Doug Coffey’s RetroMod Panhead Part 1

Having been in the aftermarket Harley business since 1969, I have pretty much done everything  from lacing wheels and custom painting to establishing a performance specialty manufacturing company known as Head Quarters.
Over the years everything in Harley-Davidson aftermarket world has evolved. Today finds old timers like myself better skilled with better tools and far better parts to work with than we had back in the day.
I have built probably thirty motorcycles from the frame up  and they have all been builds that kept pace with what the current factory offerings were and the style of the day. The latter builds being Evos and Twin Cams in rubber mount swingarm frames.
That being said, I didn’t find I got the same buzz I used to get when I first started out building those rigid framed choppers back in the early 1970’s.
Some people count sheep to go to sleep. I found myself planning a new rigid frame chopper to send me off to La La Land for a good night’s sleep.
This went on for two or three years before I decided the time had come to act upon my dreams.
After twenty five years of manufacturing performance parts for my company Head Quarters, I realized most of the people I had met over that period had no idea I could actually build a custom bike completely by myself so I decided I would do everything possible in my own shop.
As I preferred the look of the choppers built in the 1960’s and early 70’s but preferred the technology of the parts offered today, I refer to my build as a Retro Mod Chopper combining both old style and new improved parts.
Allow me to show you how this new bike evolved. 
The first thing I needed was a frame and I acquired this mid-70’s Shovelhead frame with a Fabricator Kevin hardtail welded on.
Other than the missing sidecar sidecar loops, it has a strong resemblance to a 1957 straight leg rigid frame. Exactly what I wanted.
Now it was time to get busy and clean up the frame by cutting, grinding and yes, milling unsightly castings off the frame.
I needed to replace the cross bar for one that would enable me to slide the battery in and out of the oil tank. here you can see it in place ready to be welded. Once I had it tacked in place I was able to remove the original cross bar. 
The right side axle plates on the old rigid frames have an elongated slot for the purpose of easier wheel removal. The old bike used drum brakes and the extra length in the slot enabled a long Allen wrench to slide in and remove the five bolts that held the wheel to the drum.
Since I would be using a more modern disc brake wheel I wouldn’t need the long slot so I close it up to match the left side. 
Finally a frame back from the sand blaster. If you compare with the original frame you will see I have done more modification work than covered here in these images, I will be explaining some of those modifications over the next few articles 
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