Saturday, May 29, 2010
Wednesday, May 26, 2010
But I digress, David Edwards was kind enough to send me some pics with short story of a Ford Flathead V-8 powered cycle that I can really dig. The fact that it was featured in a 1954 CYCLE magazine helps, but as I got a closer look and see the detail changes that are in the works I think this relic is going to be a true road rocket with old time Hot Rod class. Another labor of love from our prolific custom motorcycle survivor saviour, David Edwards:
"Paul, Bates fender arrived safe & sound, thanks very much. I think it will rechrome very nicely and looks like a dead-ringer for the fender in the old B&W. Again, appreciate your contributions and enthusiastic interest in the LVD project.
In my update I mentioned a Ford V8-60 Indian. What started as an innocent, "Hey, what's that?" when I saw an "Indian V-8!" cover blurb on the front of a 1954 Cycle magazine turned into an investigation as to the bike's whereabouts and then into a full-blown quest to purchase and restore the thing. I write about in the foreword to Tom Cotter's new book The Vincent in the Barn: Great Stories of Motorcycle Archeology about tracking down barn-find bikes. Long story short, Bill Drabek, a West Texas car mechanic, had a 1940 Indian 4 with a bad motor and a Ford V8-60, the little 2200cc flathead. He combined the two in a stretched frame that spans 9 feet from fender tip to fender tip. A 90-degree angle drive (oil field surplus?) moves power from the motor to a flipped Harley tranny.
Drabek put about 40,000 miles on the bike. Besides Cycle, it made Mechanix Illustrated and the Ford Times. Sadly, Drabek dropped dead of a heart attack in 1968. His grieving widow would not hear of selling the beloved V-8, so it was wheeled into a shed, where time, several generations of rodents, the occasional flood and, finally, stick-wielding juvenile delinquents had their way with the old bike. When elderly Mrs. Drabek was put into a home in the 1990s, it was in very rough shape. The bike apparently went to tax auction soon after, about the same time I started my sleuthing. As the story goes the new owner contacted Jay Leno, who declined interest, so he was primed to deal when I got in touch. Haggling done, I flew to Corpus Christi with every tie-down strap I owned, rented a truck and hauled the big white beast back home. That was 13 years ago.
After several years on the back-burner, I've turned up the heat again on the V-8 restoration. John Bivens at Indian Engineering in Stanton is doing the heavy lifting on this one. He does some of the very best Indian restoration jobs I've ever seen, but this project is definitely above and beyond the call. As shown in the snapshots, frame and engine are now reunited, radiator has been mocked up, Duo-Glide fork rebuilt and attached. Much still to do, but maybe it and the Von Dutch Triumph will be finished at the same time, making for a very odd set of custom-bike bookends."
Sunday, May 23, 2010
Dave sent me these pics recently with the backround story:
"Richard Slavens was the owner and my dad, Ernie Kirkland, made the intake manifolds and what used to be the gas tank on top of the oil tank. In '62 or '63, the two of them went to Marysville, OH and purchased the extremely rare road race heads from Harry Bellville and also bought a complete Lightening lower end which I would assume is still in this bike.
Richard sold the bike to a guy in Las Vegas. The guy in Vegas had called and said he wanted to buy the bike, "but I'm getting my leg amputated tomorrow, I'll call you after it's done." He called back the day after the amputation and said, "I want to buy your bike," so Richard sold it to him.
I have no idea, what year he sold it. The pictures that I got off of Facebook that I just sent, came from Richard's nephew who said, that these were the only pictures that his uncle Dick had left of the bike."
The updated story as of May 28th.
"I spoke with Justin on the phone yesterday about the Vincent. He is very interested in the original history of the bike and is actually in the process of putting the bike back together like it was originally and running it a Bonneville this year."
The same bike today.The Bikernet story HERE.
Wednesday, May 19, 2010
Monday, May 17, 2010
Some choppers beg for longer forks. I started with stock length on mine, then 4" over, and finally the latest version that's 8" over and I'm really happy with it now. This bike wasn't working with stock length and going longer would have made things worse. Jason lowered the stock Triumph forks and machined an axle to mount the small brake front wheel with 21" rim and now she's sitting pretty.
In the email he sent me this morning he said "I've got to tweak the front end a bit, mount the rear fender, tail light, and some misc, then I should be able to dig into the motor. I'm looking for a rigid preunit tank so I can move on. It's running a bultaco front brake, 21" akront, unit front end and rear wheel, some modified BSA foot pegs and brake pedal. "
There are a bunch of pics of the progress of this build HERE.
I want to thank Jason for making it to the DeathTraps MC Copperopolis party this weekend and everyone else that came out and made it a success. More to come!