Friday, March 25, 2011

GO T-ROD! Part 2.......

I stole this snapshot from Nelson's blog. None other than T-rod, posing with his Evo-powered racing sidehack. I talked to T-rod this week, and he said "May 7th, baby, it's on!".

Just check out all that first class fabrication on this rig. The frame is truly a work of art, to say the least.

Photo courtesy of Nelson Kanno

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Late night pipedream......

It's been awhile since you saw this bike from the side, huh?

Paughco was a day late in shipping in the coctail shakers, so that put me behind a day in a tight schedule, and puts me behind on the 2 bikes behind this one, and I've got 2 previous bike's worth of sheetmetal coming in behind those 2, and those bikes need to be final assembled and wired.....

I couldn't weld up the bottom pipe's 3 sections, or make the pipe's frame mounts until the mufflers showed up. I had them close, but the frame mounts needed to be re-thought once the 'shakers were installed. In all, there are 6 sections of bends that make up the pipes, and all the mounts are hidden when you look from the side. Clean.

.......and here's how I solved the problem of putting in some extra support into the back section. I felt that the TC-B Softail's faux seatpost just wasn't enough support for the rear area. Stress bars between the rear legs would have worked, but Wade wanted that area open. So, I made a support that bolts in on the rear fender's 5/16" thick mounting plate up top, and keys in at the transmission mount's bolt below.

It's completely removable, should the transmission need to be taken out of frame for any reason. The engine doesn't need to be removed for that operation, either. Simple.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


Ol' T-rod out hot-lapping his latest speedway bike. You've got to see this bike to believe it! The engine is a 500cc Buell Blast/Buell hybred, all done by Rod, and built to compete with the Jawas. If this wasn't challenging enough, T-rod is also building a 998cc destroked BT Evo-powered sidecar racing rig to compete against the dominant Kawasakis in that class for this season, too!

Go out and support and cheer on T-rod this year on his home track - Costa Mesa Speedway, Costa Mesa, CA.:
Costa Mesa Speedway also has two "Harley Nights" scheduled this year for "hooligan racing" - take your chopper out there, and race it.....iffin' yer not skeered to!

You know, T-rod pretty much does this all on his own hook, so if you'd like to see him continue to bring the H-D banner into the arena against the "other" makes of bikes, and stay competitive, you might think of dropping some sponsorship his way. You can contact him here:
And, see the racing team here, along with all the construction details and videos on the sidecar build-up:

Friday, March 18, 2011

Tailor made......

tailor (tai·lor) n.
1. To fit or provide articles to specific measurements.
2. To make, alter, or adapt for a particular end or purpose.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Dropkick Murphys - Warriors Code

One of these years, I'll be in Boston on St. Paddy's Day.....

Shamrock & Roll.....

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

St. Patrick's Day......

Ah yes, time once again to honor The Patron Saint of Ireland by drinking Irish whiskey and green beer, and then throwing up in an alley.

Q. How many Irishman does it take to change a lightbulb?
A. It takes 6 - one to hold the lightbulb, and 5 to drink until the room starts to spin.

You know, there are only three types of Irish songs:
1. The first is: " We hate the British, and we'll chop off their heads, and stuff them with grass, then put them on poles and march around and fuck the Queen....."
2. The second is: "I'm lonesome and sad, and she broke my heart, and now I'm drunk, and I'll never love again...."
3. And, the third one is: "Fuck all this, I'm going to America!...."

Yes, and it's also my birthday. Harpoon did this for me more than a few years ago. I always thought my Dad had my Mother jump off the refrigerator so I'd be born on March 17th.

I remember my dad taking me around to all the bars when I was a little kid on St. Patrick's Day. He'd go in and yell "Hey! It's my kid's birthday today!", and everybody would go "Hey! Happy St. Patrick's Day, and Happy Birthday to the kid, let me buy you (my Dad) a drink!" He'd get shitfaced for free on St. Paddy's Day.

And, to keep this post motorcycle related.......

Monday, March 14, 2011

I need to correct my Mann/Powell posting........

As my mother always says:
"There was only ever one perfect guy, and you see what they did to him!"

I got a call from good friend Frank Kaisler. Frank just happened to be parusing my blog last night, and read my post on the David Mann/Rod Powell connection. It seems that Rod Powell (and myself) didn't have everything correct as far as David Mann owning Rod's '56 Chevy Sedan Delivery in the late '70's. Oops!

