Evolution of a 1973 Harley Davidson Ironhead Sportster Chopper

Unlike Adam, I find it challenging to envision the finished product when looking at a motorcycle that is either in pieces or is something that starts out like this:

original condition

While this sportster was originally going to be Adam’s, for the sake of expedience, it has now become mine (my ’73 Ironhead Sportster is still in boxes, while this one at least ran).

Adam had started to turn it into this:

Adam's version

When I inherited it, it looked like this:

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I had already decided to turn my sportster into a chopper, although I’d never really imagined myself having a proper chopper. But the lines of the bike inspired me to have a king queen seat based on some of the photos I’d seen of other bikes in magazines. So, that’s where it began.

Of course, with a king queen seat, one must have a sissy bar. Adam, please make me a sissy bar that is taller than me when I’m sitting and a seat pan that goes up to about here. I wasn’t happy with the narrowed tank that Adam had on it, so a frisco sportster tank was in order. Next, I sat for a fitting for handlebars (ask Talon how that went):

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Some black paint on the tins and powdercoating on the frame, and it’s starting to come together.

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Although each part on its own, including the trimmed seat, did not match what I saw in my mind’s eye, as it comes together, it is looking like the type of chopper that I wanted:

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Jerry at TJ’s Trim Shop in Soddy Daisy has made a few seats for us now and is always “excited” to see what challenge we have for him next. He was especially thrilled to hear that I wanted daisies on my seat, but he obliged, and they turned out well!

Next, finish the engine, front end, front and rear wheels (which will remain as the originals for now until I decide exactly what I want), and the final paint on the tank (will have to wait for photos for the final effect).

Will keep you updated on the progress….Jamie

Surprises while Sanding with Scott

 

 

Hello out there to everyone reading this in Internetland. My name is Scott, and I’m the vintage motorcycle service tech at Speed Deluxe. I needed to sand down and strip the paint and bondo off of the fuel tank from my 1948 Panhead chopper as part of my rebuild. I decided, with some persuasion from my boss Jamie, to document this procedure. Sit back, crack a beer and laugh at me, my first attempt at sanding and what I discovered waiting for me hiding underneath.

Here’s what I started with: a custom fabricated “alien tank” with some sketchy-at-best weld and repair jobs.

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First, I removed the tank badges. (Note the AMF name being run upside down because…well, read up on your Harley history.)

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Next, I put on my stylin’ safety equipment that included a face shield to protect my meal ticket, a respirator to protect my lungs and work gloves to protect my digits.

Safety gear

 

Then, I got crackin’! The tank began to reveal her secrets to me…

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Check out the metal warping and all-around gnarlyness in that last pic. The boss-man, Adam, said it was more than likely due to someone heating and hammering the metal in an attempt shrink it.

photo 3 - Copy (2) photo 4 - Copy (2) photo 5 - Copy (2)

 

After getting all of the old paint and bondo removed, I closely inspected the entire tank with Adam only to discover we had a LOT MORE repairs and time to put into the tank than previously estimated. Since we’re on a pretty tight build schedule of a couple of weeks, Adam suggested that I instead try to tackle the repair job during winter and simply use a different tank now. We both agreed that since Speed Deluxe usually follows a “Built-not-Bought” credo, we should go ahead and plan out what kind of tank we would build from scratch.

Next week: HOW TO BUILD A COFFIN TANK!

 

New Handlebar Line

We are working on producing a range of bars all made by hand in house. First off the line are these drag bars. We’ll be stocking these in bare steel, powder coated black, and chrome. More to come over the next 2 weeks. We can also fabricate bars to your specs in both 7/8″ and 1″ diameter.

HandlebarLine

1973 Ironhead Progress

Progress has been made on the ’73 Sportster project – these pics are from late last week. The fender has been mounted and a custom sissy bar added. The seat pan was fabricated and the tank narrowed. I decided against the Mooneyes oil tank and decided to fabricate a horseshoe tank instead.

Better pics to follow…stay tuned for further updates.

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