Monday, September 28, 2009

More Sammy Pierce goodness.........

Here's another of Sam Pierce's projects to bring back the Indian Motorcycle. This prototype was built by Sam in '67, and he dubbed it the Warrior. It was based on the Indian Scout engine, and Pierce was going to offer them in 500, 750, 825, and 900 cc displacements. You can see that the frame for the Warrior is the same 841 frame he used as the foundation of the American Rocket, but with a Scout bolt-on rigid rear section fitted. Pierce must have gotten a shitload of these 841 frames at surplus auction!

The parts were to be all NOS Indian, and Pierce definitely had the parts stash to build with. The only parts that weren't to be original Indian were the fiberglass combination gas tank/oil tank/seat unit, and the Pierce designed and Flanders-bent handlebars. This fiberglass unit was made by Don Jones of American Competition Frames, in a red metalflake (WOW!) gelcoat, with a diamond pattern leather seat. Note this combo predates the offerings in this style of both the Tracy and the Vetter units people are more familiar with.

Check out the slash cut straight pipes! In this shot, you can see the combination fuel tank/oil tank filler cap configuration. Sam Pierce was quoted as saying " 296 lbs, $25.00 per cu. in. (for the 45 cu. in.) with lights, and a guaranteed 100 mph". Also in the future plans was the option of the 841's original plunger rear suspension, and further off was the adaptation of the Indian vertical twin's full swingarm rear as well. Pierce also claimed he was ramped up to build 300 of these bikes in '68, but in reality, only a handfull of the Warriors were ever actually completed.

After my American Rocket post further below, I recieved an Email from a fella who knows Bob Stark (another big name in the Indian restoration), and he tells me that Stark is restoring a couple of these Pierce Warriors at his home workshop. I asked if he'd mind snapping a couple photos for the blog, and hopefully he'll be able to. If he does, I'll share them with everybody.

Along the same line as below......

Take a look at this photo, and tell me who's style and work it is. Is it Von Dutch? Looks like his style. Dean Jeffries? His style carries a BIG Von Dutch influence, because Jeffries was a Von Dutch protege'.

Well, the work is from Damon Richie. The flame layout shows a Von Dutch style to it, and the flames were done as described in the post below. Five colors were sprayed on, then selectively wet sanded out to blend the colors. Now do you want to try this technique? Sorry, this is the only photo I have on this bike.

Von Dutch Monday IV

Here's some Von Dutch art that you may not have seen, because I've never seen them in any of the recent Von Dutch books that I have. The photo was taken at one of the Rod and Custom shows that used to be held in the Pan-Pacific Auditorium in L.A.

Too bad we can't see the rest of the painting on the right, but it all looks like Dutch's painting style in the '50's. I especially like the "Over Head Cam" wall piece, and the dashboard/package tray-sized flamed and striped bongos are pretty cool. The real surprise in this group of Dutch's art, is the desert scene on the left. It's a pretty straight forward desert landscape, but there's no mistaking Dutch's style of art in it.

It might have been one of the pieces that he did for an art dealer in L.A. This art dealer saw some of Dutch's work, and talked him into bringing his paintings down to his gallery to display and sell. He promoted Dutch as "the next Dali....", and talked him into doing some more works for the gallery. Well, in typical Von Dutch fashion, he somehow soured on the whole deal, and went down to the gallery one day, and took all his art back again, and hung it all in his house.

Here's my (getting raggedy) copy of Car Craft, Oct. '56. The top '40 Ford coupe was painted by Von Dutch, and owned by Manuel Gonzales, and the '40 sedan was owned by Bob McCoy, and painted by Ray Cook. What do these two '40 Fords have in common, then?

Well, both cars were "flamed" using a technique that was developed by Von Dutch. Instead of blending the flame colors using a spray gun, the flame color blending was done by spraying multiple coats of different colors over the top of each other, then wet sanding thru the paint with 600grit paper in different areas, to different depths, to create the fades and blends on the flame's "licks". Von Dutch was still doing this type of flame color blending way up into the '70's.

I've done this type of flame painting, just to see if I could do it. It's pretty labor intensive, and your arms sure get tired between the painting and the sanding by the end! But, I've never seen the effect duplicated any other way. You should try it some time.......

Monday, September 21, 2009

The American Rocket - The "P-61"

Another one of my heros -Sammy Pierce. This is a reprint of a CYCLE magazine article on one of Sammy's projects, The American Rocket, or "P-61", after it's engine displacement, of 61 ci. Built by Pierce in '51, it utilized an 841 Indian shaft drive frame, and Ariel Square 4 front end, and a "homebrewed" hot rodded Chief engine/tranny that was rubber mounted!

The fella I bought my Indian Scout from, Joe Matt, claimed to have worked along side both Sammy Pierce, and Floyd Clymer at Indian. He claimed that Pierce tried to get Indian to replicate what he had built, but it was too late for that. I tend to believe Joe Matt's story, because he was a big an Indian fanatic at that time ('68) as Pierce was, and never quit selling and servicing Indians when the factory shut down, just like Pierce.

