Saturday, May 12, 2018

Vans!!!

It’s funny looking though pictures posted online, I see more and more vans popping up with bikes, I have a ton of old photos with bikes and vans (from back when we had to get photos developed). That’s not surprising, bikers have love vans for years whether it was hauling motorcycles, parts, party favors, or a chase vehicle vans seem to be a big part of the biker life. What’s so cool about vans and van people is, they like to custom and party just like bikers do. I’ve been drunk in a van a few times in my life sometimes at rally’s sometimes around a campfire. Vanners call them self’s 2%ers as bikes go with 1%ers. All the great builders over the years always had a van! It’s cool to see the young guys picking up old vans and fixing them up just like an old chopper, vans are freedom! I’ve always used a van as a shop truck; I used to use a ¾ ton chevy to haul all my parts to the Detroit. I would load a 26 foot trailer with everything in my store and we would all ride in the van down to the swap. Later on that van finally dead I bought a little astro van and wrapped it in vinyl to match the paint job of the old van. Josh and I hauled a ton of stuff with that little 6 cylinder. I can remember on more than one occasion over loading the van, it would be so full the doors would have to be strapped shut! It never left us stuck anywhere. The little van was still running great when I found the black ford we used today. The ford was a lot bigger and had the cool front bumper on it. It was time to sell the little astro and step into something bigger. I once had a 82 chevy that was a high rise van. T.G. Speed and took all the seats out of and fitted it with two wheel chucks. My Ironhead chop and his big twin Flat Head chop fit in there perfectly. We drove that old van to Dayton that year and had a blast I love using vans as shop trucks but I also have a full blown custom from the hay day of custom vans. I found it by luck; I was out riding my motorcycle with my wife sandy, when I look over to see this old van sitting next to a barn with no wheels on it. I locked my brakes up and rode right though the ditch around a gate to go check this van out. The interior was all taken apart but it was all in the van. I tried to knock at the door but it was just an old garage no house in sight. The next day I went back to the little garage and luckily the gate was open. An old man answered and I asked if the van was for sale. He replied with “yes it is but its not mine let me call my buddy.” Turns out the guys had a little drinking club and this was their hang out. The guy that owned it had parked the van there because his wife didn’t want it at his house. (funny sandy told me that to, but I’ve never been that good at listening). I made him a deal and called a wrecker. I made sure to put it in Josh name so when I got that phone call (which I did that day) why is that van in our town I can say “Josh bought it” and I wouldn’t be lying. My buddy Jeff hill put the whole van back together, cleaned it inside and out and put a killer sound system in it. That was over ten years ago and I’m still driving it today, people always go crazy when they see it. The van bug didn’t just catch me, Josh loves them too. His first was a 77 ford with thrush side pipes on it. But money got tight with him and he had to sell it (it was that or his chopper, he chose the chopper.) He ended up picking up a $600 van that needed a motor and the fun began. With my help (and a ton of help from friends) we got that van looking good we now call it Midnight Run. It now has a wood floor and a fire place in it. With Josh and I always talking about vans and motorcycle my wife broke down and found a 1977 ¾ ford van that was customized back in 77 it’s called Country Sunset. It’s a blast, the whole interior in it is custom too just like the outside. With Josh having a baby girl, it cool that he can now take his whole family to the party, it’s hard to carry a car seat on a chopper. But it doesn’t look bad when a full size custom Chevy van pulls up, it’s better than a mini van. Josh, Sandy and I have all been to rally’s and van in’s, it’s what we love. We work hard and our toys show it. ~Boomer

