Monday, August 31, 2009

Lookie what I found.......

I was looking thru a bunch of old, unmarked 3 1/2" floppys (remember those?) and I found these.....
ChopperDave riding around on an earlier version of his Pan with his broken foot in a walking cast......
......and ChopperDave, myself and THE HATER! At The Shop's old Ventura, CA March swapmeet in 2000.

Von Dutch Monday

These pictures come out of the book The Art Of Von Dutch. It's an Indian 4 that Von Dutch, along with it's owner Bo Jones, built in the late '50's, early '60's. Von Dutch handled most of the fab work, along with the paint and striping. Even back then, an Indian 4 wasn't a common sight to see on the road. I can hear a lot of Indian purists moaning as they read along thru these pictures.

This bike is just full of "Dutchness". Dutch made a louvered tank cover to go over the Wassell "banana" tank. Why? Because he was Von Dutch. Dutch also swapped the Indian leafer front fork for a Brit hydraulic unit. Look at the various number "4's" scattered around the bike - one in the center of the handlebars, one atop the sissy bar, and two used for fender mounts on the side of the sissy bar. Those were way ahead of their time.

What I really want you to look at, are the very cool and sculpted clutch pedal, and the shifter. Von Dutch ran the shift lever over the center of the gas tank! You shifted by either pulling up on the lever, or pushing down. Look at the height of that clutch pedal. Can you imagine clutching/shifting with that setup, and then hanging onto those tall ape hangers with one hand while you did it?
The text for the pictures said " '38-'39" for the year, and they're probably close, because the cylinders are the '38-later "split pair" configuration. Notice that each exhaust pipe logs into a single pipe, that goes around the crankcase, and then exit into four pipes again on the L/H side, in front of the rear wheel.

Also notice the SW oil pressure gauge, not a bad idea with an Indian 4. Check out where the rear brake pedal/footpeg is located - right behind the rear cylinder's exhaust pipe, I bet that made for a toasty big toe!

If you look close, you can see The Imposter lettering on the tank side, thru the louvering. Lots going on in this picture - check out the dual Amal carbs, the automotive MG fuel filter to feed the carbs, a SW amp gauge mounted in the tank cover, and the shift linkage for the hand shifter.
Just for comparison, here's a stock '38 Indian 4. A beautiful bike in its own right. I have a friend in Milwaukee that has TWO "100 point" Indian 4's - a '40, and a '41, both with Factory sidecars. I hate my friend. OK, not really, I'm just a little jealous.

The text also says a Japanese kid bought the Dutched 4 from Jones, and proceeded to take it apart (why do people DO THAT!). It then goes on to say that his dad hauled some of it away to the dump (OK, now I'm moaning!), and what survived is in the hands of various collectors now.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Greasy Kulture #11

Greasy Kulture #11 is ready to roll, and it's a good one. Changing gears for my column again, I have a nice, concise history on the origins of Metalflake. For instance, did you know Metalflake is a trademark name? Go order your copy right now - or better yet, subscribe! Help keep me in pizza and Pall Malls!

Check out the cover shot of MikeD pourin' the coal to it! The photographer? None other than Mark Kawakami/Joyrides Art Co. That's a killer shot, Mark. You should get the Pulitzer on this one. Do they give Pulitzers for greasy rags?

Monday, August 24, 2009

Dick Allen's shop.........

I'm pretty sure most of you have seen this famous snapshot of Dick Allen and Locomotion, taken in front of his shop space on Normandie, in Torrance, CA. It was shot by Steve Iorio (AKA Steve Nelson, Dr. Pain, etc.).

I scanned this picture from an old Supercycle Flix and Chix section, and posted it almost 10 years ago on Nelson Kano's message board. Somebody right clicked it, and posted it somewhere else, and it's been going around the internet ever since.

It's the quintentesinal Dick Allen pose, with his Mason jar "full of iced tea" as they said in the caption (yeah, right), and his Chucks. What makes this the great shot it is, is that you can see virtually every component that Dick was famous for fabricating mounted on his bike, all in one photo.
Thanks to Jahluv, from the JJ board, for snapping the current picture for me, on a trip to see Sugar Bear.

Here's Dick's old shop today. It really doesn't look all that much different than it did almost 30 years ago. Those are the two overhead doors Dick was photographed in front of, in the upper picture. It even looks like the original iron window grating are still there.

