Thursday, January 20, 2011

Gary Hetrick followup......

Almost a year ago, I did a post here on Feb. 20, 2101, entitled Magazine Trifecta, featuring Gary Hetrick, and his motorcycles. You can see the post in its entirety here:

Gary's bike was always one of my favorites, and I came to find out that Grant Peterson and Harpoon had always liked the bike as well. What we all had was a mutual appreciation for the fact that Gary had virtually built the bike from the ground-up, and had made almost every single part on his custom. Hetrick's bike was Light Years ahead of everybody else's choppers at the time it was built.

Well, a little while ago, Grant was poking around at Garage Company in L.A. when out of the corner of his eye, he sees a familiar front end poking out of a lineup of bikes. He walked over, and sure enough, it's Gary Hetrick's old bike. Where did Garage Company get it? Who knows where Yoshi gets any of the bikes and parts he has. Grant was kind enough to snap some photos for me on his last trip down there, and he said it was OK if I posted up a couple for you here. Thank you Grant, we all appreciate it.

Photo courtesy Grant Peterson

The bike is in remarkably intact condition. Bikes like this usually wind up get "cherry picked" for all the cool parts as they go from owner to owner, then the carcase sits out behind the garage for decades. The only things that aren't original on the bike - save for the nasty paintjob - is the seat, carb/air cleaner, the R/h foot control, and the handlebars. All of Gary's meticulous hand-machined, hand-built parts are still there, right down to the gold anodized Cragar Super Trick wheels.

Photo courtesy Grant Peterson

It's my opinion that 99% of all motorcycle tank and fender murals blow chunks. This one is no exception. The devil looks to be inspired by the one in the Dante's Inferno/Ave Maria segment from Walt Disney's Fantasia. What does somebody do....walk into the mall to the airbrush kiosk with his gas tank under his arm, and say "Do something really crappy on here for me"?

Not exactly sure what's bolted to the center of the outer primary that Hetrick spent hours machining. There was a smoked inspection panel inlayed there originally. Maybe a vent for an enclosed belt drive - the primary was originally a sealed wet chain drive.

Photo courtesy Grant Peterson

Here you can see someone has replaced the R/H foot control with a Perf. Machine unit. Those yellow "scallops" are, uh.....oh boy......I'm amazed the gold anodizing on all the parts has held up so well over the years. I sure hope Yoshi plans on bringing this bike back to pristene original condition again.


Chris K said...

What a great find. It was always one of my favorites too. I liked it best when first featured on the cover of the March 1973 Street Chopper (at the top of your previous post),with the original springer and twelve spoke mag up front.

grant said...

Hey Rich,
i should have given a little more of the back story! The bike belongs to a friend of one of the guys that works there who swore it was the last Denver's bike built...uh, yeah i said...and his friend thinks it's worth a mint. I told him is was absolutely not a denvers, but you know how that goes...anyway it is for sale...

Irish Rich said...

Last Denver's bike built, huh? Well you know the old story - "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him take a bath".

Thanks for the additional info, that makes it all that much more bizzaro.

Duane Ballard said...

A friend of mine sent me a bunch of pics of that bike a couple days ago. He is good friends with the owner. Who now knows what he has. Pretty cool.

grant said...

Hey Duane,
That may be the case now, but the friend of the owner who i talked to that works at the Garage Co was clueless the first time i spoke to him about it a few months ago...i told him a little background on the bike they swore was a Denvers.

Duane Ballard said...

I've been hearing about this "Denvers" bike I have to see from my buddy for months also. It's obviously not a Denver's bike. Once he emailed me some pics I told him the same thing. Earlier this week I had my friend who knows him read the true history of his bike on Rich's blog. Now he knows what he has. Hopefully he decides to return it to the way it used to be. If not and he sells it at least his story will be straight now.

grant said...

bout what i figured, as far as i know it is for sale, right?