Last year was a blast! A lot of things just fell into place but it wasn’t without a heap of pushing.
You may remember this really long post from last year about wanting to build an old Panhead Harley?
Well to cut the really long story short I’ll summarize the highlights for you.
– I had a plan to buy a frame and engine in the USA and then get the frame cut up into little pieces then sent to me in seperate boxs with the engine so I could reconstruct the bike here in Aus.
– I looked for months and found this rolling Panhead on eBay for $5k, the more I looked at the photos the more I thought it was a good deal, even if the frame didnt seem like it was right (owner told me it was a repop frame)
– Still it had everything I needed at the right price so I put up a post on Instagram asking if anyone could go and get it for me, Daniel responded and said he could get it, so I bought it and he went to pick it up.
– I asked Daniel to cut up the frame and pull the engine out, he sent me some pics before cutting it and I ended up spending hours researching all the casting numbers and marks to work out it was in fact original (1937 Knucklehead front half and 1955 Panhead rear half) to add to that the seller found receipts for the engine build and it had just had $8k spent on it and was completely fresh, so I told Daniel to hold off on cutting that frame, this was too good to be true, I had other plans!
– From there I organised the bike to be sent to Dan Carrs workshop in Texas, I researched every part and sent Dan a shopping list, Dan spent three months making that roller a runner.
– While Dan was working away on the roller I was back here in Australia building and wiring the rest of the bike from a borrowed 1957 Panhead chassis.
– Dan had finished up his work on the roller and removed everything I didnt need, he bolted it onto pallet and sent it off to San Francisco where Jasin Phares was waiting for the chassis to mount a springer he had built for me, on the same day the bike arrived from Texas to Jasins my box arrived from Australia, packed with everything I had built and needed for a month on the road.
This bike had just been freighted the length of the United States and I was flying into the USA to have the most incredible road trip on top of it.
I was so happy with the time I spent on this bike that I didnt want it to end, I stored the bike in Hollywood and set about making plans to return. Those plans didnt really eventuate and the bike had overstayed it’s time sitting out the back of jewelry foundry. There was a container with one spot left and I had one day to get it moved, I put the request out on Instagram again and had someone I had never met spend the day moving my bike, thanks Richard!
Over the next few weeks I hoped that my bike would make it safely, I had all my tools, camp gear, helmet and memories stored in my Biltwell bag and was hopefull that none of that would go missing along the way.
Well it didn’t and 6 weeks later my bike had cleared customs and was ready to pickup.
The bike certainly looked like it had sat outside a foundry for a year, but it was home and I was excited to clean it up back to its former glory.
After a quick wash I fired it up, I am still not sure whats inside this engine, everything hints to a decent size stroke and its a bastard to kick (I’m 75kg ringing wet) but when it fires to life all of those good times we had together start flooding back.
I was extremely excited to get my 1951 Panhead home but this bike holds a special place in my heart, the journey that I took it on via the build and then the ride once complete will forever be one of the most memorable moments of my life.
I would like to thank all of those people that helped me out through this build.
I look forward to enjoying this bike here in Australia.
The chromes at home!