June Softly

Friday, April 22, 2011

Gianni~ 4 decades of good times

It all started here on June 17th, 1966 when I bought a brand new Triumph Bonneville 
from Reliable Cycle in Northeast Minneapolis.

After watching several "B" biker flix at the drive-in, I got the crazy idea to convert my baby into a chopper. I replaced the beautiful white tank with a primed peanut tank which I molded into the frame and added a little bondo to give it some class. Paint was Candy Apple Maroon lacquer out of a spray can. (A case of spray cans...)

Molded gas tank was welded to the frame and filled in with bondo. I sculptured the tank with ridges and valleys which took a zillion hours of sanding. Pinstripe was simply pin stripe tape under several layers of clear coat. Notice I forgot to cut off the stock tank mounts on the frame? Duhh???

I painted the motor flat black, chromed the cases, oil tank, peg mounting plates, and carbs . Added velocity stacks. We don't need no stinking air filters...

Big finned exhaust flares, chromed brake pedal, side cover, etc.

Chromed the fork legs and removed the front fender. Ya gotta love the feel of cold water hitting you in the face after riding in the rain or through a puddle with no front fender. Dual headlights were a must. The law required a rear view mirror so I got mine from my dentist.

Most of the bikes in "The Wild Angels" at the drive-in had up-swept fishtails. I made mine myself using rolled steel and pipes from the auto parts store for the bends. The headers were stock. After welding everything together, they went to the plater for chrome.

I cut the seat pan down and made a sissy bar out of a 12' piece of 1/2" conduit. I twisted it and welded it together then sent it off for plating. I added a big knobby tire for hill climbing. Why? I dunno. I was just a teenager.

This was my pride and joy in 1967. Looking back, I should have left it stock.

Like the mirror? The bike vibrated enough so you couldn't see out of the stock mirror so why bother having one. Blame it on "Da Man"...

I see a lot of old school Triumph choppers with bolt on solid rear sections. They look much better but I didn't know they even existed back in '67.

April 1969 on leave from the USAF after boot camp & tech school. The only picture I have of me sitting on it. My dad sold it to make room in his garage. At least I built it myself. Back then there were no places like Drag Specialties to simply buy parts from and bolt them on. Probably in California but not in Minneapolis (to the best of my knowledge).

This is my 1st Harley. A 1982 shovelhead Lowrider customized with a "Crazy Frank" rear fender.
Picture taken in 1985. Gold plated parts were all the rage back then.

1986 After a grueling 12 hour ride in the pouring rain, I stop at my parents house for coffee.

Here is my 1989 Harley Custom Softail with the evolution (blockhead) engine. I lowered it, worked the engine with a hot cam, S&S carb, megaphones, and racing ignition pack. I had it painted with maroon "Ghost Flames". When the sun was shining, you saw the flames and when it was cloudy, they disappeared. I also created my own custom "Z" bar handlebars out of square tubing, welded and plated. This bike was stolen and never recovered.

Lastly, here is my current bike. A 2004 Night Train with the twin cam 88" motor. I changed the air system (Hyper Charger) and the exhaust, and added some chrome here and there because it was completely black out of the factory.

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