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.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Born-Free 6 Part 1 Builders Bikes

 I went out to the show on Saturday. Here's the first batch of invited builders bikes.
Kouske Saito took 1st with his 1936 Knucklehead chopper. 
I hear it's going to ridden in the Cannon Ball Run. Strikes me a bit strange to enter a show bike in that kind of competition.
2nd Place Winner Brandon Casquilho brought out another amazing high tech Shovelhead. This time built around '67 cases.
3rd went to Tom Fugle for his vintage show bike. 
To many folks surprise Ryan Mullions Triumph Trike was chosen by the winner of the bike give away. 
Last years top winner Scott '"T-Bone" Jones built this bike around the 120 inch engine that H-D gave him. He successfully blended a few eras into one bike. I got to say it turned out much nicer than the photos of it's raw build hinted at. 
Go Takamine brought his Knucklehead from Japan. 
Bryan Thompson's very detailed 1952 Triumph seemed to get overlooked by most of the spectators. The glamorous bikes are fun but I tend to lean towards these type of machines.
In tribute to the fallen builder, Chris Richardson finished Larry Pierce's tight 1948 UL.
Oliver Jones built his own high tech racy 1977 Shovelhead. it seemed to be another favorite with the crowed.
Born-Free 4 winner Matt Olsen brought out another vintage custom. This time a 1928 JD Hybrid in a custom frame.  
 Joey Cano's clean Sixties Style1940 UL chopper.
Without a doubt, one of my favorites of the day was Matt Walksler's beautiful 1942 Indian Chief. It was built using a vintage molded chopper frame.

More builders bikes in a few days.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

The Chrome Bike Rises Again

This is the same chrome frame that Dick Allen and Joe Hurst built many different ways. It might have had more motor swaps than any bike out there. 
Joe aboard it's debut at the Kern River Run.

When I get some better shots I'll post them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Keeping the Sport in Sportsters

Mark Bourassa sends me (and others), old photos from time to time. These might have been on the blog ZZ Chop. I like them because they show how it used to be done. Now days everybody thinks you have to hard tail every Sportster out there.
It's cool to see the Spirit of the Sportster being retained and not just trying to be a big twin.

This one cheats a little by using the old trick of FLH struts and shocks to lower the rear.

Before any of you get bent.... yes there are some nice hard tailed XL's out there.

Monday, June 2, 2014

Wild Goose Sighting

Levi Lewy's Wild Goose re-discovered in an old Street Chopper
  

Monday, May 19, 2014

Theme Bikes, Flying Tigers, Shark Mouths, Walt Disney, Triumph, Howard Hughes, Hells Angels, Joe Petrali, and Swim Suits...


...or the mother of all post

Six degrees of separation is the theory that you can connect everyone or anything in six steps or fewer. These connections between individuals and how one thing affects another can be very interesting.

Before the rise of the television chopper build offs and Orange County Choppers there weren't too many theme bikes running around. Notice I didn't say none. After all, my old buddy Arte (see a few post back), built one while Paul Jr. was probably still in kindergarten.

Nose art or personalizing military vehicles isn't new and while stationed in Viet Nam as a tank mechanic, Arte remembered seeing all kinds of art, slogans, and names painted on various vehicles. He also had admired the Flying Tigers P-40's for some time, so years later after building a few bikes he decided to take the nose art concept a bit farther. Now remember this was the eighties.
I don't know when Arte started building it, but his Flying Tigers chopper was featured in a 1987 issue of Supercycle.

Not only did Arte want to incorporate the famous nose art on a bike, he wanted it's entire paint job to be as close as possible to that of the planes. To this end he actually enlisted the guidance of a WWII pilot who happen to live nearby.
The Flying Tigers in China with their P-40's at the dawn of WWII is where Arte's inspiration came. This happens to be the Hells Angels squadron of the Flying Tigers. Take note and remember both the red winged angel and the flying tiger logos. 
Where it all began. The Flying Tigers got the idea after seeing a photo of a RAF P-40 squadron in North Africa featuring such markings, who themselves borrowed the idea from German Luftwaffe ZG 76 heavy fighter wing pilots flying Messerscchmitt Bf 110 aircraft in Crete in the late 30's.

Other than a dragon or skull bike, I don't recall seeing any aircraft theme bikes before Arte's. Years ago I did think of a similar concept while going through my own growing interest in aircraft, but it's one thing to think it, and quite another to do it.
Not only did Arte make the extra effort to make his bike historically correct, the bike it self is detailed nicely
Arte flying his tiger then...
...and flight ready today.

Not being completely satisfied, years later Arte decided a Sportster tank and a different fender would better lend itself to the design. During the re-paint he also changed the sissybar and handlebars.
The five fictitious kills are for effect.

To this day, many a biker has chosen the Shark Face theme but rarely includes the Tiger.

Now days it just takes money. It's gotten to the point where a local H-D dealer is offering new Sportsters or your existing one done up this way.

The Shark Mouth has not been limited to aircraft or motorcycles. By the way, nobody ever mentions why a Shark Face would be on a Tiger?

That's it for Arte's machine, but let's dig deeper.

The Flying Tiger logo is said to have been designed by the Walt Disney Studios. While in it's self  that's a somewhat strange connection, I can't help wondering if the Flying Tiger' logo influenced the Triumph Tiger logo?
 Flying Tigers Ace R.T. Smith with those two logos again. 
The Triumph Tiger.

The connections continue.

It's often said that after returning from war some serviceman craved more excitement than what everyday civilian life offered. To fill this void many turned to motorcycling, it's clubs, and their associated activities to blow off this pent up steam. One such group of guys would eventually become the Hells Angels MC. 
The Hells Angels squadron logo...
... and the Howard Hughes film poster.

Research says the name Hells Angels was suggested by an associate of the club who was a WW II pilot and the same is said of their famous death's head logo. So, the Hells Angels motorcycle club name comes from a WWII squadron, which originally came from Howard Hughes' movie about WW I pilots.  
The 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron patch (above), is said to be one of the patches that inspired the Hells Angels first death head design (Below). 
The early death head patch does echo the squadron patch.

Another Howard Hughes connection to motorcycling is Joe Petrali. If you don't know 'Smokin' Joe then you're probably new to the sport.

Joe has many motorcycle racing credits to his name, but is probably best known for the 1937 land speed record run of 136.183 mph aboard a factory (H-D), prepared knucklehead. 
The streamlined tail section was removed for the record run. It was said to actually decrease stability.

After his glory days of racing, Joe became a confidant of Hughes and later served as flight engineer on the Hughes H-4 Hercules Flying Boat. 

Hughes hated the name "Spruce Goose" (especially since it was made of birch), which was a name that a reporter came up with. 
My own connection is that I worked at Hughes Aircraft Company in the eighties and nineties. One day I was shown this poster in the Public Relations department. They wanted to reprint an original which had all the crew's signatures on it.  I remember at first being surprised to see Joe Petrali. For a moment I had completely forgotten his involvement with Hughes. (I'll post a better shot of this poster when I get the chance)

I guess Joe's elevens were up as his record stood for 11 years until September 13, 1948 when Rollie Free famously broke it by approx. another 11 mph while laying prone in his swim wear aboard a Vincent.
Rolling Free (sans safety gear). A guy named Rollie Free breaking a motorcycle land speed record? It sounds made up. Many call this the most famous photo in motorcycle history.

That's all folks!
You could probably go on forever making various connections but, I got to stop somewhere.