Sunday, January 31, 2010

Wheel locater help, please........

I'm looking for this Centerline "frontrunner" wheel. The center bolt pattern isn't important, but I need either an 18" x 2.50 (preferred), or a 17" x 2.50 size.

I need one, but if I need to buy a pair, that's OK, too. The rims don't have to be "tits", but obviously they need to run true, no deep gouges, or bent wheel lips. Please, don't tell me to look on Ebay! If you can help me out, contact me here:


Von Dutch Monday IV

In 1974, when the producers of Happy Days were getting ready for production, they (like almost everybody else in Hollywood) went to the Bruckers to get their fleet of "period" vehicles to match the era they were filming in. In this case, 1955 was the supposed "date" for the start of the series.

Originally, the producers had cast Donny Most as Potsie Weber, then decided Anson Williams was a better fit in that role. They kept Most, and changed his role to that of Ralph Malph. They decided also that Ralph needed a hot rod to go along with his character.

They went back to the Bruckers to see what they had that would be suitable for Ralph to drive. The Bruckers had a yellow '29 Ford roadster pickup, but it just didn't have the "look" they wanted. Jim Brucker had Von Dutch add the "fake" headers, a scoop for the carbs, and do a "quickie" flame pinstripe job, in which Dutch striped the flames in a wide sign painter's brush.

Brucker delivered the R/P to the set, the producers loved it, and the rest like they say, is history, and a bit of something you might not have known.
Here you can see the detail of the air scoop, it's pretty much just a single piece that wraps around in a "C" shape, with the sides just riveted on. Cameras don't "see" details like this.

You can also see how Dutch pulled off the fake headers. Only the front tube of the SB Chevy headers is bolted directly to the Flattie's front exhaust port on each side, the other two exhaust pipes on each side exit below the block. A rear support bracket for the headers goes from the rear header flange bolt hole to the frame itself. Again, cameras don't "see" this, either.

Also notice where the pinstriped flames have rubbed off the cowl area from repeated washings and waxings over the years. The Happy Days R/P I believe, is now in the possession of Jerry Duncan, of York, PA.

Greasy Kulture # 13

Greasy Kulture #13 is going out. Check the new cover graphics. Full of the goodness you've come to expect from this "little-big" magazine, and of course, my column. If you don't have a sub, or you can't find a retailer near you, hit the link:
Oh yeah, one other note.....issues #1 and 3 of GK are gone, sold out, and #2 is not far behind. Hit the back issues on the Buy link to order the remaining numbers while you can, to fill in your collection. "He who hesitates, is lost....." Joseph Addison

Friday, January 29, 2010

the 61st Grand National Roadster Show

If you can't make it to Pomona, CA this weekend (like me), here's the next best thing - SoCal Car
If you've never been there, you're missing out.

There's already 20 pages of hi-res move-in pictures for the GNRS up already, and he usually shoots on Friday and Saturday, then he posts those as well. Plenty of GNRS bike pictures, too!. Go check it out:

Friday, January 22, 2010

The "new" Sportster 48

You know, there was a time from about '79 to '82 that Willie G. and Louie Netz could take the same basic 4 speed swingarm frame and Shovelhead engine,. and come up with 6-8 completely unique Harley Big Twin models to choose from. Same thing in the Sportster lineup.

I personally thought the ability of both of those guys to pull that styling coup off year after year back then, was responsible for the MoCo being able to sustain itself, and make it to the "Buyback" era. But this......
Let's forget about the fact that guys have been putting 16" front wheels on Sportys for decades, and nobody has bought an Exile wide front tire kit/bike for at least 10 years, but a Sporty with 150x16's front and rear????
This Sportster "48" has all the styling elan of a Little Oscar cooler, and I'll bet the handling on this bike will be akin to a wheelbarrow full of concrete. I'm sorry, to you Willie G., and your "Design Dept.".........

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Son Of Elective Surgery II

A few Sawzall cuts, a little grinding action, a couple well-placed deadblow hammer smacks, and the hardtail lined up, went into place, and fits just fine......

