Sacrificed Iron

Article By: Alex Scott

Photos By: Kerri Schindler

Originally Published In The September 2012 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

Feature 4aKerri

When you decide to take on the project of building an entire bike, the task never comes without a bit of sacrifice. Some professional builders have the luxury of throwing thousands of dollars at any problem that arises, but for the majority, it is usually the harbinger saying: it’s time to get a bit creative. Andrew Cox decided to build his 1975 Ironhead after inspiration struck at a bike show in 2009, and wanted to test what he could do with the least amount of resources. The end product exceeded all expectations, and even though Andrew lost 12 pounds, a girlfriend, and tons of beer money, just one look at this bike eases all doubt of its worth. Andrew first got the Ironhead down in Kannapolis, North Carolina, after it had been sitting stagnant for over a decade. A bike shop had torn it down, and the motor sat next to its former companion; half a frame still attached to a front end. He started the build at his shop, BUFU Customs, in Kannapolis, where he and some buddies build bikes, parts and classic cars. In just five short weeks, he created what stands before him today.

He started with the frame which he modified into a hardtail, resourcefully using parts of the stock frame until it stood just right. Using all his resources at his shop, he took five inches off of the tubes and shaved the lower legs all the way to the brake mounts. Then things got creative. “While the motor was out, we pulled the transmission apart, welded the trap door and sealed the transmission up to be able to run the belt drive open,” said Andrew, “which is not available for an Ironhead. “ Andrew says building the open drive was full of challenges and frustration, but it works amazingly.

Feature 4bKerri

The bike features an aluminum, retro-style oil tank with custom stamped side plates and custom pipes with Lowbrow b r a s s exhaust tips. Almost every other part was fabricated to a personal look. He split the rocker boxes and finished them to a smooth finish, while cutting the cam cover off and putting on a custom rocker arm support. He had originally built it with a foot clutch and hand shifter, but improvised last minute and changed it to a foot shift. Leaving nothing to waste and using everything at his disposal, he drilled holes in the stock primary and hand rolled a fender strut from an old stock fender. Andrew used a six piston caliper for the rear brake with custom mounts, and hand twisted the handlebars held on with a pair of BMX stems.

This daily rider easily transitions to a show bike and holds intricacies exampled throughout every aspect, which at night, shines through a fabricated headlight mount to hold a 1950’s military spotlight. Andrew is not green to building, and even said that he was born on the back of his daddy’s ’51 Panhead. Throughout the years, he’s built Ironheads, Triumphs and Shovelheads for friends at his shop, but maintained this bike as his first personal Ironhead. The Rapido tank called upon every ounce of experience and took three welders two weeks to get it to hold without leaking.

The Ironhead is a product of a keen mind with a creative eye and resourceful foresight. Although Andrew is a fan of Orange County Choppers’ style and builds, especially the Black Widow and the NY Jets bike, he has a realistic outlook on his builds. The Ironhead was built cleverly, but never sacrificed anything to do with appearance or performance. Though he may have lost his girl, the bike is a loud reminder that some sacrifices can yield results far surpassing the original cost. Down at BUFU Customs, Andrew spends his days pumping out cool bikes and having a few drinks. He thanks David Cox (the old man), Ben Key, Cory Bohmont and everybody else at the shop for the build, adding, “You guys know why…” The bike was a study in creativity and hard work not unlike his shop, which too started from humble beginnings. Out now from behind his house and into a larger building, Andrew says he and his friends are trying to build a name for themselves through badass bikes and parts. Judging from the look and build of the Ironhead, it might not be too long before people catch on.

Feature 4cKerri

Sacrificed Iron Tech Sheet

Owner: Andrew Cox

City: Kannapolis, NC

Fabrication By: BUFU Customs

Year: 1975

Model: Ironhead Sportster

Value: Priceless

Time: 1 Month-ish


Year: 1975

Model: BUFU Customs

Builder: BUFU Customs

Ignition: Points

Displacement: 1000cc

Pistons: Two I Hope

Heads: Dirty

Cam(s): 4 of Them

Carb: S&S Super E

Air Cleaner: Always Changing

Exhaust: BUFU Customs

Primary: BUFU Customs Open Belt


Year: 1975

Make: HD

Shifting: Left Side Hand or Right Side Foot


Year: 1975

Make: BUFU Customs

Rake: Stock

Stretch: 4” Rear


Type: Shaved Down Stock

Builder: BUFU Customs / HD

Extension: 5” Off The Tubes

Triple Trees: Stock


Front Wheel: Spoke

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Brakes: Modified Stock

Rear Wheel: Spoke

Size: 16”

Tire: Avon Speedmaster

Brakes: Modified Stock


Painter: Andrew/ BUFU Customs

Color: Flat Green

Type: Etching Primer

Chromng: Nope

Molding: No

Graphics: Pinstripes by Thom E


Bars: BUFU Customs

Risers: BMX

Hand controls: BUFU Customs

Gas Tank(s): Rapido

Front Fender: Hell No!

Rear Fender: BUFU Customs

Seat: Hard

Foot Controls: Changes Between Foot & Hand

Oil Tank: BUFU Customs

Speedo: Never

Headlight: ‘50s Military Spot

Taillight: A Buddy Gave it to Me

Photographer: Kerri Schindler

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *