Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Cliff "Sonny" Vaughs

Cliff "Sonny" Vaughs, in 1974, on one of his choppers.
Photo coutersy of
The Vintagent

When Jesse James' History Of The Chopper first aired on The Discovery Channel, there wasn't a lot of discussion about it on most of the bigger message boards at the time. That was owed to the fact that Jesse and Discovery were in a beef, and Discovery showed the HOC exactly twice - both on the same night, back to back. The HOC was never shown after that on Discovery, it went straight to DVD, which was a shame I thought, because it was a pretty good show. I felt that Discovery was pretty chickenshit about the whole deal, and did its viewers a big disservice doing that.

Once the DVD's started to get around, and segments of the HOC started showing up on YouTube, there were a lot of discussion threads that appeared on the boards related to the Sugar Bear/Ben Hardy/ Sonny Vaughs/Easy Rider movie segments. Not too surprisingly, from the posts, it looked like over 80% of the people riding bikes today (and a lot of self-professed "long time riders") had no idea who built Captain America and Billy's bikes for Easy Rider, and the background behind the movie itself. People were somewhat shocked to discover that the bikes were actually built by two black bikers, those being "Brother Ben" Ben Hardy, and Cliff "Sonny" Vaughs.

You owe it to yourself to take this link over to The Vintagent blog. I couldn't have written this any better if I tried. A lot of people missed what's included in this Vintagent post, when Sonny Vaughs himself put down exactly what appears in this link almost verbatum over at the Jockey Journal, as his "intro" post during the height of the discussions, trying to personally set the record straight over there. Hardly anybody on the JJ realized it was actually Vaughs himself posting it:


WhitelinePsycho said...

Thanks for revisiting this great read Rich, I remember commenting on it back then, and as you mentioned, the HOC thing was given very short shrift by Disco-Very on top of many 'fans' who, at the time, were too busy hating on Mr James and losing site of what he actually excels at, good on ya mate, well done once again !!!

Jahluv said...

Thanks for the reminder Rich - hope to see you at David Mann...

Brubble said...

Thanks for posting this- I remember an article in Roth's Choppers mag about Ben Hardy, but I don't think there was any mention of Cliff Vaughs. The only thing I remember seeing about him was a picture of his very cool rigid in an article on the Death Valley run in on of Petersen's Motorcycle Sport books.