My 39 WLD laying next to a Chief carcass, Schmidt's shifter and all!
OK I put all the pics together so you don't have to hunt around.
The man was in the motorcycle business for decades. He acquired more motorcycles then you can count. Rumor has it he stored bikes for guys that went off to war and most did not return or couldn't afford or care to get the bikes back. He had them stored in an old cement factory in PA. The place was truly amazing!!
Folks that new him said he would not sell anything. He lived like a hermit in school buses and an old Air Stream trailer on the property. Old mangy dogs were everywhere. Older guys told us about it and unfortunately by the time I got there everything had already been sold at auction for back taxes years before. But in a place where so many bikes had been for so many years there was still stuff everywhere... emblems, motor parts, frame pieces, battery boxes, brake drums, head lights, hell there was even a 49 Pan lower end half buried in the ground. There were parts in the woods, in the trunks of old cars, under mattresses, in the basement, in the boiler, in every nook and cranny of that place.
Back in the early 80's I bought a 39 WLD from a guy who got a lot of the stuff at the auction. To my surprise it is in one of these pictures from 1968 laying with other cannibalized carcasses in the cement factory (see above).
There was another auction of this stuff in the mid 80's. A Honda dealer that got a bunch of the stuff decided to auction it off. What deals were had! Indian Chiefs for $1200.00. Parts galore! I missed that auction because, having gone back to college (better late then never), I had a final exam that day. I decided to forgo the auction and take the exam. In retrospect that was one of my true regrets in life! What was I thinking!!!!
Enjoy these pictures. Hopefully I posted them right and you can click on 'em and zero in on all the treasure.
If you follow this blog at all you have seen the pictures of "My Inspiration"parts one and two from August 09 and Rust Master from Sept 09. Here are a few more pictures (from 1968) of the entrance and exterior of this wondrous, indescribable (if not for the pictures) Heaven on Earth. The two Panheads and a couple of servi-cars outside could not prepare you for what lay behind those cement factory walls. As you can tell my man had good taste in cars too!
Check out the past posts and refresh your memory of what was inside.
Well the 41 FL motor is together and got plopped into the frame last night. I have all of the Parkerized hardware (I hope) to finish the install. The chassis has been waiting a long time for this and seemed to take to the motor very well. Usually I have to do some kind of shimming or filing or grinding etc. when putting a fresh motor into a frame it's never seen before. I may have mentioned it previously but this is the first Knuckle frame I ever owned. I bought it the day I met my buddy Les Clemmens decades ago.
Working around my "mangled" hand has been fun. I'm going to have to get my boys involved in this build out of necessity. Time to hunt down the trans, rear fender, oil tank and get creative with a few paint schemes I have been mulling around for the last 10 years.
After shoveling a shit load of snow I took the Family Trikester out for a 30 mile cruise hitting a few favorite taverns along the way to warm up. When I got home my youngest son (17) had to go for a spin too. (I'm not sure about his choice of foot wear). He froze his ass off but had a great time. Things are looking up!
This is the first Pearl Harbor Day in almost 20 years that I haven't taken the old WWII "U" Model out for a spin. I stole the military Knuckle tanks of it in the spring for my 41 Knuck Hydra Bob and never got to putting the flathead tanks back on.
I had to take the the 52 servi-car out last night and do donuts in the bar parking lot like a 16 year old. I found it like this in the driveway this morning. Had this thing since I was a kid and it's probably seen more snow then pavement.
I don't know about you but using a WLA gas tank on it's side is not my idea of good cover...and what exactly is that young lady referring to?
The day after Thanksgiving was cold and windy. I spent about 12 hours in front of the TV watching a "Band of Brothers" marathon. That inspired me to throw some WWII post cards and ads into the scanner. Pearl Harbor Day is right around the corner.
The gas and oil caps had "Gin" "Vodka" and "Whiskey" written on them!
Jake on the 39 Chief
Jake with a Four
Jake on the 47 Chief
Les caught riding a Harley Pine Grove Farm NY state 1985ish
The summer of 1983 I met a guy that I am honored to have called my friend. Les Clemens was an Indian rider and his wife Helga rode Harleys.
I attended my first AMCA meet that year. Me and my buddy Barry arrived at the Electric City Riders Club house and grounds in Schenectady NY looking for a frame for the 47 Knuckle engine I bought earlier that Spring (my first Knuckle). We parked my grandfather's Cadillac that he loaned us for the weekend (big mistake!) and headed toward the swap meet area. The first person I saw was this "old guy" (probably in his early fifties at the time) who was wearing a worn leather MC jacket, engineer boots and cuffed Levis. He gave us two kids (just turned 20) a nod as we walked by. We looked at each other and I commented to Barry, "Pretty cool for and old guy".
Well that "old guy" was Les Clemens. He became a good friend over the next decade. He lived in Farmingdale NJ and we would get together at all the meets and Colonial Chapter events. I would go down to his place and drink brandy and work on stuff. He was a great welder and a better friend!
Les had a basement and shop filled with Indian's and parts. He had a mountain of engines piled up in the middle of his basement There were a few Harleys around for Helga. A 47 knuck a 45 WL a VL, etc.
I used to hang out and look through his photo albums...unfriggin' real! All pictures from the 40's and early 50's from his home state of California as well as NJ. I think every picture had a motorcycle in it.
Les was at Hollister in 1947. How much better can it get!
He would have brandy bottles stashed all over the shop. In old cylinders, empty engine cases, you name it. Even in my twenties he could drink me under the table and get up at 6 AM to chop wood (while I puked my guts up!). He'd say "Come on Young Fella, grab that sledge hammer and wedge and lets get started".
Les moved down to Virginia and I helped him empty his basement into a tractor trailer. Holy shit! He had a lot heavy stuff! He got pissed at me for picking up an old chief bottom end by the connecting rods. "Hey be careful with that Young Fella!" Oops...like he was gonna pop a top end on it and ride down the road! (I've never picked up a bottom end that way since).
I have a bunch of stories about Les. He was the best. I can't remember when he passed away...probably over ten years now.
The pictures above (in the middle) were taken at his house in Virginia in August of 1990. My wife at the time and first two sons took a ride down to see Les and Helga and two other friends (John and Bonnie) that moved down that way. Les put my oldest son (who was about 20 months old at the time) on every motorcycle in the garage. He really got a kick out of it (Les that is).
The top pic is of two of Les and Helga's bikes (His Chief and her Knuckle) at the Wall Stadium meet in 1984.
The bottom pic is Les trying to hide his face because I caught him riding my friend Bonnie's Harley (an Indian man through and through!). That shot was in the mid 80's at Pine Grove Farm in NY state (another AMCA meet).
Original guys like Les are few and far between these days...I miss them.