Article And Photos By: Chris Callen
Originally Published In The November 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
I’ve known Charlie Hadayia, the builder of this sweet-ass Pan, ever since his days at S&S. He was always a no-bullshit cat from the East Coast, but what really peaked my interest in his skills as a builder was when he recreated George Smith Sr.’s original race bike: The Tramp. This bike was part of the 50 builder tribute to the Wisconsin based performance guru’s half-century anniversary. That bike was, from m o s t a c c o u n t s that knew the family and the bike, an I Article And Photos By: Chris Callen incredible replica. Well, some time ago, Charlie moved on to a new venture with Biker’s Choice, formerly NEMPCO, and the irony here is that this was like a homecoming for him. See, Charlie’s dad worked the entire eastern seaboard for NEMPCO as Charlie was growing up. His first memory of the motorcycle life was the old man taking him on trips to see shop owners. This was in the Mid ‘70s, and even before that, Charlie Sr. owned his own shop; this was just destiny. Charlie started wrenching at a local Harley dealer at the age of 18 and eventually dropped out of college to pursue his motorcycle passion. He remembers that day as a less than proud moment for his parents. From there he would work in various New England dealerships through the eighties and nineties, even held the position of service manager at Precision Harley- Davidson in RI. But it was in ’98 when his life would take a serious turn. Charlie went out to the first Indy dealer show and met up with another former NEMPCO employee, James Simonelli. At that time, James was working at S&S, and before long, he was talking Charlie into coming on as a tech.
The time Charlie spent at S&S was some of the most innovative time in the company’s history with their development of the X-Wedge, the 50th Anniversary and a project that he personally headed up: the acquisition of Flathead Power. This would give S&S an opportunity to reach out to the vintage crowd, and that was right up Charlie’s alley. As the company went through more changes late in 2010, Charlie would get the offer to go to work for Biker’s Choice. It was just around deer season so he told them to call back in a few weeks. In the beginning of 2011, he relocated to Texas and he’s been there ever since. When I attended the V-Twin Expo this year, that’s when I first saw this EL Pan. I immediately asked about shooting it for our readers so they could get a look at it. Charlie is not easy to impress so he said, “Yeah, sure,” in a half-hearted way, and I’ve been waiting for the chance ever since. Finally, at this year’s Sturgis rally, I nailed him down by riding my ’48 over to his booth and wrangling him down to City Park to get the shots. This bike all started with a pile of parts that Charlie’s dad had socked away from other builds; extras as he called them, treasures for most of the rest of us. But as in any good mystery, it came down to a good motive. One day in the R&D department of Flathead Power, Charlie ran across a set of ’49 Pan cases. Of course they were mismatched and clapped out, but it was enough to get his wheels turning. Charlie ran the numbers, they came back clean, and no one else really knew anything about them. He went to George Jr. and asked what the plans were for them. George’s response was to just take ‘em.
From there Charlie was off to the Davenport swap to sell some of his excess stock. As luck would have it, he ran into Dave from Way Back Wheels who had a perfect replica frame. After a little horse trading, it was set; he was doing this ’49. At this point, Charlie already had an original Hydra Glide front end and fenders, so he was thinking that this could be like a 90% resto. Charlie opted instead to put a fun bike together with a classic look. He ended up mixing a collection of old and new parts that really came together smoothly. It also kinda reminds me of what the old guys would have done back in the day. If a new, better part came out, those cats would adapt their machines to use it. So Charlie ended up with a bad-ass Pan with some brakes that work and a solid front end; the whole deal. Originally, he even had the tank shifter set up with the rocker clutch. It was on the first ride that he decided that with a little Bates’ sprung seat, this was a bad idea. Everything was just in the wrong place. But that’s kinda Charlie’s style too, he likes a challenge. Take for instance the Cycle Engineering rocker box covers. Everyone told him he’d never get them to fit on a stock motor with a stock frame. Well, there you see it, no matter the extra work that went into making them work, he did it. So, why the particular shade of blue you might ask? Well, in 1949 there were only three colors to choose from on your new model Harley-Davidson motorcycle: Police Silver, Emerald Green and Peacock Blue. You see, for Charlie, the tradition of things is at the top of the list. Having grown up around some of the big names in early motorcycle trick shops and racing, he remembered how guys did things then, and as much as things today resemble how they were back then, Charlie remembers how they really used to be.
Charlie’s Pan Tech Sheet
Owner: Charlie Hadayia, Jr.
City: Fort Worth, TX
Fabrication By: Charlie
Time: Real Time – 6 Months
Ignition: Mallory Unilite
Heads: S.T.D. Replica / Biker’s Choice
Cam(s): S&S 514
Carb: S&S Super E
Air Cleaner: S&S Stealth w/ Dished Bobber Cover
Primary: H-D Tin – Primo Brute II Belt Drive
Year: ‘49 / ’53
Make: H-D / Andrews
Type: HD 39mm
Triple Trees: HD
Front Wheel: HD
Brakes: HHI 4 Piston w/ Biker’s Choice Floating Rotor
Rear Wheel: H-D / Biker’s Choice
Brakes: H-D Drum
Painter: Dougz Custom Paint
Color: Peacock Blue
Chroming: Only If It Came That Way
Bars: Biker’s Choice “Miler” Bars
Hand Controls: Biker’s Choice / Jaybrake
Gas Tank(s): Pan
Front fender: H-D
Rear fender: Paughco
Seat: LePera Custom
Foot Controls: H-D
Oil Tank: Paughco
Taillight: West Eagle Duolamp L.E.D.
Speedo: Biker’s Choice
Photographer: Chris Callen