I’VE BEEN fiddling with cars and motorbikes since I was nine-years-old; so it’s all I’ve done all my life. I was born in Canberra Hospital before they blew it up in 1952. My dad used to own Canberra Spare Parts, a big wrecking yard in Fyshwick; I think that’s where the craze for motorbikes and cars started. When I was 14, I did an apprenticeship with Everlast Battery Service in Fyshwick working on cars and trucks.
I love my work. I don’t think I’ve worked a day in my life because I have a passion for what I do.
Four or five years ago, everybody was building choppers—long, big front-ends, fat wheels—they were the craze. Anyhow, I thought I’d build something different and started getting a few bits and pieces together. I knew the sort of style of bike I wanted to build—big 23-inch front wheel, skinny back wheel, narrow guard—and I reckon the Night Dragon turned out great. Everybody who looks at the bike just loves it. And the thing rides unbelievable.
I don’t have much time to do things for myself—if I’m awake I’m working but I’m normally working on somebody else’s stuff—so it’s taken me probably 18 months to complete.
There’s lots of hand-made parts on the bike—God, I couldn’t even start—from the seat base to the fuel tank, the exhaust system; every little bit of it.
I bought the Pan look-alike rocker boxes and they didn’t fit on the Sporty engine—so I was milling the heads and milling the middle out of rocker boxes. People look at it and say it’s cool, and it is cool, but it’s not something you can buy. You’ll never see those rocker boxes on something else.
The black paint was applied by Brian Hogan who used to work as a teacher at the local Tech collage but now he has his own business in Fyshwick.
The artwork was done by Tony Marks. He lives on a farm near Goulburn. That’s all free-hand; I watched him do it and there’s no pattern. The guy is a master with a paint brush.
People ask how much is that? When you put that much time and love and work into something, how can you sell it? It’s not for sale. I might not be rich but I’m happy.
Photos: Julius Goboly, Tower Photographics: 0407-486-759. Words: Peter Pulford