Wednesday, September 30

Smokin'

Remember Jag-powered dragster, Destiny? We saw it run at the Hot Rod Drags (awesome!) and Johnny R got some great shots of it and the team over the weekend. Should be in issue 12.

Tuesday, September 29

Mr September

OK, I know from my list of blog 'followers' that we have some ladies who dig the whole GK thing, so here's one for you: Wasko, sitting in the Sydney spring heat, on his righteous homebuilt Evo chop.

A few more of these and we could make a GK calendar, eh mate?

Monday, September 28

Born free, as free as the wind blows


The Born Free show sounds like it was a resounding success. What a refreshing concept not to make it a ripoff paying show, but instead arrange it all for free. Mike D and the other guys who put in so much time and effort to make this happen should be commended. It's so much easier to sit back and bitch than create.

(Check out more of Scott Pommier's crisp bike portraits at Born Loser).

I – and the magazine – were proud to have been involved, on however small a scale. I regret not being there, but life is pulling me along at the moment and I'm not getting the space and time to do the things I need or want to.

Friday, September 25

More Pan goodness

Just spotted this on the JJ... Trent's new project. How does he find 'em? I might go a similar route with the shotguns and cutoff fender at the hinge. More inspiration from this sweet '48!

I notice that 'bobber' is as abused a term here as it was in Oz. In case you still don't know, this thing you're looking at above IS a bobber. Your Evo Sportster with whitewalls/Twin Cam with short rear fender/60s Triumph with a Wassell tank/Suzuki with apehangers ISN'T.

We'll get there in the end...

Has anyone done this style of Panhead...

...better?

Never-ending inspiration from Steve Uhl. Shot by Frank Kaisler for issue 3.

Thursday, September 24

Boneshakers Sporty

I was laying out the Boneshakers Choppers feature for issue 12 and looked again at this Sporty Benny built for a customer... and I love it. In fact I'd like to hop on it right now and go and annoy some old people in the local Co-Op car park with some burnouts and wheelie action. (We have a Costcutter here too, which I'd move onto next.)

Check out Benny's Blog.

Pete Hill

Always loved this portrait of Pete Hill in issue 7 by Daron Gray.

Pete's a drag racing legend, having campaigned a Knucklehead that smashed 15 records, including world record for the 1/8 mile E.T. @ 4.75 set in 1988 and the record for world’s fastest Knucklehead.

Pete was recently involved in an accident on his bike (he still rides every day); we at GK hope he's healing well.

Wednesday, September 23

When punk rock and vintage sickles meet






My brother Adam is a bike journo (writing for 'The Classic Motorcycle' amongst other mags) and also contributes to GK... in fact, some of the nicest photography in the mag so far has been his work.

Recently he got a commission to do a feature on 'Brooklands Relived', a great event that saw mostly vintage British iron tackling the historic test hill (with sometime expensive and embarrassing results – one of the riders crashed on a Brooklands museum bike).

He spotted a familiar figure at the event who turned out to be Dave Vanian; he told my bro he's a fan of the mag! He's agreed for us to feature him and his old Harleys (I remember him riding to many of the pubs I used to hang out at on my '62 XLCH 20 years ago), so stay tuned, should be a cracker.

Adam's already done a piece on Jean-Jacques Burnel for 'Classic Bike', so maybe this could be a start of a series on original punk rock heroes and their motorcycles...

Monday, September 21

Friday, September 18

Andy's Triumph

You beeeuuwwwteee!

Andy L's Triumph, bought as a basket from Hatch (who you'll know from the mag's past issues) and reconstituted as this photogenic beauty. In issue 12...

Thursday, September 17

The Panhead that started it all

Chopper Dave changed my life. No, really.

I remember stumbling across his website perhaps eleven or twelve years ago and just having some sort of quasi-religious experience when I saw the bikes he was featuring. This little vintage custom/chopper scene was of course established in California, but it was all new to me and bikes like Dave's were pretty much unlike anything I'd seen before. It made me totally dissatisfied with the shovel I was riding at the time, and made me turn it into a retro-styled chopper.

Dave ended up helping me set up the GK website, and even contributed photos from events like the first Viva Las Vegas (because he wanted to concentrate purely on motorcycles). This photo comes from a set he sent me around eight or nine years ago.