As Frank was kind enough to let me know, David Mann didn't actually own the '56 Sedan Delivery. It was actually owned by one of David Mann's close friends. If anybody should know, it would be Frank. Frank at the time the centerfold was painted was into his tenure with Easyriders magazine, and remembered Mann's friend driving it over to the EZ headquarters on several occasions. Frank said that Mann's buddy was the inspiration for the centerfold, and Mann never actually owned the '56, as Powell had thought. David Mann did however have custodial care of the SD for a while, while his buddy was down in San Diego for employment, and did drive it around quite frequently.

Oh well, 50 lashes with a wet noodle for me, for going on somewhat sketchy background info, I should have checked a little deeper. But hey, that's why magazines are always printing corrections and retractions. It happens sometimes.......thanks Frank, for the correct info.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

They're here......

The FedEx guy dropped off the package today, and two more pieces to the puzzle are added.

As an added bonus, biker poet laureate FatBob composed a little rune on the side of the shipping box for me. Very cool, FatBob....very cool.

"We don't care how they do it in Michigan...."

Now that I have your attention.....JUST KIDDING! I've known Fab Kevin for over a decade, and he knows I have the utmost love and respect for him. Kevin's the one who did the pioneering on these conversions, getting them refined down to a nat's patootie, and I'm fortunate to have him as a long-time compadre'.

Finished the last two hardtail jobs, and they're winging their ways out of here to anxious guys with spring fever. They are a lot of work, but you just can't beat hardtail jobs like these with the OEM-style axle plates.

Friday, March 4, 2011

From the Mail Bag - more Sedan Deliveries........

My good friend Carlos, in Santa Fe, NM sent me some old photos of his family's mini-fleet of sedan deliveries for their dry cleaning and laundromat operation, which is still family owned and operated in Santa Fe to this day. Thank you Carlos, it was most appreciated!
I'm guessing this had to be taken in the mid-'50's. Here we see (from Rt. to Lt.) a '53, and '54 Sedan Deliveries, and a '54 Bel Air station wagon. Notice the difference in the windshield heights between the '54 wagon, and the '54 SD. Chevy kept the '53 body for the SD in '54.

This later photo came in a little small, but you can see their Sedan Delivery fleet was at this time composed (from back to front) of a a '57, a '58, and a rare even for its model year (and even rarer today) '60. In this lineup, the '57 was in the 150 Utility series, the '58 was in the Delray series, and the '60 was in the Biscayne series. Too bad we don't have Wayback Machines.....

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

WHAT THE........????????

Son of a.....
Make no mistake, dope was still pure, potent, and readily available in 1986. And, on top of that, this thing was turbocharged! I'm thinkin' Paul Sr. was hangin' around with this guy back then, too!

The David Mann / Rod Powell connection......

I was bored, so I was cruising the blogs the other night, and on Nao's The World/Psycho Wheels blog from Japan, he has a couple posts featuring David Mann centerfolds from Easyriders. One in particular is the one shown below, from the Nov. 1979 issue of EZ.

It depicts a chance meeting of two "different but the same" worlds, in more than one respect. Both the chopped top '56 Chevy Sedan Delivery, and the chopper sport the same style black/yellow flamed paintjobs, and both of their respective owners are giving the "thumbs up" to each other in mutual respect for the others work.

I thought you'd like to know a little background on the centerfold, because David Mann was the actual owner of this particular '56 Chevy Sedan Delivery at the time he painted this centerfold. Read on.....

This particular '56 Sedan Delivery was originally built by who many consider the "master painter of flames", Rod Powell. According to Rod, in his book Rod Powell's Flame Painting Techniques, he states he built this car for himself, but he doesn't specify when it was chopped, built, or painted after he opened his own shop in '69. He does say that the car was painted by his painter Jack Bradford in black lacquer, and that Powell did the flames.

Powell is also sketchy about how long he owned the SD, only saying that he eventually sold the car to Boyd Coddington. Powell goes on to say it changed hands "a number of times" after Coddington, and that "...artist David Mann owned it for a while. He did a painting of it for Easyriders magazine".

Powell isn't real good on providing dates in this part of his book, probably owing to the fact that he couldn't recall them, or felt that they weren't really relevant in this section of his book. One can guess that David Mann owned it pretty close to the same time period that he did his centerfold painting, again, the painting was the centerfold in the Nov. '79 issue of Easyriders.

Here's a B&W photo of the '56, taken at 2:00am, masked off and ready to shoot the flames. Powell, like a lot of us, was working after hours on his own stuff, trying to get the flames shot before he had to open the shop later on in the morning to complete the paying jobs for customers. Yeah, those of us with shops have all been there.....

Here's the only color picture that I can find right now , but I'm positive that either Car Craft, or Hot Rod did a full feature on the '56 back then. In this photo, you can clearly see the top chop, and you'll note that Powell's original Cali yellow-on-blue license plate is the same number that Mann used in his painting - 154 DHP. What a fantastic job of color blending and fades on the flame's "licks".