In the top photo, just to the left of Dick , we can see a narrow entrance door, and a downspout. You can still see the door and downspout in the lower picture, but the parking lot has been partitioned all the way across with a chainlink fence right in that area. The reason for the fencing is because a huge cellular transfer tower now occupies that area of the parking lot.

You can make the pilgrimage to Dick's old shop if you're inclined, the address is 18720 Normandie, Torrance CA, just off the 110 Freeway.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Magnificent metal sculpture, by Dennis Goodson

Most of you know Dennis Goodson from just his air cleaners. What most don't realize is that Dennis is an extremely skilled metal artisan. Dennis' ironwork, copperwork, and brasswork, and many sculptures grace some pretty high end private residences ( including former Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell), and several Las Vegas, Laughlin, and Colorado Casinos in the form of chandeliers, railings, signage hangers, and sculptures.

This eagle sculpture graces the cornice of David Uhl's new Golden, CO. art studio/gallery. David Uhl in his own right is an extremely talented artist, you'll recognize his work from the centerfolds of IronWorks magazine, and many H-D officially authorized paintings, and prints. David commissioned Dennis to do the sculpture, and Dennis was able to complete the work, and install the eagle the day before the grand opening.

I took these shots of Dennis' eagle during David's grand opening reception last Fri. evening. It's located on top of the 2nd floor, right above David's studio space. Dennis Goodson made the entire eagle for from 16ga stainless steel sheet, all hand cut, and hand hammered into the final shape you see here.

The eagle itself is a "replica" of the eagles that adorn the top of the Chrysler Bldg. in Chicago. Dennis did the entire eagle from photographs, no blueprint! The head measures a little more than 5 feet long, and about 3 feet at it's mounting point. The wingspan is a little over 20 feet long. Incredible! Click the picture for a good overall view.
Another closer view. I saw this eagle from almost the beginning of its construction, and there have to be at least 70 individual hand-formed pieces in this sculpture. I'm humbled at the skill and craftsmanship. Make sure to click on the picture.

Click on the picture for a extremely good closeup of the intricate details in this figure. Make sure to note the hand-hammered textured finish, the hand-bucked rivit fasteners, and the just awsome artistry of this figure. Dennis spent months of untold hours to create every piece in this work. How many people are capable of doing this type of work nowadays? Not very many!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hey Chris, two can play this game! (HAHA!)

I see over at Chris Kallas' blog MC art, that he had photos of several full-dress barges today. I see Chris shares my love for these bikes. Those dresser riders have as much dedication to their style of bikes as I do for customs, and you gotta appreciate that for what it is. Ladies and gentlemen, that being said, I give you THE LIBERATOR, by Harley-Davidson.
I took these pictures of this FLH with the Liberator package I think in '88. I had to, I was too knocked out by it's outrages-ness. I remember they were available in white, red, and black factory-matching colors. We used to call that tour pack the "porta-potty". Inside the fairing, there was a cast dash panel with a full set of SW gauges, switches, and idiot lights, and an AM/FM radio. Below the dash(?) was a little brass plaque rivited on that said:
Manufactured Exclusevely for Harley-Davidson
By Vetter Fairings

What I think is cool, is the fact that H-D had Guide (GM's lamp division) as an outside vendor for a lot of their lighting needs. Check out the fact that somebody at H-D styling department chose a GM transit bus headlamp assembly for the fairing!

Harley-Davidson offered the Liberator package as a factory dealer installed option from '74-78, then they dropped it for '79, and came out with their own dual headlight fairing for the new rubber- mount Shovel FLT TourGlide. They would retrofit back to '72, so you could look as spiffy as the guys with their new bikes did.

Last summer when things were slow here, I did a short stint over at Deluxe Motorcycles, and a guy brought one of these in - almost a carbon copy of the above pictures, in original condition, for a starter motor. Are you shitting me? Randall, who did the job said, "I'd rather swap an engine and tranny into an Econoline!".

We all took turns "road testing " the thing, and it was a pig - but a funky pig, you know what I mean? The thing had to have weighed 1000lbs. easily, and it literally wallered down the street on those old Goodyear Speedgrips. It belched, farted, and oinked aroud like a true Shovelhead should. Cornering it was like cornering a Honda Civic split down the center. But, oh my God, I fell in love with the things funkeyness! It was too cool for words riding it down the road. You would pull up next to people in their cars, and you could see them mouthing "Holy shit! Look at that barge!".

