Boulevard of Dreamers - A Classic 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead

Leo Perez’s Knuckle has been around the block

Leo Perez grew up watching many of his friends riding old Knuckles, Pans, and Shovelheads in the neighborhood of Northeast Los Angeles, better known as the Elysian Valley. He started riding minibikes, dirt bikes, and always had a strong passion for old cars: Impalas, Fleetlines, and old Chevy trucks. As he grew older, and more established, he was able to turn his childhood dreams and eventually own several of those dream rides.

For more than 25 years, Leo knew of this 1947 Knucklehead that was owned by one his friends. In December of 2002, thanks to his lovely wife and sons, Leo received the bike of his dreams as a surprise birthday gift.

Leo received the bike of his dreams as a surprise birthday gift.

When Leo first got the bike, it still had that ’70s chopper look with a 21-inch front wheel, apehangers, upsweep exhaust, and a ducktail rear fender with a ghost flame candy paint job. The bike had been sitting for years at the previous owner’s house and resembled nothing like it does today, and it took a lot of blood and sweat to get this Knuckle in running condition.

After it was cleaned up and running, he rode it for about a year enjoying every second on the road. After a while, Leo decided he wanted to tear it completely apart and do a nut-and-bolt restoration from the chopped-up version it had previously been. Leo searched for parts like the US looked for Bin Laden,

Leo searched for parts like the US looked for Bin Laden,

eventually finding fenders, handlebars, a seat, and a list of small parts to bring that original look back. Most of the work was completed by Leo in the course of six months and many late nights in his garage. After the pile of expensive parts was assembled, he then stripped the frame down to bare metal and got it as straight as when it left the factory before adding fresh primer and black paint. Rebuilding a Knuckle is not a job for novice motor builders, so Leo had John from R&J Motors in Tujunga, California, handle the duties.

Once it was finished, Leo took the freshly finished bike to one of the prestigious Grand National Roadster shows in Pomona, California, taking home the first-place trophy and confirming all the work was not in vain. But Leo hadn’t waited 25 years to let this bike sit in another garage to be taken out only for show and shines. Since then, he can regularly be spotted on the freeways and city streets on his bikes. By keeping the dream alive and on the road, Leo is setting up the next generation of dreamers.

By keeping the dream alive and on the road, Leo is setting up the next generation of dreamers.

Who knows? Perhaps 25 years from now, this same bike will be written about for a whole new generation.

Specifications
General
Bike Owner Lionzo “Leo” Perez
Shop Name Leo Perez
Shop Phone (626) 674-1013
Year/Make/Model 1947/H-D/FL Knucklehead
Build Time 6 months
Engine
Year/Type/Size 1947/Knucklehead/74-in.
Builder R&J Motors, Tujunga, CA
Cases H-D 1947
Cylinders H-D
Heads H-D
Rocker Boxes H-D
Cams Andrews “S” Grind
Air Cleaner Original “J” slot
Exhaust 2-into-1 w/ old-school Dago fishtail
Transmission
Year/Type 1947/H-D 4-speed jockey shifter
Gears H-D
Clutch Barnett
Primary Drive Stock chain
Frame
Year/Type 1947/FL
Rake/Stretch Stock
Suspension
Front End Original Springer
Length Stock
Wheels, Tires, and Brakes
Front
Builder/Size H-D/16-in.
Tire/Size Super Eagle/16x5
Brakes Stock mechanical drums
Rear
Builder/Size H-D/16-in.
Tire/Size Super Eagle/16x5
Brakes Stock mechanical drums
Finish/Paint
Manufacturer Ditzler
Colors Gloss Black
Paint/Graphics Leo Perez
Plating/Polishing Supreme Plating, Inglewood, CA
Powdercoating Eastco Powder Coating, Montebello, CA
Accessories
Front Fender Original moldings and trim
Rear Fender Original moldings and trim
Gas Tank Original 3.5-gal. tank
Dash Cat Eye
Gauges Stock
Handlebars Original Speedster handlebars
Grips H-D
Mirrors H-D rectangular
Hand Controls H-D
Foot Controls Foot clutch lever
Floorboards Riveted stock H-D
Headlight H-D
Taillight H-D Tombstone
Seat Stock Pogo brown leather