Saturday, March 31, 2018

E.J. Potter

Have you ever driven around looking at garages and wonder what is buried in there? I do all the time; it’s amazing what people stuff into them. I have a 49 Ford Anglia, it’s nothing special it’s just an old body that was chopped and cut for a blower. I bought it with some other stuff thinking I could sell it and make some money. But as luck would have it, the Anglia hasn’t sold and has sat around for a few mouths. I had just list it again online to see if we could get anyone to bite and for once I got a phone call on it. The man’s name was Gary but he wasn’t calling to buy the car, he had a pro street frame for it! (I know this is a motorcycle mag and not a hot rod mag but stay with me, it will be worth it!) Gary lived about an hour and a half south of me, so one fine day (it was only -20 degs) I graded Josh and a buddy of mine named Jeff; and we hit the road. It was in the afternoon when we left and I wasn’t sure what to expect when I got there. The GPS lead us to an old farm house that hadn’t had the snow plowed away (of course I drove the shop van down there). I was able to get into the drive way, I noticed that there were 5 out buildings behind the house, I drove all the way to the last one. The snow was deep, and a small trail was cleared from barn to barn. Gary came walking around the first barn when we got out of the truck. He asked “do you guys like funny cars?” I replied ”yeah there pretty cool” and the tour began. He opened the door to the last barn and said “come on in.” the barn was an old barn not heated or anything but there were old oil cans and hot rod memorabilia all over the wall. As I looked there the barn I couldn’t help but notice a Blown Hemi sitting in the corner, Gary went on to tell me how this building was rented out by a young guy that works on a funny car team, it was cool to see in the barn but that was not why I was there. Gary said “come here and check this out.” Leading to a building next to the barn, I thought maybe the frame will be in here…..nope, but the building was full, so full that we couldn’t walk though it with car parts ( I was thinking the whole time why couldn’t it be Harley parts??) Gary than lead us to a bigger garage that was in front of the back buildings we were in. I thought maybe my frame is in here….nope it was his work shop with a Metropolitan car tubed sitting in in the middle of the room with a blown Hemi under the hood. It was really cool to see but I said “Gary where’s the Anglia frame?” Gary replied “come back here” leading use though doors that lead to another garage behind the one we were just in, was in it here??......nope just a 49 Caddy that he was happy to tell me about. As he was showing me the Caddy he asked “you guys like motorcycles?” Our eyes lit up “ yes we love motorcycles!!” so we made our way to the front garage, maybe my frame was in this one……NOPE just two of E.J. Potters drag Bikes!!!! E.J. Potter was the Michigan MAD Man, he was a drag racer that build motorcycles with Small Block Chevy motors in them. The cool part is he did this in the 60’s!! He would go as fast as 170mph on these motorcycles. He loved to build odd bikes. One was powered by a Jet engine that he bought, and here in a cold garage under some old blankets, covered with what I would call trash sat two of his motorcycles. I asked if they were for sale, and Gary said “yeah I’ll take $80,000 for them.” Well I do pretty good but not $80,000 good. So the bikes sadly where staying behind and guess what? I finally found my frame it was out back behind all the barns and sheds buried under all the snow. Getting it to the trailer and trying to get the van out of the drive way is another story, Josh and Jeff ended up having to do a lot of pushing.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

