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It’s evil April 5th, 2022, on the Streets of Long Beach, Califa

By Bandit with photos from Zack

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A brother from Long Beach, California can’t leave his 1950 Chevy truck alone and somehow it involved a Sportster gas tank. On top of that he’s been helping other Sportster riders with their clutch lever pull problems.

“I told a friend of mine,” Zack said, “I had his car (1952 Chevy Style line Deluxe), and he had my truck, a 1950 Chevy 3100 pickup truck.”

The truck set in the owner’s Pedro driveway and hadn’t run for years. It was the notorious Jeremiah’s brother’s, and he turned down hundreds of previous offers to sell it. His family had outgrown the pickup. “We traded even up,” Zack said. But that’s not all.

Zack added one of these to his Sportster, and then helped brothers in the neighborhood with their Sportsters.
Zack added one of these to his Sportster, and then helped brothers in the neighborhood with their Sportsters.

Recently, Jeremiah challenged Zack to a race on Anaheim Boulevard near the Port of Los Angeles. At 68 years of age Zack found himself flying at over 100 mph in his Mini-Cooper S, the last year with a factory Supercharger, on a boulevard packed with semis and potholes next to the richest harbor in the country. He beat the younger man’s silver Dyna, and fortunately the cops in Long Beach can’t ticket him. They’ve got bigger fish to fry, and the city won’t let them arrest folks. They can only talk to them nicely and get out of their way, while calling the EMT’s to clean up the AIDs infested blood.

If a cop pulled him over, he might say, “You’re doing over 100 mph on a city street. Can’t your vehicle go any faster? Have a nice day.”

Your woke response should always be, “You’re a racist. I’m going to call the mayor.”

The Governor of Washington recently banned fossil fuel vehicles because we are all doomed, except China. Apparently they didn’t get the memo. They are building more coal mines. Makes perfect sense, right?

So, Long Beach riders are scrambling to ride as hard and fast as possible. Tomorrow they could be doomed or banned, pick your poison. If you’re going to relax with a book ever again, read Sam “Chopper” Orwell quick.

This book will change your life...
This book will change your life...

I don’t know where the hell I was going with this, but you can guarantee I was headed somewhere. Oh, yeah, Zack’s truck and Sportster tanks and tips. But there’s more.

It all started in Zack’s downtown Long Beach building, when he decided to cut the noise in the old truck cab with Dyn-mat and then a new seat mounted to move slightly farther back, which meant removing the gas tank out from behind the seat. “I shot the interior with lizard skin sound Deadener,” Zack said. “The raw truck rattled like it was steel drum as you drove down the road.”

While he told me the interior story a clatter interrupted us in the alley behind his building. “It’s homeless folks climbing in and out of the dumpster,” Zack said. “Ignore them. It’s only when they set up tents in the alley, I need to go out there.” He collected a line of canes and baseball bats stored just inside his steel roll-up door. The alley was too narrow for folks to live. He wasn’t being a bad guy…

After he topped off the lizard skin with Dynamat sound deadener and additional sound deadening insulation, he reupholstered the seat and finally added new rubber on the pedals and new floormat.

“I finished the dashboard off with necessary accessories,” Zack said, “and a beer opener on the side of the bed.”

Just then there was a clammer at the back of the building and Zack made a beeline for his arsenal of bats and canes. “I’ll be right back,” he said. He made his way up a wrought iron spiral staircase across a handmade steel catwalk and up another set of stairs to his roof access, where he discovered a homeless cat crawling up an adjacent telephone pole and jumping onto his arched wooden and tar-paper roof.

It was showdown time, Zack stood, feet spread, with his stout wooden weapon facing a drug addicted homeless trespasser. “You’re going to get off my roof one way or another,” Zack said but thought about all the consequences of open conflict on his teetering roof. The druggie freaked and ran across the corner and jumped into an open window in the adjacent building, almost missing his mark and falling three stories to his certain death. Zack breathed a sigh of relief and returned to the shop. “No sweat,” he said, and we returned to our discussion of his truck mods.

