Saturday, December 29, 2012

Keeping The South Bay Torch Burning

A little over a week ago Joe Hurst called and said he was stopping by Steve Sharp's to drop off some stuff for his Panhead's rebuild. Steve is a long time Southbay Chopper builder who happens to live just up and around the corner from me and is putting together Joe's Pan. Joe needed the top end done as the bottom was already assembled. It seems a recent conversation about needing a sissy bar built turned to engine work. It's now very likely that Steve will help Joe with many aspects of the whole chrome frame bike.
The mighty harley V-twin. It's always an impressive sight when out and up on a stand. 

Steve was in the process of installing a right side electric starter on this clean Panhead which he helped a local rider build last summer.

I just found out that Steve builds Dick Allen style springers based on his old friend Fats' versions. Fats used a bolt pinned lower tree and used rectangular stock for the lower spring perch, where as Dick welded his trees and used round stock for the perch. Steve has perfected them over the years and follows Dick's theory that the bike's center of gravity is the most important factor in building a long bike that handles well. This one has off set trees as suggested by Mike Torres and per the owners request. Fats' and Dick's springers were always inline. Sugar Bear's are off set.
Here's a shot of most of the bike.

I've seen Steve blasting up the street on this same bike for the last 25 years. I had never met him in all those years, so one day about 2 years ago, I dropped by and introduced myself. One of these days, I hope to do a feature of his bike. He's also a master mechanic and drag boat builder/racer and has won many races with his home built boats.

It's great to see a couple of South Bay Chopper Veterans pair up and still doing what they've always done. Build Choppers!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Big Roy & Little Bob

More photos courtesy of Kerry Crist.
Little Big Men. Little Bob cruising with Big Roy.

Big Roy built this trike after losing his leg. Check out the unusual 'sprung' dual beer keg seats. It wasn't too uncommon for beer kegs to show up as seats or tanks on all kinds of custom vehicles in those days, but two with springs set these apart from others.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Rarin' to Go?

I don't know about Rarin' to Go, but I'm back from a very long absence. As a matter of fact the last 10 posts plus last month's header were actually done on the fly. I'll try to update the blog more often now that I'm back. There's still one big problemo. My ancient computer's operating system and browser is now way out of date, so until I rectify that, I'm stuck with using my wife's lap top for the blog. 

Friday, November 30, 2012

Hustler Nights

Joe Hurst and the Hustler circa 1969.
The photo was taken around the time it won 1st Place in the Street Bike Class at the L.A. show. More on that another time. Note the high pipes. It's kind of interesting that he crouched behind it as he did for the Choppers Magazine feature 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

South Bay Bike

Shawn sent in this old photo of his late father inlaw Roger Cooke's South Bay Chopper.
Proof that not all of them had Dick Allen springers. But a Sissy Bar with a South Bay Swoop and a set of collector pipes were  practicaly standard features.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

The Goose Neck King

Here's some more cool photos from Mr. Hurst. These are of Skip Fisk's bike. If you were in the South Bay and wanted a Goosed frame, Skip was the man. Check any old magazine with a Goosed Chopper and Skip's name will likely be mentioned in the builder's specs.
Skip is on the left. For a Goose, it's a fairly compact chop and is the only Goose I've seen that didn't run a long springer. 
The neck itself doesn't appear to be as kicked out as seen on other Geese. It's more like the intent was to lower it than stretch it. The molding is nicely done and a bit different than most others as well.

Monday, November 12, 2012


Kerry Crist sent this photo from Big Roy's collection. It's a CHP officer on his new ride (VL), at the Scaramento Bridge. I'm going to guess it's around 1934-35.
There are several interesting things about this photo. The bike has several chrome items that one wouldn't normally expect on a police bike. Most notable is the completely chromed out front wheel, hub and brake assembly with the center of the rim painted. In addition to the handle bars and crash bar, it's very surprising that the fuel line and clutch pedal and linkage recieved a dip in the chrome tank. Were these factory options, or done after the fact? The officer's uniform is pretty dapper too. Check out the winged wheel on the hat. Riding around on a slick ride all decked out and getting paid for it (especially during the Depression), sounds like a good job. Of course there is one draw back, you still have to be a cop.

Hey Doc. Sprocket. Surely you have something to add.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Another South Bay Original-Bob Red Beard

Joe Hurst does it again! Joe sent another outstanding photo from the origins of the South Bay Chopper scene.
Everything about this photo is bitchin! I believe it's from December 1967. Bob was one of the original chopper guys running around the South Bay in the 60's. Check out those forks. At this angle the trees almost make it look like a Vard but more likely off a British bike. If I remember correctly, Joe bought this panhead soon after in Jan.'68. It was Joe's first Harley, the one he painted purple and is doing that wheelie in that now famous photo.

