Stop me if you think you’ve heard this one before. A family friend’s uncle’s cousins’ neighbor has a stash of Harley parts and is looking to get rid of some or all of it. I had a call such as this a few years back, and I will tell you how it went.
As per the norm, the person doing the selling had no clue what the parts were or even how much there actually was. Intrigued, with visions of post-war chrome-plated sugarplums dancing in my head, I made arrangements to go and see the parts pile.
If you are like me, you would have already resigned yourself to the fact that it’s most likely going to be a bunch of take-off pipes and crashbars from somebody’s ’90s Road King rather than an unmolested wishbone frame or mint-condition VL frontend. Since this is the case 98 percent of the time for me, I have learned to keep my excitement over such hunting to a minimum.
After a few weeks went by, I finally made the trek out to the place housing the supposed treasure and met up with a cheerful lady in her late ’60s. After some small-talk, she led me to the back of the dimly-lit garage. The first thing I spotted was an old Ironhead roller sans engine and a large tarp covering what I was expecting to be the stock powerplant and other parts stripped from the Sporty. Boy was I wrong. As I peeled back the sheeting my eyes locked on a complete Knucklehead engine and a bunch of other rare H-D trinkets that hadn’t seen the light of day in 30 some-odd years.
Keeping my poker face in check, I asked Mrs. Treasure-Trove what she would want monetarily for the whole H-D parts shebang. She stated that she pretty much just wanted it vacated from her premises, so a quick deal was made on the cheap. I loaded up my truck, slapped some greenbacks in her hand, and got the hell out of there.
On my way home I was still in shock that after all these years of trying, I finally made one of those big “barn find” scores that internet and swap-meet folklore only teased me with for years.
There is still plenty of old iron out there hiding where you would least expect it. Keep your feelers out, because if it can happen to me, it can happen to anybody.
On another note:
This will be my last editorial for HOT BIKE as I will be focusing my energy full-time as the editor of our sister magazine Street Chopper. It’s been a fun ride. See ya on the rigid side.