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Well, I'll be damned.......

This is a bike I built for a client, Chris Worrell. It's somewhere in the wilds of New Jersey now. Before I shipped it out, Curt Lout shot it for Dain Gingerelli at IronWorks magazine. This was like 16 months ago.

Well, I figured Dain decided he didn't want to run it in the magazine after all, and I kinda forgot about it. Well, today I get this Email from Marilyn Stemp. They're putting the next issue of IornWorks together, and she'd like to run the feature on it! She sent me the tech sheet, and we're good to go once she calls and get the story on it. Chris is gonna be stoked when he finds out his bike is gonna print. Nice, and thank you Marilyn, very much!

Here's one of the shots from the photo shoot for the magazine.........

Here's a few shots I sent Chris W. while it was going together. It's a 93" S&S Shovel/5sp kickstart-only. The oil filter is mounted where the 5 speed's starter would go, and the battery is under the tranny. All the wiring is run thru the frame. I friscoed the tank, and Brian at Alterior Motives did the kickass deep euro-black paint, with red metalflake fishscale panels. Rody handled the red and white pinstriping....
Here's a TQ L/H shot. Chris wanted the sissybar bent to match the wishbone frame's downtubes. Check out the front disc brake on the 2 over springer. I found a true 2 piston Brembo caliper here at the Brembo distributor in town, and I sent the caliper to Fab Kevin, and he cut the stainless bracket for it. This fucker STOPS! You can just see the leather padded diamond stitch solo seat that Dan @ Bitchn' Stichin' did.
Chris was adamant about having mids and a jockey shift. So, I made the inner motor plate and outer beltguard, and with the help of Rick LaBriola (L.A. Jockey Shift) he came up with a modified version of his cable-activated 5 speed foot clutch I could run thru the primary. And, NO! Rick won't do another foot clutch like this, so don't ask! You can also see the engine-turned blanker plate I did to hide the exposed webbing on the L/H side of the 5 speed's trans case.
I'm not gonna let you see all the trick stuff on the bike, there's a lot more. You'll just have to wait until the magazine hits the stands to see everything. But, this should get you a little interested. I'll post up when it comes out.

Now THIS is a carburator......

The Editorial maven Blue, from Back Street Heros, makes sure The Royal Post gets my BSH Air-Mailed to me on time every month. What a doll! This Amal carb is on one of their feature bikes in the new issue, Feb. 2010. Damn, this is pretty.......

Hey Blue! How's about you featuring my blog for your "Website of The Month" one of your issues? Cheers!

Son Of Elective Surgery...........

Dan here in Denver has wanted to "rigify" (is there such a word??) his Sporty, and a couple weeks ago, he finally decided to pull the trigger. So, per Dan's instructions and specs, I called Pat at Led Sleds, and ordered his hardtail, fender, battery box, and oil tank. I gotta say, Pat and his guys busted ass to complete the components, and shipped them to me ASAP. I owe you guys one for such quick service.

This is the part I hate, pulling a Sporty down for framework. I think it's the enormous amount of wiring for such a small bike, and pulling the engine that I don't look forward to. I do it the easy way - if it's a hardtail job, I strip everything down, lay the frame/engine on it's side on a wood block, and then unbolt the engine, and lift the frame off. I put them back in in the same way!

This is the first one of Led Sleds' hardtails I've used, and from what I see so far, everything is a quality piece. We'll see as we go along how well it splices in.

Dan is going to have me make him his sissy bar, and his exhaust while I have it here for the 'tail, and in the future, he'll have me frisco the tank. Stay tuned.......

Saturday, January 16, 2010


Hardly anybody thinks of scalloping for a paintjob anymore.........

Friday, January 15, 2010

Von Dutch Monday makeup......

