged pistons.
Heads are HD which I bought dirt cheap along
with some other old parts. They were in fair
shape but had the old bronze seats as well as a
few stripped out holes and busted exhaust
C. got one of his customers to fabricate
some new exhaust flanges made from 6063
alloy. With some
good machine work and
tig welding by my
friends Tommy and Jimmy we
got the new flanges on and no-lead
installed. The old heads are
hooked up and lookin' good
special here... just a good cam for a stock
stock HD distributor
Wish I had a
fancy Mallory electronic unit... but hey, the
points unit has been workin' fine for 47 years
now... let's roll.
iz what they iz... not the best, but cheap and
easy... hmmm, reminds me of a few old
What can I
say?... I've had this one for many years...
there are a few of us old schoolers who love our
SU carbs... everyone else hates 'em.
I put a lot
of work into these... fabricating the back pipe
from two old ones and a new piece from the local
muffler shop. The front pipe is made from seven
old pipes and a piece from the muffler shop. I
made the squish section on my bench vise. I fabricated
the machine gun
style heat shields from an old junk
and had 'em plated.
transmission... 1969 HD
component... It works fine but could use a
rebuild after all... its 36 years old now. The
jockey shifter is one of my early stainless
pieces that has
been on this bike since the 80s. The knob is
sometimes a crystal door knob, or a 13 ball, or
a feed scoop handle, or off an industrial
something... you get the picture...
right now it's a round red knob off a diesel
swap meet special
I picked this
up several years ago at the Broke Spoke Swap
meet. This custom tank had mounting tabs made
for drilling into the top of the backbone. Of
course, I couldn't have this (too easy and too
cheesy) so I cut those off, bought some CS
angle from Home Depot,
below-the-tank mounts and welded 'em
course of the frame fabrication, I really put
some dings in the tank dropping it two
or three times... I don't know?...
Late night welding gasses, I guess.
This oil tank was on the bike when I bought it
in '81. I don't know how it survived the '85
wreck and all those hard miles, but,
when I started this rebuild it was still
hanging around my
shop like an old dog, so I figured I'd
use it again. I fabricated a new battery box and
had the tank powder coated.
I've made a
few fiberglass seat pans so I figured this one
would be easy... right? Wrong!... The resin I
bought from the auto parts store wasn't any good
- it never completely cured. So I started over
with some good raw materials I got from my old
pal Frankie and the pan came out perfect...
again!... I ended up changing the location of my
rear fender slightly so I had to cut and extend
the pan an extra 3/4". I finally got the pan to my
friend Bill where he applied
his exceptional upholstery talents to it.
It's very, very lightweight and attached to the
fender with Velcro.
handmade, with internal throttle
I started out
with my old 16" apes... didn't like 'em. Then I
tried some 1930's HD bars I picked up with my
Indian basket case... they were cool, with the
internal throttle and advance timing controls,
but the horizontal spread was too narrow to
provide the look I wanted. I then made a set of
very narrow drag bars... these things looked
baddass but just don't work well with a
I ended up
making the final setup out of two sets of old
bars and an internal throttle I bought on Ebay
for . Had 'em powder-coated. Rooted
out some old black OEM
a cable out of my junk
to finish 'em off.
with a piece of extruded aluminum cable tray
(used for routing electrical cables through
industrial plants) and my trusty fifteen-dollar
Black & Decker jig-saw. After a few cuts,
drilled holes and 30-40 minutes of polishing I
had a new location to mount my ageless Cat-eye
Using rubber grommets I was able to
rubber-mount the old license plate The rigid
frame vibrations tends to crack the thin
aluminum if they're solidly mounted.
Years ago I
ended up with this old beat up OEM
fender... It was
originally on Falldown Frank's bike. I
threw it away once but retrieved it from the
trash (I'm cursed that way... arrrrrrrgggghhhhh!) so
it lingered around
my shop for years.
project I used the jigsaw to cut away about 60%
of the thing and then welded in a strut brace in
the back and some heavy washers in the front for
mounting. I then welded up about a
dozen holes where various seats
and sissy bars had been mounted... (I'm
tellin' you this thing has been around the
a few times.)
The mistake I
made here was not removing a couple of plugs of
old bondo as I found out later it bubbled the
paint in extreme heat.
struts... Home Depot
a piece of 1/8" x 1" mild steel flat bar for
.50... made two cuts, drilled a few holes and
bent the things on my bench vise... viola!!! I
painted 'em with black urethane.
Fabricated from 1/4" stainless plate,
I originally made these custom-fit pieces 18
years ago for the mechanical brake suicide clutch
setup I was running. I modified the brake
a few years back when I switched over to
a disc brake.
around I put on the correct 5/8" bore master
instead of yet another modification, I made
a new brake-side control and used my old pedal.
I cut the plate with my jig saw again and spent
2-3 hours polishing. Mike, Jimmy, Cowboy and I
all contributed to the machine work here with
Jimmy making the coolest pedal stop I've ever
seen. He also did the welding on the new piece.
original HD Panhead
meet special 50+ year-old boards have been to
hell and back and are still smilin'. Board
mounting posts were fabricated on my bench vise
with a hacksaw and a hammer.
early 1980's HD
16" dual flange - nothing special - had it in my
parts collection. I would really like to run a
juice/drum setup here (it's so much cleaner) so
if anyone has a lead on a '63
wheel with brake (or just a brake assy.) let me
know. Front... 21" single flange from Gil's
parts collection... might change the front out
to an 18". I've always run a 21" but I'm
considering the fat
front tire look.
this years ago shortly after breaking another
mechanical brake linkage rod (and... wearing out
a new pair of boots while sliding through a red
light on US 61.) It's one of the few aftermarket
pieces on this sled and I hope to replace it one
day... The master cylinder came out of a box
full of HD brake parts I purchased for .00 at
the Harley Shop garage sale.
I'd try to get the cheapest tires I could.
years I got all of my tires for
this bike from behind the Harley shop for
free) but I
wanted a new one so I bought the rear, a
Kenda, on the internet for .00. This is actually
only the second rear tire that I've paid for on
this bike - the first was an Arco (some of you
remember those) that I bought from Lightnin' in
1982. The front tire was already
on Gil's wheel... hey, that brings my
tire cost average to .50!
had about a 1/2
quart of 15 year-old leftover urethane single
stage (no clear coat) so I brought the can over
to Judy's paint store where Jim shook it up an
added enough to do this job. Judy and Jim have
helped me on every paint job I've
done (and God knows I need a lot of
help!) I painted everything
under a tree in the back yard so the
paint has a few dust and bug specs to give it
that "organic" effect.