Bill’s Harley-Davidson Shovelhead & Samantha Jade

“...she can get temperamental, but usually, she fires up pretty easily once you go through her ritual,” said Bill.

BACK IN MAY 2009, I dropped into Wrenchdevil Cycles at Capalaba for a chin wag with Jeff and his lovely wife, Kerin. She told me about a ’56 Panhead rigid frame that a bloke was thinking about getting rid of, along with a few other bits and pieces that he had collected for a build that he never got around to doing. I had always wanted to do a ground-up build and asked her to contact him and get a price on the frame.

A week later, money changed hands and I had the frame. It was in good nick and hadn’t been played with so it was on with the project. The only concept I had in mind was to keep it as simple as possible.

I put the word out and very quickly had offers of bits and pieces from various people I had met over the years, and within a matter of months, had enough to start the build.

Jeff and Paul at Wrenchdevil Cycles provided a lot of advice and expertise helping me put her together. With their considerable help, the bike was built over a 12 month period and we only experienced a few hiccups. Little things like cutting and re-welding the oil tank so the gearbox would fit properly, and mounting the rear fender which was previously a front fender off a Fat Boy, did present some thought-provoking times, but in the end, it all came together pretty well.

The seat and solo bag were made by Mark Cox, a very talented bloke who was happy to make the seat up to my specs. The seat pan was set up so that the springs were under the seat, not at the rear where most of them are mounted.

All up, bits and pieces from about 11 different bikes ranging from Shovels to Twinkies went towards building her. A set of Avon white walls was mandatory for the ‘look’. 

She is definitely a keeper. She runs a 74-cubic-inch Harley-Davidson Shovel motor, four-speed castle-top box and is kick only. Like all Shovels, she can get temperamental, but usually, she fires up pretty easily once you go through her ritual. She normally gets ridden around the local area but has done an overnighter down to mid-NSW. She did the ride pretty easy with no problems and nothing fell off which was a bonus. With a 2.5 gal tank, you just have to make sure you can get fuel every 100 km or so, but being a rigid, it’s usually time to stretch out the spine anyway.

Big thanks to the boys from Wrenchdevil Cycles at Capalaba for making a dream a reality. We would like to thank Tony from Angry’s Motorcycle Worx in Kippa-Ring for the use of his workshop for the shoot; and the lovely Samantha Jade for her fantastic modelling.

Photos by Rod Cole; story by Bill

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