1978 Harley Davidson Sportster Special Construction

What was your intended objective when you started the build?

My two sons wanted to reproduce an exact copy of the original chopper or as close as possible to the one I had in 1978. The picture of my wife (of 44 years) on the back of the original and below that, the build with my wife 30 years later says it all.

What motivated you to start your project?

My sons listened to my stories and knew I am getting older and less likely to achieve my goal of ever building this bike. They wanted to do something for me, but that would be a challenge with nothing more than a dozen old color photos.

What was the most unique and creative thing you did to the bike?

They did the research and found the frame and narrowed springer the wheels and engine all from about a dozen photos. They kept it as close as original as they could.

What are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the “whole story” of this surprise gift.  I bought my first Harley in early 1978 from a shop in Hayward CA. I loved it and rode with a few guys all over the Ca Bay Area. Ended up moving to Colorado in 1979. Due to money problems, it was repossessed in late 1979.
In mid 1990’s I tried to locate the bike from the old plate with no luck. I went to bike shows, looked at magazines and being around other bikes, I wanted to build another one like it. I had even went to Arlen Ness about it, and he said  they could build it. I always talked about it to my boys, who said “dad just ride what you have now”, which is a 2009 Harley Crossbones. Both of them are currently members of motorcycle clubs. One local here in Sonora, Ca, and one in Las Vegas, Nv. Meanwhile, during this time of about 4 years, they were working on the build. The boys bought and traded parts (along with a few arguments) until it was what they needed. All they had to go on was a dozen old photos. Even when we made trips to Las Vegas or visiting my local son, I never payed attention to anything being for this bike amongst all of their own bike stuff.
Then on August 30, 2019 my youngest son and family came to visit from Las Vegas. Next day he said he wanted to go to his brothers house down the street. When they opened the garage door, there it was….my dream chopper! At first I thought they found my old bike, but then they told me how they built it all from scratch. I’m 62 years old and started crying like a baby for the next 3 hours at least. I would start crying again every time someone talked about it. It rides just like I remember. But after 2 hip replacements and an extra 50 pounds, it’s a little harder to get my feet up, but I can do it. Between my son in Las Vegas who rebuilt the motor perfect and the other son here who tuned it up, I can usually fire it up in 3 kicks.
Couldn’t be more proud of both my boys for doing this for me. They have turned out to be the best sons, fine men and great fathers.

What do other people say about your motorcycle?

I wish I had kids like that. They did an outstanding job. It is the same bike as in the photos.


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