Friday, November 2, 2012

This Month's Header

It's November so Autumn is in high gear.
Get out and Ride!... before the low gear of Winter kicks in.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pie's Goose

A few years back I did a search for Goose Neck Choppers and came across this photo on some Harley site. It was submitted by Jim Boatman (of himself), circa 1972.
I figured this had to be a Goose Neck from the South Bay.

About a year or so later, Joe Hurst sent me the following photos of an old friend's bike. Joe remembered him as Pie.
If you wait long enough, it all shows up on the internet.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Hector's Knuck

Kerry Crist sent this photo from the 70's of his old friend Hector's chop.This bike looks like it came right off the pages of Big Bike Magazine and D&D Cycles (later known as Jammer).

Friday, October 19, 2012

1965 Panhead De-Rusteration

My friend Larry Settle purchased a reallly rough condition 1965 Harley Police bike something like 12 or 15 years ago with the plan to restore it one day. Larry has a shop in Harbor City, Ca and since customer's bikes come first (plus some other personal bikes), he didn't get to the Pan until maybe 4 years ago. While he had  finished it a little more than a year ago, and I had witnessed it's progress, I never saw it completely finished until recently.

I didn't get any before pictures before the tear down, but the following pictures pretty much illustrate how rough it was. It was possibly one of the worst condition 1965 Electra-Glides out there.

As rough as the outside was, Larry said the internal parts look as though they had little use.

Larry tried to salvage as many of the original parts as possible, but all of the sheet metal had to be replaced. If I remember correctly, the bike spent many years outside under a tree slowly leaning and sinking more and more into the earth.

Larry chose to restore it to a civialian mode. The bike's speedometer was marked BHPD.  Beverly Hills Police Dept.?

Strangely, the original tanks were 3.5 gallon which you never see on a '65. Larry found some 5 gallon tanks which were a first for '65.
Another one saved from the ravages of time.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Chuck's Knuck

A while back, Bruce Parrish sent these shots of a Knucklehead that was willed to a to a friend. It's a South Bay chopper that now resides in Utah.
After talking with Joe Hurst and taking a second look, it was determined that's not a Dick Allen springer. Dick's were too narrow for probably even these small disc brakes. Plus, this has offset trees, so it's likely a Sugar Bear springer. It's hard to tell if the frame is a highly modified Harley or aftermarket. I'm going to say the collector exhaust is from Alphabet's Custom Cycles.

One of the most interesting features of the bike is the top motor mount. It's exactly like the one on Dick's Loco Motion in that it bolts directly to the rocker shaft ends and like on Loco Motion, it has open rockers. 

Having a friend pass is hard to take, but what a inheritance/memorial.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

South Bay Originals Countinued

Here's another photo of Dish Pan Dave courtesy of Joe Hurst.
This is probably the same bike that was shown in front of the Hermosa Pier in the earlier post, but now sporting extended forks as was the hip thing to do in '68.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

This Month's Header

This art was inspired by the tank art on Doc Holidays Witch done by Randy Smith. Go back to last October's header to see what I mean.
She was suppose to be more malevolent but, because of my haste, it didn't turn out that way.

Monday, September 24, 2012

The New Stations of the Cross T-Shirts are in

For those who have been waiting, sorry it took so long, but they are now available in my store. Once again it's a small batch and for now, only in size Large and XL. Click on the word store, or the t-shirt at the right column.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Space Shuttle LAnding

I like to keep it about motorcycles, but this was way too cool.

We really wanted to see the Space Shuttle landing close up, but wondered if it was possible without arriving super early and also to not get stuck in a huge crowd. This is L.A. after all.

I had heard that the shuttle would be using the south left runway, so I went on Google maps and found an area along Lennox Blvd. just east of the 405 freeway that lined up with it.  On Wednesday my wife and I scouted it out and it appeared very promising. We figured it was best to avoid Avation Blvd. near the Proud Bird restaurant since it and the lookout in El Segundo would be where most people would try to go.

We got to our location in only about 15 minutes and had no idea what to expect. Although a few others had discovered our spot, we had no trouble finding a parking spot. Most were using the area to park at and then walk down under the freeway to La Cienega Blvd. which we were told was a zoo. Later, when more activity started, many more people showed up and started to illegally park, but it still wasn't uncomfortably crowded.  

