Real Ol School Chop

Article By: Milwaukee Mike

Photos By: Chris Callen

Originally Published In The February 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

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This is a story that begins like many others. It’s that of a bike in a garage that someone knows about, but no one actually has all the information on. But this one, like a few, actually found its way to the proper person who gave it the attention it needed, and just in the nick of time as you will read. In this case, that person is Rob Lations of Ol’ School Custom Fabrication. He acquired the bike through a friend who saved it from a multiple decade rest, and then helped it to see the light of day once again. It seems that this machine had once graced the show circuit back in the ‘70s or ‘80s as it had a familiar look to it, but no one could remember who exactly owned it or how it came to be. Even the master of the East Coast, Mr. Dave Perewitz, said it looked familiar and was probably a very high-end, well loved and cared for chopper in its day. This care became more evident when the bike was taken apart once it found its new home at Ol’ School. There were two things that caught Rob’s eyes as the bike made its way over to him. First were the terrible pink polka dots over white paint, and second was the fact that it was all still there and together. From the chromed jugs to the finned stator cover, and the custom one-of-a-kind oil bag it was holding in its dated but original molded frame. It was obvious to him that at one point this bike was the cool kid on the block and one of the best bare bones choppers cruising the streets back in those days. Unfortunately, as life happens, it had to wait its turn. It became somewhat of a ghost haunting the shop knowing its day would come, but not quite yet.

For those who are not familiar with Rob, he has been around motorcycles for a good many years. He has many fond memories of what it was like back in those days and they definitely left an impression on him. He loves the old stuff and prefers to fill the shop and surround himself with as much patina as possible. However, in the case of “The Stinger,” it needed resurrection and was the perfect canvas on which to relive a little of those younger days by painting it Candy Apple Red — the same color as the old chopper he remembers to this day that inspired him to say, “That’s what I want when I get big!” It wasn’t until Rob’s brother Steve Le Blanc came into the shop and started lighting a fire under him to have it ready in 5 days for the beginning of the Kev-Marv shows. That’s when it went from a pile of cardboard boxes full of parts to a complete build! Steve challenged Rob and said there was no way he could finish the bobber he was already working on and still get this Shovel ready in that short amount of time. The challenge was on and it all began to happen. Rob called the sandblaster, his painter Don Thompson, and mechanic Gary Rogers to all help out and do what needed doing in an immensely short time. Well as you can see, all the chips landed in his favor. The sandblaster did a one-day turnaround on the frame so it could be remolded and shot with SEM/Horizon’s Hot Rod Black for that vintage look. Candy Apple Red was used on the flat bottom, Frisco Sporty tank and fender so it would shine like a gemstone in a pile of rocks just like that bike from Rob’s youth!

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Lucky for Rob the motor and tranny were also in a suspended state. All he needed to do was crack them open, inspect them, flush all the old fluids away and change the gaskets and seals for them to be restored to working order. Then the word of the day would be “polishing,” and with that done, and some ceramic coating on the heads, all the shiny work was ready. Now all that was left was to use the old wiring harness as a guide for the new one, add back in the old battery eliminator, then run the wires through the frame to keep everything clean. From that point on it was just nuts and bolts, some fluids, tires, brakes, a coat of sealer in the tank and the crowning glory, as well as the bike’s namesake, the original Corbin-Gentry Stinger seat. He then gathered all those who helped and bet him he couldn’t do it so they could watch him pour gasoline into the beast; she fired right up! After a little tuning and tweaking, she hopped right into the all too familiar sweet Shovelhead gallop, and with one day to spare! Rob told me, “I wish I would have had my head on better and made a wager on this build; I would have profited twice. Once for bringing the cool kid back, and for a little cash! I will get him on the next one!” He also said he would like to thank Steve, Don and Gary for all they did to help and motivate. Rob ended our conversation by saying, “I still have this bike in the shop and it draws people to it like a magnet. I mean, how often do you get to see a complete, original Cycle Re-sources Ol’ School Custom Fabrication Manchester, MA www.olschoolcustomfabrication.com chopper restored to its glory? I just wish it could talk!”

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Real Ol’ School Chopper Tech Sheet

Owner: Rob Lations

City: Manchester, MA

Fabrication By: Ol’ School Custom Fab.

Year: 1974

Model: Custom Shovelhead

Value: Priceless

Time: 5 Days

ENGINE

Year: 1974

Model: Shovelhead

Builder: Rob Lations

Ignition: Modified Stock

Displacement: 84 ci Stroker

Pistons:

Heads: Stock – Port and Polished

Cam(s):

Carb: Modified S&S Super B

Air Cleaner: S&S with K&N Filter

Exhaust:

Primary: 2” Open Belt

TRANSMISSION

Year: 1974

Make: H-D

Shifting: 4 Speed

FRAME

Year: ‘60-’70s

Make: Jammer

Rake:

Stretch: 4 Up – 4 Out

FRONT END

Type: Ironhead Sporty

Builder: H-D

Extension: 4” Over

Triple Trees: Shaved and Chromed

WHEELS

Front Wheel: Spool Hub

Size: 19”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Brakes:

Rear Wheel: Stock H-D

Size: 16”

Tire: Firestone

Brakes: Stock H-D Drum

PAINT

Painter: Don Thompson

Type:

Color: Candy Apple Red

Molding:

Graphics:

Chromiing: Done In The ‘70s

ACCESSORIES

Bars: ‘60-’70 Window Style Drags

Risers:

Hand Controls: Stock H-D

Gas Tank(s): Frisco Style Flat Bottomed Sporty

Front Fender: Nada

Rear Fender: Modified Sporty

Seat: Original Corbin Gentry Stinger

Foot Controls: Modified Stock

Speedo: Guess

Taillight: H-D Molded to Fender

Headlight: 4” Bullet

Photographer: Chris Callen

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