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Sunday Edition

Zack Attack

The Story of the Caddy That ‘Bombed’ and a ‘Re-Volting’ Bike

Story and Photos by Paul Garson

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A Gearhead is a Gearhead is a Gearhead…no matter how many wheels involved, right? That said, there seems to be a strange light hovering over L.A. multi-tasker, mover and shaker Zach Norman. He’s a designer/entrepreneur with his hand into a lot of diverse projects…cars, bikes, cell phone inventions…you name it, but his alter-ego is hotrodding having won awards at the prestigious National Roadster Show as well as set Bonneville speed records…and the latter in a shocking way.

First let’s tackled a car that Zach and his buddy Troy Ladd designed, then tagged as the ‘Platinum Bomb,” a hotrod that could no doubt attract its share of lovely platinum blondes. Once all the design parameters were meticulously planned out, they sought out a builder that could bring their vision to pavement scorching life. That would be Hollywood Hot Rods located in Burbank, CA, who started cutting, shaping and welding away.

Based around a 1942 Ford roadster bodied in aluminum, the look evokes WWII era fighter planes with its swath of bare-looking aluminum. The mil-spec theme is carried to the aluminum dash populated by a full bank of U.S. Navy aviation instruments and toggle switches that make for dynamite statement…all systems go. The aviation connection includes a yoke-style steering wheel once gripped by a bomber pilot. It’s actually used mostly when the car is in the static mode while on display. Then Zach opens the trunk and pulls out a ‘regulation’ auto steering wheel from its clamped position and then makes a quick change-out for high speed cruising.

More war-bird tech extends to the speedometer, Rather than the ‘normal’ method connecting via the transmission, Zach delved into his Korea War technology surplus bin and came up with a helicopter piece, what’s called a Pitot static tube which measures velocity by the passage of air, then reads out in miles per hour on his dashboard.

Parked under the hood that’s not there, rather than a Pratt-Whitney or Rolls-Royce engine as employed by the warplanes, Zack opted for personally wrenching together a 1949 Cadillac mill displacing 360 cubic inches and taking on more horses via an over-bore, hi-comp pistons, hi-po manifold and dual 4-barrel carburetion plus other high-performance components.

About the color choice… you could say Zach’s gone ‘Green’ but it’s a case of beauty more than aluminum skin deep. What might at first glance appear as clear-coated polished raw metal is actually a special silver paint application called ‘Kosmic Krome.’ In addition, the tint details seen on the various parts is actually a special reproduction of a military metal treatment called zinc chromate. Credit for the show winning job goes to Matt Means and Tom Prewitt of Department of Customz in Anaheim. 

Zack’s “Platinum Bomb” Cadillac powered ’42 Ford bodied war-bird themed hotrod has successfully targeted numerous awards.

Motor is all American V-8 power but definitely not your grandpop’s Caddy.

Zach wanted to hunker down in a WWII aircraft ‘cockpit’ atmosphere so brought together the view a B-24 pilot might recognize.

Note the ‘hood ornament’ – it’s actually the war surplus air velocity measuring gauge that’s hooked up to his speedometer.

Note use of safety-wired mil-spec bolts on the sandwich-plated wheels, custom fashioned by Zach.
Music” making custom Headers hang low, sweet chariot.
Heavy-duty air scoops and breather holes help cool brakes when anchoring down.

Zack Attack Part Deux – The “Re-Volt” – Zack Goes Two-Wheeling

Different Strokes for Different Folks – Old School Classic meets New School Re-Volt E-bike
Not exactly a Shovelhead or Panhead …call it “The Boxhead.”

Says Zach about his “shocking” two-wheeled endeavor, “I was a tinkerer and got this wild hair to pay homage to the classic American chopper and at the same bridge the gap to the future. Plus I was tired of paying for gas so why not build a really bitchin’ rigid framed Harley-Davidson that’s electric powered…and really high performance electric at that!”

The fire-extinguisher was added security after some early testing saw an unexpected electrical “flare-up,” but the problems resolved.

The street legal Re-Volt was completed in 2008 after a year’s work. Components include a rigid chopper frame built by the Torrance, CA based Flyrite Choppers company, a Paughco springer front end that rolls a 21-inch wheel, an 18 in the back. There is no ignition, rather a device known as the Curtis Controller, something found in use in forklifts. The electric motor of Zach’s design turns the wheels via a custom armature linked to the rear sprocket. No transmission to shift, rather a direct drive set-up. Just twist-the-throttle to achieve seamless forward motion. Recharge the batteries via 110volt house current for about five hours. Even with the recycled 94 laptop computer batteries as the power source, the Re-Volt tips the scales around 280 lbs., still relatively very light.

Zach took the street legal machine to Bonneville and set the first Land Speed Record for an Electric Motorcycle with an average 73.056 mph. Now he’s back re-volting around the streets of L.A.

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