Friday, March 25, 2011

G.P. Chopper Sculptures

Greg Parigian and I were friends in junior high. Until about 6 years ago, I hadn't seen or talked to him since 1969. If you scroll down in the right column, you'll find a picture of us on our chopped stingrays that was once used for this blog's header. Greg sent a couple of emails with photos the other day. The text below is combination of them explaining the chopper sculptures he made in the 70's.

"Back in the early 70's I made some Harley chopper sculptures. I was selling and trading them for Harley parts to Hells Angels and Satan's Slaves. I would sketch their bike and then make a sculpture of it.

I think I made about 50 of them, but only saved one. I would sign them by putting a "P" on the rear wheel. The sculptures where all about 18" long and 12" tall. They had no bolts or nuts in them, they were all just metal I bought in the metal yard. They were welded together with gas torch and do not remember if I ever brazed any of them.

I was living in Canoga Park at the time and one of my neighbors was a guy they called big Louie. He was then the president of the Satan's Slaves. He rode a really cool bike, a chopped Knucklehead with a extended springer. I made one of his bike that was really nice. Some of them were clear coated. I also made them for other club members. Some of these guys were really scary. But they always paid me or gave me what I wanted in trade. I almost collected enough parts to build a flathead 80". - Greg

Two degrees of separation. Here's a photo of Satan's Slave Louie. I think I grabbed it from the Satan's Crate blog and believe it's from a Easyriders in the 80's. -CK

Anybody out there seen or have or seen one of Greg's sculptures? If you have something like it, look for a "P" or "GP" on the rear wheel.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Mystery Bike Part 3, Bruce's 1st Build

Working from the first post backwards, here's photos of Bruce Parrish's first chopper. This is the same bike that would become the Funny Bike in it's second iteration.

Escape from New York. Bruce bought a complete 1950 Panhead late in 1970 for $100. The frame engine and trans were loaded in the trunk of his friend's Chevelle and they headed for California.

Once in Cali., Bruce stumbled upon Dick Allen's shop, where the bike above, became the inspiration for his build.

Bruce's first mold job.

The proud owner with his freshly finished creation circa 1971.

Nicely detailed motor. Until I asked about it, Bruce had forgot about the chromed barrels. Turn down tips were added to the drag pipes at this point. The hex end bolt forward and highway pegs were made to match the rocker stud bolts of the Dick Allen springer.

Back to New York. Bruce rode his Pan cross country a few times.

Another trip to the east coast in '72. This time with SU carb and 2 into 1 collector exhaust.

Happy Birthday! Bruce said he was never superstitious since his birthday was the 13th. Then, on 1/13/73 (his 23rd birthday), some dude in a Mustang gave him a nasty present. Some might say it's the Green Bike curse. This was the end of the bike as it was and the beginning of the Funny Bike.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

O'Happy Day

Almost forgot!

Have a good one... but watch out for drunken idiots.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Knice Knuckle Kiyo!

I was really late getting to the Garage Co. unveiling of the Born-Free Knucklehead last Saturday. I hate going to bike events in a car, so earlier in the day I paid a visit to my friend Larry Settle's shop to drop off some parts and hopefully get a new battery for my bike. He had one. It had been a really long time since I'd been there, so I ended up hanging out until about 5 p.m. I then rushed home, dropped the battery in and took off.

When I finally got to the Garage Co., guys were still hanging around mesmerized by the Knuck.

The bike has good balance of chrome and black.

A Knucklehead on a Knucklehead? I certainly hope not. Grant prodded me to try it on for size. It fits me well, and I even like the color.

I've said it once and I'll say it again... you really can't improve upon the classic chop. While at first glance it might seem simple, there's a ton of hand made goodies on this bike.

Kiyo making some post party adjustments.

Some lucky soul is gonna win this bike. This could be you!

Saturday, March 12, 2011


Although this is pretty much exclusively a motorcycle blog, the tragedy in Japan can not be ignored. I would have posted something sooner, but was basically lost for words... and still am. If you're in Japan, just know that everyone here is discussing it and has you in their thoughts. For the rest of us, it's a reminder how we should not take anything for granted.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Ed Roth's Hustler Photos Uncut and Uncensored

Okay, I'm exaggerating a bit... nothing was censored, but these photos have never really been seen before.

Awhile back, In the midst of an unrelated email subject, Joe Hurst surprised me with Ed Roth's original photos for the Hustler feature in Choppers Magazine. As it turned out, Ed gave Joe the photos after it was in the magazine. The first two photos (below), were not published. I did a post on the Hustler feature last Dec. and although the last three made the magazine, I'm posting them again since they are much bigger, much better (than the bad print quality of the magazine), and uncropped.

Here's a cool one. It's an alternate to the shot Roth used to open the article. Yes the angle of the one used is better, but it has that big finger print on it. Like Roth said in the feature, "those forks really shine!"

Another photo that didn't make it.

The sissy bar in all it's glory. This one and the two below were featured, but the top of the sissy bar and the groovy trash can got cropped out.

Besides the details of the Phil Ross stitched seat, Jim Andrews bike "Grapes of Wrath" (upper left), is easier to spot in this large print.

The money shot, large and uncut. Joe later had the big SU carb polished to match the other shinny stuff. As mentioned in the first post, the engine came out of Dick Allen's Wheeler Dealer.

I think it's pretty cool to see these behind the scene shots all these year later.
Thanks Joe!

Friday, March 4, 2011

What to do with a '79 up Ironhead

When the 1979 Sportster came out very early in '78, I like many tradition Harley fans hated it. It's new frame may have done things better, but it was a lousy platform for a custom. The first thing that struck many was the triangle section under the seat making it now look like every other (mostly from Japan), motorcycle . The seat was too flat across it's top, and then there was those pipes! Sure almost everyone replaced pipes on a new Harley, but this one proved difficult due to the location of the rear brake reservoir. Soon custom catalogs advertising pipes had the now famous disclaimer, fits all years except '79.

Perhaps ugly ages more gracefully with time... or maybe it's just the slick studio photography? Later, I sort of liked this look. Even the weird pipes kind of grew on me. This two page center spread ad is from the May 1978 Street Chopper.

The brake reservoir location, pipes, and this style of battery/oil tank cover only lasted a year. It seemed like each following year, Harley would slightly modify the Sportster to try and make it once again more appealing to the traditional Harley buyer.

The once unpopular 1977-'78 XLCR. Harley recycles everything. If I'm not mistaken, the fiberglass front fender is the same one that was advertised in the parts and accessories catalogs many years before this model was offered.

As time passed and XLCR's became collectible (nobody liked them at first either), I thought these later Ironheads would be good raw material for XLCR type bikes. One big plus, you could do them up anyway you wanted without messing up a collectors item. (My personal idea/concept was always to be more like a XR750 with no fairing and traditional spoke wheels). I wasn't the only one. A few years ago at El Camino, I saw XLCR clones made from '79 and later XL's.

This bike (from last week's Long Beach Swap), prompted this post and is fairly close to my vision of what a cool street tracker would look like. It turned out to built by the guy that does the CR clones and was done up from some of his parts wheeling and dealing. It would be really cool to use a pre-cone motor with magneto in one of these frames for an even more authentic look.

Maybe Harley is smarter than we think. It's history seems to be littered with models that were not first liked or didn't sell well, that later become very sought out. 1971 Boat tails and 1983 XR's come to mind.

The story of the first FXR's is pretty similar, and I didn't like them at first too.