It all started August of 2010 when my good friend, Rodney, told me I needed to build a bike for the Grand National Roadster Show. I thought building a bike and showing California what Colorado had to offer sounded like a great idea. What to build was easy, I’d been building a dual-carb VL knuckle in my head for a while, and now I finally had an excuse to build it. The very next week I started to collect all the parts I would need for the build. I also took the motor I already had in my possession down to Deluxe Motor Company for them to go through along with the Little John five-speed tranny I got from my good friend, Pete Slaktowitz. It just so happened that Little John was also a Denver guy that made the first aftermarket five-speed transmission for Harleys back in the ’70s. Now that the motor was safe and sound, I went searching for the frame. I looked all over Colorado for a good VL frame and didn’t find anything, probably because I needed one. I had to resort to the dreaded eBay where I got a frame that was listed as perfect. Well, guess what? It was not so much perfect as it was a pile of shit. The back half looked like it had been buried for 50 years and the neck was bent. It was too late to find a better one because the clock was ticking. I straightened the frame, and cut off the axle plates and badly rusted parts. I then cut the tranny plate loose and bent it down so it was parallel with the ground, like it should be. After that was done, I modified the frame to adapt the new Panhead axle plates.
After that I raked the neck till it looked good with the 4-inch-over Springer I had laying around the shop. It was a nearly destroyed old Harley Springer bought off Craigslist that I gave a second chance at life with, like the rest of this bike. I cut it all apart, narrowed and lengthened it with Model A Ford radius rods just like they did a few decades earlier.
As far as the sheetmetal went, the gas and oil tank are both handmade by me. Other items I made for this build were the bars, controls, sissybar, and seat pan. I also made the dual Linkert manifold out of sheetmetal and a piece of pipe I turned on the lathe. I then talked to the legendary Lee at Lee’s Speed Shop about a progressive linkage setup for the Linkerts and came up with my own version of what he did back in the day. Steve Benth did the paint, molding, and striping at his shop in Wyoming, and it turned out much better than I could have ever expected.
To tell you the truth, I never could have got this bike done without all the help from friends and family. It was way too much bike to build in too little time, and believe it or not, we were still working on it in the hotel room in Pomona, California, the night before the GNRS, but we made it. I want to send out a special thanks to mom and dad, Pat Burke, Buddy and Bo Benth, Derick Smith, Biff, Whitney, Wally, Ray, Lucas, Rodney, Nixon, Dan, Dusty, Woody’s Wheel Works, Deluxe Motor Co., Sam Turner, and the Speedmetal Crew. STC