Spitfire’s Ironhead Chopper - Street Chopper Magazine
Steven Wright likes old choppers. He also collects old chopper parts; he’s an aficionado of sorts. He had a certain theme in mind for this build: a tall, slender chopper with a king and queen seat that would be comfortable on long rides. After browsing numerous old biker magazines and chopper photos for inspiration, he had a pretty good idea of what he wanted. Also, luck played a small part in the outcome of this old, molded Ironhead.
Steven went for a cruise on his daily rider, a ’04 Sportster, and spotted an Ironhead basket case sitting in some dude’s garage. He bugged the guy for weeks until he caved. Steven made him an offer he couldn’t refuse, plus the poor guy just wanted Steven off his back, so as fate would have it, Steven became the proud owner of one old piece of shit.
Along with the Ironhead basket, a mishmash of parts had been collected, and Steven was ready to get started. He headed over to Spitfire Motorcycles in Rancho Cucamonga, California, where owner Paul Cavallo and his crew got to work on what would become the centerpiece of the build, a 150 rigid frame. It was pretty common for dudes in the old days to mold the sheetmetal to the frame using body filler. “This looks cool, but you will never be able to disassemble the bike again, so paneling is a great alternative,” Paul tells us. In fact, paneling is how the Spitfire crew fused the Amen coffin tank to the frame so seamlessly, plus a little molding, but more on that later. A king and queen seat is synonymous with ’70s chops. Spitfire builds them out of, if you can believe it, street signs. “As usual we started out with a paper pattern that was transferred to an old road sign, and cut it out with shears. Road signs seem to be the perfect thickness for seat pans. They form nicely, and are thick enough not to blow through with the TIG torch,” Paul says. While the Spitfire crew was busy fabbin’ up the chassis, Steven sketched up a sissy bar he wanted the Spitfire boys to make. Paul says he wasn’t sure if it was a pitchfork or middle finger, but he tried to represent the sketch the best he could. The chassis was nearing completion, but the engine needed a serious overhaul, so the cases were split and the motor sent to Bill Chambers Racing in nearby Upland.
While the engine was being reborn, and the chassis reconstructed, finding the right frontend for the bike was crucial. As luck would have it, Steven scored a narrow, square-tube springer from a buddy’s shop that had been hidden away in the rafters. It needed a ton of work to get it right. “Three out of four rocker mounts were stripped out, so they had to be cut out and replaced,” Paul explains. After some tweaking and swearing it came together nicely.
With everything just about done and the bike completely mocked up, the Spitfire crew took a break and sent the tins to Casey of Headcase Kustom Art. Steven was looking for a little old and a little new, and Casey hit it out of the park with this one.
Overall, Steven was stoked on the outcome of the bike. The coffin tank molded to the frame, the king and queen seat, the springer frontend, the dual rectangular headlamps are all what make a ’70s chop complete. You’d never guess that the bike wasn’t built back then. Nice work, guys. sc
For more in-depth photos and a complete build list of parts used on this bike go to: streetchopperweb.com