Tangled Up In Blues

Article By: Roadside Marty

Photos By: Carsten Fritzen

Originally Published In The October 2016 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

I’m sure almost everyone reading this magazine will agree that there’s nothing quite like the sound of a well-tuned Harley with straight pipes, especially a cone Shovel. Man, that’s absolute music to my ears! Well, at the Smokeout this Shovel really caught my eye so and I had to find the owner. After a bit of detective work, I found out that it belonged to Rusty Nash, a name I had been hearing for a few years now. I managed to hook up with Rusty and get the lowdown for our readers. I want to thank him and his awesome lady Meggen for taking time out of their fun to answer a few questions. Rusty started riding at the age of 4 on a 1980 Suzuki JR50. His Dad always had bikes while Rusty was growing up. Dad also had a paint and body shop where Rusty started painting when he was 19. In 2011 he moved from the Charlotte NC area to Murrells Inlet SC where he opened up Paints by Rusty, specializing in only painting custom motorcycles. He says he is truly blessed with his family and his business especially when he drags home “another” motorcycle project!

Rusty picked up this ‘79 in 2010 as a non- running FX.. He traded an ‘87 Sportster in a rigid frame for it. He rode it around in its stock form for a few years before he decided to chop it. Once he had the bike stripped down he sent the frame over to Jon Chadwell at Chadwell Metalworks to hardtail it. Up to this point it was Rusty’s plan to build a Rat type bike but once he saw how good a job Jon did with the frame his OCD kicked in and that changed the whole direction of the bike. The frame went to Nick at East Coast Powdercoating for a nice coat of gloss black. With the frame taken care of Rusty searched EBay and found a set of NOS decals that he put on the repop Sportster tank. Rusty says that it wasn’t as easy as it sounds when you’re using 40-year-old decals!

That rear fender is actually a front fender from a Honda Shadow that Rusty modified. Up front he went the tried and true route and used a 39mm front end that he shaved and cleaned up before he sent it out for chrome. He also lowered it 2” to get the frame at sitting level. He really didn’t want some bars that he thought everyone else had so he decided to go with a set of Zephyr bars from Pangea Speed, which look really good. The clutch perch and lever are actually swap meet finds that were just the look and function that he was going for. Now, those Invader mag wheels are a story by themselves. Rusty had been trying for a year to buy them from his buddy Chuckie, only to be shot down every time. Well finally Chuckie gave in and Rusty had Jon re-weld the spokes just to be sure and then sent everything out to Classic Components in California for re-chroming. In between running his business and getting his parts back it took over a year for Rusty to start final assembly.

He set a deadline to have it ready for the spring Myrtle Beach Rally in May. I wish I could say this is the part where everything just came together perfectly but once he had the bike fully assembled and ready to fire he had a two-hour kick start contest that didn’t even come close to getting it started! The bike had been running before disassembly, when he did a quick compression check he found that the rear cylinder had very little compression so Rusty did a quick top end that turned into a full blown motor rebuild. Once they had the cylinders and found play in the rods Ronnie Sarvis at RS Cycles did a complete rebuild from the rods up and according to Rusty the motor runs better than it ever has. Even though it took over two years to finish the bike, Rusty is totally happy with the way the it turned out. He says it turns heads everywhere he rides and shows it at. In closing Rusty wants to thank everyone who had a part in this build, his good friend Vic Woods for assisting him with wiring and especially his better half, Meggen Geddes, for putting up with him as well as dealing with all of the ups and downs during this build! You did a great job brother thanks for sharing your bike with our readers!

The Struggle Tech Sheet

Owner: Rusty Nash

City/State: Garden City, SC

Builder: Jonathan Chadwell, Vic Woods, Bruce Herman

Year: 1983

Model: Shovelhead

Value: Priceless

Time: 2 Years


Year: 1983

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Ronnie Sarvis

Ignition: Dyna S

Displacement: 80ci

Pistons: Keith Black

Heads: Stock

Carb: S&S

Cam: Sifton

Air Cleaner: Moon Eyes

Exhaust: Custom

Primary: BDL


Year: 1983

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: 4 Speed


Year: 1983

Make: Harley-Davidson


Builder: Harley-Davidson

Type: 39mm


Front Wheel: Invader

Size: 21”

Tire: Firestone

Front brake: Hahahah

Rear Wheel: Invader

Size: 16”

Tire: Shinko

Rear Brake: GMA


Painter: Paints By Rusty

Color: Black

Type: Matrix

Graphics: Harley-Davidson

Chroming: Classic Components


Bars: Pangea Speed


Hand controls: Swap Meet

Gas Tank(s): Harley-Davidson

Front fender: None

Rear Fender: Honda Shadow Front Fender

Seat: Sideshow Customs

Foot controls: Swap Meet

Oil Tank: Mod Panhead Oil Tank

Headlight: Drag Specialties

Tail light: BCM

Speedo: None

Photographer: Carsten Fritzen

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