Scott Wuenst of Stanfordville, New York, is a regular guy. He likes to spend his Sundays sleeping late, watching football, and going for a putt. So when his wife Charlene asked him to go yard sailing with her one fine Sunday early morning, well, Scott wasn't exactly thrilled about the idea. Being a good husband and not wanting to incur the wrath of his bride, he agreed to tag along to carry her newly found treasures to the car.
The first place they stopped was at an old dairy farm. While Charlene was plowing her way through all the junk looking for gold, Scott struck up a conversation with the owner and the talk eventually turned to bikes. The old farmer told Scott that he had something back in the barn that he wanted to show him. Sure enough, leaning against the far wall, under a tarp and buried to the rims in mud sat an old '46 Knucklehead.
Scott had heard all the stories about old bikes being found in weird places, but being a regular guy, he thought it could never happen to him. The owner just wanted to get rid of it, and Scott was all too happy to take the bike off his hands. A deal was struck, and for $5,500, the Knuck was his. The only hitch was that the engine and tranny were so frozen up that Scott couldn't even get the bike to roll enough to load it on a trailer. The farmer got his tractor and offered to drag the bike the 3 miles to Scott's garage. With Scott sitting atop his prize doing a balancing act, the farmer dragged the bike behind the tractor leaving a trail of rubber from the frozen-up rear wheel all along the route.
Once the bike was home, Scott immediately went to work disassembling the bike. He took the engine and tranny down the road to Zack's V-Twin and had them start work breathing some life back into the old relic. A complete rebuild was definitely called for.
The engine hadn't been cranked since it was stashed in the barn back in 1979. The cases needed to be re-machined. It was decided to leave it at it's original 74ci. The lower end was totally redone and balanced by S&S. New 3-7/16-inch pistons were installed in the original Knucklehead jugs. An Andrews S grind cam and new solid lifters were installed. He went with an S&S Super E carb and a Mallory Electronic Ignition, and the engine was done.
They rebuilt the original four-speed kickstart-only tranny and set it up with a heal-toe shifter. She was then set up to run with a 24-tooth engine sprocket so it could be connected to the 51-tooth wheel sprocket.
While the motor and tranny work was being done, Scott kept himself busy getting the work done on the rigid frame and tin. He did all the tin work himself. Working in his garage at nights, he cut and modified the rear fender to 7-1/2 inches, tinkered with the shape of the tanks, ground down the raked 38-degree frame, and re-welded all the joints.
Paint time was finally at hand. Scott wanted to keep the look of an original '40s chopper. He chose a House of Kolor Metal Flake Dark Burgundy.
He also reworked the custom-built Paugho 12-over Springer frontend and had it re-chromed. He was now hooked on going yard sailing with his wife after his find. He found an old Harley candy dish that he converted into an air cleaner and a set of old front pegs that he took home and modified to his use.
At a local swap meet he scored a cool set of round 6-spoke Invader Mags, a set of 1-inch Victory bars, and an old V-Twin Maltese Cross taillight.
When Scott finally had all the parts back in his unheated garage, he spent about 200 hours during the coldest winter on record trying to make all the parts fit back together. Bolts were sticking to his numb fingers as he was trying to make some sense of the jigsaw puzzle laid out on the floor.
Finally, by early March, he had it back together. His stepfather came by to see the final product and was impressed with Scott's hard work. He balked that the LePera seat needed something to make it stand out. He walked back to his truck and came back with the crowning touch.
He passed on to Scott the custom-made sissy bar that he had ridden on his chopper for years. The bar came off his "BLUE ANKH" '57 Panhead that was featured in Choppers Magazine back in February 1977.
Scott was finally ready to put his new ride to the test. He packed up his gear and his wife, and took the bike for it's maiden voyage for a run down to The Last Resort Bar in Daytona for Bike Week. He grinned like a Cheshire Cat all the way down to Florida from New York, enjoying the taste of bugs and the smell of diesel exhaust.
Scott is now a changed man. Whenever Charlene asks him to go yard sailing with her, he beats her to the car.
|THE VITALS: |
|OWNER ||SCOTT WUENST |
|YEAR/MAKE ||'46/HARLEY-DAVIDSON KNUCKLEHEAD |
|FABRICATION ||OWNER/ZACKS V-TWIN |
|ASSEMBLY ||OWNER |
|BUILD TIME ||THREE YEARS |
|SIZE/TYPE ||74ci KNUCKLEHEAD |
|CASES ||RE-MACHINED |
|FLYWHEELS ||BALANCED S&S |
|RODS ||S&S |
|PISTONS ||3-7/16-inch STD |
|CYLINDERS ||ORIGINAL |
|HEADS ||ORIGINAL |
|CAM ||ANDREWS S. GRIND |
|CARB ||S&S SUPER E |
|IGNITION ||MALLORY ELECTRONIC |
|PIPES ||PAUGHCO |
|YEAR/TYPE ||REBUILT '46/four-SPEED, KICK ONLY |
|CASE ||ORIGINAL |
|GEARS ||ORIGINAL |
|CLUTCH ||MOUSE TRAP |
|PRIMARY DRIVE ||CHAIN |
|FRAME / SUSPENSION: |
|YEAR/TYPE ||'46/CHOPPED RIGID |
|RAKE ||38 DEGREES |
|STRETCH ||2 INCHES |
|SWINGARM ||N/A |
|REAR SUSPENSION ||NONE |
|FORKS ||PAUGHCO CUSTOM-BUILT SPRINGER |
|EXTENSIONS ||12 INCHES OVER |
|TRIPLE-TREES ||CUSTOM MACHINED |
|WHEELS,TIRES,AND BRAKES: |
|WHEELS FRONT ||19-INCH |
|REAR ||16-INCH |
|TIRES FRONT ||AVON VENOM-X |
|REAR ||AVON VENOM-X |
|BRAKES FRONT ||N/A |
|REAR ||PERFORMANCE MACHINE |
|MOLDING ||BY OWNER |
|PAINTER ||ANONYMOUS |
|COLOR ||HOK METAL FLAKE DARK BURGANDY |
|GRAPHICS ||N/A |
|CHROME PLATING ||CARBON COUNTY CHROME |
|POWDERCOATING ||N/A |
|BARS ||1-INCH VICTORY |
|RISERS ||STOCK |
|HAND CONTROLS ||STOCK |
|HEADLIGHT ||STOCK |
|TAILLIGHT ||V-TWIN MALTESE CROSS |
|GAUGES ||N/A |
|ELECTRICAL ||HEADLIGHT & TAILLIGHT |
|FUEL TANK(S) ||3 GALLON |
|DASH ||N/A |
|OIL TANK ||WRAP AROUND |
|FRONT FENDER ||N/A |
|REAR FENDER ||HOME BUILT |
|FENDER STRUTS ||CUSTOM SISSY BAR |
|PEGS ||HOME MADE |
|FOOT CONTROLS ||V-TWIN |
|SEAT: ||LEPERA |