Dan Collins is a man who wears many hats. He is the owner and operator of both Victory Tattoo in Los Angeles as well Old Gold Garage in Ventura, California. On the long commute between the two shops Dan can reflect on was has happened that day as well as think deeply about new designs or projects he has coming up. On a day just like all the others while riding back to Ventura, Dan's pal Ritch Wilder texted him. Ritch had wanted a Harley for a while and decided it was time to bite the bike bullet. It just so happened that Dan found just weeks before an '87 Sporty that was in its stock form and in good shape. A deal for it was made over SMS, and next thing you know Ritch had a bike, and Dan had yet another project waiting for him at the Old Gold Garage.
Ritch wanted a hardtail, so Dan yanked everything off the stock frame and started to install the chosen parts onto a Paughco rigid frame with a 35-degree neck and no stretch. Up front Dan used the OE Showa 35mm fork, but he shaved the legs and polished the trees before installation. The front wheel is a 21-inch offering from a '69 Honda that had been wrapped in an Avon Speedmaster. Out back the rear wheel is a reclaimed Harley-Davidson 16-inch with a matching Avon MK II.
The 883ci Evo Sportster engine is the stock unit with original miles on it. Dan cleaned it meticulously and then bolted up a few dress-up items such as the Knucklehead snout air cleaner and Old Gold points cover.
On the front of the bike the hand controls are vintage '60s Harley items which dangle off a pair of Hot Rod Surf Z-bars with Super Sixties grips wrapped around them.
The sheetmetal on the bike is comprised of a hacked-up Paughco tank adorned with a Mooneyes gas cap. The rear fender is of unknown descent that Ritch scored on eBay. One of the coolest things modified for the bike is the K-model oil tank that gave the Sporty a more vintage look. After the custom parts were fitted, the bike was blown apart and the sheetmetal was hustled off to Nick-O-Teen for a few fabulous coats of custom-mixed Bloody Mary Mornin' red.
When it came time to figure out the seating surface the choice was easy. Dan's lovely and talented wife Tiffany owns Hammersmith Leather and did a killer job stitching up the custom cowhide seat in no time.
Once finished, the bike saw booth duty for the Old Gold Garage at Kutty's party and a few other shows this past summer. After the painful wait Dan finally let Ritch loose with his creation. On his first ride on the Sporty, Ritch heard "Wanted Dead Or Alive" by Bon Jovi from a passing car and the name of the bike hit him: "Slippery When Wet." This bike was first sold in '86, the same year Bon Jovi released the album of the same name. He thought to himself, "It must be some sort of cosmic significance or something, right?" And he is married to a Jersey girl, so it wasn't just a coincidence. The bike's moniker has stuck, so it looks like Ritch is going to be bringing back acid-washed jeans, fist pumping, and thigh bandanas while living on a prayer.