You'll also notice that in the Mann painting, the original chrome reversed wheels with the baby moons capped with a bullet are replaced with a set of Tru Spokes and spinners, and the lake pipes are gone. Whether Coddington, another owner, or Mann did these mods is anybody's guess.

Sadly, one of the later owners after David Mann had the sedan delivery repainted in a "monochrome" paint scheme (Powell didn't specify the color), probably owing to the age of the original lacquer paint, and "refined to perfection", according to Powell. But, it has "disappeared" as of late. Wonder where it is now, and if the present owner is aware of its history?

A page from the 1955 Chevy "Light Duty" truck sales brochure, showing the standard and optional equipment for the Sedan Delivery . The SD is shown painted in Adobe Beige here. The Sedan Deliveries were always shown in the light truck brochures, not the car brochures.

I thought you'd like to know a little about the sedan delivery style of vehicles. Chevy (along with Ford, and Chrysler) offered the sedan delivery-style of vehicle for just about as long as they offered sedans and station wagons. The sedan delivery was your basic automotive (not truck) bare-bones sedan or wagon body and chassis, with the side windows replaced by a solid body panel, the rear seating deleted, and in lieu of a trunk lid (or in the case of a station wagon, its split liftgate/drop down tailgate), the body received a solid 1 pc. door with window, that was usually hinged to the L/H side, with the latch/door handle on the right.

The benefits in the delivery "market" for a sedan delivery-style vehicle were many. They were the ideal size for "light" home and office delivery businesses - like flower shops, meat markets, office supplies, dry cleaners, florists, etc. They were easy to maneuver through city traffic, parked where a car could, cost less than a full-sized truck to own, and were economical to run every day. Plus, they were also favored by people who offered "home services" like service station mobile repairs, carpenters, plumbers, and electricians. And, as an added bonus, it gave a company a little "prestige and class" when their delivery person arrived to do his job in the 'burbs.

Rear view of a restored '56 Sedan Delivery, also in Adobe Beige, showing the unique "clamshell" rear lift gate, which began with the '55 model, and continued thru '60.

In '55, when Chevy changed body styles, they came up with a feature that helped the delivery person's access to the rear of the vehicle, with Ford following suit in '57. Instead of hinging the rear door to the left, Chevy (and Ford) made the rear door to hinge from the top, supported in the open position by the same locking struts that the station wagons used on their upper liftgates. This allowed the driver even more access to load and unload the vehicles. They also offered a single bucket seat as standard vs. the bench seat, that allowed longer items to fit from the firewall to the tailgate on the R/H side of the interior. A R/H bucket seat was an option, and both seats hinged forward to access cargo behind them.

Chevy continued the Sedan Delivery line thru the '60 model year, when it was dropped, and it's niche in the light delivery market was filled in '61 by its replacement, the new Corvair Greenbriar van model, which itself was replaced in '64 by the "first generation" G-10 1/2 series of delivery vans.

Here's a tip on ID'ing a real GM-built sedan delivery. There are quite a few station wagons out there that have had the side windows filled, and the SD's tailgate added to it (the recesses for the top hinges are stamped into every wagon tailgate surround). It's an easy conversion, but if you look at the VIN ID tag (not the cowl tag on the firewall) on the left door pillar, you'll see a code similar to this:
D 57 K 01234.

The "D" in the ID # is the designation for the sedan delivery body, "57" is the year, "K" is the final assembly plant (in this case Kansas City, MO.), and the "012345" is the serial #. The "D" ONLY shows on this tag for a real sedan delivery.

Here's an ancient photo (only one I can find) of the '57 Chevy sedan delivery I owned, taken around '79 or so. Originally when I got it, it was painted that ugly Chevy "Surf Green", and had the original New Blue Flame 123 6, and "three on a tree" transmission. I replaced that with a SB 327/Powerglide combo shortly after. I drove it around like that for about two years, and then I came across a deal on a BB 454/TH 400 combo from a wrecked '70 SS Chevelle, and an all chrome '58 Olds rear end with 4:11 gears to go with it.

It was raggedy, the interior was loud and smelled like old gear oil, and that fucker would MOVE when you mashed the loud pedal. I loved it! I finished up the bodywork on it - including an all-steel tilt front end I did (that could be raised and lowered via two convertible top rams with a flip of a switch on the dash) , but never got it past the primer stage in the 6 years I owned it. As is the case, somebody made me "an offer I couldn't refuse...." on it, for a trade of a '64 Pan and cash for it. I wish I still had that sedan delivery today. Oh, and the Pan, too!