Mark Masker

Powerplant Choppers' Harley-Davidson Panhead Racer

Would you ride this rigid springer?

Riding your Harley-Davidson into unknown territory is thrilling. Handing your bike over to a shop and letting them do what they want to it is an adventure as well. Sometimes good, sometimes bad. It's best to hedge your bets by using a shop you know though.

That's what happened with this 1952 Panhead that Powerplant Choppers created for Hawaii Five-O's Scott Caan. Scott has known Powerplant owner Yaniv Evan since high school and the Los Angeles, California, shop built a bike for Scott previous to this one. Yaniv’s creations are handmade and use genuine classic parts. He puts function slightly ahead of form; above all, it has to be fun to ride. Powerplant isn't concerned with chromed iron. It’s all paint and polish with these guys, with as much done in-house as possible. That’s why Scott gave Yaniv free rein to indulge himself on this one. Scott liked the first enough that he had no problem giving the guys at Powerplant creative carte blanche on the sequel.

Powerplant Chopper

Powerplant Choppers owner Yaniv Evan created 90 percent of this bike in his shop, and many of those parts he didn’t make are the original article.

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Powerplant didn’t disappoint him. It spent a year creating a ’52 Panhead based on a 1920s/’30s racer it had sitting around the shop. The reason it took so long? All the hand crafting. Any parts he can make in-house, Yaniv does. The reason being, he grew up around old hot rods and he comes from the school of old-world craftsmanship. His bikes feature a good deal of brass, be it with the pegs or on other accents throughout the machine.

Rivera open belt drive

Rivera open belt drive, customized to this bike.

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peanut tank

This ride’s based on an old racer of Evan’s, but he took a little liberty with the peanut tank.

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Exhaust pipes

Exhaust pipes are good at their job but make lousy windows. Powerplant bent this set to exit on the primary side at the oil bag so you get an unobstructed view of the Panhead engine on its good side.

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Handlebars

Handlebar clutter? We don't need no stinking handlebar clutter.

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leather seat

Hand tooling on the leather seat.

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footpegs

These footpegs are packing that brass we were talking about.

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motor

The shop rebuilt the ’52 motor, adding in S&S pistons and cam for extra oomph and restored the matching transmission.

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powerplant parts

Twelve months after Scott Caan gave Yaniv the green light, he got his finished ride. Yaniv took the spark of an idea and, through his considerable skill, reincarnated some old parts as a new animal.

Mark Masker