Saturday, March 14, 2015

It's A Small World After All

From The Better Late Than Never Archives

Kerry & Arte
A Short Tale of The Brotherhood Between Builders

5/27/2014
Hello Chris, how is everything?  Still liking your MC art blog. Always interesting and informative. Anyway I was really liking your story and pics about your friend Arte. I remember meeting this guy at the swap meet too, I think he bought some stuff from me. He had this red and black panhead in Supercycle that I really liked. Found out we had a mutual friend so I got together with him and went out to his place.  Back then he was the only guy that had a disc on his VL front end. So he let me measure everything up so I could do it to my bike. Very cool of him to do that. Had a great day with him checking out some of his work. Back then I thought he built some of the nicest bikes around. Saw some of his other builds in Supercycle. I agree with you that he has a certain style and that he is still building killer bikes! Does he still have that sweet pan in the pics? Man he should ride that out to born free and let some of these youngsters check out that. Do you know if he might be going? Like to say hi again. Glad to see he is still out there doing it.


Arte still has this Panhead and it looks as new as in these photos. The collector is a Dick Allen unit but Arte built the header pipes. A Cal Mag brings up the rear.




Kerry's Panhead. Other than more chrome it's pretty much the same formula from the bars to the brake. Both bikes also feature Fat Bob tanks with emblems, rear disc brakes, dual button seats, tool box and bullet (guide type), running lights.

Kerry continues:
I liked his style and simple paint jobs so much I used some of his ideas on a couple projects I did up here in Placerville. Candy red and black shovel I put together for someone and a paintjob for another guy. Sorta looks like a Arte bike.  Thought you might get a kick out of these pictures.



Thursday, March 5, 2015

The South Bay Originals

This should make up for the recent lack of posts.

Around 2006-2007 I went on a mission of surfing the net to see if there were any good vintage chopper photos floating around. At that time motorcycle blogs were just starting to take off and there were some really cool photos showing up here and there. 

That exercise eventually lead to the creation of this blog in 2008. Through the blog I was fortunate to connect with guys like Joe Hurst, Bruce Parrish, Kerry Crist, and lately Angel Marc which really helped in sharing some of the best vintage chopper photos out there.

About two and a half years ago I posted three South Bay Originals photos that Joe sent and was totally knocked out by them. They especially touched me since I had memories of seeing choppers on  my visits to Hermosa Beach in the late sixties. Other than they were being shared by a few old South Bay friends on facebook, I did not know their orgins. Then recently I was contacted by Angel Marc who filled me in. As metioned in a previous post they are photos of his Huns brothers taken by the club's unofficial photographer Bill Miller.

I had hoped there were more and now it turns out there is. Marc has sent me several more to which I have included the three previously posted ones to round out this set.

They were taken around 1967 in Hermosa Beach. Some in front of the pier and a few others near the pier by the old Taco Bell. 

These are as good as it gets and it would be hard to pick a favorite. Because they were taken at night they have a great aura about them. I'd put them right up there with the classic photos of the Hells Angels by Bill Ray or Irving Penn.

2x4 Joe. He got his name after one time when his bike wouldn't start he picked up a 2x4 and beat it.

Alky Al

Filthy Frank 

Rac


Steve Drale

Ron

Dishpan Dave

BSA Bob

Lindsey

Thank you Marc for sharing.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Rat Fink Tacos & Roth

Here's a photo I shot of Taco Bill's mini bike collection at the Mooneyes Rat Fink Reunion back in 1997. 
The Roth Trike Body in the background was an extra bonus. $250 what a deal! The For Sale lettering on the body looks like Big Daddy might have written it. After all, he was in attendence that day.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

