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!

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Dick Allen Wheelie

This is probably the only other remaining photo of the chrome frame while it was still a Panhead with XL forks and the black sulky front wheel.  
This is another one of those South Bay Originals photos. Joe Hurst sent it and says the location was one of those alley/streets in Hermosa Beach where Randy Smith once had a shop. It's was most likely taken by Randy as he's believed to be the photographer who shot the famous photo of Dick posing next to this bike.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Harley Hoarder

Noot's comment in a previous post prompted this photo
You can't see them but there's nine Harleys in this photo...  what's the space in the middle for?...  the shovelhead dresser was rolled out... and this is only about two thirds of the garage.

What's in your Garage? 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

The Chrome Frame Chronicles, Done but never Done

Here's some photos of the chrome frame bike's progress from last Jan. and Feb. I did post a shot of Joe riding it at Kern river in May but never posted these.
 Joe tries it out for size as Steve Sharp looks on.

 Listening to that V-Twin music. Note the primary pulleys.

 It ain't easy to shoot a long bike in a cramped garage.

It's now what you might call a running (and registered), mock up. It's going to go through a few modifications and fine tuning then some paint and chrome. 

I case you never quite got the connection, this is the same frame, rear fender, fuel tank, and seat pan that Dick Allen used on the Knucklehead in the post below. This bike has been through so many changes over the last 47 years. It truly lives up to the chopper motto, "Done but never Done."

Saturday, August 9, 2014

The Chrome Frame Chronicles, The Knucklehead

Here's Dick Allen's chrome frame chopper as a Knucklehead. This is the same bike as the famous picture of him standing by it when it was a Panhead. It's interesting to note that it was a Shovelhead when featured in Choppers Magazine which was before this photo was taken and it also didn't have a front brake at that time or these cool up sweep fish tails. The rear fender (only), is not flat black but is metallic dark grey which he ended up not liking. This bike changed hands (and engines), a few times and Joe Hurst has owned it a few times himself.  Joe currently has it back up and running as a Panhead but wants to change a few things before he detail's it. I've posted just about every version this bike has been through. One day I'll put them all chronologically in one post. It's a good example of how a chopper is really never done. Photo provided by Joe Hurst. 

Friday, August 1, 2014

Born-Free 6 Part 4 Some Other Bikes

Besides just choppers, there are always an interesting mix of other machines.
About as nice as they get.

Looks Crockerish.

Someone is having fun.

This original paint '63 was for sale. It's worn finish looks like it was begining to be sanded? It also has some recently applied ugly pink pinstripes to the tops of the fenders. 

Since I own a '70 I had to get a shot of this one still in original paint.

Like last year I spent much of the day hanging out with Dr. Sprocket, Craig Taylor and the guys from the Los Angeles chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America. Craig heads up the group and organizes the swap meet section of Born-Free.

An original paint '71 was also for sale. It has a few mods and looked a bit rougher in person. I know original paint bikes are desirable but don't think anyone is ready to shell out $15K for a cone shovel in this one's condition just yet.

The owner of this '68 thought he had an original paint bike. I hated to pop his bubble and Todd confirmed my opinion.

Other than some random shots, this will likely be the last post featuring multiple photos from Born-Free.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Thursday, July 10, 2014

BF6 Builders 2

Here's the second batch of Invited Builders bikes. There's probably really no needed to post them since they have been all over the internet but what the hell.
Sunday's give away bike was Todd Asin's Knuckle. For me, it was the bike to win.

Bobby Middleton's traditional styled Shovelhead chopper fits the Born-Free credo well.

As does Jason Sheets'  VL Panhead.
I liked the clean and simple look of Nick Miserendino's swinging Shovelhead. Don't go thinking I'm implying it's simple to build such a machine. It's one of the invite bikes I'd considered if a winner.
Two time Born-Free winner Caleb Owens displayed his resurrected Uncle Sam chopper. After suffering a wreck, It was more of a personal thing than anything else.
ZON Tag team Brad & Ry's racy Shovel.
Gaku Yokomizo's gold palted '80s style digger.
I didn't get the name other than Mike for the Show Class Magazine People's Champ entry.

Trent Schara's '64 PanShovel.

Pete Mason's '55 Panhead was another bike heavy with '60s influences.

Kevin Bass' 1940 UL Flathead was done up very similar in style to his last year Best Panhead winner. I guess he knows what he likes.

Jesse Basset's '44 Knuckle in a VL. The seat, forks, bars, stance and other fine details gives it a rather British look I must say.

Subtle, elegant or classic might be words to describe Jordan Dickinson's 93" S&S Knucklehead.

That's the "Invited Builders" bikes I shot. Sorry no photos of bikes by Wes White, Jason Phares, and Paul Cox.

One last thing. As I overheard spectators discussing which bike they would choose. It became clear that more than a few failed to realize that not all of the Invited Builders Bikes were up for grabs with a winning ticket. The participating bikes had a yellow "win this bike" tag on their show plaque.