I HAVE owned this 1958 FL Panhead for 26 of its 50 years. It began life as a police bike in Mexico and was rescued in the late ’70s by a member of the Hells Angels from California. He then sold it to a guy from Australia in 1982. I bought it from him as a basket-case, with only a motor and gearbox in a frame, as well as an oil tank with the number 14 painted on it which still remains a mystery to me. He also threw in a heap of parts from a 1967 Shovel.
In its first rebuild I used parts from a 1978 Low Rider that had had its front half burnt in a petrol fire, as well as a lot of Jammer parts from a business called Scooter Tramps operating in Armidale (Vic) in the ’80s.
The motor was balanced by John Treece Engineering and rebuilt by Charlie Osterfield. It was fitted with an Andrews A-grind cam, S&S solid lifters and a Joe Hunt magneto. Charlie also rebuilt the gearbox and fitted a Barnett clutch.
Tombstone gave it a Candy Apple Red paint job; he used to do a lot of great paint jobs in the ’70s and ’80s in Victoria.
In 1995 I decided to restore the bike back to original. The first thing was a set of original tanks from Pacific H-D Trading Co. Next came a rear guard, a mint oil tank, original carby, and a couple of generators from a ’59 in Bacchus Marsh.
I got a front guard, original horn and rack off my mate Katsy, who also offered a lot of good advice during the build up.
All tins were stripped in molasses then given to a mate, Geoff Kidman, who applied the Calypso Red and Birch White paint job with great results.
The seat came from a police bike that had been imported locally.
The rest of the hard-to-get parts were sourced from eBay. The biggest problem I found was a lot of Yanks don’t want to sell parts outside the USA, but if you contact them and hassle them enough, they sometimes change their minds.
A big thanks to Snake for letting us use his little piece of Mexico at the Cactus Gardens in Bendigo for the photo shoot; a fitting finale for this grand old 50-year-old!
pics by Julie Hough; words by Steve from Central Vic