Craig Vetter doing the clay mockup for the Liberator Fairing in '73.

I even found the "official factory AMF/H-D" mounting instructions and parts list in PDF for the Liberator on Vetter's website! :

I swear to god, one of these days I'm going to put a Shovel FLH together with a full-tilt Liberator package...painted RED! Hmmmmm, lemme see......I know where there are two complete Liberator fairings hanging up in people's garages, and I know where to get a "porta-potty" tour pack.......

Just because it cracked me up......

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

A rare picture.....

I just found this picture. Photographed on Haight St. San Francisco, in '68 are (L) Michael McClure, and (R) Richard Brautigan. The photo was taken by McClure's cousin Rhyder.

McClure is best known for his controversial '60's play The Beard (a beard is a person who goes out on dates with someone, to disguise the other person's infidelities or sexual orientation). The basis for the play is Billy The Kid meeting Jean Harlow in the great hereafter, resulting in soul searching dialog between the two , and a sexual episode between them in the end. McClure was constantly busted for it's content when it was performed in SF, and LA back then. Now, nobody would think twice about it's content.

But, most of you will know McClure for his book Freewheelin' Frank-Secretary Of The Angels, As Told To Michael McClure By Frank Reynolds. McClure also penned the lyrics for Janis Joplin's song Mercedes Benz. McClure was a prolific writer, and many of his poems and stories have been used for many TV and movie plots.

Richard Brautigan was a Beat poet and author who made the transition into the San Francisco "scene" in the '60's. His best known works are Trout Fishing In America, and Revenge Of The Lawn. GO TO YOUR BOOKSTORE, BUY THEM, and READ THESE BOOKS! They are great works.

Michael McClure is still writing and touring, but unfortunately, Richard Brautigan committed suicide in Bolinas, CA., in 1984.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Tim Bogart's Sporty

I like to post up old rock & roller's rides, and here's a pretty nice Sporty owned by Tim Bogart in '75. Tim had this bike chopped, then rebuilt after an accident in which he broke his foot. As you can see by studying the picture, there's a lot of Jammer parts used on the second incarnation.

The name Tim Bogart should be familiar to even a casual listener of classic rock, from his heavy bass work with Vanilla Fudge. I remember seeing Vanilla Fudge open up for Jefferson Airplane at the CNE (the Canadian National Exhibition) in Toronto in the summer of '68, and they blew out the arena's sound system, delaying the concert for almost an hour.

Tim Bogart started out playing piano when he was 8, and when he was 13, he switched to saxophone. He gigged around in high school, and wound up in a band that did a lot of stage backup work on tour with such do-wop bands as the Shirelles, the Crests, The Earls, and The Doves. When the '60 "British Invasion" happened, along with Bogart's interest in surf music, he switched to bass guitar.

From there, it was a quick jump to Vanilla Fudge in '67, followed by stints with Cactus, and Beck, Bogart, and Appice (Bogart and Appice played almost their entire early rock careers together). Later on, Bogart did stints with Pat Travers, Rick Derringer (again with Appice), and Bob Weir's side project Bobby and the Midnites.
After a Vanilla Fudge reunion tour in '83, Bogart became a faculty member at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, CA for 18 years.

Tim Bogart still continues to do studio work as a bass player, and has toured again with a Vanilla Fudge reunion. See, riding Sportsters can do a lot for your career! Well, that and a huge musical talent, I guess.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

People wonder where......

......a lot of the motorcycle anti-modification laws came from. Well, this guy is a perfect example, from 1970. Hey, everything wasn't a groovy idea when it came to choppers back then, and I still see things like this today.

I'm thinking that this guy didn't get a lot of girls that were interested in riding on the back of this thing. Gives a whole new meaning to the phrase ""Hey doll, are you ready to split?"

A short post.....

Actor and wrestler Mel Rossi didn't let his size deter him from owning one very cool chopper. Can you just imagine tooling around late at night on your hog after a full night of partying, and out of nowhere, a dwarf chopper jockey, on a dwarf chopper, goes blasting by you?
The bike had a full-house, ported/polished, dual-carbed 650 pre-unit Triumph stuffed into a '57 Mustang frame, along with the Triumph primary and 4 speed transmission. The rear brake came from an AJS, and the gas/oil tank combo was an axed Harley. Paint and flames by Dean Jefferies. Wow!

