THE BIKE started life as a 1979 FXEF, first of the 1340 cc Shovelheads. I found it on good old Gumtree after searching religiously everyday for a year or so—and I purchased possibly the biggest pile of shit Shovelhead in the Southern Hemisphere.
It was an absolute mess but pretty cheap with a strong engine that doesn’t leak or sump which is what I was looking for as I didn’t want to strip down and build a chopper from a perfectly good stock survivor.
After procrastinating whether to build a chopper for a few months, my wife finally convinced me to strip it down and have a crack at a build. So one day after work I went at it with no idea what I was getting myself into.
I had it stripped bare in about four hours, thinking, ‘What the Hell have I done!’ I had gone too far to turn back now and kept on pushing forward with the help from my good mate Dan who had a huge part in the build with his knowledge.
I bought a shit MIG welder and a good grinder and fabricated a few bits and pieces—weld, grind, weld, grind, grind and grind some more… you get the picture.
With no idea or a plan and using what little amount of tools and experience I had, it was starting to come together and look like a chopper, and the finish line was getting closer. Final assembly went well with a few minor setbacks but that’s par for course, I suppose.
It’s not a period correct chopper nor did I set out to build a trailer queen show bike. I used what I had without handing out money hand-over-fist. It took me and around three/four months build time.
It’s running a 1340 cc Shovelhead; four-speed box, kick only, in a Paughco wishbone frame; 23-inch Spool front wheel and 18-inch rear Wassel wheel; vintage Firestone tyres; Performance Machine brake caliper; 39 mm Sporty front-end with narrowed Flanders bars; Biltwell whisky throttle assembly and S&S Super B carby; Biltwell grips; Alien gas tank; old trailer fender and tombstone tail-light.
Anyone wanting to build a chopper just have a crack and do it yourself. Learn as you go—it will change your life!
Photos by Rod Cole; story by Nathan