By now you’ve figured out Adam puts a lot of love into his work. The powerplant for this chopper was not an exception. His shop custom-built the motor mount and hid the coil behind it. They also added a remote petcock and kill switch to the motor mount/coil cover. That set the tone for how the engine would eventually look: clean. It was an uphill battle, though. When the bike was purchased the engine was a silver 883cc mill with butt-ugly looks. The saying goes that beauty is only skin deep. Luckily for Adam, so is ugly. Internally, the motor was in great shape. Karns Kustoms tore it apart and bumped it up to a 1,200cc with 9.5:1 compression, cut down the cam cover, powdercoated all the covers in matte black, and painted the engine. They also painted the heads and hand cut the fins to match the new lower jugs. The exhaust was built by hand from pieces they had laying around the shop. They twisted the pipes so that they exited out the left side of the bike and then painted them black and wrapped them in silver header wrap. Adam felt that the pipes needed a little something more, so he talked Jason into painting eyeballs in the exits of the pipes. Adam says he’s been running the hell out of the bike and the eyeballs have darkened over time, but are hanging in there, even though everyone said they wouldn’t last a week.
Insofar as the transmission goes, Karns Kustoms left it stock since it, like the motor, was in good working order, if not easy on the eyes. Adam also added a foot clutch/jockey shifter, and converted it to a chain drive. The trans was then painted black to match the engine.
Adding the jockey shift and foot clutch into the mix not only upped the ante in the cool department, it also brought the difficulty to a whole new level. Adam used the stock Harley forward controls yet had to build a special bracket to mount the rear master cylinder. Since he moved the master cylinder forward, he had to shorten the brake rod. The shifter was also modified to act as the foot clutch and his shop put a groove in it so that the cable would track straight.
You don’t see too many 200mm back tires on old Sportsters. Consequently, you don’t see too many old Sportster rear fenders made ...
While the motor and transmission were savable, the same couldn’t be said for the Sportster tank. Adam built the replacement out of flat metal and kept banging on it until he liked the way it looked. The bottom of the tank is flat and smooth, with hidden mounts in the center, that way the tank looks like it’s just sitting atop the frame with nothing holding it on. Adam ran a remote petcock so that he could get the tank closer to the engine and still have a reserve fuel option. He used a Westbury Big Baller gas cap that got some special treatment. He took dental tools to it and cut the crown down to make it a little smaller in order to fit the bike and tank better, as well making the cap his own. He talked Westbury into allowing him to use one of its gas cap bungs that it uses for its bikes. That let him raise the gas cap up a little higher on the tank. After the cap was powdercoated, Jason hand-painted the silver details on it.
You don’t see too many 200mm back tires on old Sportsters. Consequently, you don’t see too many old Sportster rear fenders made to cover a tread that wide. Since Adam was running 200mm rubber on his bobber, he had two real options when it came to the back fender—make or modify. He opted for a West Coast Choppers One Ton Ho fender that was originally made for a left-side drive Softail. Adam filled in the chain area on the left side of the fender, then cut slits on the right side for the Sportster drive and cut down the sides of the fender to radius the rear tire better.
Given the painstaking tweaks and sweeping changes Adam brought to this ambitious project, he’d have been remiss in phoning in the paintjob. He has John Dunning to thank for the chopper’s distinct green paint and matte black stripes on its fender and gas tank. The color started out as a Chrysler Sublime green that was tweaked to make the green a little darker. Jason added the “LiL Hot Rod” lettering to the gas tank. Adam wanted the lettering to look like the old sign lettering found on a tow truck in the ’60s. Jason also completed the pinstriping on the frame and underside of the gas tank, as well as hand-painted the mural on the air cleaner.
You can see in the photos just how much work it took to transmogrify this dying Sporty. Hours of labor and minute attention to detail show throughout the finished bobber. And that, my friends, is how you turn a turd into a cream puff. HB