Hey, I bet when it came time to file his taxes, Mel Rossi used the short form, huh? Oo-fah!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Unrestored Jackpine Enduro sidehack

While I was in Sturgis I went downtown on Friday, to see Jeff Decker where he'd set up at the old Greasemonkey Mayhem lot. When I got there, Jeff was packing up to go pick up a couple bikes at the Lichter exhibit at the Buffalo Chip. Jeff showed me this original unrestored Jackpine Enduro sidehack rig that belongs to (who else?) Dale Walksler. Dale was around, and then he disappeared before I could get the full story on this rig.

I'll have to let the pictures tell the story. What I know from Jeff is it's complete, original, and runs very well. I scanned the photos a little larger for you, so you can look at all the details and racing touches it has on it. I love this bike!

Oh yeah, and Jeff gave me a copy of his new book. Check out his brand new website for a look-see at it.

Right hand shot of this rig, and the sidehack. There's all kinds of stuff all over this bike to look at, from a couple axes, to a little scrolling machine for the route map for the "monkey". Too much fun to be had on this bike!
Here's a good closeup of the combination hand clutch/footclutch setup. And, dig the white circle I've highlighted the original tech inspection wire wrap that's sealed with the official lead plug to prevent tampering. It's STILL intact!
Notice that the speedo is in front of the monkey, not the rider. Don't tell me you wouldn't want to hang onto this bike or sidehack, and go tearing up the fire roads and the backwoods on it! It was all I could do to not take it straight up Mt. Rodney, behind the Greasemonkey lot.

Monday, August 10, 2009

We had a great time!

Had a great time in Sturgis. Saw lots of people I haven't seen in years, met some new people, and the crowds were down over previous years. Stayed with some good people (Thanks CrazyD, it was most appreciated!), and got a chance to go out to the Broken Spoke County Line on Thursday evening . Had a great night out there, and a good day Downtown on Friday.

A couple hours after the above photo was taken on Friday, we were crawling up Junction towards I-90, and the skys were getting gloomy. Decided to stop at the Conoco before we went onto I-90, to gas up, and was a good thing we did.

Right as I hung up the gas pump nozzle, I heard the warning sirens in Downtown Sturgis, and told the OL we were going to hang for a couple minutes more. No sooner had I pulled the bike under the overhang of the Conoco convenience mart, the skies opened up on everybody. We got 1" diameter hail and torrential rain for a good 15-20 min. solid, it never let up.

Fortunately, we were under the overhang, and off the highway. Up on I-90, they were getting what we were, but they had up to baseball-sized hail mixed in. It knocked the crap out of a bunch of bikes, knocked some people off their bikes, and knocked the glass out of at least 6 cars that I could count up there when we were able to get on the highway after the storm passed.

Even this didn't spoil the trip for me. Got it on Hwy 85 on the way up. Same old cat and mouse stuff. I saw him birddogging behind an oncoming car, I shut the throttle off at 90 mph, he shot me at 80 mph, so that's what he wrote me for. Fair enough, and he was polite and professional, and I returned the respect.

WTF, it goes with the territory. $85.00 mail-in, and no points.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

"An'....we gone, 'bye...."

We're riding out of here tomorrow morning, headed for Sturgis for the 23rd time since '82. Man, I can't believe it's this time of year again. There are so many old friends to see, and a lot of new people to meet, I can't wait to hit the road. Having seen everybody all loaded down, and headed North for the last two weeks always makes it worse for me. Especially this year, because I was so broke last year, and couldn't afford to make the run. That sucked.

All you whiney-asses that say Sturgis sucks, stay the fuck home, OK? 75% of the whiners have never even pointed a wheel towards Sturgis, and they never will. Sit in front of your computers and grumble about trailers and do-rags, and all the bozo heads that show up. Really, who gives a fuck about those people? If they want to stand around in leather skull caps and chaps, and smoke cigars on their trailered up bikes, with a 3 day growth of "tough guy" beard, It's no skin off my nose. I've got too many good times planned to worry about those people. That's their idea of fun, and they'll enjoy themselves, too. They won't be spoiling my good time, I have 500 square miles of Black Hills to cover, with a good woman seated behind me.

See you back here in about a week!


