Cover Contest Shovelhead


I’m reading The Horse while my wife and I are sitting in the San Antonio airport waiting for a flight to go to Nashville on vacation. I’m enjoying the articles and pictures and looking up occasionally to watch the folks roll by heading for parts unknown. Currently, I have a bike project that I’m moving slowly on, building a rigid custom with a late model Shovelhead motor. I’m sourcing the parts and hope to start putting the pieces together sometime early next year. I love reading The Horse because it keeps me up to speed and always gives me some great ideas to incorporate into my own bikes.

Getting back to the airport, so I come to a page where it has the banner “You Shoot the Cover Contest!” And it piques my interest. I’m fortunate that my interest. I’m fortunate that my wife (as you can see from the pictures) looks great and takes really good care of her body. I’ve written articles about choppers and riding in the past so I feel like I can handle feature writing part. Anyway, I show my wife the contest page and asked “You interested in trying to win this?” She looks up, gives me a casual glance and says “Sure, I’m in” and then goes back to reading her book. By the way, she rides a Dyna Street Bob and understands the culture.

Well that was good to hear as I really enjoy writing and I also enjoy seeing her getting decked out in a new bikini or two, keeps things interesting around the house. First problem though, my bike project is way too far off from completion to make the contest deadline. My current scoot does not really fit the profile (just traded my daily rider Softail for a Dyna S), so I figured this is not going to work out. Just as I’m about to drop the whole idea, I remember that a good buddy of mine is just finishing up a ground up build on a Shovelhead project of his own. It’s actually very similar to what I’m trying to put together. I’ve known Dave Meckel for several years and he’s a very talented guy who not only builds bikes but also bows (as in archery), houses, does metalwork and woodwork and about anything else he puts his mind to. Needless to say, he’s a very talented and creative guy. This bike is his first attempt to do a ground up project. He’s customized many scooters in the past and done a great job but this is his first attempt of this magnitude. Well I called him and told him about the contest; he’s seen my wife so he was stoked to have her do a shoot on his newly finished bike. He sent me the pictures of how the bike turned out and it was just what I was looking for.

When I went to get the bike for the photo shoot I sat down with Dave to go over the details of his build. Here’s what he told me, over a beer (or two).

Dave set out to build a hardtail with a springer front end and a post AMF Shovelhead. Nothing fancy and really “basic” was the idea of this build. First, he found a 1984 FLHS that was pretty much a rat bike/basket case for a good price. This bike would provide the motor, tranny, wheels, tires and a few other parts. The rest of the donor bike would be sold off or junked. The FLHS was pretty rough and the engine ran but was not very strong. After sending the heads and cylinders to get re-worked, Dave found a hardtail Paughco frame at a swap meet. At the same meet he also picked up a Paughco oil bag and tank that was just the old school look he was shooting for.

A few of the parts had to be custom fabricated but fortunately, Dave’s metal working skills were up to filling the gaps where parts were needed. Case in point, the rear fender came off a boat trailer. The basic size and shape was about right so with some cutting and welding it turned out to be just the ticket. The pipes are also Paughco Goose Cut Upsweeps. The handlebars and dog bone risers are from Flanders. Seat is a solo from Drag Specialties.

Dave also fabricated the custom twisted sissy bar himself. All of the nuts and bolts have been replaced with stainless which I think is a nice touch. The bike stops with the support of a Sprotor from Hog Halters. Carb and air cleaner are S&S Super E and this bike is kicker only. The electric start went in the “to be sold” parts bin. Bike has a 4 speed tranny and the Shovelhead now sounds and runs strong. Bike handles well and the Candy Tangerine paint with ghost flames were a great choice for the tins.

So mission accomplished…Dave did a great job on the bike, Lindy was smokin’ in the photo shoot and I got some great tips and insight for my own project. Hope you enjoyed this as much as I did putting this together!

-Paul Liberato

Bike Owner: Paul Liberato
Bike Builder:
Dave Meckel

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