Saturday, February 27, 2010

Finding Ben Hardy's Shop?

After putting up the last post I thought, why not look up the spot where Ben Hardy's shop was located? Could the building somehow still exist?

I knew the address since the article in Roth's Choppers magazine gave it at 1168 E. Florence in Los Angeles. A lot has changed in the last 40 years, but I figured, Google Map it with "satellite view" and see what comes up.

The letter "A" marks the spot, but it didn't look good. It sort of looks like a parking lot. I hoped (as sometimes), Google's addresses are off by a little bit. The place to it's left looked promising, so why not take look with the "Street View" option?

Boy was I surprised when this came up! What I thought was an empty parking lot turned out to be the roof. The place next door has the much lighter roof when seen from above. Ben's old shop's roof is darker but is reflecting the sun at this angle.

This place needs to be declared a National Historical Monument... of the MotorCycle kind.

For kicks, I tweaked it in Photoshop for a side by side comparison.

Afterwards, I looked up another Famous Monument. I erased the street name so as not to give it away too easily. Any guesses? I.R., I'm sure you'll know, and Moldy, If you read this, don't tell.

It's too bad places like these can't somehow be preserved for what they once were.

I wonder, do today's occupants realize their significance?

Thursday, February 25, 2010


February ain't just about Valentine's.

Looking sharp in the '30's.

Brother Ben. Perhaps one of the most influential builders ever.

Ben on a '65 H-D that is very likely an ex-police bike. There's another inside the shop's left window.

LA Choppers. From the style of their bikes and their location, I'm sure they knew Ben. This club still exists. I love their colors. I've seen a few members at the Long Beach swap.

EBD's. Probably the most famous of all the black clubs.

Gerald “Fat Daddy”, “Bubba”, “Gerry”, “J.R.”, Biddle. Member of the "Crazy Pharaohs" Port Washington, NY on a well dressed '68.

Bessie Stringfield. Google her.

Good looking group. Note the pin stripes on the second bike and the bobbed fender on the fourth.

Can't hide her feelings sitting on that brand new boat tail.

Sugar Bear. Doing them long, long time.

Can she actually get that Fro in the helmet? Brings a whole new meaning to "Helmet Hair".

So how come Black History Month is celebrated in the shortest month of the year?
"The Man" just keeps stick'in it to the Brothers and Sistahs.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

IronHead Ron

Two weeks ago I paid a visit to my friend Ron. Ron's a Die-Hard IronHead Sportster Hi-Performance Freak and always has some interesting projects up his sleeve.

Here's his XR Ironhead that he's building for the street. He started with a genuine factory XR 750 frame and oil bag.

Look close and you'll see that the cylinder fins have all been drilled. I believe he said it's a 77" stroker. Ron likes to use socket (Allen), head fasteners as much as possible.

His next project, an Ironhead Bagger. Ron always uses trick parts. That's a raked XLR frame and those are aluminum engine mounts dangling up front.

This 1965 stroker will go in the bagger. It's cases will be converted for electric start. When was the last time you saw Axtell aluminum Ironhead cylinders?

A flat track style Triumph project awaits in the back. Once again, featuring aluminum cylinders.

Here's a shot taken in Dec. 2001 of the Sportster from the above shot. There is a lot more going on here than at first glance. Ron shaves, drills, and massages each part before it goes on any of his rides. After an unfortunate incident, that motor went into the bike below.

This bike also recently had an unfortunate and very serious incident. We're glad Ron is now OK. Some of you may remember this bike from the Dec. 08 Century Motorcycles Post.

I'll post more shots as Ron progresses and finishes these very personalized machines.

Monday, February 15, 2010

A Heartbreaking Valentine's

I prefer to keep the blog mostly isolated to Motorcycles, but need to share what we've been through the last week.


We left town last Sunday morning for what was supposed to be a week's get away. On Monday at 5:30 p.m., we received a call from the neighbor who takes care of our cat (Peachey), saying she's coughing, lethargic and lost her appetite. We drove (500 miles), home immediately, saw what looked like blood from one nostril, and took her to the Vet ASAP the next morning (Tuesday). The Vet wasn't sure it was blood, checked her breathing, heart, took blood, urine and later feces samples, gave her a B-12 and antibiotic shots. They thought she was basically healthy and we would have wait 3 days for test results. When we got home from the Vet, Peachey immediately ate. We were happy, but knew she's a nervous eater. I then set up a my studio so she'd have a warm comfortable place to rest.

The next morning we cleaned her up (her nose had more dried discharge), got her to eat and drink a little. She also had her favorite treat, water from a tuna can. It was a warm beautiful day, so we let her go out. She started acting quite normal, visiting some of her favorite spots, wanting to be pet and rolling on her back enjoying the sun. In the late afternoon, she went back to the studio where she slept on my chair for another night. Our hopes were up and we thought she'd surely be better in a few days.

