Friday, January 14, 2011

Dick Allen's Cobra, Shop, and other Wild Things

All photos taken by and courtesy of Bruce Parrish

This shot of Dick and his Cobra Trike is probably familiar to many of you. It was published in Garage magazine and I posted it myself from that source awhile back. This time it's a scan from Bruce's original photo so it's without the magazine's gutter running down the image.

Dick and his pet leopard. It strikes me as very bizarre to see a wild cat on Artesia blvd. I asked Bruce about it and he replied, "Dick was really good with animals". The conversation switch gears, so I need to get back to him on that subject.

A good view of the trike. The bike next to it served as inspiration for Bruce's first chopper. More on that to come.

While Bruce's interest was in shooting the trike and this bike, I really like the fact we get a rare glimpse of Dick's shop. That's Dick to the right talking to someone who's cutoff. Those are the beginnings of more cobra trike frames leaning near the tires. If you look carefully you can also spot 7 Harley frames.

This blown version never got further than this mock up. The Cobra Trikes were a joint effort between Dick and Ed Roth. Dick welded up frames and Roth glassed up the bodies. The frames and the bodies were $250 each. Dick also made and sold the motor mounts. The bike next to it is the bike Joe Hurst referred to as Dick's Rat Fuck. It has the old purple Loco-Motion 1 tank and is the bike (with a different engine), in the previous post (Freeway Jamming), that eventually became White Bear.

It appears there was some type of parts counter in the shop. I'd love to get a glimpse of the bike inside.

I'm very glad that Bruce took and kept these photos. As far as I know, he's the only one who has shots of the shop, and once again, want to say thanks for sharing them. Now, if we could only go and walk inside them.


Noot said...

Totally Rad - Awesome Pics & Text !

Anonymous said...

I remember Dick Allen when he had his shop on Manhattan Beach Blvd by the railroad trcks in Lawndale CA before he moved to Redondo Beach CA and then to Gardena CA and the rides we did to the Kern River back in the late 60s
with the So Bay Biker Crew.

The Wolfman

Chris K said...

Wolfman, Email me if you ever feel like it. I'm always interested in more stories and photos.

Capt. Phillips said...

There were three bodies popped from that mold. One for Dick, the other for Leon Dailey (who continues to build the trikes) and the third we just sold to one of our customers in Sweden.

Capt. Phillips
Beast Custom Cycle Supply

Chris K said...

Capt. It might be different but, I've been meaning to post a photo I took of a never used Roth trike body for sale at a Mooneyes Rat Fink party in the 90's. Roth was in attendance so it was genuine. It was only $250. I'll have to dig it up and check it.

Art De Ross said...

I was one of the people that hung out at the shop on artesia and once visited the one on manhatten. One of my builds took second place to the Blue Goose he built for a guy named Charlie. It was around the time Nez developed the phase 3 belt. I use to weld Dick's narrow springers at a shop in El Segundo.

Chris K said...

Art, I hope you saw some of the other posts I've done on Dick and the south bay. Just click on the Dick Allen or South Bay Style label at the bottom of the posting to see them all. You can always email me if you feel like sharing any stories or info.

darcy allen said...

thank u, that is my dad u r talking about.i wish my mom n dad wouldnt have goy a 62.

Anonymous said...

I am the one from Sweden that
recently bought one of Ed Roths
remaining Cobra glass bodies from
Capt. Phillips to build a clone
of these trikes. In the seventies
I saw a picture of one, in the Easyriders Magazine
and the image
has since then never left me. The
above pictures of Allens trike
has been a great inspiration in
my project which I plan to finish
this winter.
Wolfgang, Saltsjö-Boo, Sweden

Anonymous said...

some of these early V8 trikes had left&right dual radiators built into the fenders.

Anonymous said...

I remember Dick Allen My Uncle Fats use to send me there to deliver parts sometimes I had to pull my wagon full of parts Me and my cousin Tony "Fats oldest son" and when we got there Dick would give us money for soda's. And many of times I stopped there to fill my bike tire with air, I miss those shops... His Cobra Bike was just plain wild, now he was a real thrill seeker. Miss you Dick