The internet is a powerful thing

The internet is a powerful thing. Ten or better years ago I would of called you a dumb ass if you told me I would be selling bikes off the internet. But now I can’t get Josh to list the stuff fast enough. And its funny how Instagram, Facebook seem to be the place to buy and sell now-a-days. Josh keeps trying to grow our social media present so he is always taking pictures of the bikes we buy. He took a pic of the 67 FLH and my phone blow up! People were calling like crazy! I was excited, I thought man we really got something here. As many of you know that read the article, I love hot rods almost as much as bikes. A man named Jason called me with a trade that really got me thinking. It was a 1930 Model pickup, it was all chopped and sat low; it had a Ford Flat Head V-8 Motor, 3 speed manual Trans and a factory Model A rear end. It had the Factory wide 5 wheels all the way around. It was a hell of a machine. Jason came down to my shop to check out the bike. It was a ruff bike but perfect for a chopper project, which is why he wanted it. The only problem he had was that he had just bought the car for 12,000 Bucks!! And I was only asking $6500.00 for the bike. The math wasn’t there for him but it looked good to me. I never try and screw anyone. I want everyone to walk away from the table happy. Jason had told me that he wanted the bike to build a chopper, and he wanted me to throw in my Fab Kevin hard tail frame in on the deal. I wanted to the car bad but that was a gift to me and I wasn’t going to trade a gift off; that would just bug me. But I said “hey I got another frame, I could try and see if I can get Kevin to build me another one.” I got one the phone and Kevin being Kevin said “no problem Boomer Just bring it out and I’ll get right on it.” He such an awesome friend and an amazing fabricator, Jason was stoked! Only one problem I had not seen the car in person yet. I told Jason that Josh and I would bring the bike out to him with my car trailer, that way I could see the car before me traded. So one morning we loaded up the bike and hit the road, the sun was just coming up when Josh and I hit my favorite truck stop on M15. It’s a little gas station that sells all kinds of homemade sandwiches and fresh cheeses. When we walked out the sun hit the field and the American Flag was blowing in the wind just right josh had to snap a pic. It was about another 1 hour from there until we pulled down this dirt road. I was following my GPS (which I don’t really trust them, what happen to a paper map??) it turned us down a small dirt road that was king of hilly, a sign stood by the road saying “Sunny Hills Subdivision” only there was no houses anywhere. The sign was old and kind of run down. This was starting to look like a bad horror movie but as we got to the last hill we could see one house to the right off into the woods. It had two garages, one connected to the house and the other was on the other side of the drive way. After sitting in the car for a min trying to figure out if we were at the right place Jason came out and waved us into the detached garage. The garage was nice and warm it had a super cool bar right by the front door that was all made of reclaimed wood. There was a panhead on the lift, pictures of bikes everywhere all over the walls; there was even a copy of the Horse mag hanging up!! Jason had owed a few bikes over the years included a Detroit Bro’s chopper! He had bought the panhead in a box to start making a chopper out of it. The tank had just come back from paint and I got to say was a cool chop! I was digging it but it was not the reason I was there. Jason started to tell me about the chopped Model A saying that he was on Ebay one night and thought “man that looks fun”. A few days later the car was in his drive way. But after getting it he wanted to build another bike so it was time for the car to go. I can understand that Hot rods are fun but nothing feels freer than being on two wheels. I asked Jason what was up with the sign by the road, he laughed and said that he used to live down in Detroit but just wanted to get a way, so he found this house that a builder built as a spec home for the sub; as time when on (and Jason got some extra cash) he would buy the other lots that lead out to the road until he owned all the land to the road. He left the sign up at the found because he thought it looked cool and it would throw people off. Jason stated the car for me and drove it up on to my trailer. I was very happy with the deal it was a really steel hot rod. I had it parked in Joshes garage for two days, I was talking with a friend about the bike deal and the car, and well he had to have it. He came right over to Joshes house with a trailer. I never even got to drive the damn thing but hell easy come easy go.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Search

I look at a ton of bikes in the search of cool old Harleys, but not every bike I look at is a 10. Like a bad night out at the bar, you see some bikes that you would cut your arm off to get away from, you don’t want wake it up, you just want to get out of there. So how bad can a 10 second drag bike look? I got a call from Uncle Joe, I grab josh one morning and headed north. Uncle Joe lived way out in the country about an hour from us. As I was looking for the house Josh look up and said “Man that looks like a old bikers house!” the house was a bit run down and there was trash all over. A 73 Chevy pickup truck was in the drive way, and a falling down fence was next to the garage. Low and behold that was the house I was looking for. I sent Josh to the door; I was already not really impressed; nothing seem to jump out at me. The truck was hit on the front end and the yard was a mess. Josh knocked on the door and…no answer. I yelled from the car knock again! Well that second time did the trick, Uncle Joe slowly opened the door with no shirt on, and Josh said no pants either. Josh explained why we were here and Joe just said “I’ll see ya in the garage” shutting the door behind him. Now it was at this point josh was getting a bit frustrated, but I just kept telling him “hey it’s a 10 second drag bike.” Joe Opened the garage door and started to roll bikes out of his garage. The first was a custom Goldwing that didn’t look bad at all, the next bike was the drag bike. I had walked back to my car so I didn’t see the bike until it was out in the day light. Truth be told I don’t think seeing it in the dark would of helped any. The bike had a car wheel on the back, a frame that look as if any metal that was laying around Joes house was used to make the bike. The front end was a Honda 450 front end, according to Joe. It had a huge dresser seat mount to a spring system and another solo seat mounted on the rear fender. The air filter was squished down, so I asked Joe “was the bike laid over?” Uncle Joe looked at me and said “no it’s so my leg will fit.’ Everything Joe had told me on the phone was hard to see, “it’s a 10 second bike” and “it does wheels from there to here.” Well where is there to here? Needless to say I passed on this one but if anyone out there is looking for a 10 second drag bike, I can send you out to Uncle Joes house, and all it will cost you is $4000.00. Joe was nice a guys a little out there but hey I think we are all a little out there to love riding something that can kill us in a min. But the wind in my hair and the sun on my back will always give me a sense of freedom that I just can’t live without. Even though that didn’t work out I had a guy bring me down a shovelhead from Clair Mi. He had taken apart a shovelhead to build a chopper, but he fell on hard time. Adam had read about me in the mag, how I am always buying shovelheads! I was happy to help. Adam gave me a great deal on the parts, and I think I made a new friend. Not every bike I look at is a ten but most of the time I do ok but that’s the name of the game, if it was easy everyone would do it.

