Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Another day, another job.........

See, I have Part-timer Steve slaving in the background, preparing tubing for slugs, for our next repair. That means I can fuck off and take photos. What was Steve doing all last weekend while I was elbow deep in a 6 speed builder's kit install for Tommy's Fatboy???? Kids.....
This otherwise good wishbone frame needs a new neck. The original neck was raked out to 40-odd degrees a long time ago, then somebody decided to take it back to stock again. Unfortunately, it wasn't taken back to 30 degrees, it was deraked back to 26 degrees. The neck had been heated and welded too many times, and with god knows what stick welding rod. The best thing to do was to replace the neck. Before when I've done this job, your only choice for replacement was the offshore casting, and the quality was always hit-or-miss at best. That was, up until now........

This is the standard 30 degree, '48-up OEM-style replacement neck from Hardtail Choppers, Inc. Check out the arrow, it says USA. That's right, it's made (along with all his other replacement castings) right in the state of Washington, and it is NICE! Want to know what's even nicer? These necks are available in the standard rake, or you can special order these OEM-style necks from 35-50 degrees in both mild steel, and stainless. Go over and take a look at John's stuff - highly recommended:

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving, 2010

Here's wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving. You know, there are a lot of people who have way more than I do, but it makes no difference. I'm extremely thankful for all that I do have - a roof over my head, 3 squares a day, work when I can get it, and good friends around the world. Everything after that is a bonus, my friends.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Sonny Barger at a San Francisco TV station, participating in a live roundtable discussion over the pending California helmet law in 1965. Seated LT. to RT. are Sonny, CA State Assemblymen John Foran and Joeseph Hope, and sportscaster Joe Dolan.

When's the last time you can remember anybody smoking on television?
Evidently, everybody, save for Barger, was going clamming after they were through in the studio.....

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Ladies and Gentlemen.....Canned Heat!

One of my all-time favorite bands, Canned Heat. Saw them I don't know how many times, partied with them several times. It's said that Bob "The Bear" Hite was in the music business so he could party for a living.

This is what was called in '73 the "new age" lineup of Canned Heat. Still The Bear, Fito de la Parra on drums, Henry "The Sunflower" Vestine on lead guitar was back in the band again, replacing Harvey "The Snake" Mandell, who replaced him (stay with me here...). Bass player Larry "The Mole" Taylor was out, do to one too many dustups (again) with Vestine. Replacing The Mole was Bob Hite's little brother Richard. Joel Scott Hill, who joined the band after Alan Wilson died, was out after flipping out on a Jesus guilt trip, and filling Hill's role in the band was Jimmy Shane (Hey Jimmy, long time no see! How are you?) Later on Ed Beyer joined up on keyboards.

Anyways, I think that this clip of Canned Heat was recorded right after the Montrose Music Festival, for some Dutch TV station. It sorta cuts off after Fito's drum solo, which sorta sucks. But, turn those speakers up LOUD, and boogie with Canned Heat. If you don't find yourself moving instantly when you hear these guys start rollin', check your pulse - you're probably dead!


Thursday, November 11, 2010

A Hells Angel goes to the Smithsonian

Sometime in 1989, a plain package arrived at the Smithsonian, with no return address. When the staff opened the package, the contents consisted of a set of Hells Angels colors, a couple photocopies of news articles, and a handwritten letter......

The back of Hairy Henry Kot's vest, and his colors. Check out that the rockers and the center patch are chenille-based, just like old school athletic "letters" were, and the red lettering and center patch are all hand chain stitched on a sewing machine. Also notice that Henry's center patch is still the original two-winged patch, not the first variant of the single-winged Deaths Head patch that the majority of the Club had switched over to at that time. Frisco Charter members were still wearing the two-winged center patch as late as 1970.

........The letter inside the package read:

"Dear Gentleperson, The enclosed Hell's Angels jacket--about 1960's--is for the Smithsonian. It is an authentic jacket owned by Hairy Henry or Hank as he was more commonly called. Each patch bearing a man's name was worn in memoriam for his lost brothers. Hank has since passed away and I felt you were the appropriate entity to receive this jacket. The enclosed pictures represent the event that brought Hank & George into much public eye--Hank leading a freedom--Freedom NOW--march down Haight Street. All of this notwithstanding, the Smithsonian does seem to be the appropriate keeper of such a piece of America 1960's. I hope you share my belief and give this a place.
Sincerely, Roz Kot"

The front of Hairy Henry's vest, showing the memorial patches Roz Kot talked about in her letter. One memorial patch is for Al The Chinaman, and the other is for Chocolate George. If you look close, you can see that George's patch is in the shape of a quart of chocolate milk - because that's how George got his nickname, he was forever drinking chocolate milk!

