Doug’s Celtic Pan

Article By: Paul Wideman

Photos By: Russell Clark

Originally Published In The January 2013c Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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A Few years ago, I saw this incredible downtube being constructed on Paul Cox’s blog. I was blown away. There are a handful of guys that are capable of some really mind blowing details and fab work, but when I saw the braided downtube on the Celtic Pan, I knew that only Paul was the one to think all of this through and make it look so organic. The way two of the braids wrap around the neck and the third serves as a stress bar is just one great example of how Paul is in a class all his own. And that’s why Doug Craig found himself in Paul’s shop many years ago talking about chassis and bike building. Fast forward a few years and Paul has set out on his own, and Doug  started coming around again. The two agree on some basic principles for the bike, and Paul gets started. Doug was adamant that the frame be unique, without going overboard. Paul incorporated the braided downtube into the frame, tastefully tying it into the neck and engine cradle. Other touches to the frame abound, like the highly modified axle plates and the little dots of silicon bronze everywhere, faintly resembling rivets. A Paughco Springer acted as a donor for the frontend, as Paul twisted up a set of front rails and sanitized the rest of the unit. Doug commissioned a set of one-off Celtic Knot wheels from Gorby Machine and had them dropped on Paul’s doorstep. This led Paul a bit astray from his normal spoke wheel route, but he mounted the Metzeler tires up and had a rolling chassis. The trick now, with the wheels on, was to be sure that the “knot and braid” thread did not go too far. I think one thing many builders today don’t realize is simply more of a good thing does not make it better. There has to be a tasteful balance; some moderation.

As the build progressed, Paul found himself in his comfort zone, as half bike builder, half blacksmith. After the roller was finished, he set about making up the supporting pieces. Nearly every single piece was made by Paul. If not, it was modified by the man. The forward controls feature twisted railroad spikes, and a very cool master cylinder with an incredible reservoir. The spring loaded fill cap looks right at home on the reservoir, just like it would on your grandpa’s old milling machine. The oil tank was fashioned from rolled steel and two domed caps Paul sourced from an industrial supply catalog. Of course the cap was handmade, and the silicon bronze dots were again utilized. The tank looks perfectly proportioned and supplies sufficient oil to the motor.

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The fender features a subtle lip framing the entire piece, and is supported by a really trick set of struts that Paul fabbed from some hex stock and tapered down to a nice point. You may notice that the transmission sits a little higher than normal, that is because there is a full size starter hiding under the trans. Yes under. Doug wanted this feature right from the start. Paul let him know that although fully functional, it can be quite tedious to assemble, and can make trans adjustment cumbersome. Everything fits perfectly, but you have to be pretty skilled and patient with your wrenches when it comes time to maintain the system. Doug has reportedly had no problems handling the chores. Paul explains that the fine line here is keeping the transmission as low as possible, while still providing enough room to keep the bike serviceable. In addition to lifting the trans up a bit, a small alteration was made to the frame to better accommodate the starter. This balance between form and function keeps the aesthetics in check, but also allows proper, albeit precise, assembly and adjustment.

