That’s exactly where this 1980 FL was when Ted Stoddard met it; the bike was a literal basket case. Everything about it that could have been broken down and put into boxes, was, in fact, broken down and put into boxes—the notable exceptions being the frame, Wide Glide frontend, and the wheels. Its dismembered body had sat silently stored away for years until he bought it. As soon as he knew the whole thing was present and accounted for in its little containers, though, he was pretty happy to take it off the last owner’s hands, tackle the parts puzzle head-on, and create a chopper greater than the sum of its stock iron.
I know that sounds like all he did was play biker Tetris, figuring out where the parts went and putting them together, but the pictures are a pretty obvious indicator that this wasn’t the case. Harley didn’t make anything remotely chopper back in 1980, let alone an FL Shovelhead with ape hangers and an open belt primary. That’s the true beauty of Ted Stoddard’s chopper. He made this machine the old-fashioned way—by cutting, grinding, and fabricating it all from original H-D parts.
Which was the only limitation Ted placed on this project—it had to be all Harley wherever possible: “I just wanted a simple ’70s-style chopper; something comfortable to go far on. Everything is Harley-Davidson except the four-speed transmission—that’s a RevTech. We didn’t have time to rebuild the original transmission before I had to take the bike.” You can’t really blame him for wanting it done. Having everything you need to build something you love is a little like holding a T-bone steak slightly beyond a dog’s reach. You just want all of the work done so you can get to the really fun part. With all of the parts laying around for a year, Ted really had to rein himself in and not rush his creation. The chopper you’re looking at was precisely the bike he set about to build. Ted burned a fair amount of time seeking out the perfect candidate and this FL got the job.
Ted Stoddard burned even more time getting the project done: “Once I had it in my possession, I didn’t want to stop until it was done. If I had it to do over again, I’d take more time and give myself deadlines instead of plowing through it.” Everything you see here was worked on by Ted or Mike Olson.
Mr. Stoddard started riding at age 16 with an Elite scooter. In the 22 years since, he’s never been without a bike of some sort. Out of all the motorcycles he’s possessed, this one has been the most reliable and he absolutely loves the way it looks. Ted’s drawn to its timeless simplicity and never gets tired of looking at it. STC