Do you remember your first Harley? Better yet remember your first big twin? I can remember both. I had been riding Honda Choppers and other metric bikes but I had always dreamed of having a Harley. Not that the metric bikes aren’t fun, there is just something about a Harley.
I was married to my 2nd wife at the time when I found an Ironhead sportster in the paper I wanted to buy, but I didn’t have the money. Late one night I was sitting at the dinner table when she walked in, threw down the money and said “if you want that bike so damn bad here’s the money, but we have other…….” That’s all I caught, I was out the door heading over to pick up the bike. (This might be part of the reason I’ve been married three times lol).
I was so excited I couldn’t wait to get it home. It was a 1972 ironhead, I couldn’t even get the thing started, I had to have my friend push me. I didn’t care, I was on a Harley. I had started to hang around a local shop Called T.G. Speed Equipment. Terry owned the shop. He was the number one Custom Chrome dealer in the State of Michigan back then. I would always hang around his shop when I was in town (I was a trucker for 15 years). I had dreamed of opening my own shop. Terry got me to open a little apparel shop next to his.
I had been riding my little ironhead for a while, and I had been all over on it from Detroit to Daytona. I loved it, but I was ready for a big twin. Terry helped me get some parts together and we built a nice nose cone shovel right out of the back of the shop on an old card table. It was cool; it was a panhead wishbone frame, a late model Harley springer, 16’ 21’ wheels. A sporty tank with a hot rod flame job, that bike was COOL!! I rode that bike all over with terry. Until one night, I was drunk and racing dead man curve.
Terry’s always said “I think there was a crack in the frame” but I know better. That bike came apart like the space shuttle. There I lay in the middle of the road missing most of my skin on my arms, when who is driving by; but my old buddy Ronnie Harris of Chop Doc Choppers. He stopped his car threw me in the back and headed for my house. He stayed with me all night along with my sister who is a nurse, until morning when I went to the hospital. So bummed out about my bike and trying to heal up, Ron Finch wrote me a nice estimate on the bike; I sold the carcass off to a friend and went down and bought a brand new fatboy. I still have the fatboy but I always missed that old shovel.
About 2 years ago my father passed away. It was hard for me but my Family and friends really backed me up though the whole thing. My wife, sandy, took care of him till the last night he was with us. At the wake my Buddy who I had sold the carcass to asked if I wanted to buy that bike back. He had rebuilt it to what he liked. I had about 10 jack and cokes so I said “HELL YES!!!”. The next day I awoke to Josh calling me letting me know my shovelhead was at the shop. I hadn’t seen the bike in years. I knew Dan had rebuilt it but I didn’t really know what it looked like.
The bike had a new jammer frame with 3.5 gallon tanks on it, a long wide glide with 16’ wheels front and back, and a big tractor seat to top it all off. I couldn’t leave it like that. That is not my style. So yet again I find myself in T.G. Speeds garage, trying to make something out of my old Bike. Terry wasted no time. I had an Old Harley XA springer on the wall at my shop that was the first thing that went onto the bike. Terry ordered me up a new 21’ front wheel with drum brake. The bike had a cool back fender that was black, so he painted the 3.5 tanks to match. Terry made mid-controls for me and a working foot clutch with a hand shift. The bike looks awesome!! This is my First Big Twin Harley Version 2.0!!