I've missed the last couple Mondays with my series on Von Dutch, so I thought I'd do a little makeup for everyone. The following photos were part of the March, '65 issue of Modern Cycle, contained in an article intitled "What Ever Happened To Von Dutch?"
Von Dutch striping away. The article stated that Modern Cycle had found out where Dutch was "....hiding out, in a Southern California cycle shop", and didn't give the shop's location. In reality, it was the back room of Bud Ekins' shop in the San Fernando Valley.
Check the M-1 Dutch is polishing up, that he's sporterized. Von Dutch still striping. Notice Dutch's "double pinky down" style of pulling his lines. The article's author said Dutch continued to stripe and talk without missing a beat all during the interview - and I have no doubts that he did.

OK, OK, I'm a slacker, and I suck, but....

....Lucy, Lucy lemme 'splain!

It's been a busy week here. I left last Friday morning for Chicago, to attend the Wicked Wheels Weekend, at which I had one of the best times at an event I've ever had. Phil and Lynn Hoffman, Shakedown Ray, and the whole gang put on a first class show, and a good time was had by all - you should have gone, my friend. I even got the "Key To The City" from the Mayor of Sandwich himself! In addition to the show itself, they also screened the
Harbortown Bobber on Sat. night for everybody.

Met a lot of people I knew, met some new people, and put faces to names I only knew on the internet. Hooked up with Opie from S&S Cycle, Fat Bob and Bird from Rockford, Josh Kurpius, Mitch Cotie, Bacon, Warren, and the rest of the guys from Milwaukee. Had plenty of time to spend with everybody, and dug that greatly.
The key to the City of Sandwich, IL
Photo courtesy of Josh Kurpius

Josh Kurpius has some great photographs of the event over on his blog Kemosabe And The Lodge, so take a trip over there and check them out:
Also, when I got back home, my computer decided it was sick, and it demanded medical attention. I couldn't get anything done, and had to call in a pro to undo whatever those guys undo. So, be patient, I'm stacked up on Emails, and I'm almost caught up. Plus, I'm busy with projects here, and I'll post them up as I go along, including another set of narrowed fatbob tanks for Guy @ Greasy Kulture, and a complete disassembly of an Evo Sporty for a Led Sleds hardtail kit.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Please vote for me.......

Easyriders magazine has their "Best Bikes Of 2009" survey going on right now. Basically, it's a "cattle call" of all the bikes that were featured in all the Paisano publications. My FXTT was featured in the March '09 issue of EZ, so it's eligible. If you could take a few minutes to vote, I'd appreciate it. It's # 11 on the list. Here's the link for the ballot:
You can vote for five bikes total, so while you're at it, I know that these people would be well deserving as well:
# 7 Kirk & Lisa Taylor
# 42 Superco Trevelen

# 140 Bill Holland
# 154 Brad Barnes

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Keith "Bandit" Ball

Keith "Bandit" Ball doesn't need an introduction, but for all that don't know, Keith was the long-time editor of Easyriders magazine during their heydays. Keith actually was editor twice, leaving for a short while (one of his long-term replacements was Frank Kaisler), then returning, and then having enough of the "corporate" direction of the magazine, leaving again.

Keith cashed in his chips with Paisano Publishing, and shortly thereafter, started, one of the very first early Harley-oriented websites on the Internet. Bikernet is one of the biggest sites on the 'net now, and most certainly one of the longest surviving ones as well.
Is it just me, or does Bandit look just like a Hal Robinson drawing in this photo, or do the Hal Robinson drawings look a lot like Bandit?

Here's Keith Ball in his first feature article in the Aug. '72 issue of Easyriders. Bandit wasn't part of the staff yet, but he was "growing" on them, so to speak. Keith said that everybody around him used to complain about the looks of his greasy, dirty, ratty '66 Shovel in a '55 wishbone frame, so he decided to take it apart and go "whole hog" on a new rebuild, and when he was finished.........

........ wound up with this (and the girl, I guess!), in the Feb. '75 issue of Easyriders. By now, Keith was an Associate Editor for the magazine. Hey, if you can't blow your own horn, who will? Just kidding, Keith - Easyriders always showed the staff's bikes from time to time over the early years, to show the readers that they were exactly who they said they were.