Jeff wearing Von Dutch's helmet that Dutch engraved with every brand of motorcycle he owned, and holding one-half of his Crocker tank set engraved by Tay Herrera.
Jeff and Chopperdave clowning around in Japan during the Mooneyes Yokohama Show.

Decker in an unusual repose during the running of the Baja, pitting for Jesse James.
Jeff and ChopperDave leaving the WCC spot on Lazelle, to take a spin around Sturgis.
Ok, I never got the story on where this sculpture is, or who Jeff did it for. I'll have to ask him next time I see him.
The Jeff Decker Sinners buckles. This one comes from Kyle The Pile - the "Devil Guy".
The Decker buckle I have, the "Demented Oilzum Guy". A gift from one Brother to another. One of my most prized possessions.

Monday, August 3, 2009

The long-promised Von Dutch/Byrds picture

Way back on my blog here, I had said that Von Dutch had painted a bass drum head for Michael Clarke, of the Byrds. I knew I had the photo, but I couldn't remember where I had it when I made the blog post.

Well, I was again reading the voluminous compilation The Art Of Von Dutch, put out by Tornado Design in '06, and sure enough, there it was. 1966, at Dutch's home shop in Reseda, photographed by Barry Feinstein. L to R: an unidentified person, Chris Hillman, Von Dutch working, David Crosby in conversation with Dutch, Michael Clarke, and a girl ID'd as Catherine Cozzi - who is now married to former Lovin' Spoonful member John Sebastian.

Sonny and Cher Sportster

Being familiar with the source of the mild custom work on the Sporty that Michael Parks rode in the TV series Then Came Bronson, Sonny Bono had a brand new 1970 XLCH dropped off at Bud Ekins' shop for a workover.

Ekins' crew handled the 21"/16" rim swaps, exhaust, cobra seat, a 4" fork extension (no rake), and the R&I of the various parts that took a trip to the platers. Von Dutch took over from there, and fabbed the sissy bar with the "SC" insert and fork covers. To duplicate the paint on Sonny and Cher's Rolls Royce, Dutch did the sheetmetal in a matching white pearl with black pinstriping. As a final touch, he lettered the duo's names on each side of the tank.

A good shot of the stripes and lettering on the tank. The Von Dutch brushwork is unmistakable. I always wonder what happens to bikes like this. Did it wind up in somebody's collection, or was it just painted over, and languished in obscurity from then on?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Dick Hirschberg's "dirt bike"

If you've followed my blog, or read any of my posts over the years, you know that Dick Hirschberg is a real hero and influence of mine, going all the way back to 1960. In all of my personal bikes I build, there's always a little "Hirsch" built into the details of each one of them. I've used a lot of ideas on how a bike goes together from him.

This is one of my favorite bikes that Dick built around '67-'68. "Hirsch" referred to this one as his "trail bike" or his "dirt bike". It was based off of a H-D factory racing "Loboy" frame, and it was powered by an honest-to-god XR ball bearing lower end 55 ci. engine. The engine was also equipped with special XR factory rods (then $100.00 a pair), special factory "secret" racing profile pistons cast by Dow Metal, and a set of factory XR exhaust pipes, which bear a striking resemblance to what we now refer to as "drag pipes". Where Dick got the pieces of exotic (for then) Harley racing equipment is anybodys guess.

The bike's frame and sheetmetal were painted (what else) H-D factory racing orange, with white and black lettering/striping by Dick's pal/drinking buddy Von Dutch, who did the paint on all of Dick's bikes. Dutch was also responsible for the engine turning and light engraving as well. Added to the mix was a Norton seat, a Bultaco Metralla gas tank, an english rear fender and alloy taillamp, and Ceriani front forks.
Here's a great photograph of the bare H-D racing department's lightweight thinwall "Loboy" frame that Hirsch used for the foundation of his bike. Not shown in this factory photograph is the unique lightweight round tubular swingarm, but you can see it clearly on Dick's bike. It looked nothing like the production swingarm did. The Loboy frame was 40 pounds lighter than a production Sportster frame was.

When Hirschberg was finished with the build, he weighed it with a full tank of gas, and a full oiltank, and the bike weighed in at a svelte 415 pounds. Not too shabby for an Ironhead on the street!

I borrowed the Loboy frame photograph from the Harley KR XLRTT website - a fantastic website if you're into old H-D factory racers: