Truth be told, I built this motorcycle by acquiring one part.
I got that part a long time ago, way before I even saw this
1942 Big Twin Flathead in my shop. It was a Fairbanks-
Morse Magneto off an XLCH. I had it on the shelf for years.
Some people like Magnetos, some people hate Magnetos,
and I’m the guy that thinks they are an awesome piece of
antiquated science you could ever throw on a motorcycle.
So the bike came into my shop as a consignment to sell.
It did not come in for any services. A man passed away
and his wife wanted to sell it because of the memories at-
tached being so strong. This bike was tired. Rust, oil on the
ground, a hodge-podge of parts, but I kept walking past the
thing on my way to work every day and I started to build it
in my head. I do that with all sorts of motorcycles that I don’t
own. I suppose it’s because it’s what I do every day. So fi-
nally one day I asked the owner’s wife what she would take
for it. Seeing that we got to know each other better, she
gave me a great deal and felt I would transform this motor-
cycle to my liking and that her late husband would love to
see it come back to life. So the first thing I did was to get rid
of everything except the motor, the transmission, and the
frame. I got rid of the FXWG front end, the disc break set
up on the rear, the seat, and the split bob fuel tanks. You
know I work on everybody else’s bikes and it took me, hell,
three years to finish it.
The motor was the most fun part of the whole project. She
was born a “U” but to my surprise she had ULH guts. In-
stead of a 74 cubic inch motor I got lucky with having an 80.
Everything else is pretty much stock and I was so happy
that much of the components in this motor passed inspec-
tion, I do everything thorough. It’s kind of like, other people
may not notice or see things about a motorcycle that may
drive the owner nuts, but I would know the discrepancies
of my own machine and I just can’t do that. So, I just went
through the lower end on up and went on to tackle the
The transmission is a ratchet-top, so we know she came
off an early Pan. It had a -52 casting number on the case.
I found where the leak was coming from; there was a hole
on the bottom of the case. Weld it up, and the problem
resolved. I have no idea where the frame came from, who
made it, it had no numbers but it was straight and one less
expense for the project. The frame didn’t have the member
“This bike was tired.”