Thursday, January 3, 2019

amca swap meet!

Well it’s the end of July so that means the Wauseon Swap meet is going on! It one of my favorite shows that I go to, it’s a working vacation for Josh and me. The week before was the normal; stuffing the trailer full of old parts and loading my 26ft trailer with bikes. One last thing to check is our hotel rooms, if you remember Josh and I would stay at bed and breakfast in the honeymoon suite. Josh call two days before the show only to find out the bed and breakfast had been sold and was now just a house. Now this is a big deal for me, I hate the heat and camping out side, I’m sorry I’ve gotten to a point in my life when I like ac when I sleep not to mention a shower. Lucky we found a hotel about 30 minutes away and scored the last room they had! So this year we thought it would be cool to take some bikes down to ride, Josh brought his EVO chop and I took my old shovel “Super Fake” along with 3 Harleys for sale and 4 old dirt bikes. A kid that works for my named Kyle begged me to go down and help, offering to work for free. Now I love free help as much as the next guy but Kyle’s nick name is half pint around the shop and that’s not because he drinks. Kyle’s got a lot of heart but he can get distracted very easily but his a young kid in his early 20’s. So being as I couldn’t fit 4 dirt bikes in my trailer, I let him drive a truck down and camp at the event ( I did offer to let him sleep at the hotel with us but he didn’t want to). We left early Thursday morning, we had a convoy driving down, there were 4 trucks loaded with motorcycles and parts for the swap meet, it was a smooth ride down and drove almost straight thought, only stopping at a great little breakfast joint on highway 20. The roads are smoother down in Ohio, Michigan roads can break your back riding down them. Highway 20 is a long country road that is just north of the fairgrounds where the swap is at. After eating and stopping for gas it was around noon when we got to the meet. Venders were already set up and selling. They looked as though they had been there a few days before us. It didn’t matter, we got the trailers where we wanted them and started to unpack. It takes all day to set the parts booth and the bike booth. Customers were digging thought boxes as Josh unloaded them. Sales were off to a good start. I had just sat down to have a beer when two guys walked past my bike booth, one looked over and said “hey look at that wide glide!” he asked the year and I told him 85. He looked the paint set over and said “these tanks are off a 86” I replied “yes but there are in good shape.” The man asked how much? I said “5500 takes it,” he looked at his friend and said “pay him”. I was stunned; I asked do you want to hear it run? He said “it just needs to run long enough to make it to my booth.” Josh came down and helped me get it running; the guy was on his phone taking; so I asked his buddy (who was paying me) who is this guy? He just laughed and said “he is a collector he has a nice 86 but needs a paint set, he’s only buying it for the paint”. Now I couldn’t believe it and was thinking man I was at the right place at the right time, it normally doesn’t go that easy! The rest of the day was quit at the bike booth, just a lot of friends stopping by, drinking a beer or two and sharing stories from the past year. That’s one of my favorite parts is just seeing old friends I only get to see at Wauseon. A lot of them come a lot further than we do, some as far away as California. Josh was at the parts booth he was selling parts left and right, making deals with guys; he was in his element. At the end of day we jumped on the bikes and headed for the hotel. It was getting dark and we hadn’t had dinner yet, but the ride there was made up for it, the roads were amazing, it was all farm land around us and the weather was perfect for riding. As we got to the hotel I seen Ron Finch pull in, turns out him and his daughter, Karen, were staying there too. Josh and I jumped in the Finch mobile and we all headed out looking for a place to eat. Country roads and farm land is cool but after dark there is nowhere to eat, we ended up back in Wauseon in a Wendy’s parking lot eating cheese burgers at midnight. The food sucked but it was a lot of laughs. The next day wasn’t much better as we sat down to have the complimentary breakfast we watch the rain start to come down. It was 10 miles riding down the smoothest wet roads, but hey we looked cool! The swap was in full swing when we arrived, Kyle was doing his best to sell parts, luckily terry was there to give him a hand. It rained off and on the rest of the day but that didn’t stop people from coming out. Bikes sale were slow that day but Josh was having a great day in the parts department. We left a little early that day to have a good dinner; it made for a good night. On the way in the next day Kyle called and had a guy wanted to buy all the dirt bikes, so I haggled with the guy on the phone and it paid for breakfast. It continued to rain most of the day, I had to get back home, Sunday morning we had a bike run leaving the shop. I was lying in my trailer, while Josh and Kyle loaded up what little parts we had left (Josh sold most everything), when I heard someone say “is this bike for sale?” I looked up to see a man and his wife in the back of my trailer. “I yelled back yeah it is” and the dickering began. Now the shovelhead ran great when we left the shop but Saturday morning, as I am showing the guy the starter clutch gear went out. After a while of kicking and trying the electric start, the bike finally came to life. The man took it but at a cheaper price than I wanted but hey what the hell it’s not like it ran perfect. I wanted it to be a perfect trip I.E. I sell all the bikes. Talking with this guy I found out he sells bikes over in Europe, I asked if a 1975 FLH would be of any use. The FL started and ran perfect and he had to have it. Only thing was I had to drive an hour south to deliver it to him. With Kyle and Josh following we drove all the way to Grand Rapids Ohio, a cool little town next to a river. It didn’t take long to get the bike unloaded and get paid. We stopped in a little bar and had burgers and beers before heading back home. It was a late night but it was fun and I think this was our best year in Wauseon. We sold a ton of parts and bikes. We headed for home with a pocket full of cash ready to buy the next score.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