One of two photocopies included by Roz Kot with Hairy Henry's colors, referred to in the letter that was sent along with everything to the Smithsonian.

Note the notations at the bottom of the 2nd included photocopy, written in pen by Roz Kot, identifying the people in the photo as "ROZ" and "HH". For the story behind these photocopies, see below:

The NOW Day demonstration as it moved along Haight St.
Photo by Gene Anthony

In December of '66, to ring in the New Year, the Mime Troop, and the Diggers decided to have an impromptu bit of street theatre to mark the ".......rebirth of The Haight, and the Death of Money". The Mime Troop decked themselves out in their theatre costumes, and carrying a wooden coffin containing some paper money, headed out on Haight Street from the Straight Theatre. As they picked up people along the way, the Diggers passed out penny whistles and small placards that read NOW to the gathering paraders.

Well, the San Francisco Police didn't like the goings-on, and with the marchers not having a permit secured, decided to break up what had now grown into a roving party. They dispatched several patrol cars, a paddy wagon, and several motor cops on trikes to disperse the crowd while they still could do it easily. The trikes pushed the crowd back on to the sidewalks, effectively ending the parade.

A much clearer photo of Phyllis (Roz) Willner on the back of Hairy Henry Kot's bike.
Photo by Gene Anthony

As the crowd on Haight was starting to settle down, who would come along but Hairy Henry Kot, with his exhaust blasting off the buildings, backfiring, and with Phyllis Willner riding on the back of his bike shouting "FREEEEEEEEEEE......" at the top of her lungs. The cops, thinking somebody should pay for a good time after they had settled things down, pulled Hairy Henry over, and charged him with "...allowing a person to stand up while operating a motor vehicle".

Phyllis (Roz) Willner being questioned after the traffic bust involving herself and Hairy Henry Kot. Phyllis went on in later life to become a Registered Nurse.
Photo by Gene Anthony

Subsequent to the traffic bust, the Cops found out Hairy Henry, recently released from San Quentin, was in violation of his parole. They immediately arrested him. Chocolate George, seeing this, also immediately dove into the middle of the whole fracas to free his Brother, and was arrested as well.

As the two Angels were being hauled off to the Park Police Station, on the edge of Golden Gate Park, the Mime Troop and the Diggers passed the word to the crowd to head west and rally at the Police Station and attempt to "free" George and Henry, which everybody did.

The crowd heading West for the Park Police station. Note the Christmas decorations on the lamp poles.
Photo by Gene Anthony

When the crowd of several hundred reached the Park Police Station, the desk sergeant sent word out to the crowd that the bail for Chocolate George and Hairy Henry had been set at $2,500 , and if they could raise 10%, the Angels would be out. Immediately, the hats were passed, and everybody (including the cops at the door of the station) threw in what they could spare, and the bail was posted. George was let go right away, but Hairy Henry spent a little more time in the lockup because of the parole violation beef.

The then President of the Frisco Charter, Pete Knell, overwhelmed by the support and generosity of the hippies towards Chocolate George and Hairy Henry, told them that he would not forget what happened. And, to show their thanks, the Frisco Hells Angels threw a party on New Years Day '67 - "The New Years Day Wail" in the Panhandle of Golden Gate Park for everyone in The Haight. The Frisco Charter provided a flatbed truck, the sound system, all the beer, and the Grateful Dead for everybody's enjoyment.

DID YOU KNOW......that anybody who wishes to, can donate anything they want to the Smithsonian? The Smithsonian accepts any type of "Americana" for posterity. It might not go on exhibit, but it gets cataloged and stored/preserved forever, for future generations.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Going through some old photos........

I was going through some old photos in a box, and ran across a photo of my old '54 Dodge Power Wagon. I'm pretty sure all the other photos of this truck (along with a bunch of my bike photos) were destroyed. We had a roof leak in the attic we didn't know about, and it ruined a bunch of our early photos. I still have this one, though. My ex and I used to affectionately call this truck "Dick The Bruiser", after the late '50's wrestling star and champ. I loved this truck, but when you're just starting out in life, and you've got one son, and another on the way, there wasn't any way to keep the Power Wagon, and buy another vehicle. It was sold, and a brand-new '73 Blazer took its place.
Somewhere near the Mt. Of The Holy Cross, Colorado.

It actually was a '47 chassis, with a '54 body, and it had the original paint. I mean, you just have to love those clamshell fenders, and the bifold hood that was hinged down the middle. About 5 minutes work, and the whole hood would come off. When I got the truck, the flat 6 was seized up. A friend totaled his Pontiac, and I was able to get the 326 and Muncie M22 "Rockcrusher" 4 speed out of it. A foot long driveshaft let the transmission connect to the original transfer case, and we were in business. The Pontiac oil pan let me hook up the original 14,000 lb. Braden power takeoff winch. That thing was a killer if you weren't careful. It would spool in and out under power, so you had better have it hooked to something solid when it started pulling!

