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As many of you know, “Cal” or the second Shovelhead is the subject of many posts here at HappyWrench (understatement of the century); but more importantly he is a friend.
That said, he is still a friend with a predecessor – an unnamed first Harley that I built in California during college.
My first Harley build probably never received a name because I knew he would get sold shortly after completion. I poured ever penny I had at the time into that bike, and I simply couldn’t afford to keep him once done.
That is neither here nor there, however, as the point of this post is not to bemoan a loss or express regret. In fact, the point of the post is actually to call out a friend from my past, Sylvan, and thank him a thousand times over for what I am about to share.
Sylvan was there during my first Harley build. He helped me out in many ways. My most vivid memory of working together was getting the new pistons installed. We had the engine on my living room table, pistons boiling in a pot of water, and pins cooling in an ice bath (the idea being to use temperature-induced expansion and contraction, respectively, to make the install easier). Anyways, the point here is that he was there during the thick of it, and I will never forget it.
But one thing I do (or did) regret is that as I build “Cal,” I don’t have any pictures from my first Harley build to look back on. Technology has changed the world of motorcycle restoration so much – these days we document everything, but back then most cell phones didn’t have decent cameras. I must have 1,000 pictures of “Cal” already, and I don’t (or didn’t) have a single picture from my first Harley build.
So what did I do? I used technology to save the day. I reached out to Sylvan (or actually his wife since I couldn’t find him) via Facebook. She provided me his email, and we reconnected. I didn’t have much hope, but asked if there was any possible way he had any pictures of my first Harley build. Amazingly, he did. He had four pictures that I actually sent him (along with a huge email string between the two of us) back when the bike was almost done.
The pictures made my day, reminding me of some funny little things I did with that first build – up-swept fishtail exhaust, turn signal mirrors, etc. The email string he forwarded also made my day reminding me more of this friendship and some of the other challenges faced when trying to finish the bike (a front wheel that didn’t quite fit, etc.).
Anyways, here they are – the four pictures I have from my first Harley build. Thank you Sylvan!
And remember, please forgive the size and low resolution. These are some old pictures taken with an actual digital camera – not one embedded in a cell phone!
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