It’s a Panhead man!

It’s amazing to me when someone will call with a bike for sale but they are not ready to show it. When you want to sell something shouldn’t you be ready to show it? Especially when you call a buyer out to take a look at it? I got a call like that over a year ago, the man said he had a panhead he wanted to sell but he had to get it up to his house from the shed, I told him no problem I’ll wait for your call. Now you can be polite and say you will wait but you can never really wait, something like that will get sold from out underneath you. I called the man back a few days later and asked if he was ready, a big fat no was his reply. A few more days and still no, I asked if he needed some help; saying how Josh and I would be happy to come down to lend a hand. But he didn’t want any help. I can dig that, but this went on for months eventually I gave up on the guy and thought “I most of lost that one.” It was one year later on my first bike night at my Bar, which if you read the article for awhile, you know it’s a big party! Josh and I were getting everything together for the big night, when I got a message on my phone from a guy about a panhead for sale. Wasting no time I called the man back I didn’t want to lose out on another panhead! To my surprise it was the same guy from last year! He told me he finally got that panhead up to the garage. I looked at Josh and said “I got to go!” I grabbed a kid that works for me named Kyle and we jumped in the van to head for Taylor Michigan. The panhead was in his garage, it was crusty but it was a panhead! You could tell it had sat on a dirt floor for years the rim was so rusted you could see the inner tube! It had an old narrow jammer springer front end on it with a spool type hub and the smallest brakes rotors I’ve ever seen. It had an old Hurst air hart master cylinder. The seat was a small custom seat that almost looks like a camel back seat. The whole frame and tins were all rusty but you could see the cool old paint on it with moons and stars. The man said I have the original tank, he ran back inside the house and pulled out this beautiful painted tank that looked like an old Procter & Gamble logo that was drop from the brand back in the 1980’s because people started saying the company was in Satan worship and there logo had “signs of the Devil in it”. Before I could even get the question out he said “yeah I got the idea form Procter and Gamble, I thought the logo was cool and I design the whole bike around it!” I thought that was pretty cool! Now looking at this bike it was ruff, but it’s still a panhead, the man was stuck on his price for the bike; no matter how many problems I pointed out he would not budge on the price. He just said “look the motor was rebuild it doesn’t even have 50 miles on it!” looking though the paper work, we found the receipt for the rebuild at a Harley dealer…..in 73’. Well, I thought what the heck it’s still a cool old Chopper, Josh can get it running! Once we got it back to the shop, I couldn’t wait to show Josh the new bike. Funny he just walked out back and started cursing. A few days later he had that old bike turning over freely. It had a stuck valve and the trans had a bunch of water in it, at the fear of finding much more wrong with it we just parted it out. I think Shovelhead Joe already sold the trans! As for the roller I’m going to keep it around I have an old generator shovelhead I’ve been saving to build something cool, and I think this would be the perfect chassis for it! Although that old devil logo does give me the creeps! It’s cool how times less this chopper this bike, it’s been 45 years since it was built and it’s still cool, This is another bike I picked up this week, and I wonder if something like this is going to look cool in 45 years? It’s a Fatboy twin cam motorcycle with a ton of motor work done to it, ported Screaming eagle heads, cams, and a Thunderheader. But I can’t understand all the speakers you can’t hear them at sixty over that exhaust pipe. And why the apes; the bike was built to go fast but I’ve never seen a drag bike with apes. Will the matching flames bags be cool to? Time will tell.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Parts is Parts

