Poor Man’s Pan

Article by: Jimmy Frizzell

Photos By: Debbie Fitch

Originally Published In The January 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

When you set out to build yourself a Panhead, you’d better have a thick skin, an open mind, and the strength to follow through with your vision, no matter where it leads you. Fenton Fadeley has that drive, a drive that holds a fine line between obsession and insanity, but in all honesty where lies the difference? Fenton was already elbow deep into piecing together his Shovelhead long bike project when he made the mistake of stalking Chopperswapper. The land of pipe dreams and spare parts proved all too alluring, when laid there, upon his tiny screen sat a fully papered 1950 Panhead basket motor. The belly numbers matched, and the heart and soul of the project was all there so like a heartbroken lover looking for closure he bombarded the owner, Rhett Holley with calls and texts until contact was made. A deal was quickly struck and with borrowed cash in hand he made the journey to take possession of his newly found mission.

Fenton’s mind is a storage locker of ideas for projects he may never embark upon, and in some cases, it pays off in folds. He knew exactly the direction this build would take and the exact order it would have to happen. The motor was quickly dropped off to Terry Summers. Terry would have a pinnacle role in the mechanics of both the engine and the transmission. But during the rebuild would be when Fenton’s true skills would come to light.

To stay within a loose budget, the Pan would be built in the same way someone with shallow means would do it back in the day, a poor man’s build, so to speak.The frame was passed through Terry also. He knew of a frame where the owner was known only to build hot rod inspired bikes and cars. Fenton managed to pick from this collection a shaved roller with a late model Hydro Glide front end. He would spend a lot of the time replacing what was cut off and lost years before to make the build work. David Wasserman hooked him up with a set of rough 49 tanks that were sent out to Gas Renu for a complete overhaul and just like that two major steps were behind him. Word amongst Fenton’s friends had quickly spread of his new-found endeavor which lead to a larger cast net of parts. Mad Stork donated a shifter to the cause as well as the rear bumper from Mark Schauwecker. Tim Stull came through with the oil tank and wheels that Fenton would later rebuild. Every part has a story and not a swap meet would go by that either Fenton didn’t attend, or have someone else combing over for him. He’s a self-proclaimed mover and shaker, bartering, selling, and trading to keep the parts and funds moving in the right direction. His passion was infectious, and that isn’t a bad thing

Every nut and bolt was attended to, and every piece of knowledge he could acquire was never taken for granted. He had many go-to sources for the smallest details, but he also realized that the Panhead junkies would never hesitate to brag about what was in their head and he would sit intently listening to every one of them. Free knowledge is always welcome, and after a while, you learn what bullshit to filter out. The front end was an original refreshed Dou-Glide off of a late model Pan. He just converted the trees to make it all work. The fender was discovered by Rob Mingee at a swap meet. The owner was still asleep, so Fenton laid in wait like a sniper to make the kill. Rob’s brother Adam of River Seat Co. freshened up the leather, giving new life to an old saddle. The bike was coming together perfectly. The parts flowed together and looked like they all belonged. When the tanks came back from Renu Fenton got a call from friend and builder Ross Latimer about getting his hand on the newly refurbished steal. To say Ross is talented is an understatement, his attention to detail is admirable.

The mismatched tanks are entirely by his own hand, he spent hours bringing the tanks to the forefront of the build while at the same time toning them down to fit right in making them look barn fresh. When it came right down to it, dialing the bike in was a task in itself. Fadeley spent hours kicking the bike until the Linkert was right where it needed to be. Getting the bike to shift smoothly was another day in itself. Fenton would take the bike only a few houses down the street and back only to go over it once again, over and over, each time venturing out a little farther. Weeks would go by before fluidity in motion was achieved. All in all, from the motor’s purchase to the point where the bike was flawlessly in motion only ten months had passed. But within that time a lifetime of knowledge and energy was exhausted. The 1950 “Poor Man’s” Pan is a runner. It will devour two hundredmile days without fail. It just goes to show what one man with wellaimed intentions can accomplish, and although the bike has since moved on to a new owner, the experience will never be taken away.

Poor Man’s Pan Tech Sheet

Owner: Dave Stephens

City/State: Idaho

Builder: Fenton Fadeley

Year: 1950

Model: Panhead

Value: More Than It Looks

Time: 10 Months


Year: 1950

Model: F

Builder: Terry Summers

Ignition: Points

Displacement: 74 Cubic Inches

Pistons: 8.0-1

Heads: Stock Late Model Pan

Carb: Linkert M74b

Cam: Stock

Air Cleaner: 55 And Up 7”

Exhaust: 2 Into 1, Crooked Slip On Fishtail

Primary: TTP W/ 1.5 Bdl Belt Primary


Year: 1950

Make: Harley

Shifting: Tank


Year: 1948 Ex Chopper

Model: Wishbone

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock


Builder: Hammy

Type: Hydra-Glide

Triple Trees: 1950 Hydra-Glide

Extension: Stock


Front Wheel: Star Hub

Size: 21”

Tire: Dunlop 404

Front Brake: Mechanical Drum

Rear Wheel: Star Hub

Size: 18”

Tire: Dunlop 404

Rear Brake: 63-72 Juice Drum


Painter: Ross Latimer And Mother Earth

Color: Take Your Pick

Type: Hipster Patina

Graphics: Stickers

Chroming: Pitted


Bars: Stock

Risers: Stock Hydra-Glide

Hand Controls: Internal Spirals

Foot Controls: Rocker Clutch And Wagner

Lockheed Master Cylinder

Gas Tank(S): 1949

Oil Tank: Stock

Front Fender: Stock 1950

Rear Fender: Stock ‘49-’50 Hinged-Less

Seat: Adam Mingee River Seat Company

Headlight: 1950 “Floodlight”

Tail Light: Tombstone

Speedo: None

Photographer: Debbie Fitch

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