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Road King 9/10/03

A Celebrated Old School Touch To 100th Anniversary King

Photos by Renegade

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Harley Davidson 

The King lives again, thanks to the Harley-Davidson Spring catalog supplement. The factory now offers complete blacked out Road King front end components. We replaced the warped nacelle.

With a small brush and a 1/2 pint of gloss black Rustoleum, we touched up chipped fasteners over a couple of Coronas. What's next? The rear fender needed touch-up. The all-black King was cool, but the damn thing needed some color. That called for old school pinstripping. Finally we liked the new mostly black mags except for the tits around the rim. They seemed out of place. We pondered a solution.

henry sanding 
rear fender

There's Henry with a Jitter-Bug orbital sander.

We rode over to Henry Figueroa's Auto Restorations, a steel corrugated building on the wrong side of town. Henry worked for his dad as a kid fixing cars. His mainstay is restoring antique autos and custom paint jobs for four-wheelers from the '20s through the '60s (310) 218-9097. Henry said he would fill the holes in the bottom of the fender and prepare it for George, The Wild Brush, to perform his pinstriping magic (310) 488-5488.

color comp on 
tank tape

Since we didn't change the color scheme, paying homage to the 100th, we decided to snatch the gold from the edge of the silver band and expand it to other elements of the King. We removed the license plate holder and plastic fender tip in preparation for reworking the fender and filling three holes.

rear fender 

Henry handled the small holes with Z-Grip bondo and welded a plate behind the large quarter-sized hole (used for accessory wiring, then filled it with bondo. With nasty-rough 80-grit sandpaper he shaped the bondo to conform with the fender. Then he used finer sandpaper to continue to smooth the surface until it was as slick as a baby's ass. Sheet metal and bondo work takes a trained eye and artistic patience. Henry buzzed through it like it was second nature and with a block sander massaging the surface before painting it with House of Kolor primer filler. More sanding with finer, wet-and-dry grits took place before the final black coats were laid over the tip.


It's the magnificent George, the Wild Brush.

Then we were graced with the talent of George, the Wild Brush, a pinstriper who has been wielding Blue Liner striping brushes for 30 years. As a youngster he worked in the Los Angeles Gasoline Alley. He created wild paint schemes for Mario Andretti, Bill Simpson and Dale Armstrong.

hands on 
brushes and paint container

George mixed and matched enamel stripping paints for just the right hue.

He used only enamel striping paints for drying flexibility. He can test, paint and tinker and wipe the surface clean if he's not happy with the results. "Metallics are much more difficult to work with," George explained mixing paint and testing the consistency on his delicate brush. "Gold is particularly difficult and may not flow. Anytime I reload the brush there may be a matching problem." He used talcum powder, to keep his hands from sticking to the metal face being striped, for a pure clean line. With a grease pencil he marked the center of the fenders and went to work freehand, without so much as a sketch.

taping for 

Sometimes George uses masking tape to find the center of the fender.

first fender 

Pinstriping is a delicate art form often administered in public.

2nd fender 

finishing frnt 

front fender 

The front fender gave George the best vantage point and position for striping so it received the finest workmanship.


We wanted an old school appearance and his seasoned talents were perfectly suited for the task. With the rear fender tip touched by the Wild Brush, he moved onto the front Street Stalker fender, then the horn cover and finally a small touch to the jet hot, flat- black-coated Screamin' Eagle air cleaner cover. George instructed us to wait three weeks before adding protective wax to the finish. He suggested Turtle wax as a polish that works without harmful abrasives or chemicals. That's it for this issue.



Here's before and after the Jet Hot flat black coated Screamin' Eagle Air Cleaner was striped.

george looking 
at brush

Keeping his striping brush loose and flexible before completing the rear fender.

rear fender 

The rear fender, while on the bike, was awkward to stripe without a lift. The paint still needs final polish.

rubbing in point 

George pointed out a little trick for the powder coated point cover. Instead of striping it, and since our powder crew coated the back side, he rubbed some of the gray enamel into the slots and left it to dry with a light coat of gray on the surface. "That's not a problem," George pointed out. "Leave it for a couple of days then polish the cover. It will look as if it was striped."

rim before 
That covered the striping but not the wheels. We rode back to the headquarters and jacked up the King on the lift. We dug out a handful of tools, bought some model car gold paint and plain old black enamel.

tools for wheel 

I sanded the tits on the wheel with 400 wet and dry just to create a surface that would hold the touch up excercise. I was determined that the legs of the wheels are powdercoated flat black, perhaps over a clear coat that covers the entire wheel. This was a test. The right way might include taking the wheels off, machining the tits away and re-powdercoating the entire wheel.

sanding wheel 


I used a rag and harsh electrical contact cleaner to prepare the surface for touch-up.

This will tweak your mind. I painted the tits on the alloy wheels with the gold paint first. Then I stood back and eyed the job. It looked sharp and added a touch of color. On the other hand it had that gold-trimmed Cadillac appearance. That was a bastard to swallow.

gold on rims 

completed rear 
rim gold

What's a poor Bandit to do? I went after the other side of the bike with cheap brushes and black touch-up paint. The exact same procedure on the right, but without the gold paint. Let me know what you think.


completed rear 

That did it. We installed the bags with the left side touched in gold and the right handled with hardened black. I still can't decide what side I like the best. The women lean toward the gold. Let us know what you think? I still might stripe the wheels, machine them, then black powder both entirely. That'll answer that goddamn question. See ya next time for our oil cooler install that's currently being featured in American Rider.


american rider

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