His Panhead simply made me want a bike just like it. Every configuration it went through just looked better and better. I remember doing a little profile of him on the GK site and asking why no mags had ever featured him and his bike!

Anyway, thanks Dave. I wouldn't be doing what I'm doing now without your influence... and certainly wouldn't be riding the style of bikes I do.

Tuesday, September 15

Van with a Pan

Picked up the '52 today, with the help of Pete and his trusty Transit (thanks mate!). Stock sucks, but I'm gonna pretend I'm Willem Dafoe for a bit and ride it just as it is for now.

Sunday, September 13

Feel that Melbourne heat?


Sizzling stuff from down under... Bart's super-nice '64 TR6 with all the good stuff: David Bird, Bates, Wassell, Doherty, finned covers, yada, yada. Great to see such nice bikes coming out of my much-loved adopted homeland. Coming very soon in GK!

Wednesday, September 9

A '49 Mercury for well under three grand

The late eighties were shit in lots of ways, but look at the prices for US imports back then! My mate Paul and I used to hang around Luxury & Power, checking out their latest arrivals, trying to knock the guys down so we could afford something. We never could (although we nearly bought a Pontiac Chieftain because it was the cheapest thing they had, glad now we saved our meagre wad)... but a Mercury for around 3 large was cheap even 20 years ago. The good old days...!

Riding in a pack

Tuesday, September 8

In 2009

So I go to see this '52 Pan that's advertised in a classic bike magazine, about two hours drive away, and the bloke selling it is obviously gutted to have to let it go. I had to borrow his tools to get the bash plate off to check the (matching) belly numbers, and his wife brought out tea and biscuits to strengthen our resolve for the negotiations ahead.

While I fiddled about with the spanners we talked about life and motorcycles. We raved about KH250s – the hooligan bike of our youth – and how easy it was to pass the motorcycle test back in the day. He told me about the various 60s Camaros, Chevelles and Mustangs he'd owned, many of them picked up for under a grand in the eighties. He admitted he's unable to start the Pan any more due to an accident, so I kicked it over following the instructions he had written on a couple of sheets of paper (on the seat); I'm not familiar with Linkerts or manual advance/retard controls, so it was all fun. The bike fired up in a cloud of black smoke then settled down and idled well.

I made him an offer and it took him a long, long time (and a discussion with his missus) to finally accept. He made me assure him the bike would be ridden regularly. I hated having to knock him down, especially as he obviously cherished the bike and needed the dough, but also because he's a genuinely nice bloke; passionate about H-Ds. The whole experience was civilised and pleasant... unlike some of the many two-wheeled purchases I've made over the years.

I'll have it home soon.

In 1994

I rode my shovel from London up to Leeds for a mate's party... this was the morning after the night before.

I've still got that shirt. What a cheapskate!

Sunday, September 6

Jack the lad



This Pan (and this movie) had a massive influence on me from the first time I saw it about 20 years ago. The axed fatbobs, Bates dual seat, stripped glide, chopped fender at the hinge... I still LOVE it.

I'm trying to get some really detailed images of this bike together (thanks to Ken for these and Johhny and Rene for the pointers so far). If you have any photos of the right side of the bike, please email 'em to me at choppers@greasykulture.com

=mike=

In case you didn't know, Mike has his '56 Pan (with late '60s shovelheads/cool Sporty drum laced to a 21" rim) up for sale. This bike is an absolute cracker (we featured it in issue 5) and I would have snapped it up if it wasn't so hard to register modified imports here.

If you're interested – and who wouldn't be, if you're looking for a top-notch Pan chop – contact him thru Mostly Uninteresting.

Friday, September 4

At last!

After a long worldwide search, I finally bought a new Pan project... virtually on my doorstep in the UK.

It's a '52, with correct year frame (unmolested) and matching numbers engine. First year for the foot shift (with a mousetrap). Still 6v, with a Linkert M74. Starts first kick. A few things aren't right on the bike (please feel free to tell me what!), but this ain't gonna be a restoration!

I paid a lot more than I wanted to; the seller got a lot less than he wanted. Seems to sum up the vintage Harley-buying experience in England.

It's green. Unlucky? Not from where I'm standing.

Stay tuned for progress once I get it home in the next week or two. (I've finally bought the Bruce Palmer restoration book – never bothered with the '55 I had because it was such a bitsa – so I'll be schooling myself in the next few weeks.)