Turning and burning motorcycles is great but any old timer will tell you “they are worth more in parts!” We started an Ebay Store years ago, to help get though winter and the slow times. Now the Ebay business has gone from a small part of our business to a big part. I often think if I just went underground and sold parts online instead of a store front, what would life be like? But having a store front gives people a place to go, to sell their old parts. I’ve gotten to be known as a good buyer in my town, I may not always be the first stop but people will always come by, and that’s because I will only pay what I feel something is worth. But I always back up my offers with cash in hand. Some parts I try and sell right away to get the money back into the shop but others I hold on to. Years ago a customer brought by a set of Quantum 4 valve heads and exhaust. If you have never seen a set, just look at the new Milwaukee eight by Harley Davidson. That’s right it’s not a new motor Harley put out. Guys where putting 4 spark plugs and 4 valve heads on their motorcycles long before Harley Davidson even thought about; but then again the aftermarket has always drove Harley to build new and better motorcycles. Getting back to the heads… I had seen in the early days of the big tire, high horse power choppers; a rise in new motors and bike company coming out. One of which was Quantum motorcycles they were made of all aftermarket parts for Harley Davidson motorcycles. The motor was really cool; the late Jim Fueling designed the heads for the bikes. They worked pretty good but I always thought they were just cool, I’m a speed freak and I love motors. So having a set was something I wanted. Now Quantum went out of business but you can still buy the heads they are called Hemi Heads and it’ll run about $3000.00 bucks to upgrade your old EVO, they even make them from the early Twin Cam motors. I’ve never done anything with the set of heads I got, I just put them in my store as a way to show them off, I would joke about not needing a new Milwaukee Eight because I had the heads to turn my old Evo into a new motor (but I have rode a Milwaukee Eight I got to say It’s nice.) Shovelhead Joe and Josh Run the Ebay Store and the 4 Valve heads have been for sale on there until now! I got an email from a guy in Australia looking to buy the heads off me! He offered me $2500.00 bucks and I was happy to take it (I only paid $300 for the heads). Josh has tried to sell those heads for 1000 bucks but I wouldn’t take it I knew they were worth way more! And now I had my proof, the old man isn’t as crazy as everyone makes him out to be! It only takes that one good sale and it takes a good month to a great month! But wouldn’t you know it the guy stiffed me! I can’t believe a guy online would do that! Josh got a good laugh about it but man what a bummer! Its ok the heads look great in my store and who knows maybe I will bolt them on to a motor one day. Last year at the AMCA Wauseon swap meet, everyone was taking about a guy who sold two saddlebags, brackets, and rear fender for $10,000 dollars. I couldn’t believe that someone would really pay that for just a few parts. I asked around to find out who was the guy that sold the parts, and come to find out it was an old friend Panhead Larry from Ohio! I stopped and asked Larry about the deal and what was the stuff to, the bags and fender where original paint from 1947 for Knucklehead! I asked Larry how he came up with the price of $10,000. Larry just looked at me and said “well I didn’t really want to sell them; I’ve had them forever and always thought maybe I’ll use them one day, I just needed some parts to put in my booth so they would let me camp!” Maybe there is hope for my Quantum 4 valve heads yet. If I wait 30 years and need some parts to put in my booth so they will let me camp at the swap meet, maybe I’ll be in luck. But the point is some parts are worth holding onto and asking a high price for. It’s always good to research what you have and if you don’t need to sell it hang on to it!

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