Wednesday, January 09, 2008


It's show time at the Cow Palace; this year the Hot Rod and Custom show asked our Yerba Buena chapter of the AMCA for some vintage motorcycles, to lend some cred to all those high-dollar checkbook custom cars filling the main hall. 25 bikes showed up, they gave us space for 50, so we'll be calling friends who need a parking spot for their old bike over the weekend. The theme of our exhibit was meant to show a history of the bobber/custom bike trend, and what was the Vintagent doing there? I have a bobber Velocette, of course!
Top pic shows one of the coolest fellows I've met in a long time, Max Schaaf, who hosts the funniest and grooviest blog,

4Q Conditioning. Max devotes 20 minutes a day to scanning and posting on his blog, and he has 'a drawer full of strange stuff' to keep the clickers happy. He builds very interesting custom Harleys, when not in professional skateboard mode - his '4Q' was featured on my 49-mile ride post.
The machine pictured is based on a Shovelhead motor, but everything is 'different', which I noted when I first encountered Max on the streets of Berkeley in December. Most noticeably, the forks are really narrow, and the front brake has been heavily worked. Click on the photos for clarity (sorry the pic of Max is blurry). The paint job and ancillaries have '69' subtly worked into them, unfocus your eyes for a moment and it all becomes clear. He made those crazy handlebars himself out of stainless tubing, and turned down that Sportster front brake drum and Wide-Glide front forks. Even the Sporty tank has been narrowed. Looks rideable too.

Next pic is my bobber Velo! See, I told you! Why? Well, it needed a home, and it found me - it's not the best bob-job in truth, and needs everything sorted out, especially those deflated Dowty air forks, which are bound to strike that 21" front wheel. Note Wassel alloy tank, and groovy custom megaphone exhaust. It's a '50 MAC, with an iron 350cc engine (the best for tuning, they say). The fellow who built it was a retired mechanic, and put bikes together as a hobby. It's for sale. I only kept it this long to put it in the Cow Palace show, as I don't have time to make a proper job of it! Not my cup of tea either, but not my first bobber by any stretch - I'll search the archives for ancient pix of others which have come my way.

Below is an interesting Harley custom, which uses two V-Rod front wheels, with a 45" sidevalve motor wedged between them. Tastefully constructed, it looks light and thin. Rich Ostrander tells the owner how it's done.

That's Rick Najera's gold Panhead bobber, still taped together, and below that, the Brisbane lady, which, if you click on it, is a lovely piece of paintwork. Brisbane is a town just south of San Francisco, and no I've never seen a woman who looks like that in Brisbane. I have seen a man who looked like that in San Francisco, though.

Now we get to the cars - the show is really all about cars, cars, cars, and there is a entire although separate building devoted to 'rat rods', ie cars which haven't been anally customized to within an inch of their life. For instance, that amazing multi-colored patina-mobile. Or the spectacular pinstriping of the car hood, in the pic below. Or the 'fun with fiberglass' slant-eye custom, or the super skullified bucket-T rod at the bottom. At least they look used.


max schaaf said...

thanks for doing the old liz taylor
vaseline on the lense thing on that top photo of me. took the wrinkles off my face and scratches off the bike. appreciate the kinds words.

kustomjones said...

Matt Fuentes, Last Originals CC wrote: thanks for the comments and photo of my '48 Plymouth Kustom. Just wanted to let you know that there is no fiberglass on the car it is all formed with eith conduit or steel rod, with steel panels formed around them.