Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The California Charger

In the early seventies the chopper craze was changing rapidly with many builders and suppliers heading into the high performance mode. Ground up customs utilizing only the Harley drive train were being built more and more and were featuring exotic goodies such as aluminum oil tanks, mag wheels, centerline type disc wheels, two into one collector exhausts, disc brakes, aircraft style braided oil/fuel lines, SU carbs, open primaries, belt drives, not to mention complete custom forks and frames.
Bob Hall on the exotic California Charger. The unique triple gas tanks sort of creates an optical illusion. The center tank held gas and also oil to lube the supercharger under the seat.

One such builder was Bob Hall who was once a partner owner of US Motorcycles on Atlantic Blvd. in Lynwood, CA. During that time Bob built the California Flash. A very custom pear white rigid fork Panhead featuring an American 12 spoke up front and a auxiliary fuel tank built into the sissy bar. I'll post it sometime.

Later on Bob opened his own shop in Lawndale CA (which may classify him a South Bay builder), and followed up with the California Charger as seen below. It was called the charger since it had a super charger under the seat that could be disconnected for street use, hence the winged oil tank out front. It had a very cool frame of his own design with a slight dropped seat area which to this day is one of the only aftermarket frames I like. As a matter of fact, when I was young I built a 1/8 scale replica frame out of brass for a Revell Harley model that I still have.

The CA Charger was featured in Custom Chopper magazine and one day I'll post pictures from that feature too.
This photo is from the Kid Deuce collection. The supercharger has been removed and it appears to have been repainted. It's hard to tell but the front mag may have been changed too. Why it's displayed by Alphabet's Custom West is a mystery but it is featuring one of their collector exhaust.

When it comes to choppers my overall favorites tends to fall back to the classic bikes of the early sixties but the South Bay Style and some of the high performance influenced choppers of the early seventies keep pushing their way up. 

Click the Bob Hall label below to see another bike he built.

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