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1928 Shovelhead Project Part V

Final Details

Photos: Tina Fairless

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The pressure is on. Lena Fairless, a 15-year-old bubbly Texas beauty, is after Bandit. This hell bent young woman plans to become his sixth wife. To lure the big bastard from the coast, Easyriders of Dallas has been working hard on his Shovelhead under Lena’s strict direction.

Even this article was investigated while the shop fabricator was sick in bed awaiting surgery. Lena's wrath reached him bed side. "Keep the project moving," she screamed into the phone, "we've sent out the wedding invitations." We couldn't find Bandit for comment.

At this point the motorcycle is almost ready for paint, powder and chrome. According to Jim, who coughed up blood as we forced him to speak clearly into our failing 20-year-old tape recorder, "Since the bike is designed to be reminiscent of the '20s vintage motorcycles, instead of lots of chrome we're going with a matching powdercoat on the rims and rear legs of the front end.

"We have finished much of the detail in the form of the handmade Milwaukee Iron handlebars by Randy Simpson with the internal throttle control from Pat Kennedy, which I installed just before the ambulance came to get me. As they attempted to load me from the concrete floor onto the gurney, Lena asked if I could finish the exhaust system.

"We ordered the material and the flanges from Paughco, the one company that devotes most of its energy to building retro parts. I welded the 1 3/4-inch tubing to the Paughco flanges as the EMT tried to insert an IV into my right arm. We designed the rear of the pipe to be adjustable. The kicked-out cap is removable, along with the mounting bracket, so that the baffle can be removed and adjusted for tuning. The pipes will be finished with Jet Hot coating to avoid the problems of chrome and give the pipes a lasting, even finish." Jim mumbled the words then passed out.

Lena moved quickly to the portable refrigerator that rattled in the corner of Jim's small mobile home on the edge of the Texas plains. She’d told him that he had to continue to work despite his illness, but without pay because she didn’t want to risk a workman's compensation claim. Tough broad. As they wheeled him out of the 107-degree shop without so much as a fan, Lena slapped Jim until he returned to consciousness and explained the seat mounting assembly to me. He machined and welded a piece of tubing into the seat downtube, then welded it in place. From there he machined a piece of solid stock that the seat clamps to. It was designed to move the seat to the rear to enhance the leg room for Bandit and prevent the seat from lingering over the tank. It too will be powdercoated.


The final panel over the tank hides the oil line connections on the left side. The gas stays in the right side. It also hides most of the electrical components, including the regulator and ignition module. Jim made the oil lines from seamless cold pulled stainless tubing.

As you look at the photos, you'll notice how the taillight and license plate are mounted off the turned brake caliper bracket. Bandit, under a great deal of pressure from his next wife, was asked what he thought of the progress of his custom scoot. Thinking quickly, he reviewed his options while complimenting Jim's workmanship. But he knew that if the bike was torn and shipped to paint soon that he would be facing life-changing stress--another marriage. Could he actually move to Texas and face another marriage? He reviewed his options as he watched the battered craftsman slip in and out of consciousness. A trickle of blood ran from the corner of his eye. His skin was as white as the lines on the highways running out of town and it took three able-bodied men to shore him up to even a sitting position to face his employer's daughter.

Bandit succumbed to his own pressure and complained of the flap-like license plate, asking to move it. I was astounded by Jim's reaction. His artistry came first over his failing heart and the aneurysm creeping steadily toward his brain. He admitted that he too was unsure of the appearance of the license and could possibly conjure up something different. Just then the skies opened up and a summer thunderstorm struck, rattling windows throughout the region. That was nothing compared to the blistering reaction by the 15-year-old high school student.

She ditched school and forced Jim, who was hospitalized at the time, to come up with an award-winning taillight concept and license plate bracket and illustrate it. This is the illustration, and the entire staff concurs that it is brilliant. The taillight will be hand fabricated into the reproduction '20s fender with LED lights for illumination. The license plate will be mounted to the frame and the rear of the inner primary with steel brackets to avoid any semblance of billet aluminum. The slim, contoured assembly housing the lights will contain 10 running LEDs with an additional six for braking. The license plate bracket will also contain several white LEDs for illumination of the plate. Jim passed out shortly after this illustration was finished and we scurried from his room to avoid the temptress, Lena, who dragged several nurses down the hall to demand more work from Jim.

This machine will ring the wedding bell or break more than just Jim's back. Rumor has it that Bandit is going to Texas, but avoiding Dallas, to board the tramp freighter "Leon" for his escape from the country. Another report will be forthcoming.


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Reader Comments

I'm not 15 anymore!! try 24!! :)

Lena Fairless
Dallas, TX
Tuesday, October 18, 2011
Editor Response Is it time for 6th Mrs. Ball wedding bells.

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