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


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.