Stock Harley-Davidson Flatheads aren’t exactly legends of horsepower. Well after World War II, Army surplus flatties were as cheap as the laughs in a ’50s sitcom, a bad ’50s sitcom. The downside of these motors was that you got what you paid for in performance. That’s why the Magnum 45 became the hot ticket for solving the problem. You modified your Harley-Davidson 45-inch Flathead to fit a Sportster top end to add more horsepower to wake up the engine while still being able to fit it into the tight confines of a rigid chassis. That’s exactly what Georgia resident Freddie Arnold did with this period piece of a rigid machine he calls the “Memphis Magnum.” It’s a 1947 Flathead lower end topped with the uppers from a 1969 Ironhead Sportster.
The finished hot rod wasn’t a solo effort, however. Although Freddie labored hard on the motor work, Hank Young brought his welding skills to bear on the bike in his Young Choppers shop in Marietta, Georgia. The prism tank, flat rear fender, exhaust pipes, and air cleaner are Hank’s work, as are the modifications made to the Paughco chassis and 9-inch-over Paughco springer forks.
After the mocked-up machine got the go-ahead for paint, Bobby Bordeaux laid down a sweet combo plate of pearl and cool candy colors. Once the color finished curing, “Memphis Magnum” was crowned complete with a custom king/queen saddle from Jordan Levi Dickinson. The starting point for the bike may have been cheap, but the end result looks anything but that.