The suspension was all original - 14 leaf springs in the front, and 23 leaf springs in the back. The wheels were Budd Army 16", with 5 lug nuts you needed an 1 1/2" socket to loosen. The axles were 4:53's, not so good on gas mileage, but this thing would climb up and over anything you pointed it at. It would go over and through rocks, sand, snow, mud, logs, whatever was in the way. Only drawback was that it had "Armstrong" steering, but it had a steering wheel that was the size of a Peterbilt to compensate. It had a 40 gal. gas tank, and you could head out on the jeep trails and mining roads all weekend long.

The windshield had a crank on the dashboard that let you open the whole windshield out about half-way for ventilation. The bench seat would fold open, and there was a big storage compartment underneath it. The truck had two heaters inside, one for the cab, and one just for the window defrosters. It sounded like a Sherman tank inside the cab but it was glorious. People would move out of the way when you came down an onramp, and when you pulled up behind somebody on the freeway, getting them to move over was never a problem!

I sure miss this truck, and I wish it was parked in the driveway right now.

In case you were wondering what Dick The Bruiser, "The World's Most Dangerous Wrestler" looked like...here he is. Go look him up. Fuck Triple H.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

T-rod got it a couple days ago.....

T-rod got it splitting lanes on the 405N near the 55. You can read the story here:

Photos courtesy Nelson/Pakajunk
Get well, my Brother! I'm thinking of you!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

CJ Allan down through the ages......

I've known CJ Allan ( and it's Allan with an "a", not an "e") for a long time. You spell his name wrong, and you'll really get on his good side right away, let me tell you. CJ is fond of saying "New time, new day, new deal. It'll never be the same". And, he's right. CJ comes from a time long past. A life-long member and former President of the Hessians M/C, CJ is one that's lived the life, and has truly paid all of his dues in full.

While CJ has been as "serious" as any person could be, there's another side of CJ that some people don't see. He likes to tell you "To know me is to love me", and that's true. Because, under that gruff exterior is, well.....a gruff interior! Nah, I'm just kidding (?). CJ has a heart as big as all get out, but don't spread that around. If you're his Brother, or his friend, there isn't anything he wouldn't do for you, and I love the guy dearly.
From the May '92 issue of Supercycle, a great photo of CJ's fully engraved monster SU carburetor. This photo has been around the internet a bazillion times, and still never fails to dazzle you each time you see it. It's even more impressive in person, almost jewel-like.

I thought it would be fun to get in the Wayback Machine, and take a look at a small sampling of what CJ has done over the years that made it into print. I've had these photos scanned into my computer for quite a while, and I had a little time this afternoon to put it all together. I hope you enjoy it....

One of the pieces of engraving I have from CJ - a 5 speed transmission end cover. I remember telling CJ I needed this cover before I left for California one time, for the photoshoot of my bike White Heat, and he asked me how quick I needed it. I told him not too quick, but in a timely fashion. He told me to send it overnight. I sent it on a Wednesday, CJ engraved it on Thursday, and I got it back on Friday. The bike sold, but I kept the cover. The next bike I build will have this cover on it, along with a Magura hydraulic clutch conversion inside of it.

Indian Larry, posing with his Chain Of Mystery bike. Fully engraved by CJ, and probably the crowning moment of both Larry's and CJ's accomplishments in the custom motorcycle world. From my old Homage blog.

Here we find CJ in repose, in front of the fountain at Long Beach State College. This was the cover shot for his feature article in the Dec. '71 issue of Choppers Magazine.

CJ told me that after the shoot was over with at LBS, they wanted to get some road shots, so they took off down the PCH at about 100 mph, with Chris Bunch riding backwards on Tom Burke's (B&O Cycles) Honda 4 cylinder chop, with his feet hooked around the passenger pegs, shooting film. CJ says he's never seen those shots, though. That must have been quite the spectacle....
Straight from the freezer, dad. Check out the fully molded frame, scalloped and dished Wassel, fence spiked sissy bar, and the high-backed Smuggler king&queen seat - all by CJ. CJ's motor was brought up to FL specs, sported Branch heads, Panhead barrels, a Randy Smith SU Carb, and an original H-D Lightning cam. CJ said in the article he was already over 20,000 miles on the last rebuild of this engine.

Like I've said before....is there more than a passing resemblance here on the June, '71 issue of Man's Book? I mean, right down to the top hat, and brown roughout leather pants?

