Originally Published In The June 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source
Article By: Lemme Photos By: Chris Callen
Roadside, Darren, Mike, and I made it to Daytona, despite Darren’s stator melting into a pile of noncharging plastic and wires, but not before Mother Nature took a huge shit on us. I was in the Green Dragon along with D’s dead chopper, so I stayed relatively dry, but it was like a f**king monsoon down there so I got good and wet with the rest of them while we were unloading the mangled machine.
Willie instructed us to carefully navigate our way over to a shop that he and a few other guys had rented just down the road, and that someone would be there to help us. This is where we met Shaun Ponte. We had found the place without any trouble, but when we walked in, the shop had a very powerful smell of carnauba wax lingering about; it almost hindered visibility in the place.
In the midst of the fog, there appeared this large human who sounded like he was a member of some sort of Italian East Coast mob or something, and Darren went straight to entertaining himself at the expense of Shaun’s New England accent. He had moved down to Daytona several years ago; almost two decades if I remember right. Anyway, Shaun had quickly made friends with the Tropical Tattoo horde and wound up sub sequentially lighting the fire that would become Trailer Trash Choppers.
Now along with Shaun and Marcus, there is Joe Del Buono. Coincidentally all three of them originally came from Massachusetts, and strangely enough, they had never even heard of each other before they moved to Daytona. They started out working on the ground in a trailer park, building bikes in the living room as well as the driveway, and to date, they have completed nineteen ground-up builds inside of eight years which is quite an accomplishment for a part-time endeavor.
In between Darren asking Shaun to say phrases like, “Yeah, I’m prospecting for the Hamsters,” and tearing into the Twin Cam’s melted stator, I was fortunate enough to hear the story of this amazing and beautiful Panhead that Shaun was precisely polishing to a perfect shine. This story will be much better if you ever get the chance to meet these guys. I would highly recommend stopping in at Willie’s Tropical Tattoo the moment you get the chance. And I mean every last one of you.
See, Shaun used to be the proud owner of a very nice and good running Softailed Evo of some sort, but always wanted to own a Panhead, arranged in just a certain way. Finally, in the spring of 2011, Marcus handed Shaun the number to a fella who owned a Panhead and wanted to trade for a nice Evo. He quickly found the owner of that phone number and Panhead, leaving the tattoo shop on a near flawless Evo. He returned on a barely running and very bent Panhead which appeared to be fogging for mosquitoes.
Despite the unmerciful ridicule and verbal assault from just about everybody, Shaun couldn’t have been any happier. He had all the parts – minus a somewhat bent frame and an extremely bent Springer – and a clear picture in his mind’s eye of exactly how he was going to build his dream. But the trip from South Beach back to the shop was riddled with danger and shouts from angry drivers being held up by this terrible machine. The thing was smoking so bad that pedestrians were trying to tell him his bike was on fire, and it rode down the asphalt like an old deuce and a half on a tank trail. Oh how they laid into him when he finally returned with this smoke screen circus.
Shaun had dropped a valve guide on the way, but a complete overhaul was in the works anyhow, so it made for a good laugh in the mean time. On top of all this, the frame and Springer had to go as well. Shaun replaced the derelict chassis with a fresh, new, Paughco hardtail and acquired a factory Wide Glide frontend complete with three-degree trees.
After some sweet lovin’ from two of the best Panhead experts in the area, Chuck Kennedy and Red, the foul demon had a new chance at life and has been running like a Swiss watch ever since. But, besides the frame, the only custom parts on the entire thing are the Detroit Brothers’ gas tank and the Speedking brake caliper mount. Everything else is factory HD equipment, although some parts had come from other eras. The rear fender, for instance, is a front fender off of a Fat Boy; it sure looks nice. They did an outstanding job on this thing.
Shaun is a true, redblooded American in every sense. Hell, he even has the word “American” tattooed across his knuckles and has the red, white, and blue stars and scallops of Captain America tattooed on his arm. So naturally, he wanted to go with a Captain America inspired paint job. He didn’t want to overplay that whole thing, so they subtly hid the stars and scallops in the candy coat.
This build started during bike week a little over a year ago, and to my surprise, Shaun finished the thing up in the few days prior to our arrival. This thing didn’t escape any of our attention and the general consensus was to get Shaun and Marcus’s bikes in the mag at once. Make sure you take a gander at Marcus’s bike as well. We spent the rest of the night drooling over these fine motorbikes and wrenching on Darren’s chop. We got the thing off the workbench and on the road, where we commenced to having all kinds of wild fun with these great humans. They were so kind to put our hygienically neglected asses up for the week and for showing us the best time a person can have down south. In the midst of the fun and photo shoot, D and I made our bare assed way into a couple of the pics without Shaun’s knowledge, and showed him the photos later. They’re on the blog, so stop by and check ‘em out.
But again, Roadside, Darren, Mike, and I would like to extend our most sincere thank you to Shaun and Marcus at Trailer Trash Choppers, to Willie and the whole crew at Tropical Tattoo, and to Lumpy for running parts across town at all hours of the night on a jockey shift Shovel, none the less. It was a great time and I hope you all get a chance to stop in and meet these fine men.
American Badass Tech Sheet
Owner: Shaun Ponte
City: Daytona Beach, FL
Fabrication By: Marcus Orabona & Shaun-Trailer
TIME : 1 Year
Builder: Chuck Kennedy & Red
Air Cleaner: S&S Teardrop
Exhaust: Paughco Shotgun
Primary: 3” Phase Three
Make: 4 Speed
Rake: 30 Degrees
Type: Wide Glide
Triple Trees: Wide Glide 3 Degree
Front Wheel: Boston’s Mike Spool
Rear Wheel: Stainless 40 Spoke
Tire: Avon Venom
Brakes: C&C Calipers
Painter: B&D Customs
Color: Brandywine Candy
Chromng: East Coast Plating
Graphics: Stars and Scallops
Bars: 16” Apes
Hand Controls: PM
Gas Tank(s): Detroit Brothers
Front Fender: Nope
Rear Fender: Fat Boy Front
Seat: West Eagle
Foot Controls: Original Andersons
Photographer: Chris Callen