Friday, December 22, 2017

Karma

Karma, do good thing to others and good things will happen to you. It’s an old saying but it’s true, you never know how one interaction with someone can come back around to you. Not too long ago, I pulled Josh from the shop to go look at bike. A guy called me calming that I knew him and he had a bike for sale, it was just some old sportster and I said I’d take it. Now I hate to admit it but I am getting a little bit older and sometimes I can’t seem to remember everyone I meet, off the top of my head. So on the way to see this bike, Josh and I stop to grab some lunch. My phone rang again; this time is was someone new calling about bikes for sale. I wasn’t really interested until he said he had a 1967 FLH and a 1978 FLH for sale. I got really excited, I almost forgot I had to go pick up that Ironhead. I told the gentlemen that I would be by later that night. Josh had not seen the Ironhead that we were on our way to see, or how I had already told the guy that I would take it. We pulled into the house, there out front chained up a tree was this old rusty Ironhead that looked as if it had sat outside for 10 years! Everything was rusty, Brake rotors, cylinders, chain. The paint was faded and chipped. It was a ruff bike to say the least. Once the guy came out I realized how I knew them. One of the first shovelhead I bought many years ago was his dads. I still have the bike and his dad has sense passed. His dad was at every event I put on. Josh was digging though all the parts next to the bike when he looked up, I seen the look in his eyes it was a “what the f*ck are you doing??” I felt as if I needed to buy it for 2 reasons. Number 1 his dad was a good guy and I knew his son need some help right now, number 2 I told him I would take it and I am a man of my word. I paid him 1500.00 for the bike and we loaded the bike up, we had to hit the road again. The whole ride to the shovelheads all I heard about was how bad this Ironhead was, Josh’s famous line is “we should be able to get a good 1000 bucks out of the bike “ or “ the way you become a millionaire in the bike business is start with two million, you’ll be down to a million in no time.” All joking aside, he wasn’t wrong that Ironhead was ruff but I had to focus on the next bikes. We pulled in front of a house in the middle of a suburban subdivision. It differently didn’t look like a place where two old shovels would be hiding. An old man came to the door with a heavy Louisiana accent. I said “that I had talk to someone about some old shovelheads for sale.” The old man replied “that be me I’ll meet you boys in the garage.” He went back into the house and the garage door open. As we walked in I saw a sign, for a landscaping truck that said “FUBOB”. I laughed and said “does that say F U BOB?” He replied “yea I’m FU BOB!” FU Bob was 73 years old, he owned his own landscaping company. He worked it every day until about 3 weeks ago he was cutting a tree and fell right out of it, straight on his back and broke two ribs. He said “that got me to thinking I need to sell these old bikes, and one time I came to your shop you guys where closed but I was looking for someone to do some work to the 78”. Than he pointed at Josh and said “come to think of it you help me out and gave a number to John Maxwell” FU Bob went on to say “man John has been great to me and you said to call you if I ever wanted to sell my bikes, well I’m calling today.” I was happy to answer. The 1978 FLH was all black and Bob just had Maxwell build a brand new motor for him and put it in. It fired right up and idle perfect. The 67 FLH was very very ruff. It had the starter and oil tank removed from the bike. All the chrome was peeling off and rust over everything that wasn’t painted. It was ruff. But it was still a 67’ Shovel. I had to asked “Bob how did this bike get to looking this way?” Bob went on to tell me about how he took the bike down to Louisiana to his brother house. His brother didn’t have a garage so the bike sat out under a lean tube off his house. He was so close to the ocean that the salt in the air ate away at the bike. But it is a 67 shovel! I think my dreams get ahead of me, because I could Josh bolting that bike back together and me riding down the road, but after getting it home…. in the light….. let just say it looked better in a dark garage, but hey it’s still a 67 shovel. Man I’ll tell you sometimes a deal is to good to be true maybe this one of those times, so I don’t know what I going to do with it yet. I may take her apart and send her back out into the chopper world!!