South Bay Originals- Angel Marc Setting the Record Straight

My name is Marc, AKA Angel Marc.  I was a founding member of the Huns MC So. Cal. in Hermosa Beach and one of the seven Huns who patched over to became the Hells Angels So. Bay.  I moved out of California over twenty years ago. Several years ago, living away from my friends and family, I joined Facebook in order to share photos with them.  A lot of my old Brothers had passed on, Dick Allen, Fats, Randy Smith & Outlaw Chuck among them.   I decided to share the memory of them by posting some of my old photos, first on my Facebook page and then after it was started on the South Bay Originals page.  I posted quite a few old photos for my old friends to enjoy. One old friend and Brother is Joe Hurst.  I got together with Joe when I rode down to the Kern River for the Fats Memorial Run and he told me of your site and that he had sent some of the pictures I had posted to you, among them Dick Allen doing the wheelie, Frank on  trike and the bike with the Huns colors on it.  I realize that when you post on the internet, you’re showing it to the whole world, so if more people enjoy the memories of my old South Bay Brothers, that’s Ok with me.  Which brings me to the reason I’m writing to you, I want to set the record straight as to the bike with the Huns colors on it. You wrote that Joe thought it was my bike, but that beautiful Pan belonged to my Brother Bob Kurek.  Bob was shot dead the year after this picture, so I feel it is important that he gets the credit that is his as the builder/owner of that bike. I enjoyed looking at your art work and pictures.  A nice bit of history.  You have some nice pictures of Randy Smith too, so I thought I would send one of him and me from the last time I saw him.  Also sending one of Bob with his bike.  Use any of the pictures you like, quote me if you want, but at least put Bob’s name with his bike.  Oh and most of the pictures I have were taking by a free lance photographer named Bill Miller.  He was like our unofficial club photographer.
 Angel Marc and his Pan circa 1967.
Hun's at the wall behind Taco Bell in Hermosa Beach. Left to Right: Marc, Lindsey, Dishpan Dave, Filthy Frank, Nez with Copper up front.
Bob Kurek with his Panhead.

One story was left out of Marc's email which will be included in a future post.

Joe Hurst always says the history of the South Bay Chopper really can't start without the tales of Marc and his brothers at that time. Therefore, my thanks goes out to Marc for sharing this history.


Sunday, January 18, 2015

XAVW Von Dutch, Ed Roth & Randy Smith

Most of you have probably heard of Von Dutch's XAVW (the VW powered motorcycle once featured on American Pickers), but may not know this part of it's history. It seems that Von Dutch might have been disappointed with the results, so took it apart and sold or traded it to Ed Roth. Randy Smith, an admirer of Von Dutch, bought it as a basket case from Roth and put it back together. 

Volksworks.com said Randy moved to Tennessee taking the XAVW with him where it sat in a barn for 30 or so years. Thanks to MC art reader (Doc), he says it was actually Tom Burke who took it to Tennesse.

Many people credit Mike Wolf for saving this incredible piece of Von Dutch's work, but if it wasn't for Randy Smith, it might have never been saved in the first place.

The article below from Custom Chopper magazine dated May '71 does not mention Roth, but several sources state that his name is still on the registration/title.


Saturday, January 3, 2015

Go Fast - Look Good

 My buddy Arte sent me this ad.

Love the motto. From the Randy Smith memorial page.

Monday, December 29, 2014

CK's Sketch Book/45 ideas

Every now and them I do little sketches while drinking my morning coffee. Recently I was thinking about my 45 and how I might style it.
 This is a small drawing of about 4 inches. Some of the proportions are off (like engine scale), but it gives the general idea. 

Here I was playing around with tank ideas. The inspiration comes from the way Von Dutch liked to label the obvious. The flamed Gas and dripping Oil would actually be small lettering just behind the gas and oil caps.

Monday, December 8, 2014

More Randy


 An early shot of Randy on his street legal Harley 45 WR
I thought the shop was in Gardena but, the1485 Canal St. address suggest this is Venice, Ca.

Photos from the Facebook RS memorial page.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Randy Gervais Smith

Here's another cool photo from the Randy Smith memorial page.
 I can't help but see a resemblance to Ricky Gervais.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Dick Allen's Cobra Trike with Roth

Here's a post for fans of Dick Allen or Ed "Big Daddy" Roth.

As many of you know Ed Roth and Dick Allen collaborated on selling Cobra Trike kits. Here's a couple of old photos of Dick's trike at a show with Big Daddy himself.
Roth hanging loose with some cat called Lovely Lenny

I'm guessing that Dick made his own show card. Check the spelling of "Crome", and Trik's at the bottom. Also, note the kit body with seat to the right as well as Roth's California Cruiser in the background.

Photos are from Puttie's and Connie's photo album via Joe Hurst.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Von Randy

I've known of Randy Smith since about 1970 and that he sometimes did pin striping and art like on Doc Holiday's Witch which was first featured in Choppers magazine. (Click the Randy Smith label to find it). What I didn't know was how much he was influenced by Von Dutch.

 Randy's pin stripe caddy could easily be mistaken for a Von Dutch and even includes the slogan "World's Best Striper".

 His photo album not only features some Von Dutch inspired art but also has some German.

Randy striping at a car show in 1959. Note the beatnik look he's sporting.

Even his cartoons remind me of Von Dutch's. I think these were done for Cycletoons.

Now looking back I can see the Dutch in the way Randy built bikes. 

