Left Coast, West Coast, SoCal, the Southland, the Entertainment Capital of the World, the Home of the Porn Industry-mention any moniker referring to Southern California to anyone in the United States, and odds are they know exactly what you're talking about. Always on the leading edge of music, entertainment, clothing, politics, and automotive trends (hot rodding had its roots in the garages and on the streets of Southern California), it's no wonder the area is home to some of the leading companies in practically every industry.
As one of the largest megalopolises in the nation, there are no definitive boundaries for the area that stretches from Santa Barbara in the north to San Diego in the south, with the Pacific Coast in between on the west side and the Mojave Desert and Colorado River to the east. But more importantly-in regard to this story, anyway-is an area located on the Pacific Coast, in the heart of SoCal. It's one of the smallest counties, area-wise, in the region, but its name packs just as much punch as Southern California itself. Due mostly to movies and TV, Orange County has become a pop icon, even receiving its share of nicknames: O.C., the O.C., the Orange Curtain, and the California Riviera.
With the SoCal freeway system resembling a loose spool of fishing line in the bottom of a tackle box, it seems as if no matter where you are in Orange County, anything you could ever want or need is within an hour's driving distance-without traffic, of course. Headquartered in the core of the hot rod and custom motorcycle industry, Eightball Rods and Choppers in Placentia, CA (the northeast corner of O.C.) has direct access to some of the top manufacturers in either industry. Take this custom rigid, for example. Except for the motor, transmission, and tires, if a component wasn't fabricated in-house at the Eightball facility, it came straight from the manufacturers, all of whom are no more than 30 miles from Eightball's backyard.
It all started when Logan, a friend of the Eightball shop and the owner of his own hot rod shop, Jet Performance in Long Beach, approached the Eightball crew about building a low, long, and fast bike with a 240 out back. Known for building traditional chopper-style bikes running nothing bigger than a 180, the guys just kind of stared at each other and said, "WTF-let's have some fun."
The basis for the project came all the way from Aces Chopper Works, which is located in Norco, about 28 miles east of Placentia. Aces built a no-nonsense, down-and-dirty single-downtube rigid frame with 4 inches of backbone stretch and 42 degrees of rake. To get that long and low look Logan wanted, Eightball hit up Huntington Beach-based American Suspension for one of its inverted black and chrome 5-inch-over frontends with 3-degree raked trees. One of Eightball's Placentia neighbors, Daniel Boone 2 (DB2), provided the 21-inch front and 18x8.5-inch rear wheel with matching rotors.
As for the skin, the narrowed, teardrop-style gas tank was fabricated by Eightball and mounted low on the backbone for that looks-fast-standing-still vibe. The short and tight rear fender and horseshoe-style oil tank/battery/electrical box were also welded up in-house and bolted to the frame.
When it came to importing parts from beyond the Orange Curtain, the polished five-speed transmission came 2,220 miles from Baker Drivetrain's Haslett, MI, facility. The 96ci motor made quite a trek as well, coming all the way from S&S;'s Viola, WI, motor mill. But with Metzeler based in Germany, it was the tires that came the longest distance. However, even though Metzeler's home is in Germany, technically the tires did come locally by way of one of Metzeler's many distributors in the O.C. area.
The team at Eightball exhibited their metalworking skills by welding up custom pipes that wrap the motor in a tubular bear hug and join into one just behind the trans, capped with a racing-style muffler.
To add some color to the raw metal, the sheetmetal was taken to Eightball's own paint and body booth at the back of the shop, where everything was doused in black. Once dry, the sheetmetal was sent to Steve Vandemon, an O.C. local and custom pinstripe and graphics guru. While Steve was laying down the tribal-style flames, the frame was hand-sanded and treated with a rust inhibitor before being sent across the street to Nu-Tech Powdercoating in Anaheim to get baked in clearcoat.
With the frame and sheetmetal back, the guys hopped in the shop's chopped '49 shoebox Ford to round up the final components. First they motored down the block to pick up a pair of Sandrail-style headlights and a taillight from Lazer Star in Anaheim. Next, they blazed west on the 91 freeway for about 5 miles to Performance Machine in La Palma to grab hand and foot controls. From La Palma they blasted down a couple side streets to Westminster to pick up their freshly leathered seat pan from Westminster Auto Upholstery. Their next stop took them up the 405 north to the 605 north to Spyke in Downey for coils and a starter. After making a giant loop, their last stop-at BDL in the city of Orange for an open belt drive and clutch-left them just up the street from their stomping grounds. So from there the guys bombed back to the shop to fab up a custom license mount and slam everything together.
When all was said and done, Logan's hot rod ride was exactly what he was looking for: fast and sleek with a fat piece of rubber out back. Now, we aren't pollution experts or anything, but ever since Logan's had his racy rigid, the air in SoCal seems to have more of a smoky tint and a burning-rubber smell.