DARREN’S ORIGINALLY from England. He started riding little Jappers — 50 cc 2 stroke screamers — on the road at 16. He’d cut down the seats with a carving knife (café racer style), fit dropped handlebars, and menace the neighbourhood.
In his 20’s he worked as a fitter in Germany, and later Hong Kong, which gave him the money to start collecting and modifying bikes, especially street fighters. He’s owned 40 Jappas, one Triumph, and since moving to Aussie, 10 years ago, has owned and built 15 Harleys.
As Darren approached his 40th birthday, he thought he’d treat himself to an older Harley so he sold his 2006 Street Bob and purchased a ’67 Genny Shovel (1967 just so happened to be his birth year).
It was the only one for sale in Oz. He bought it sight unseen from Harley City and it turned out to be a cracker. It recently won Best in its Class at a dyno shoot-out, and Best Traditional Harley at the Rockers Rumble Show. Darren says it’s due for a restoration soon, back to factory specs, and he’s already got some hard-to-find bits.
Darren also built a second chopper for his wife. Panascha is originally from Thailand and has been riding bikes for longer than Darren. She’s been riding since she could see over the bars. She owns and drag races her Sporty which runs an impressive 13.0 quarter mile.
This chopper is low and light and corners as good as any standard Harley. It’s a Santee gooseneck softail frame, 100 cube inch RevTech motor, six-speed RevTech box, RevTech upside down forks (fully adjustable).
The wheels are Genuine Harley wheels, 21-inch front and 17 x 210 rear, and were a pain to fit. The front had to be re-spoked and 7.5 mm machined off the disc flange to centralise it; the rear was 3.5 mm out of centre and was re-trued as well.
The bike also has Twin Cam style brakes so pads are easy to get.
A Twin Cam aftermarket oil tank was modified to suit and a king Sporty petrol tank was widened 2 inches. Zodiac forward controls were also fitted.
Darren likes his bikes to handle so Progressive shocks were used on the rear.
All the work was done by Darren himself except for the TIG welding and fabrication work on the cast rear fender which was fitted to the swingarm; many thanks to Andy and Roger for taking care of that.
It took Darren about six months to collect all the parts for the build, then it only took around two weeks to assemble it. Most parts were modified to suit as well.
The paint was the usual nightmare. Darren usually uses pro painters, but he had a mate who said he could do it in two weeks. Usual story, 14 weeks later it turned up with a wonky stripe and runs on the frame. Lesson learnt, Darren says. It’s since been sorted and it turned out sweet. He didn’t want a fancy paint scheme so a simple GT stripe on classic gloss black did the job.
Darren’s a keen believer that bikes have a job to do, not just look good. They should be built to be ridden, ridden hard, and ridden daily.
Darren’s now accustomed to the Aussie way of life — work all day, then drink piss and build your bike all night. He’s now building an Exile style softail for himself and he’s on the hunt for all of the trick bits he wants to use.
Darren would like to thank his wife Panascha, and the Quinns Rock Surf Lifesaving Club for the use of the beachfront for the photo shoot.
Pics & words by Gazza