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.
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.
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.
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.
Now before anybody gets excited, it'sNOTfor 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.
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.
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!
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.
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."
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.
Besides just choppers, there are always an interesting mix of other machines.
About as nice as they get.
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.
Been drawing as long as I can remember and into bikes since 1967. I do other kinds of art but enjoy painting and drawing motorcycle related stuff the most. I do commissioned artwork and sell limited edition prints.