Thursday, October 29, 2015
Winter can get very tuff in the motorcycle business, no one ever thinks about their bike when there’s two feet of snow on the ground. But I hate to close because you never know when someone will come in and buy a motor or with a bike for sale. This day was no different, in fact we really didn’t haven’t have any customers in at all until “old 8-ball” walked in trying to sell me a Harley sign. I had remembered that 8-ball had a 59’ Pan Chopper he built back in 69’. Talking with 8-ball I found out he was trying to raise money for some medical bills. I told him I really didn’t want the sign but I’d really like to have that old panhead. Well 8-ball had to go home and think about it over night. When 8-ball called me the next day, I couldn’t get to his house fast enough. The pan was cooler then I remembered. The frame was molded with a Wassail gas tank, a long narrow springer, 19’ front wheel with mini drum. The frame was an original wishbone with the side car loops cut off. The whole thing had been molded back in the heyday of choppers. 8-ball was telling how he had the best chrome in the world done on his bike “Pontiac Motors Chroming”, and how he had made most of the parts on the bike; in the shop and would sneak them out at the end of the day. It reminded me of a Johnny Cash song “one piece at a time”. He had rebuilt the motor to factory specs and with all original Harley parts. It was one of the coolest stories I had ever heard. He went on to tell us how it used to have a King Queen seat on it, but when the wife left so did the seat. He told us how he had finished the bike in 71 on Daytona Beach FL, during Bike Week. It sounded like something from a David Mann painting. 8-ball went on talking and I just sat there savoring every word. Josh was in heaven hearing all the old biker stories; that kid lives for that sort of thing. He told us he was sad to sell the old chop but he couldn’t kick it anymore and it was, as he put it, “a young man’s bike”. This is about the point where I say what I paid for the bike, well old 8-ball asked me to keep that between us. A real biker to the end, he doesn’t like people know his business. We were so happy to have the bike at shop but bummed it was winter. I couldn’t wait to fire that old pan up. I had visions in my head, jamming down the road with my old lady, Sandy, on the back living the dream, but she has her own damn bike so that’ll never happen. The first thing we had to do was change that damn seat. Winter turned into summer and we just kept working. We ended up setting up at the Lowbrow Moto Swap in Ohio. What a great time, tons of cool old parts, and the guys at Lowbrow were awesome, super nice, and the show was great. While I was there I found a guy with a brown King Queen seat! Well after some dickering I scored it for $150.00 bucks. We got the seat home and Josh started mounting it up, it didn’t come out to bad. Summer came again and the shop got really busy, Josh started an online store (EBay store: Boomers Bike Shop), and that old pan just sat in the shop. Every one loved to stop by and see it in the shop, winter came again and it was one of the worst years in the bike shop business. As much as it killed me I had to finally let that panhead dream go and pass it on to someone else. I had my buddy terry got it running and Josh put it on the web. Tons of people called and sent emails but the bike ended up staying in Michigan. Bob saw the bike online and came into the store to see it. After a few minutes he had to have it. Bob said it reminded him of bikes he had seen when he was a kid growing up in Detroit. After some dickering I sold the pan to Bob for ?????? ( got to keep our word to old 8-ball), I was sad to see it go but happy it was going to someone that was going to keep it the way it is now like a time capsule of cooler days gone by. I never like to miss a swap meet even if it’s a small one. I recently drug josh to this little church swap meet. I had to show Josh I was crazy like a fox and I ended up proving that, I sold $40 bucks worth of parts and bought up $5500 in parts and bikes. I started talking to some people and I found a barn fresh 66 XLCH with Morris magneto still in it, this thing was cool. Pat, the owner of the bike, said he had the bike for the 40 some years. Pat was showing Josh how to fire the old girl up; he said it’ll start between 2 and 50 kicks. Pat must have ridden that old bike a lot, because on the second kick that old girl fired right up. We got it back to the shop, Josh was excited to get it home, and he’s already got a long and low “digger” project in his head. I scored that old bike for only 500.00 bucks, the good lord was looking out for me that day. The other bike was a 1997 Fatboy we call it the “Howling Wolf”. Again check out the paint. This one might be around for awhile Josh wants to put something together and I think this would be a great bike to do something with, stay tuned for the next issue.