Friday, April 1, 2011

1958 Panhead Chopper

In 1972 the Tracy,CA police department auctioned two retired 1958 Harley-Davidson panhead motorcycles. Both bikes had sat unused,outside in the city storage yard for more than 5 years and were in poor condition. Since we only were interested in the frame,engine and transmission the poor condition of the rest of the motorcycle really didn’t matter to us. We were successful in our bid for one of the bikes. However two weeks after the auction the city clerk called the shop and said the bidder for the second motorcycle had failed to show up and would we match the bid price. Of course we did and picked up the bike with cash in hand the same afternoon. The sad part of this story is that we threw the tanks, fenders, swingarm, shocks and all the other take-off parts in the dumpster behind the shop. The complete wideglide fork assembly with front wheel and brake attached was sold in the shop for $50. We chopped so many bikes in that five year period with no thought to the future. The shops were jammed to the ceilings with new parts and we had no room to store any of the take-offs even if we had wanted to. This bike features many parts from our catalog and retail store. The finned,cast pan covers were the latest part from Custom Cycle Engineering, the weld on hardtail was from Santee Industries and the 20 over girder forks from Wayne Engineering. We cut the bottom bar from the neck area of the stock frame and welded in a half inch thick gusset which I then molded smooth with bondo. The neck was cut and raked to 40 degrees and all unused tabs were removed from the frame. That’s a 2.2 gallon Paughco mustang tank that I painted light pearl blue with kandy blue “blow dots” on the side panel. Paughco drag pipes supply the noise and our own adjustable width pullback handlebars top the girder forks. Cheetah Engineering seat and bayonet sissybar (made with a real military surplus bayonet) with an iron cross taillight to match the handlebar mirror. The rear wheel is a steel 4 inch wide Santee rim (half inch wider than stock HD rims) with a 500x16 ARCO tire. The front wheel is our own all steel spool 21 inch wheel with an Avon Speedmaster ribbed tire. View the large size to see these details. Photographed in my garage by John Reddick in September 1972, scanned from a 37 year old 35mm negative.

Shovelhead from the same photo shoot

Custom Cycle Parts calender

Some of these images I have posted before. Some have just came from Flickr. All were found on various blogs. I can't remember which blogs as I take a lot of pain medication. If you know where the photos came from please tell me so I can give those bloggers the proper credit.

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