Tying the Baker transmission and Cox-built Panhead together is one of Paul’s signature chain drives. You cannot beat the look of an open chain primary, and the maintenance free nature of the o-ring chain makes for a reliable and very cool component. Since I mentioned cool and reliable, check out the S&S Panhead that scoots Doug down the street. Paul started out with a shortblock from S&S, and went through everything, added a little here, and massaging a little there. When he was done, he was left with a Morris Magneto fired 88” Panhead that is long on reliability and power. Paul really likes this displacement for its levelheadedness, so to speak. And there is plenty of ass to get the bike moving. The aforementioned Baker 6 into 4 takes advantage of the Baker N-1 shift drum, which makes hand shifting all the easier. While you’re checking out the trans and primary, dig the cool shifter and shift knob peaking out from behind the killer exhaust pipes. Rounding out the mockup is one of Paul’s own tag lights, a modified Paughco fuel tank, Misumi risers, and a set of Paul’s ape hangers. After breaking everything down and sending the paint to Buck Wild, the frame and some smaller parts to be brass plated, and the rest to chrome, Paul went about banging out another top of the line seat to soon be mounted to his patented Air Ride system. While he was at it, he made a set of leather hand grips too. As the paint progressed, Buck mentioned to Paul that he too was trying not to go too far with his share of the work, but that the project kind of dictated itself. The end result is a very dimensional paintjob that seems to have some of the artwork floating near the top, but some of it appearing to be lying far beneath, with incredible shading and detail. Once Paul saw the paint, he knew he would need to clearcoat the brass plated frame and parts to prevent them from dulling too far and thus clashing with the brighter paintwork. As assembly wore by, the last pieces were added, such as the internal throttle and stainless steel aircraft style oil lines.

Upon completion of assembly, Doug was soon back, and ready to help with break-in chores. He got right on and broke it in all around Brooklyn, weaving in and out of harm’s way in the crazy NYC traffic. After the necessary dialing in and tuning up, Doug was on his way home to Canada with his new, most prized possession. While Doug spends a lot of time traveling with the Hairfarmers, a two man band that will soon be featured in Full Throttle Rock, he does find time to ride his Celtic Pan all over the Canadian landscape; quite a bit apparently. He checks in frequently with Paul to let him know how the bike is doing, and how much he is riding it, but more than anything to let him know how pleased he is with the bike. It’s the fine balance between form and function, and no one nails it better than Paul Cox.

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Celtic Pan Tech Sheet

Owner: Doug Craig

City: B.C.

Fabrication By: Paul Cox

Year: 2010

Model: Celtic Pan

Time: Never Wasted


Year: 2010

Model: Panhead

Builder: S&S/Paul Cox

Ignition: G5 N Morris Magneto

Displacement: 88”

Pistons: S&S

Heads: S&S

Cam(s): S&S

Carb: S&S

Air Cleaner: Velocity Stack

Exhaust: Paul Cox

Primary: Paul Cox Chain Drive


Year: 2010

Make: Baker 6-into-4

Shifting: Modified N-1 Shift Pattern


Year: 2010

Make: Paul Cox Brass Plated

Rake: 30 Degrees

Stretch: 2” Up


Type: Twisted Springer

Builder: Paul Cox / Paughco

Extension: 3”

Triple Trees: Paul Cox / Paughco


Front Wheel: Celtic Knot – Gorby’s Machine

Size: 21”

Tire: Metzeler

Brakes: Paul Cox / Jaybrake

Rear Wheel: Celtic Knot – Gorby’s Machine

Size: 18”

Tire: Metzeler

Brakes: Paul Cox / Jaybrake


Painter: Buck Wild

Color: Gold

Type: Metal Falke

Molding: Silicon Bronze / Paul Cox

Chroming: Wilco / Pragmatic


Bars: Paul Cox Apes

Risers: Misumi

Hand Controls: Paul Cox / Jaybrake

Gas Tank(s): Paughco

Front Fender:

Rear Fender: Paul Cox

Seat: Paul Cox

Foot Controls: Paul Cox

Oil Tank: Paul Cox Brass Plated

Taillight: Paul Cox

Headlight: 4” Spot

Photographer: Russell Clark

One thought on “Doug’s Celtic Pan

  1. The Celtic Panhead is an amazing piece of motorcycle art. Paul Cox, wow what a multi talented designer, craftsman and technical genius. Incredible. The paint job is wild, Buck Wild, sunset gleaming. I know the owner Doug, I taught him how to strip the paint off of his electric guitar in his early twenties, he was quite fascinated about the entire process including getting it repainted. I guess his fascination with such things was always there and it never stoped. I hope he will find another art form to continue enjoying his and other artists creativity why stop on motorbikes alone.

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