Here's CJ on the cover of the March '78 issue of Supercycle, with his then current version of his Knucklehead. This version is typical of the style of the era, and you'll note that this bike shares a lot of the same "look" and choice of components with other South Bay bikes like Dick Allen's Locomotion, and Joe Hurst's White Bear, for example.

Very cool assortment of parts on this build. The frame is stretched 3", and raked 1". Front end is 12" over, and sports Barney's slimline sliders (CJ still has the tooling for these). The seat came from SoCal Seats, and it sits on a CJ-manufactured fiberglass fender (the Maxi-Fender) and combination license plate mount/struts he marketed out of his shop Creative Cycle Engineering. The mufflers are XLCH tapers, and the rear wheel was a magnesium American 12 spoke equipped with a Performance Machine caliper and rotor. CJ did the setup on the American 12 spoke himself.
CJ's Creative Cycle Eng. was located just down the street from Bob Olson's shop, EME (CJ's father-in-law), and right around the corner from Perry Sand's fledgling Performance Machine, and Nez's Phase 3 operation, all located at the time in Paramount, CA. and all close friends of CJ's.

Lots of stuff going on here. Pat Leahy and CJ punched the mill out to 86 cu. in., added a Sifton 450 cam, with 2 1/8" intake, and 1 3/4" exhaust valves. Carburetor was a Weber DCOE, and it was fired by a Bomar-built magneto. All this was transferred to the Leahy-built trans via a Phase 3 beltdrive and clutch that had a 4lb. clutch lever pull, but CJ ran his with a foot clutch and jockey shifter.

The other unusual aspect of this motor was the fact that CJ experimented with running "dry heads" on this engine. He blocked off the oilers to the heads, pruned out the rocker covers, and experimented with different alloys for the guides and seats to be self-lubricating. CJ was able to get a couple thousand miles out of these combinations, but it was just an experiment, and eventually he went back to the old oiling system again.

Pat Leahy has been the only person to ever work on CJ's engines and transmissions, and still does. And, speaking of Weber carbs on Harleys, here's an interesting sidenote. Not many people know that Pat Leahy and Dean Moon were good friends. It was Pat and Dean that worked together on finding the right combination of venturies and complex fuel metering circuits to allow the big two throat Webers to run successfully on Harleys. And, it was their friend Jerry Magnuson who cast up the Big Twin and Sporty manifolds for them.

CJ did all the painting, pinstriping (in lacquer), and the gold leafing on this bike. Below Hessians are the letters M.C.O.C., which stand for Mother Chapter Orange County, pre-dating SAMCRO by 30 years.

This photo of CJ putting the final touches on some flames in the headpiece of one of his famous engraved Mag Lites. They're aren't too many of those big bodied Mag Lites out there with CJ's work on them. If you have one, consider yourself lucky. From an article in the April '90 issue of Easyriders magazine.

Not exactly American Gothic, but close enough! CJ, Robin, and his little daughter Jzena, at his spread in Devore, CA. These photos come from an article in the May '92 issue of Supercycle. If you look in the lower left, you'll see CJ still had the Knuckle, but it was supercharged by then, and sported a rear belt drive. CJ has promised me he'll send me the full photos of that version of his Knuck. CJ is seated on his main ride at the time - his Pat Leahy-built Shovel.
Jzena is married now, and has a daughter of her own, and another on the way. Man, how time flies. And, how many girls are there that will tell you that her Godfather was "Slave Lewie" Roseberry? Jzena can.
A a not-often seen photo of his oil tank engraving on the same bike. Did you know that CJ and Vern Heinrich were the originators of these iconic spun aluminum oil tanks?

CJ's '81 FX as it looked in the April '97 issue of Easyriders. This time around, it was wearing a Damons paintjob. I'll bet you won't remember who did the feature article on it, do you? It was done by Flynch, during his stint with EZ. I'll guess a lot of you thought Flynch just wrote for Iron Horse, huh?

Check out the Crazy Frank fender, seat, and tail light. CJ still has the engine out of this bike.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

And.......it's a wrap !

Here's Donny's former Softail frame "rigified". All the plug welds are done, and all the final welding for the splice areas completed. I think it came out pretty damn nice, and his hardtail section and labor came to half of what a new rigid frame would have cost him. Plus, he still keeps his original VIN numbers to boot, no re-registering as a "special construction".
Next up is figuring his spacing for the 18x5.5 rear wheel, lining up his final belt drive, remounting his OEM wraparound oil tank, and from there, mounting his new fender, and fabbing up his sissy bar.

If things go well, you may see my step-by-step on this whole hardtail conversion in the next issue of Street Chopper.