Ok shit what were we talking about? Oh yea that first bike I built. So when we left off I was just finishing up my pipes at Kenny Price’s place. Well I brought it home and buttoned up the wiring and plumbing. Brakes were bled and filled it up with gas, and proceeded to kick, and kick, and kick. Nothing happened. The fact that I can never follow, and I always need crazy shit led me to install a Karata Magneto. I just liked the way that big ass car size mag looked on a generator motor. The problem was I bought it used from a “friend” not knowing the fucker was bad. The mag part was fine. It had a bent shaft in the drive causing it to drag and not let the mag spin fast enough to start. Late one Friday night I finally did get it to start after about 30 minutes of kicking. Even after all the bikes I’ve built I have never heard one sound quite like that. The thing just ripped. So loud and crisp. It’s like each exhaust note had a giant period at the end that made it stop. RRRRaaaPPPP!! Light small diameter S & S flywheels and 12:1 compression and Carls Speed Shop heads will do that! So now it was time for the first ride. Fuck it I jumped on and split. I rode about 60 miles at 11:00 at night, and didn’t want to stop. So once I got a good taste of this thing it was time to tear it apart for paint. I couldn’t afford to pay somebody to paint my stuff, andI had been painting for real since I was about 9 years old. I started off painting and restoring vintage balloon tire bicycles that I would sell at antique shows my dad sold at. The only problem was I really didn’t know how to paint flames. I knew this neighborhood cat named Bill Visser that was a painter. I asked him if he could help/show me how to layout some flames on my tanks. He was really cool and showed me all of the steps to do the tape outs, and to spray the fades. So I painted my first set of flames on my tanks. Man did they look like shit. They just came out wrong. Again i was trying too hard, instead of just painting traditional flames. So I sanded them down and did them again. This time I got them right. Orange to red fade with perfect per portions. Now in my opinion flames without pinstripe outline look unfinished. So I drove my tanks and fender over to local Bellflower pinstriper Tom Kelly. Tom was a legend, and his paint shop was where Von Dutch was currently working. So whenever I would go there I would always see Dutch. One time Tom was very intensely working on some striping for me, and Von Dutch walked right past us and to the shop refrigerator. And preceded to lay out this incredible pinstripe design on the door. Then he put his brush away and walked out past us, and never made eye contact, and never said a word. The best part of that story is I would always look at that refrigerator because it had a Huge Genes Muffler Shop decal on the door, and that is the logo that inspired the West Coast Choppers Iron Cross logo. (I own the refrigerator now)
Ok fuck I straying from this build story. I just have so many story’s of so many amazing people I have been lucky enough to learn and know, and be inspired from. I want to tell them all. So tom stooped my flames in a nice purple stripe. I rushed them home to my makeshift plastic paint booth in my garage, and clear coated them with some Acrylic Enamel Clear. The next day after some color sanding and color buffing they were back on the bike. Now I really had no plans to take this bike to any big bike show or anything like that. I really just built this thing purely for me. So I just rode the piss out of it. People really didn’t know what to think when I rolled up. It was loud, shiney, and looked like trouble. Looking back now 25 years later? I’m still doing the same thing with every bike I build. They all have a little bit of that first bike in them.
P.S. I sold that first bike to some Jap dude at Santa Fe Springs Bike Swap Meet in 1991 for $15,000. I used the money to pay for my first Daughter Chandler’s delivery and hospital stay. I didn’t have insurance and would never use Medicare. I paid Up!