She acted just like this that day

In the morning my wife found Peachey laying on the floor and got her to eat a little. Her nose looked completely fine but, she seemed tired, so we let her rest (back up on my chair), and hoped it was just a reaction to the shots. Around noon or 1 p.m. she wanted to go out and huddled in a spot in the sun for about a half hour. She then went back to my chair and I tinkered in the studio and kept an eye on her until about 3:30 p.m. when I left for a couple of hours. I returned at 5:30 p.m. and checked on her (sleeping), went in the house until about 7:30 p.m., then checked her again. She was laying on the floor on a piece of carpet, so I tried to get her to come over to eat or drink. She got up to walk, and sort of limped and then sat by the door that leads to the garage. I opened the door to show her that it was too cold, but she quickly walked in and laid under my car. I picked her up to take her back to the studio, and could see that she was having problems with her right front leg. I hoped it was a just a cramp from sleeping. I told my wife, and we tried to give her food and water with a dropper. It was 8:00 p.m. and my wife tried calling the Vet, but that's when they close. We still never had any of the test results. We took her inside the house to watch her through the night. I made her a bed in the house and we watched her not sure what to do next. She would occasionally look up like she was startled but would not focus on us or my hand as I moved it. She seemed scared at times and was possibly hallucinating. She was now mostly laying on her belly with her arms forward and limp. She then surprised us by getting up quickly and walking through the kitchen into the living room. She went farther than I would have thought possible before collapsing and letting out 2 terribly sad moans as I picked her up. We knew we better get her emergency care, hoping that if she was hydrated and nourished she would be better. My wife drove as I held her in a box in the back. She was staring up at me, but because of the dark and the motion of the car, I couldn't tell how well she was breathing. Luckily, we were the only ones at the emergency center so were checked in quickly at the reception desk. They quickly took her away for oxygen, an IV to hydrate, and for another blood test. 5-10 minutes later, they called us in. She was laying on the table gasping for air by a oxygen mask, and they had shaved her in some areas for examining. The doctor told us she was bad off, had some bad bruising at the previous test and injection sites (from a blood disorder). She told us that Peachey was going into cardiac arrest, and told us our options. She looked so bad, we had to put her down. It was now around midnight as we left numb and shaken with an empty box. The drive home was surreal. I was relieved that the streets were empty as I slowly drove home. We stayed up until 3:30 a.m. and then tried to sleep. I got maybe 1-2 hours of bad sleep, and my wife got none. The whole next day we were like zombies. We are heartbroken.

Peachy was a Scottish Fold (folded ears), with straight ears. Born 2/15/98. Her breeder sold her when she was six months old to a woman who had her about a year. That woman gave Peachey to a neighbor (the house behind her in the photo above), who kept her maybe 4-5 months. I took care of her when he was away. but after awhile she'd eat at his house and spend the rest of the time at ours. Because of this, we offered to take her in. Actually, she adopted us and fit in perfectly.

Peachey was one moment a coy and sensitive female, the next, an adventurous tough and extremely fast hunter. She constantly hunted and ate all types of bugs including flies, moths, and spiders. She ate birds (even a humming bird), and only left a few feathers, the legs, and a beak as evidence. Once, she brought home two large rats in the same day.

Peachey had to be in on any activity, conversation, or visit from friends and neighbors. She would run to our call, or along with us like a dog to the amazement of others. She seemed to like large dogs and sniffed nose to nose with several. I once saw her do the same with a skunk. Two other skunks didn't like her advances, and she paid for it with sprays in the face.

We were told she got her name from the spot on her back, because it looked like a peach, but many times it actually looked like a heart.

Peachey was the inspiration for this and many other cards and paintings I created for my wife.

Today would have been her 12th birthday. We loved her, will miss her very much and are thankful to have shared many good times over the last 10 years.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The New "Down Under" Look

For a long time, I figured H-D came out with the oval mirror around '71 since the owners manual for the '70 Electra-Glide shows round mirrors. This page from the '70 accessory catalog, shows the long stem oval's part numbers are from'67. What really surprised me, is the (new for '70), short stem mirror was originally designed to be mounted on the under side of the lever. These are the adjustable (slider), types that can be used for left or right.

In the late '70's, I had a friend that ran his this way to be cool. I don't think he knew that's what H-D had intended.

That's what I dig about this stuff. You can always learn something new.

Friday, February 5, 2010

This Month's Header

Every year I try to come up with a card for my better half. This is probably the first that featured a MotorCycle theme.

From 1985. "Tanks for Being My Valentine", (5"x6"). It was done very quickly and meant to be a characture. At the time, I thought it needed the crash bars to give it balance and more weight at the bottom. When your working under the gun and directly to final art, there's no time for second thoughts

If I was going to use it for the blog, I just had to go back and retouch it some. One of these days, I'll do it larger and better.