Sunday, March 28, 2010

Sano Trike Origins

I've been meaning to post this cool ad for Himsl Trike Bodies for some time. I didn't just want to post it and leave it at that, but rather to show how it relates to other Heros of Chopper History.

The design of the body brings up the question, who first designed this style of trike body?

An Ad for Himsl trike bodies. Love the illustration. The art is not signed, but I have a strong suspicion it was done by Ed Newton. From the July '71 issue of Choppers Magazine.

Art Himsl's Preying Mantis as featured in the larger Nov. '70 Choppers magazine. It had been previously featured in Roth's July '69 digest sized Choppers magazine. Both articles mention the sale of the semi mass produced bodies. The first article calls it the Himsl Brother's Mantis and mentions Art's brother Mike. Art is still going strong but, what happened to Mike?

Because of the dates mention above, I'm sure Art's design was influenced by Roth's first trike, The Candy Wagon.

The trike won Custom Bike of the Year at the '69 Oakland Roadster Show. Art's Alien show car can be seen in the garage in the background.

Roth's Candy Wagon on the Dec.68 cover. One might assume that Ed Newton designed it, but it may not be wholly true.

The article inside shows Newton's early more ominous designs featuring booze related items plus a machine gun. Roth wanted something more kid friendly. Note that the high back seat body is absent in the drawings and nothing is mentioned in the article of the seat body's design orgin.

Was another Roth artist, namely David Mann, the one really responsible for the Candy Wagon's seat/body? Notice the pipes too, and compare to the Candy Wagon cover above. Did Roth decide on the style after seeing this? Did Dave do it after seeing the CW or see another sketch of Newt's, or visa versa? Based on this art and the date, I think Dave had the idea first. Roth published this poster in '68.

Friday, March 12, 2010

More Fun From Lincoln Park

Here's the other 1948 Lincoln Park photos from Harry Sucher's book. They are some of the coolest racing shots I've seen from that period and the first reason I believe the date was wrong on the Don Fera photo caption in the previous post.

This VL appears to be fitted with WL tanks. I'll bet these guys rode these machines on the street and raced on weekends. This and the Knucklehead in the above photo are good examples of how race bikes influenced the 'California Bobber' look.

Monday, March 8, 2010

A Lost Opp

The year, 1993. I was at the El Camino Vintage MC Show checking out the bikes when a quiet elderly gentleman near a restored Harley VL For Sale, commented to me, "I didn't know they were so valuable now... I guess I better go home and put a lock on the garage."

The bike he was commenting on. I believe the price was about $10k.

He went on to say that he use to race VL's, still had a few plus a garage full of VL parts. He then said there was a picture of him taking a jump in Harry Sucher's The Milwaukee Marvel book. I told him I had the book and knew the photo he spoke of. We talked briefly and he handed me a card with his contact info.

Of course I knew this photo... It's so cool. The year stated is likely incorrect. There are some other similar jump photos in the book on the same course and by the same photographer, but dated 1948. Also, the rear wheel is a 16" and they weren't available until the '40s.

I should have struck when the iron was hot. As time passed, I felt more uncomfortable about contacting an elderly man that I really didn't know.

I'd guess he has long since passed and I blew a unique opportunity to learn some M/C history first hand. Still, it was nice to have met and chat with one of M/C's old timers.

Anybody out there who knew Don Fera, know what happened to him, or his bikes?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Long Beach Twofer

I haven't posted any in awhile, so here's a few pics from the last two swap meets. It was raining the days before each meet and both times cleared just in time with some perfect swap meet weather.

January 24th

I followed this chopped Sporty in and had to get a better look. You might say, today's take on a '70's bike.

A slight mix of parts from different years makes it a bit hard to tell it's a '68. It was pretty cold (by So Cal standards), before the the sun got high, hence the frosty windshield.

From Reseda to LB. Flathead Fern's son braved the early morning cold aboard his recently acquired Shovel.

No, the Knuckle wasn't for sale, but rather a rebuild for customer pick up.

There's always a interesting bike or trike or two for sale.

A rather strange mixture of parts and colors makes up one man's idea of the perfect bike.

'48 basket anyone? If only I had the bucks.

The box was from an old bakery.

Flathead Fern and son. One of the regulars that has pre-Evo stuff. You can pretty much see how nice the day turned out.

February 28th
The rain stopped again.

As soon as I walked in, I came face to face with this very original '78 75th Anniversary Sportster. 75 for H-D not XL's. It's a little hard to tell here, but the wheels are gold. It sort of set the theme (Sportsters), for the day.

Didn't know they made a Twin-Cam in '38.

Since my first bike was a '71, I have a soft spot for them. I like how simple, skinny, and small this one looks.

Spotted just seconds after Kirk of Sporty Specialties mentioned how often early Sportsters seem to turn up even though their numbers were very few.

A bona fide '57. Engine numbers don't lie.... well at least, most of the time.

I was caught off guard coming across The Baker Shaker from the Kemosabe blog. It's kind of weird seeing a bike in person after online. Sometimes it seems, if you wait long enough, everything eventually shows up at Long Beach.

Mike "Born Loser" D. holds court and promoting the Born-Free show at his usual spot. Hold the date, June 12th.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

This Month's Header

"The Luck of the Biker"

This Month's Header features a tongue in cheek look at the plight of the Biker. Run ins with "The Man" have always been a familiar theme.

The Source

I grew up buying Pete Millar's Drag Cartoons, but didn't have this particular issue until a few years ago. I was familiar with it from the back issues and always thought it was cool. I've been planning to use it as a header pretty much since the blog began.

The location is in nearby Palos Verdes Estates CA, and still looks about the same. I should go there and take a photo from the same spot some time.