Chorus Novissimis

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Article By: Chris Callen

Photos By: Mark Velazquez

Originally Published In The July 2018 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Paul Cox has built a life in the streets of New York City, created an incredible career, many beautiful custom bikes and helped make the NYC Chopper scene what it is today. This bike, however, is the last one that will be built by his hands in the city that never sleeps. When our photographer Mark told me that Paul Cox was moving out of the city and asked if I wanted to run the last bike he was building there, his voice faded, and I cracked a smile. He made it, was all I could think. I suppose in the back of the minds of every New Yorker there is the idea of staking a claim in the city, making your name and making it out with enough time to still enjoy life at a more leisurely pace, and for that, I am happy for Paul and his family. There is a whole story on his life and times in New York in the issue as well, but this article is about that last dance. Paul started on this build with a motor, one that has an incredibly interesting history. A friend of his Andy, who used to print his shirts back in the day, bought the thing at a swap meet upstate around ten years ago. He put the ‘46 Knuckle mill in his bike as it sat, stock and beat up and he rode it just that way. It was a strong runner though, and when Andy decided he wanted to build something else, Paul put in a bid to buy the motor.

He set it aside for a couple of years; it just sat in the corner of the shop waiting for a time when Paul could get to it. About five years ago, Paul needed some rent money and passed the knuck on to another friend, John Copeland that puts on Boogie East. John had plans to build something around the motor too, but never got around to it either. It sat in the same condition in his apartment in the East Village. When Paul got invited to his second build for Born Free, he bought the motor back again, but this time he went right to work on it. The irony is that in all those years the engine went back and forth for virtually the same money between this group of friends. It started with a complete strip down, all the way to empty cases. It was covered in oil and baked on grunge, cleaning and polishing the cases was the first step. From there, some new pistons, some rods and wheels, the cam chest looked good, so the rebuild was surprisingly easy. It had to have a Morris Magneto, of course, every bike Paul builds runs one of Dave’s Mags. That old Knuck came with the original Linkert carb too, but unlike so many of the day that are just worn to shit, this one was in great shape. A little bit of elbow grease and it starts the bike easy and runs like a bear. The heads and cylinders are nickel plated, a rare thing in the city since no one wants to use the traditional copper base to make them come out right. I guess the idea of cyanide and the DEP put New Yorkers off from this process. Paul found one spot in Greenpoint that still does the work, and the results were terrific.

Nothing comes out as good as plating that has that first layer of copper to fill in the pits and really get the top layer to adhere. Believe it or not, the first time this bike was completed, it was purple instead of what you see here. It turns out Paul is like many of us in this game and found himself the morning that the bike had to be loaded on the truck for California, and it was still in paint. What’s more, the motor was only partially assembled, and Paul was doing the paintwork himself like he does on many of his builds. Cox quickly got it ready for a base coat, got some clear on it so he could move it to the bench and assemble as much as time would allow before the driver got pissed and had to take the bike. Paul ended up taking the top half of the engine, the pipes, the seat and the bars. He finished the bike once he got to California right before Born Free. He admits that over the years he has become way too comfortable in situations like that, a facet he hopes to change in his new spot. So, when the bike came back from Born Free, Paul hated the paint job and immediately tore it down and repainted it. The “House of Kolors” Dark Teal you see on it now is his wife Ann’s favorite color, so the inspiration for that choice was all hers. From there, he got to go back and address some of the things he wanted to do initially. He made up some really sweet stainless controls, painted the forks to match the chassis, and gave it the attention he thought it still needed. That front end is trick as hell, and at first glance, you might think that it’s just an early springer because of the shape. But notice that it has a shock in front of the slings? That’s because it actually started life as a late style springer. Since he felt that the shape of those springers was way too boxy but loved the modern features like the roller bearings and symmetrical rockers, Paul decided to take things into his own hands and narrow it a bit. He cut two inches out at the bend of the rear legs and brought them in and up, smoothing out the hard lines and combing the best of the old and the new.


The frame started life as a ‘72 Shovelhead with a scratch-built hardtail that Paul did in-house. He made some axle plates and added in the stainless runners for the axle nut to ride along. This matches the rest of the stainless accents as well. For the transmission, a Baker four-speed, no not 6-into-4, just a good old-fashioned fourspeed with a pig snout kicker cover. There’s just something about the gear ratio of them that Paul feels is proper for a bike like this. The fuel tank was a set of 3-1/2-gallon tanks that he axed, and the oil tank is probably one of the most interesting things. Back in the day, Indian Larry was on a mission to make the perfect oil tank. Since most of the ones out at the time were too thin and the mounts busted, so he wanted to make a strong one. He and Paul visited a shop in the city that did metal spinning, and they searched through all the guys wooden molds to find one that was the shape of half an oil tank. From there they agreed on 90 thousandths of material thickness, and the man spun up a bunch of tank halves. The oil tank on this bike is made from the last two matching halves of those tanks Larry had made. Kinda fitting for this build, right? The bike speaks for itself as far as the looks, and anything from Paul is gonna run too, but even he says that there is something about this one, this combination that just rides so effortlessly, so smooth, even the throttle rolls on like it has bearings. It’s just perfectly balanced and a real pleasure to ride. That’s exactly what you would expect from a man that has made a 30-year commitment to the study of mechanized art. From here on Paul will be building bikes from his new shop in Port Jervis, just two hours from the city and if anything, we figure the space will give him room to grow even more…. stay tuned!


Owner: Chip Brian

City/State: NYC

Builder: Paul Cox Industries

Year: 1946+

Model: NYC Chop

Value: Relative

Time: A Few Months


Year: 1946

Model: FL Knucklehead

Builder: PC

Ignition: Morris Magneto

Displacement: 74cu

Pistons: Wiseco

Heads: HD

Carb: Linkert w/ Harold’s Manifold

Cam: Andrews S

Air Cleaner: Bird Deflector

Exhaust: PCI

Primary: 1-1/2” Belt


Year: New

Make: Baker 4-Speed

Shifting: Jockey, NYC School Knob, N-1


Year: 1972-2015

Model: FL/ Hardtailed

Rake: 30°

Stretch: Shortened Seat Post 1/2”


Builder: HD/PCI

Type: Late Springer

Triple Trees: Custom PCI

Extension: Narrowed And Shortened 2”


Front Wheel: Sun Alloy Rrim, SS spokes, Spool Hub 5”

Tire: Pirelli Scorpion

Front Brake: NA

Rear Wheel: Sun Alloy Rim, SS spokes,

Barnes Quick Change Hub

Size: 17” X 4”

Tire: Pirelli Scorpion

Rear Brake: Performance Machine Vintage


Painter: PCI

Color: Dark Teal

Type: House of Kolor

Graphics: Lace, Flames & Striping

Chroming: Epner Plating


Bars: PCI

Risers: PCI

Hand Controls: Internal Throttle

Foot Controls: PCI Stainless Steel

Gas Tank(s): PCI Axed Fat Bobs w/ SS Trim

Oil Tank: Hand Spun Aluminum, IL Personal Stash

Front fender: NA

Rear Fender: PCI w/SS trim

Seat: PCI Shark skin w/ Rigidaire

Headlight: 4-1/2”

Tail light: Vintage military Jeep

Speedo: None

PHOTOGRAPHER: Mark Velazquez

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