Panhead Chopper: Full Circle of Friends

A chopper heads home

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

Photos: Josh Kurpius

I had wanted a panhead motor for a while but was having a real hard time getting my hands on one, so I started running a “wanted” add on craigslist every couple days. About a month went by and one morning I checked my email and there it was. turns out it was from a guy that lived about a block away from my friend Dave’s house. He said he had a 1963 FL he might be willing to part with. It didn’t take long for Dave, Zak Doom, and myself to show up that night. After some negotiations we agreed on a price. I hustled up some cash and went back and picked it up the next day.

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

Photos: Josh Kurpius

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

Photos: Josh Kurpius

Over the next couple of years and many swap meets later, I had collected a pretty nice pile of parts. I managed to get an original neck forging so I took the frame over to my buddy Gator’s house and put it on his jig to cut off the gooseneck and built it back to stock. My good friend Chris Lampman welded the frame up. My other buddy, Jordan, who owns a shop called Union speed and style, made me a sweet little narrow Sporty tank. I used the money from another bike I sold and ordered a narrow springer from Freddy Hernandez. Harpoon sent me out some ripple sections for my pipes along with painting my tins.

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

Photos: Josh Kurpius

It finally all came together in the beginning of the summer 2012. the first trip I went on was from St. Paul, Minnesota, to Milwaukee. It was about 320 miles each way. As we rode into Milwaukee, I couldn’t help but think about the fact that the motor had come off of the assembly line damn near 50 years ago and here I was riding it full circle back to where it came from.

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

1963 Harley-Davidson panhead

Photos: Josh Kurpius

The best part of this bike is the fact that all my friends helped me get it done, whether it was loaning me a part, giving me advice (good or bad), or just hangin’ out having a beer lending an opinion.

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