Hot Rod Flathead

Article By: Jimmy Frizzell

Photos By: Chris Callen

Originally Published In The February 2017 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

There comes a point in a man’s life when, if the planets align, he knows exactly what he wants in life. Two years ago, Greg “Rudy” Rudzinski found himself freshly retired from an electrician’s life and set out to plan a new build. Rudy has been a regular at Laconia Bike Week for the past 40 years and has experienced enough of the ever-changing fads in the industry to know what he wants and what he doesn’t even want around. Not a fan of windshields and high end stereos, Rudy decided to go against the trend he saw escalating in the scene and delve elbow deep into his forth 45 build and creating himself a proportionally sound hot rod Flathead. Critical of details and a clinically diagnosed perfectionist Rudy set out to surf the waves of his own imagination and mechanical reliability. Focusing on the correct proportions that he knew would make his build a visually balanced two wheeled work of art. The key was his ability to see the finished project at the starting line knowing that a tight fit of all the pieces and a hidden detail to wiring would have to be carefully executed along with proportions and a limit on negative space.

Celebrating his release from occupational burden and a twenty-year freedom from alcohol Rudy started his trek using a Stroker motor from Way Back Wheels in Stratham, NH with WLDR cams and a modified oil pump by Paul Priubus and eventually leading him into a whirl wind of swap meet treasure hunts. A Paughco frame was modified in his own 1200 square foot shop and mated with a worn-out OEM springer purchased from Panhead Billy Burrows. Part of the theme of the build was to always keep a visual balance, this meant that the tank, bars, and seat all had to blend without making the motor seem smaller then it already was. Part of the challenge in allowing everything to blend as well as fit a six foot 215-pound rider on top was acquiring the perfect tank.

A swap meet once again provided the brand-new petrol containment unit with the very limiting hurdle of only holding a total of one gallon of bang juice. The rear fender was cut four times to get the perfect sweep as the bars and pegs were set flawlessly in place. The electric is well hidden with the self canceling directional controls mounted 2 inches in front of the seat hinge giving the 59 Caddy tail lights their life at the ass end of this stout black bullet. Mounted in the front he used his last Bates headlight carefully drilling set holes for the oil, neutral, high beams, and directional indicators. All the bodywork, molding and black lacquer paint was all done in house by Rudy himself.

Rudy doesn’t build show bikes; the mag wheels were used to keep with the agricultural feel he felt that all Flatheads had. He says that the bike has no problem keeping up with a stock 883, the bike isn’t the fastest but at 65 Rudy says he may not be the fastest anymore either. He was big into Triumphs back in the day and makes sure to always have an Ironhead in his stable. He’s a gearhead through and through and he says he worries that the old vintage builders may become a dying breed. But then again, the way Rudy buys up motors and parts there may not be anything left for them to build anyway. This year he took time away from fly fishing to once again trek out to Laconia. It was the longest trip to date for the Flathead and two gas stops and 45 miles later he was taking Best Flatty with his “not a show bike”. Which ironically then took Best of Show in Kingston, NH a couple of weeks later. He says “I’m not a bike show builder, but it’s nice to be recognized by people who are”. Speaking to Rudy you soon realize that he has his shit figured out, he’s right at home in his small shop overlooking his herd of beef cows and 3 horses. He’s no bagger guy and never will be, and even though he’s no builder of show bikes I sure as hell would love to see what would happen if he did. He’s always down to help anyone in need and 22 years of sobriety has taught him what is truly important. If you ask me, this culture needs more Rudy’s…

Hot Rod Flatty Tech Sheet

Owner: Rudy Rudzinski

City/State: Deerfield, NH

Builder: Owner

Year: 1951

Model: WL

Value: Not For Sale

Time: 700 Hours

ENGINE

Year: 1951

Model: WL Stroker

Builder: Owner

Ignition: ACCEL Electronic VOES

Displacement: 57CI

Pistons: Truit & Osborn

Heads: #6

Carb: Mikuni VM 34

Cam: WLDR

Air Cleaner: K&N

Exhaust: Paughco

Primary: BDL

TRANSMISSION

Year: 2015

Make: V-Twin/Andrews

Shifting: 4 Speed, Foot Shift

FRAME

Make: Paughco/Owner

Rake: 30°

Stretch: 2”

Forks

Builder: H-D OEM

Type: Springer

Extension: None

Triple trees:

WHEELS

Front: H-D Mag

Size: 19”

Tire: Dunlop 591

Brake: GMA

Wheel: H-D Mag

Size: 16”

Tire: Dunlop 591

Brake: GMA

PAINT

Painter: Owner

Color: Black

Type: Lacquer

Graphics: None

Chroming: My Favorite Color

ACCESSORIES

Bars: TC Bros

Risers: H-D FL 575

Hand controls: Kustom Tech-Italy

Gas Tank(s): Swap Meet Special

Front fender: None

Rear Fender: Early FX

Seat: LaRossa

Foot controls: V-Twin

Oil Tank: Paughco

Headlight: Bates

Tail light: 59 Cadillac

Speedo: None

Photographer: Chris Callen

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