Read the article I saved out of an OLD Walnecks Trader. This bike is so straight forward to build, I'm surprised nobody has done it yet. As far as I know, it's still running, and last I knew, it was owned by Louis Fisher, of Monrovia, CA. - I bet the Good Dr. knows for sure.

Von Dutch Monday III

Here's one of my favorite photos of Von Dutch, supposedly taken in ' 46, when he was 17, and just after high school. This is the bike that Dutch mainly rode and raced from the mid-'40's until about 1950. It would make a cool bike today! Notice the eyeball on the front forks, down towards the axle.

Like all motorcycle owners do, this bike was changed around by Dutch a bazillion times in the short time he had it. You'll see the final version a little further down the post, but first......

I thought you'd like this photo. It's of a guy who you hear about, but hardy anybody has seen. This is George Beerup, standing in front of his Harley dealership, with his young son. It looks like the admiration between the two is mutual, huh? Harley dealerships look a little different now, wouldn't you say?

George Beerup is the man that Von Dutch went to work for at 16, striping motorcycles. The story goes that some striping had to be repaired on one of the repainted shop bikes, and Dutch was in the shop, and said he could do it. He took it home, striped it, and when he returned with a perfect job, nobody would believe a kid (Dutch) had done it. So, Von Dutch told them to go get him another tank, and he duplicated the striping in front of the whole crew, with a regular painter's bristle brush, not a striping dagger.

This is what Dutch's Scout eventually wound up as in the very late '40's - the Tricrindian, a combination of Triumph, Indian, and a Crocker OHV conversion. Of course, the obligatory flying eyeball was painted on the tank. These pictures come from Von Dutch's scrapbook, and it looks like the bike isn't 100% finished off yet. Notice Beerup's motorcycle dealership in the background of photo #2 ?

Pretty cool shot of the Crocker OHV conversion, and the Amal carb. L/H side pipes ain't anything new.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Tshirt design in 3 minutes.......

David Lozeau does a limited edition Tshirt design for Garage Magazine. I thought the time lapse was pretty cool. I borrowed this from Garage's website.........

Friday, September 18, 2009

This has never happened before.....

Two bikes I worked the frames over on, show up in the same magazine, in the same issue. Features on Scott Di Lalla's Harbortown Bobber, and Kevin Baas' '47 Knuckle are both in the Nov. '09 issue of IronWorks. The Harbortown Bobber even made the cover.

Kevin Baas' Knuck frame was a major salvage, and if it hadn't been a late "bullneck" frame that was 80% Factory electric welded, I probably would've passed on the repairs. The complete lower frame was in really sad shape, along with the seatpost. The '47 frame got a new lower frame tube from the sidehack forging all the way to within about 6" of the axle plate on the R/H side, and the L/H side got a new lower tube from the sidehack forging to the rear transmission crossbrace. The upper seat crosstube was rotted thru, so that was replaced as well.

The seatpost and the backbone were the usual "Let's stick a Pan in a Knuck frame..." hack & whack, so a complete seatpost tube and lower crossmember from a swingarm frame were welded in, and 6" of the backbone was repaired where they had "clearanced" it to fit the Pan's rear valve cover. I also repaired the top of both rear legs of his OEM springer, where somebody had hacked them off way below the top clamp - probably to get the top clamp off when somebody welded the risers into the legs.

Scott's HB Triumph rigid wasn't as extensive a workover. After my buddy Dennis at Wadda Blast! Sandblasting did his thing, I just had to check it for plumb and square, remove (without fucking up the frame tubing ) about a dozen brackets that previous owners had welded on, weld up about an equal amount of holes drilled in it, and masage some nasty scars out of it. I also welded up some good-sized holes in the neck where some past owner had cut too deep to remove the lugs on it, and had just filled them in with bondo.

I did a good job on both frames - Scott has been riding his all over SoCal for about a year with no complaints, and won his class at the GNRS in January, and if you've ever seen photos of Kevin Baas, you know he has relentlessly beat on that Knuck for two years, and the frame has stood up to it.

Makes me pretty proud, go buy the magazine. It's due on the stands next week.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Yeah, it's been a while, huh?

Yeah, it's been a while since you guys have seen this frame, and it's been a while since I've had some spare time to do any work on it. But, I'm waiting on the blaster to finish up two frames for me, so I've got some idle time to fill.

When I last posted on the VL's frame rehab (check back in the earlier parts of my blog to catch up), I was pretty much finished, save for the upper engine mount, and the gas tank mounts. I was able to slip a Shovel and a ratchet top 4 speed in, take some measurements, cut the materials, and get everything tacked into place.

I spent a lot of time on that NOS Wassell tank. I narrowed the tunnel on it, dropped the tunnel itself, and moved the filler up to the peak of the tank. I wanted to give it H-D style rubber mounts after all that work. The rear mounts located pretty easily, but there was no way I could go with seperate mount tabs on the front, the tank sat just low enough over the backbone that I had to make a 1pc mount up there. But, it'll fit in with the looks of the frame when it gets molded in.

