Saturday, May 29, 2010

Baron's Speed Shop

The Delinquent has remained a favorite of mine since I first saw it about six years ago. I still go back to it often in my dreams of building the ultimate Triumph Pre-unit show bike. Pure early '60s elements of Candy, Chrome and vintage Speed Equipment.

I have talked to Dick a handfull of times on the telephone and he is a helluva nice guy that really knows his stuff. His custom Triumph's have made it into a stack of magazines now and the number of builds along with the attention to detail and quality while remaining true to the style of early 1960's California Customs is unequaled. Some of his work can be seen on his website HERE, but I've heard rumor of a new site in the works.

Dick moved shop not too long ago and sent over these pics of his latest masterpieces.

I especially like this duplex framed chop. Unique lines & nice proportions. Chromed Cub hubs laced to 21" rims are sweet!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Edwards V-8 Indian

Being a Triumph guy I'm not too excited by most motorcycles that weigh in at over 500 pounds, and in my, not always so humble opinion, some of the absolute worst of the behemoth category are the Boss Hoss type v-8 monstrosities. The other week at the DTMC chopper campout party there was a V-8 trike that looked like it probably had a top speed of about 160 mph or more. Looking at this high dollar piece of modern three wheel engineering I thought, I guess some people fail to learn from history or even investigate it. Ed Roth built a very similar machine in the late 60's called the California Cruiser. Now I love to haul ass down the asphalt as much as the next guy, but I also like to take the turns as they come and come out if them in one piece. The CA Cruiser design proved to be fatal to at least one owner due to the narrow wheel base in back and a tendency to flip over going into corners at any kind of speed. The modern version witnessed at the party had nearly identical dimensions as the CA Cruiser. Good luck bud!

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

Justin Kell Vincent Drag Bike

Way back when Dave Kirkland first sent me those original 1960's pics from his Dad's collection of old Triumph's included in his email there was this B&W pic of a Vincent Drag / Show bike that I did not include in the original Kirkland POST.

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."
Dave Kirkland

The same bike today.The Bikernet story HERE.

Gotta say I love the road racer gas tank. The tank relief is the coolest!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Speaking of Custom Seats

I did a full post on this bike awhile back but did not include this picture I pasted together later from two pages before the scanner set up revolted on me. Click for large version.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Jason "Vor" South City Pre-unit Lowrider

The way it was before he bought it from world renowned internet know it all and all around expert on every subject known to man, "Hackasaw".

To me getting a custom chopper right takes a combination of things in proper balance with each other. Rear frame stretch, rake, gas tank mounting height, fork length etc. are things that can be done a million different ways. The original build by Hackasaw doesn't quite get it does it? Many things to pick on that I won't bother with, but the plate seat style is something that was especially bad in my book.

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!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Chip Quinn's '53 6T Showbike Project

I recently worked out a trade with Chip to swap the T120 head I posted for a TR6 head he has. He also sent me these pics of this super cool start he has to a rigid frame Triumph showbike project. I gave him my thoughts, and he's asking, so read his story and don't be shy about any comments you might have.
I like this work in progress stuff and as I've stated I'm a supporter of the long term project so feel no shame. Anyone else have a project or a mock-up they'd like to contribute email me some pics to

"I am enclosing some pictures of my '53 6T "show bike" project that I am slowly working on. This is the one that I was talking about back at Christmas that I stretched 13/4" in the rear lower rails. Your writing on your dads long term project made me think that it is about time to send some pictures and show what I am up to. This is the definition of "long term"project in it's most extreme. As I slowly find and am able to buy the various parts I want, I add them to the mix. Right now I'm trying to decide two things about it and soliciting opinions - should I run an aluminum front 19" rim and my Avon 2.75 x 19, or should I go with my 21" Akront aluminum rim with a 3.00 x 21? Either way, the hub and brake drum will get chromed, as well as the lowers, (just found some '56 - '57 types this weekend, they'll get shaved and go on soon) triple trees, covers, the whole works. The other big question mark at this time is what about the seat? I have a large rounded, sprung base type, (not sure of brand type) or should I go ahead and make the banana type that is mocked up from chipboard on the frame now? As I said, opinions are being solicited, and my skin is pretty thick, so use these photos as you will. They're not of super quality, but if you want use them on your sight, please do. The others are just kind of a look around my little slice of all consuming hell. I punch louvers for most of the hot rod shops around my part of the country, plus build chassis, wire, and trouble shoot hot rods for my living. Customer stuff always comes first, so my stuff always goes together slow. The background behind my bike is my '29 Ford roadster pick up, and getting it up and functional is next on the list of things to do. The view of the truck and bike is what I see from my press as I work everyday - not too bad! The last picture is of my humble '48 Plymouth, which is my daily driver. Hopped 360 Chrysler, Tremac 5 speed, revised geometry Mustang 11 front end and a bunch of other trick stuff topped with a body easily worth upwards of 500.00 dollars on the open market! Fast and fun, and has been driven the equivalent of to the moon and back in the last fifteen years as a hot rod. Oh, threw a picture of my '61 6T project in here too. It was going to be a Bonneville clone until you ran the pictures of Kepaloa - crap, more stuff to think about! Super long term on that though. One last thing on my '53, a friend said he would love to paint it for me ( his car is on the upper left cover of WORLD OF RODS) so now I have to think about paint schemes Any ideas?"