All photos are from the Randy Smith Memorial Facebook page.

Monday, October 27, 2014

Unknown Choppers Magazine T-Shirt/Decal Art

Once while doing a search I stumbled upon this unknown (at least to me), Choppers Magazine T-shirt art.
I can tell by the art's style it was done by Robert Williams. I don't think Roth ever made it available. Possibly because the ornate lettering on top of the art is so busy making it hard to read. Still it's a cool drawing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The California Charger

In the early seventies the chopper craze was changing rapidly with many builders and suppliers heading into the high performance mode. Ground up customs utilizing only the Harley drive train were being built more and more and were featuring exotic goodies such as aluminum oil tanks, mag wheels, centerline type disc wheels, two into one collector exhausts, disc brakes, aircraft style braided oil/fuel lines, SU carbs, open primaries, belt drives, not to mention complete custom forks and frames.
Bob Hall on the exotic California Charger. The unique triple gas tanks sort of creates an optical illusion. The center tank held gas and also oil to lube the supercharger under the seat.

One such builder was Bob Hall who was once a partner owner of US Motorcycles on Atlantic Blvd. in Lynwood, CA. During that time Bob built the California Flash. A very custom pear white rigid fork Panhead featuring an American 12 spoke up front and a auxiliary fuel tank built into the sissy bar. I'll post it sometime.

Later on Bob opened his own shop in Lawndale CA (which may classify him a South Bay builder), and followed up with the California Charger as seen below. It was called the charger since it had a super charger under the seat that could be disconnected for street use, hence the winged oil tank out front. It had a very cool frame of his own design with a slight dropped seat area which to this day is one of the only aftermarket frames I like. As a matter of fact, when I was young I built a 1/8 scale replica frame out of brass for a Revell Harley model that I still have.

The CA Charger was featured in Custom Chopper magazine and one day I'll post pictures from that feature too.
This photo is from the Kid Deuce collection. The supercharger has been removed and it appears to have been repainted. It's hard to tell but the front mag may have been changed too. Why it's displayed by Alphabet's Custom West is a mystery but it is featuring one of their collector exhaust.

When it comes to choppers my overall favorites tends to fall back to the classic bikes of the early sixties but the South Bay Style and some of the high performance influenced choppers of the early seventies keep pushing their way up. 

Click the Bob Hall label below to see another bike he built.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

The Chrome Bike Chronicles, For Sale

Now before anybody gets excited, it's NOT for sale currently.
A very cool and rare photo of the Chrome Bike circa 1970 while Jim Andrews owned it. Other than the fork, front wheel, and paint job, it's not too different than Dick's last version.

Scan of a Scan. Joe's friend Putty's wife Connie scanned it from their photo album and printed it out. Joe happened to have the borrowed print when he stopped by one day, so I scanned it again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Injun Art

Matt Walksler's Indian from Born-Free 6

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Friday, September 19, 2014

Dick Allen Memorial Party

Last Saturday there was a party at Steve Sharp's that only happened because of the luck of timing. Steve ran into Dick Allen's daughter Darcy at Sturgis. He didn't know her and she didn't know him. She just pulled over to check out Steve's and Robert's bikes because they looked like South Bay Choppers. Darcy said to Steve, "you probably never heard of him, but my dad was Dick Allen". 

In the last few years Darcy had left some comments on the blog but everybody I asked didn't know Dick had a daughter and wondered, was she for real?

Darcy told Steve she had been trying to find out as much as possible about her dad and mentioned traveling the country to get info on him. Steve told her don't waste your time, the best thing to do is come to the South Bay since some of his old friends are still around.

I met Darcy a few days before the party and found out that her parents divorced when she was very young and soon after Dick left for California. This explained why no one knew of her. 

To my surprise Darcy had a photo copy of a fragile old photo of Dick on the chrome bike from about 1966. She also had a scrap book of info she found on the internet. I was happy to find it included a lot of history from this blog.
Darcy's visit to the South Bay was a great reason to get some of the old gang together plus five birthdays were celebrated.

Darcy holding her Dad's Loco-Motion gas tank.

A few bikes showed up like Steve and Carla's his and her's choppers (another Steve).


 Mike Torre's crazy eclectic panhead.

Robert's panhead

Get a group of gearheads together and half will party in the grange.

The evening ended with a birthday cake for five!

 Joe, Steve, and Robert. These last three photos were taken by Mike Torres and stolen from the Ladyhump blog.

 Arte, CK, Fat Lou, and Randy.

A BIG THANKS goes out to Steve for putting it all together!