Gilby Clarke has carved out a pretty solid place in musical history as a genuine guitar hero. Rocking on stage in front of a few hundred thousand people with the members of Guns N' Roses may sound like an ideal job to a lot of us, but after a while it becomes just that-a job. Albeit it's a really cool job that many of us would kill to have, but after a while it becomes a job nonetheless. So what does a guy do when he is not rocking every ass in the free world or being a part of a successful TV show? If you are Gilby Clarke, you build, maintain, and ride the hell out of a fleet of Harley-Davidson-powered motorcycles. And we can tell you that Gilby is as passionate about his bikes as anyone we can think of. In fact, he rode this very bike on the El Diablo Run this year deep into the heart of Baja California.
But Gilby's relationship with this particular Panhead started way back in 1992, when he purchased the bike as a basket case. And back in '92 there weren't a lot of options when it came to aftermarket parts for early model bikes, so Troy Honeycutt and Jack Ferraris did the best they could with the bike and the limited resources they had at school in Phoenix that same year. That's when Gilby realized that the bike would always be a work in progress.
Flash forward to 2000: Time to update the bike. Gilby decided to take it to a local shop to have the crew freshen up the motor, put a fresh polish on the engine cases, and put an electric starter back on the bike. That's when all the trouble began. One day while he was out riding, the motor started pouring oil out of the lifter blocks-that was the day that the wheels started to come off the train. After fixing the oil leak, the bike would just quit running whenever Gilby would get it up to 70 miles per hour. Then it just broke down altogether.
At this point it would have been pretty easy to just give up on the old Panhead, but Gilby isn't the type who gives up on the things that he loves. So he called on his friends Troy Honeycutt (again) and Dylan Zwicker to tear the bike completely down and give it the once-over. Dylan ripped the bike apart and handed the engine over to Troy, and while Troy was freshening up the powerplant, Dylan was working on everything else. Troy did the usual new bearings, new pistons, and rings deal, but he also went ahead and installed an Andrews cam, a Mallory ignition, and an S&S; Super E carburetor. All of the parts that Troy hung on this classic powerplant are proven to provide good power and more importantly have shown that they are reliable, which is important when you're building a bike for a guy who logs as much seat time as Gilby.
And while Troy was putting the bulletproof motor together, Dylan was installing the NYC Choppers oil tank, the new flat rear fender, and building a bunch of accessories out of brass, such as risers and footpegs. The frame was powdercoated bronze and the sheetmetal painted black, and the bike was reassembled and delivered to Gilby just in time for him to take it deep into the heart of Mexico on the El Diablo Run. Everyone loved the bike, but to Gilby it is just the same old basket case that he fell in love with more than 15 years ago-to him it will always be a work in progress.
|MAKE/YEAR:||HARLEY-DAVIDSON FL 1965|
|BUILD TIME:||6 MONTHS|
|PISTONS:||DRAG SPECIALTIES 8.5:1|
|CARB:||S&S; SUPER E|
|PRIMARY DRIVE:||PRIMO OPEN BELT|
|TRIPLE TREES:||H-D SPRINGER|
|WHEELS, TIRES, & BRAKES|
|FINISH / PAINT|
|PAINTER:||KING T'S KUSTOMS|
|COLOR:||DUPONT HOT ROD BLACK|
|AND POLISHING:||SUPREME PLATING LA, CA|
|COATING LA, CA|
|FUEL TANK:||PAUGHCO MUSTANG|
|OIL TANK:||NYC CHOPPERS|
|FENDER STRUTS:||DYLAN ZWICKER|
|FOOT CONTROLS:||JAY BRAKE|
|SEAT:||BILL WALL LEATHER|