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Sturgis Museum Find: A Classic '38 Chop

3-Generation Basket Case Project Knucklehead

By Christine Paige Diers

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This 1938 Knucklehead was put together with lots of found parts – some of which were original. Gillette, Wyoming builder Gary Garlick purchased the ’38 EL motor in Idaho where it was also rebuilt. Gary and his children and nephews then went to Green River Wyoming to purchase an early model Knucklehead frame and oil bag.

The transmission was from a 1953 Panhead. The 2003 FL Springer was purchased off of E-Bay from a man in California, and the Speedometer was an original purchased from a meticulous collector out of Canada.

The gas tank petcock 1973 valve is an OEM part from Harley’s AMF years. Gary’s two children, Hanna Rose and Arron James spent many hours helping their dad put the bike together – and occasionally listening to him rant about the trouble he was having with it.

This project is actually a three-generation project since Gary’s mom Dora Jean – who now owns the bike – handled the lettering on the tank. Besides family, Gary says he had lots of assistance from friends and professionals who helped make parts fit, did painting and contributed nuts, bolts and wiring harnesses.

In all, the project took two years to complete.


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