You know I love Panheads. I've owned a half dozen of them over the last 20 years. Used to chop them up like "Captain America" and Billy from EASYRIDERS, the movie. Long front ends with flames or scallops, little gas tanks and no front fenders. Man! Then I liked FUNCTIONAL! Short Front forks, no rake. Fuller fenders, bigger fuel tanks and more lights. I always was partial to the Panhead, rigid frame. Then I started to dig OLD DRESSERS. Even now I am into that classic 50's styling, but I want performance and, especially, modern controls. I finally gave up my hand shift/foot clutch, here awhile back. My present bike is the first non-rigid frame I 've had in over a dozen years. I even moved down to baby apes on the current shovelhead.
But I built this Panhead during an in between phase because it really had the best of old & new. Originally a box '48 Pan parts sitting next to a wishbone frame, for $1000. Rebuildable parts were limited to: Frame, stock rake but needs some tabs welded. Extended springer, poor shape but salvageble by converting 45" flathead fork legs. Decent set of heads, rebuilt them with hard seats & Manley valves in AMPCO 45 guides, convert "Plumber" style intakes into "O ring" type and outside oil feed and new exhaust flanges. Had a rebuildable pair of "Star" wheel hubs. That was it. Before long I had the early fenders, including that "Glide" style for the front springer, and big 16" wheels & tires laced up on it and I couldn't find an early Pan lower end. When the '73 bottom and tranny crossed my path I decided it would be better suited, anyway. I was doing this at the time I had just bought PETE'S CYCLES out and moved in my Tattoo shop. I started Rusty Savage's Tattoo Cycles and built this bike in the winter of '88 & '89. I did a lot of modifications to build this bike, and it worked out as a 1948 Replica. The motor was a STRONG 74". "F" grind Andrews cam for a shovelhead required some more headwork on the Panheads due to higher lift ratio. Grafted juice brake on the rear and my unique, nearly patented, hand/foot clutch and hand shift setup. Machine work by Jim Messler of Messler Products in Eugene OR. Engine work by Bob McCaa of McCaas Motorcycles in Albany OR. Fabrication, wheels laced & trued and tranny rebuilt by yours truly. Paint and cool pinstriping by Larry Buckles Signs in Junction City OR.
Took it to Sturgis in '90 and '91.
These 2 shots are hours apart on Main St. on the day of the shooting on Main street.
Below is a book on the 50th Sturgis Rally. Click on it to see a published photo of my old panhead by a good photographer, just click your back arrow to return.
Similar photos were also printed in the papers, Supercycle magazine and Outlaw Biker. I was sitting inside my tattoo shop next door to Gunners Lounge when the ordeal went down. Everybody cleared out from in front of Gunners when they started with the police line but I sat inside and tattooed away. Then it took some persistance to get it back later that night
THUNDER IN THE HILLS - Sturgis at 50 ©1991 by Miguel Luis Fairbanks. Published by OFF THE WALL PRESS - PO Box 37 - Santa Cruz CA 95063-0037
Then, you never know what you really want to ride. I like to
have a couple of them around to satisfy my varied tastes. I had started building
the rigid frame shovel by then and I was really just refining the concept I
already had. So, the right guy makes the right offer to rebuild and buy the
panhead. It was crazy, to me what he wanted, but it was like a neat way to bury
her so I did it. Put on an old set of Shovel heads I had and dropped it in a
chopped rigid frame flat rear fender and 21" front tire & little fender
on the springer. I still have that old chassis, in fact, 'cept I substituted
a original Wide Glide and I am putting an all polished '69 Shovel in it now.
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