With the tank located and mounted in place, I took the measurements for the upper engine mount. I carried over the sleeve detail from the rest of the frame on the mount's legs, and tacked it in place. The engine's upper mount itself won't be a strap like the one in the picture, that's just to jig the frame mount before tacking. You can see there's going to be plenty of clearance for the tank's petcock and line in the original Wassell location. I just have to put in a 22mm bung in, in place of the old 1/4" one. I've been holding off putting in the petcock bungs until I could get the tank mounted up with an engine in the frame.

I slipped the 4 speed in, and it slides back and forth effortlessly. I stuck the rear wheel in place,and lined the trans sprocket up with the wheel sprocket on my straight edge. I then strung the centerline of the backbone, and the string fell right in the center of the wheel. A 11/16" axle spacer on the L/H side will center the wheel on the backbone. I'm stoked. It even looks like I'll be able to run a 530 O ring chain, too. I'll figure out the R/H axle spacers after I get Fab Kevin to do one of his trick Tokico caliper mounts for me.

Now I can take the rear wheel hub halfs over to Rick LaBriola and have him machine the hubs for the new replacement double-row 3/4" sealed wheel bearings I located at the bearing warehouse. I'm using two bearings per wheel half, just Like Dick Allen did on this wheel, but the bearings I found are slightly bigger in the OD than the one's Dick used, and.......

Each half of the hub will have to be fitted up as if you were doing two seperate wheel hubs. In other words, Rick will have to cut an inner spacer sleeve for each set of bearings, so I have "O" endplay on each bearing set. This is something Dick Allen didn't do on this wheel. Not sure if he did the spacers on the later wheels or not. Remember, this is an early DA 15" spun wheel.

Plus, where the bearing hubs come together inside the wheel, another bearing spacer will need to go between each wheel hub's inner bearings, so there will be "O" endplay there, too. Yeah, Rick's gonna love me!

With the Shovel and the 4 speed in the frame, all clearances look great!, save for a 1/8" notch in the skidplate right at the right lower engine case bolt boss, and another 1/8" notch at the end of the bearing support plate. If I was using an earlier 4 speed case, I wouldn't need the notch back there. Fitting the dual-carbed Pan in here will be a breeze!

Now, if I can just get that 39mm front end on there, and make my hidden fork stops......

Monday, September 14, 2009

Von Dutch Monday II

Here's Von Dutch working at Competition Auto Body in Hollywood. You've probably seen the famous picture of Dutch standing behind a glass window striping. This is the shop where the window was located. Actually, Dutch put that window in the pass-thru door between the body shop and the paint area. A good friend of Dutch's told me he got tired of people smacking him with the door, so he installed the glass in it.

Look at the wall behind Von Dutch. The wall is covered with hundreds of left hands. Dutch used his own hand as a "spray mask", using his right hand to spray them. It's said he did the whole wall in one evening. Also, in Von Dutch's best "curbside manners", the sign hanging over his work area says "As a stranger you are judged and labeled as a thief in this shop". The sign was done to purposefully piss people off, and to discourage people from coming in to talk to him.
A beautiful collection of Von Dutch crafted lock-back knives. The walnut and ivory inlay work is flawless. I've heard that Dutch used old piano keys as his source of ivory.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

OK Chris, I won't be out-barged......

I dig skinny lane splitters, but I definitely have a soft spot for Land Yachts. Chris K over at MC Art has kinda thrown the gauntlet out, so take this!

I think these photos come from somewhere around '85. Not only is this Shovel FL all tarted up (including the "porta potty" tour pack), it's pulling a pygmy pony horse trailer that's decked out and painted to match. I dig the white upholstery.
LET THERE BE LIGHT! Same dresser lit up at night. Me, I'd be adding a few more light poles and marker lights. I bet this rig was a big hit over at the Bear Mountain Truck Stop in Bakersfield, CA!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Von Dutch Monday II

OK, it's not Monday, but yesterday was Labor day, so it doesn't count!
Here's a pretty rare photo, and I'm not sure where I got it from. I found this a long time ago. I remember it was kinda small, and this is the best I could do.

It's a photograph of (L to R) Wino Willie Forkner, JD John Cameron, and Von Dutch, standing around Dutch's Beemer package express rig. Not sure when it was taken, but it had to be close around the early '90's because Dutch doesn't look good at all physically - he's pretty skinny and bony. I have photos of Von Dutch taken at the Brucker Ranch that were done about a month before Dutch died, and he looks about the same as he does in the above photo.

The guy who took the photos at the Brucker's place in '92 was a longtime friend of Dutch's. When he gave me the prints, he made me swear I'd never post them on the 'net, or use them in an article. That was 14 years ago, and I never have, and never will.

Von Dutch died in '92, with John Cameron passing away in '96, and Wino Willie in '97. That was a lot of motorcycle history to go in a 5 year period.
Here's a tool that I've always wanted to copy from Von Dutch. Dutch called this his "Biker's Pal". At first glance, it looks like an ordinary Crescent Wrench, but on closer evaluation......

.....with the push of a lever, an Italian switchblade mechanism springs a stiletto blade into play. Notice the engine turning on the blade, and the lightning holes in the wrench body. Just the thing for fast action - whether you're tightening that loose axle nut, or slicin' and dicin'. Oh that Von Dutch, what a utilitarian, haha!