There really wasn't a firm landing time and it's exact flight plan wasn't told to the public. My wife's friend was in contact with her husband who was up by the Getty Center and was also following tweets. Then my wife was the first to notice the Shuttle several miles to the north heading east. People started getting excited.

We all figured there was at least an hour to go since we thought it still needed to fly over several landmarks. Minutes later, we were all shocked to see it coming in from the east.  I thought, WTF? We blew it! It was way earlier than the estimates plus it appeared to be using a north runway. 
When we saw this, I thought I blew it and were in the wrong flight path! We noticed the wheels weren't down and were really relived. It had to be a north runway fly over. Some didn't know and started to leave.

It turned out to be an LAX fly over. No one had mentioned that would occur so some folks left. Then once again, much sooner than expected, we were surprised when it showed up for what we thought was it's final approach and landing.    
Coming in from the southeast with a hard turn caught everybody off guard.

It was moving at a pretty good clip and it all seem over way too fast, but wait.... the landing gear wasn't down! We also noticed that planes that had landed earlier, came in at a much slower speed. Once again, some folks started to split too early.
Note the gear is still up. Another fly by! How cool is that?
Again, a sort time later, it flew back gear down and ready to land. 
Third time's a charm.
As It turned out, it used south runway right, not left, but we were still fairly close.
It was exciting and actually kind of an emotional experience. To see people from all walks come together, be proud, and in awe. The Space Shuttles represented the best of the best for the USA. We really need something positive like this to help inspire and motivate the people of our country again. Later on the news, I heard it's impact on the children who saw it. I only hope that the politicians would take note.   

Monday, September 17, 2012

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Golden Three Wheeled Memories

Mark Bourassa sent a couple more of his buddy Greg Thompson's trike. Enjoy.

To see the first post it was in, click here.

Monday, September 10, 2012

It ain't El Camino if it's not at El Camino, or...

...Bigger Ain't Always Better!

I was very disappointed when I received the mailer announcing the location change. Once I visited their website I found that they couldn't have it at El Camino College since the parking structure is being refitted for seismic reasons, but they won't be bringing it back! since they claim they turn away 30 to 50 vendors. Now, anybody who's been there knows, it's already big enough. Once you take in all the vendors, there's little time to check out the show, or visa versa.

The bigger problem I have with the change. Maybe I'm selfish since El Camino (in Torrance), is only about 4 miles from my home, but if you consider the weather differences, it's a bad move for all. September is one of the hottest times of year in Socal and that already made for warm temperatures for some years.

I compared the 5 day forecast highs of the two locations by their zip codes today. El Camino: Today 80°, Friday 84°. Iriwindale: Today 94°, Friday 100°. If this keeps up, I may blow it off and just go to the Long Beach Swap the next day, which my brother mentioned would have been a good temporary location since LB Veterans Stadium is not usually booked on Saturdays.

By the way, yes, things always change. The show hasn't really been at El Camino for 37 years, but actually since 1987. For weather and space, that change was for the better than when it was in the mall parking lots of La Mirada and La Habra. Another change. Unlike the current promoter states, it used to always be on the first Saturday in October.

For more info or complaints:

Sunday, September 9, 2012

This Month's Header

September pretty much means 'back to school' plus I wanted to do something related to trikes, so this old drawing seemed right. I'm sure it was done when I should have been doing homework.

This pencil drawing is from around 1967-68 (Junior High), and is amongst the oldest drawings I still have. I didn't have any Harley references, so stuff like engine details were mostly based on a friend's drawings I'd seen at school. That explains why the push rods and carb are on the left side.

This drawing also relates to a post I had done about Roth's Candy Wagon that I'd like to revisit.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

South Bay Riders Late 70's

More photos courtesy of Kerry Crist.

Gary from the Dairy. His bike looks a bit like a cross between White Bear (paint style), and Earing Mike's chopper (dual seats & anodizing). Dick Allen springer, chrome rear fender, Sportster headlight, open primary, flip up gas cap, and Bruce Parrish paint, all common features among many South Bay Bikes.

Gary, Tim, Little Bob, and Big Roy on the 405. More on Big Roy's trike to come.

Monday, August 27, 2012

R.I.P. Neil

It's a sad state of affairs when the first astronaut to walk on the moon dies of old age before we pick up where we left off with the Apollo missions.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Born Free 4 Engine Art

No blab, just eye candy. Some photos aren't of the best quality, but they'll have to do.