The truck is a 1950 with a 1957 235 straight six engine. Unfortunately, the truck gearing was designed for stump-pulling and not 70 mph on the freeway, while escaping to the Badlands with his Sportster in the back.

He needed new gearing for the rear-end. I thought he would need a newer 4-speed transmission, for the straight six. He did his homework and ordered a gearing kit and researched a shop in Long Beach that is still allowed to work on fossil fuel vehicles. The owner painted, “Joe’s High Gear Donuts,” on the front to keep the man away. It didn’t work.

“I’ve got to run the truck to the shop to change the gearing in the rear differential, so I can cruise out at 70 miles an hour, rather than scream at 50,” Zack said. He is going to change the ring and pinion in the rear differential from a 4:11 to a 3:55 gear ratio. “So, I can drop the RPMs at cruising speed.”

He yanked the gas tank out of the cab and bought a new one. “It’s gonna mount under the bed in the rear,” said Zack. The new tank will hold 15 gallons. “I figured I’d get that work done on the differential before I drop the gas tank right in the way.”

“So, I mounted the Sportster gas tank temporarily so I can move the truck around,” Zack said. “My biker roots showing.” The truck currently gets about 15 mpg and the tank holds 2.3 gallons. Just enough, hopefully.

Then he replaced all worn-out parts under the front end, including both top front shock mounts which were broke off clean. “Set it down on its wheels with the 4-inch drop and it’s looking good!” Zack said. “Going to replace the old bias ply tires with wide whitewall radials, and I will get it aligned then.” He took it for a spin, and it drove fine, nothing rubbing and nothing hitting.


Hopefully the truck with fit on the donut shop lift after being lowered. We will see. You know the drill: Time will tell, and shit will smell.

We heard another noise, but this time out front. Again, he hit his weapons stash and headed to the front of the building where another drunk or stoned dispossessed dude knocked over one of his ceramic planters and scattered planter soil and the struggling-to-survive, wounded succulent across the stained sidewalk. Zack worked hard to give the neighborhood a facelift, but it was an ongoing battle between rioters and uncaring homelessness.

This time he was mad and ready to act against the small man curled and prone in the grime on the sidewalk. I can’t go into what happened next. But he finally returned to the shop.

We shared a joint and relaxed for a minute. “The previous owner was also a biker,” Zack said. “He had these old fish tips welded on the exhaust. They’re going to stay. I do need to move them inboard a bit, as they’ll slice your ankles sticking out like that. They’ve got me a couple times.”

“I’ll dive under the hood soon,” Zack said. He bought this awesome polished aluminum valve cover for the engine and a chrome side plate. “It’s a strong running engine, so I’m going to replace all the freeze plugs and gaskets everywhere, as it leaks like a pig. I’m going to add an aluminum radiator with an electric fan. I’ll slap on that Offenhauser valve cover, get all the wires run through fabric wire looms.” It has a stock three speed manual transmission with three on the tree. He will finish off the bed with new stainless steel bed strips and wood. “I will drive the piss out of it. Got the Bikernet sticker on the cargo box, which will mount in the bed.”

We will bring you a finished, done, kaput report, when the Sportster tank is gone, and the new tank is carefully mounted under the bed.

Once more someone banged on the back door and Zack headed to his armory. “This is how we roll in Long Beach,” Zack said.

Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.
Join the Cantina, Quick! Touch her.

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Reader Comments

Brings back memories. My first car was a 52 Deluxe. White top with brush painted light blue bottom. I took the pitted chrome parts and painted them flat black. The ole six ran great until I threw a rod and graduated to a 59 Studie Silver Hawk.
Had a 52 Chevy 3100 also. Wish I had them now.

S. Daytona, FL
Wednesday, April 6, 2022
Editor Response My first vehicle was a motorcycle and then a '46 Nash... No class.

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