Here's a great color shot of the '66 Shovelhead, punched out to 86" (the tech sheet has it misprinted at 76"). The motor was given a sandblasted finish, and you can see the original beltguard that Bandit made, that took a dip in the plater's tank. Check out the modified rocker clutch pedal that is now doing shifter duties. Also note the early H.E.S. brass petcock, and Caddy power steering cooler, adapted for a oil cooler.

What I really want you to look at, is the oil tank itself. It's fabbed out of a highway construction smudge pot. Before blinking light barriers, the Highway Depts. used to use these pots, filled with kerosene and lit, to mark road construction areas at night. A crew would come and set them out, light the wicks, then come by in the morning, and pick them up again.

I was visiting Keith at the "Bikernet World Headquarters" last Oct., and we were standing in the courtyard next to the building, waiting for dinnertime. I happened to look over, and on a table were a bunch of those old smudge pots. I asked Bandit "Hey, Keith, what are you doing, making oil tanks?". Bandit said "What?......oh yeah, you remembered!". We got a laugh out of that.

A sidenote here: When we were kids, we used to wait for the night crews to put out and light the smudge pots. Because they burned kerosene, they were dirty as hell, and they got HOT while they burned.

We used to get old work gloves on, and grab those burning pots, and hurl them down the street like bowling balls. After the first few tumbles, the lid would come off, and there'd be a burning trail behind them as they careened down the street - usually into some body's lawn or garden. Then, we'd run like hell! Yeah, we got caught a couple times.......

L/H shot shows how far out the 25 over Denvers springer reaches out to connect to the 19" drum Sporty wheel. Frame was an Action Choppers 1" tubed, 40 degree, 4 1/2" stretch. Bike looks big, but with Keith on it, it looked just right.

Another sidenote here: Up until a couple years ago, Negotiable Tim had his shop (Negotiable Parts, natch!) located in the original Action Choppers building, in Riverside, CA. The huge Action Choppers wall mural inside the building was still in pretty good shape, too.
Here's a good shot of the Denvers pullbacks (that plugged into the rear legs), 38mm roundslide Mikuni, Bomar-built magneto, MCM shorty muffs, cobra seat, and the chromed smudge pot oil tank. The paint was all charcoal-colored rattlecan lacquer, with hand-painted pinstripes, but it looked pretty professional overall.

Dick Allen goes for a ride.........

............with a few close friends.

Apehanger Days.......

"Know Ye That This Is The Kingdom Of Kicks -
Wine, Bikes, Drugs & Chicks"
Angelo, 3-12-58

That's what David Mann painted on the wall behind his subject, for the "Apehanger Days" centerfold for the Dec. '73 issue of Easyriders.

While this isn't an exact replica of that famous Mann painting, it's pretty damn close. This bike was on display at this year's David Mann Chop Fest, and the liberties the owner took from the original painting were a slightly different sissybar, a full chrome VL front end, a different headlight/mount, and Knuckle power instead of a Panhead. I wouldn't kick it out of my garage.

You have to admit, the work is cherry, and I think "Angelo" would approve of the differences if he saw it today.

Photo courtesy of Kristina Pamias/Glitterfist Productions

Friday, January 1, 2010

Please come join me!

Phil and Lynn Hoffman have asked me to come out and be a special guest for their annual Wicked Wheels Weekend, in Sandwich, IL. on Jan. 9th-10th. Sandwich is approx. 45 min. West of Chicago.

Also, they've secured from One World Studios, a special screening of The Harbortown Bobber. They'll be showing this special screening on Saturday night, Jan. 9th, at 7:30 PM - same location as the show.

So, if you're anywhere in this area, and you'd like to break up the Winter doldrums, take in a great show, see the Harbortown Bobber, and have a chance to sit down and visit with me for awhile, I'd surely appreciate the opportunity to do so with you.

See you there!