Here's two more shots of Dick Allen's Cobra trike. It changed hands and paint jobs a couple of times. First to Jim Andrews and then to Gordon Labell. I believe it belonged to Gordon when both of these were taken. Photos courtesy of Joe Hurst.
Those tiller bars are way long. Makes you wonder what it's like to steer this monster. Taken at the Indio Run.The paint only looks different here because it's in the shade.
When Ed Roth built each new custom vehicle (car, bike, or trike), they weren't just frivolous show vehicles. They were also experiments for new ideas or bulding techniques like using fiberglass for building the body for the Outlaw and then applying these successes on future vehicles.
The California Cruiser was such a vehicle and became the starting point for other V8 trikes and kits.
Roth didn't care that the Mail Box used a fairly underpowered Crosley 4 cylinder engine. The main idea was to see if a water cooled car engine would work with the radiator mounted in the rear. It did so the next project was to apply this knowlegde to a larger engine for the California Cruiser. One lesson learned was to never again build a body that cut off your side and rear field of vsion.
The Candy Wagon was his first experiment with trikes and although also underpowered it was built for long hauls, so it used the large fiberglass seat/body as the fuel tank.
Here's the article from the December 1969 issue of Choppers Magazine featuring the finished project. Click on each image to enlarge and read.
This is the prototype and grand daddy of all the Roth/Allen V8 Trikes. It used a small aluminum Olds V8 instead of the Ford 289 used in Dick Allen's and the kits.
In a lot of ways it is also the grand daddy of all V8 trikes, as builders to this day still build frames eeriely close to the original.For the Kits,Dick supplied the frames (and engine mounts), while Roth supplied the fiberglass bodies.
Here's a shot of my first big twin circa 1984 in Redondo Beach. It was what some call a blend bike. A 1974 FLH engine in a 1972 FX frame. At this Bob Job stage it was undergoing transformation from a Chopper to what I call a Stripped Dresser.
I've always liked the atmosphere of this shot. Digital in nice, but there's a warmth to film.
You probably would have to have been around the early eighties Harley scene to understand that. At the time fat was in and choppers were, well... sort of out.
After selling it in 1995 I wished I'd kept it to chop.
The infamous Dr. Sprocket sent these vintage photos of Bob Wise's chopped trike circa 1970.
While chronically underpowered, the 45 cubic inch falthead Serv-car makes for one cool chopper.
Talk about stance! Chopped Trikes were once very common. Even with todays re-intrest in vintage choppers, you don't see that many trikes.
It's a small world after all! The very same Bob Wise submitted the two black conept drawings for Street Chopper's (June 1972), Trick Trike contest. My art is on the facing page. I posted this a few years ago which lead to me meeting the good doctor.
When it comes to South Bay Choppers one might automatically think Dick Allen, but there was another well known local builder... Fats. I've known of him and his shop (Sportster Heaven, or was it Haven?), his brother and have a magazine featuring their bikes (The Brothers Noriega), I need to scan. Personally I don't know a lot about him. My neighbor Steve Sharp knew him well, so perhaps I'll get more dope.
Fats (R.I.P.), built his own version of the Dick Allen springer. It featured bolted/pinned trees with a square (bottom), spring perch. Steve Sharp continues to build them the Fats way. Photo sent by Joe Hurst.
Here's Nasty Nez with his original Loco Motion knucklehead chopper. He later gave the tank and name to Dick Allen. If you go back and look up the post of Dick's Vincent chopper you'll see the same tank. The post of Joe Hurst's White Bear before paint jamming down the 405 also shows this tank.
Here's an early photo of Dick Allen with his Chrome Frame Chopper when it had a knuckle in it. I believe this is after the Choppers Magazine article when it featured a Shovelhead. The Chrome Frame Chopper has possibly been changed and rebuilt more than any other bike out there. Party on Girl! Joe Hurst said these photos have been circulating on Facebook amongst the old south bay group.
Sorry about the new all time low. Two months headers back to back without any other postings! A few things have conspired against me. 1. Blog burn out. 2. My ancient computer's browser is not supported. 3. I hate the new posting process.4. More important issues to address.
I hope to do better and plan to partially dedicate the next month (or two), to trike stuff and more South Bay Chopper history.
Just when you thought you'd seen every Dick Allen photo. Dick at his Artesia blvd. shop aboard the Cobra trike running mock up. Courtesy of Joe Hurst.
A little over a week ago Joe Hurst called and said he was stopping by Steve Sharp's to drop off some stuff for his Panhead's rebuild. Steve is a long time Southbay Chopper builder who happens to live just up and around the corner from me and is putting together Joe's Pan. Joe needed the top end done as the bottom was already assembled. It seems a recent conversation about needing a sissy bar built turned to engine work. It's now very likely that Steve will help Joe with many aspects of the whole chrome frame bike.
The mighty harley V-twin. It's always an impressive sight when out and up on a stand.
Steve was in the process of installing a right side electric starter on this clean Panhead which he helped a local rider build last summer.
I just found out that Steve builds Dick Allen style springers based on his old friend Fats' versions. Fats used a bolt pinned lower tree and used rectangular stock for the lower spring perch, where as Dick welded his trees and used round stock for the perch. Steve has perfected them over the years and follows Dick's theory that the bike's center of gravity is the most important factor in building a long bike that handles well. This one has off set trees as suggested by Mike Torres and per the owners request. Fats' and Dick's springers were always inline. Sugar Bear's are off set.
Here's a shot of most of the bike.
I've seen Steve blasting up the street on this same bike for the last 25 years. I had never met him in all those years, so one day about 2 years ago, I dropped by and introduced myself. One of these days, I hope to do a feature of his bike. He's also a master mechanic and drag boat builder/racer and has won many races with his home built boats.
It's great to see a couple of South Bay Chopper Veterans pair up and still doing what they've always done. Build Choppers!
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.