A 1949 Harley Panhead Chopper Goes Green

Gregg Underwood’s 1949 Harley-Davidson rigid channels the past with relish

This is the first Harley-Davidson Panhead chop job that I’d describe as green and leafy. That’s usually a better descriptor for a lawn or a supermodel’s diet. Gregg Underwood’s bike has plenty of green paint and gold leaf to really make it pop; the color factor does give it a bit of an herbivorous vibe, which actually works. Traditionally, green was never the color of choice for custom iron back in the day, and, for that reason alone, it’s always refreshing to see on a vintage chopper.

Here, the green also looks great on a chopper that’s about as classic for the era as it gets. Underwood’s 1949 Panhead mill displaces 74ci and resides in a Santee frame from the early 1970s; there’s no replica or modern knockoff going on in the basic foundation for his scoot. With parts like that 14-inch-over Harman girder fork and H-D drum brake out back, the old-school street cred just keeps coming too.

All of that adds up to a rigid chopper that’s the real deal. So much so that I’m pretty sure Gregg got away with bucking tradition in the paint department. Slathering the bodywork in copious amounts of killer gold leaf and metal flake were a good way to balance out the green, though.

Green Underwood Panhead Chopper

I’d say homey’s digging his ride. And he should be. It’s awesome.

Michael Lichter Photography

1949 Panhead chopper engine

That ’49 Panhead looks mighty sexy for a 70-year-old. Pretty sure it’s had some work done though.

Michael Lichter Photography

Paughco fishtail exhaust

Up close and personal with the chopper’s Paughco fishtails.

Michael Lichter Photography

Green Underwood Panhead Chopper profile

Look at how clean that girder fork is; it really sets the tone for the rest of the profile. Of course, those spoke wheels and that bobbed fender don’t hurt either.

Michael Lichter Photography

Custom sportster tank

Walk up to the Sportster tank and you get a much better feel for the flake in that paint.

Michael Lichter Photography

custom sportster gas tank details

It’s even more pronounced at this level, where the light purple accents start to pop out at you.

Michael Lichter Photography

sissy bar and two-up saddle

Gregg gave it a sissy bar and a two-up saddle, but without any passenger pegs in sight, his chopper’s probably better suited to carrying a duffel bag than a date.

Michael Lichter Photography

1949 Harley-Davidson panhead chopper custom

No matter what electric bikes or liquid-cooled motorcycles Harley-Davidson has planned in the near future, choppers like this will always be cool. I don’t care who you are.

Michael Lichter Photography