The Memory Machine – Charlie Sr’s Panhead

Published In The November 2013 Issue Of Cycle Source

Article By: Chris Callen Photos By: Mark Velazquez

Feature 2a Kerri Nov 13

For anyone that has been in this industry longer than a minute, the name Charlie Hadayia Sr. is familiar. For those of you who don’t know this man and his history, I’m so glad to bring you part of his story. Back in the early seventies, Charlie, who had been working as a heating engineer and also owned a small motorcycle shop, described himself as a young kid with no money, sold his shop and went to work for a company called NEMPCO. Now at this time NEMPCO had a four page catalogue that included Z-bars, fork slugs and twisted side stands. They bought a lot of their stuff from companies like Dixie Distributing and for the most part there wasn’t a lot of stuff going on in the custom industry. It was not a big operation and Charlie spent most of his time on the road. He’d sleep in the van as he traveled from town to town, tearing out yellow pages to find shops to call that might take on his parts’ line. It was around this time that he met two people that would engrain a philosophy in Charlie that he carries on today: Gertrude and Stewart Schineger. These were two of his best customers, but more importantly, Charlie didn’t know a lot back then and Stewart was his ace in the hole. The brother and sister owned two Harley dealerships; you know, the old kind with the wooden floors. They had been established dealers since back in the ‘20s and were full of the kind of know how that our industry was built on. Anytime Charlie had a question, he’d call Stewart up and get the information to pass along to his customers. One day Gertrude, who owned the Bridgeport store, called out to him as he entered their shop. She asked why he had been calling her brother so much and Charlie explained that he needed help. The woman then announced that she had a plan for how this arrangement would go. From now on, anytime Charlie needed an answer he was welcome to call Stewart as long as he would take all the knowledge he gained and passed it on. She explained to him that this would keep the sport alive. Someday, she told him, you will be the old timer and people will call you.

So the years go on, and NEMPCO of course becomes a very big company, one that we now refer to as Biker’s Choice. These days, Charlie is retired and enjoying his motorcycles more than anything. As a matter of fact, the day we worked on this article I had to call back once he was finished riding his old Knuckle around. But the bike you see before you is the product of that philosophy. If you look on the oil tank you’ll see the word “Memories” with a little yellow bikini. This bike, for him, would serve the purpose of showing the young guys, and some of the old ones, where we came from. His first bike was a ’51 so it was also a way for him to remember that bike and being a kid again. For Charlie, there is nothing better than teaching someone something or talking about bikes. The Pan would give him a chance to interact at bike nights or wherever he’d run into a group of riders. In this he might have a chance to pass on some of his knowledge and history. That’s about as righteous a cause as any I know of and makes me damn proud to write about Charlie.

Feature 2b Kerri Nov 13

So the bike is a classic, man. It’s clean and simple, all class from its green face speedo and lace work on the narrow bob tanks to the ribbed polished aluminum rear fender and mousetrap clutch. About the only thing he said that wasn’t like it had been back in the day is the addition of the electric starter, an element he blames on getting older. Charlie reworked the tin primary to make room for this upgrade. Many of the parts on this bike were either made from scratch or reworked from their original condition. This cat knows how to make an amazing bike and I now understand where my good friend Charlie Hadayia Jr. gets his love and talent for old iron.

Jr., as Charlie calls him, was a man I met when he worked for S&S. He was instrumental in a lot from that company, but most importantly to this story was the Flathead Power acquisition and implementation. He now works at Biker’s Choice, yeah I know, and you might also remember us running pics of his ’49 Pan right after Sturgis last year. Charlie Jr. builds incredible bikes too. Sr. commented, “Yeah, it cost me a lot of money to ship my spare parts to him for that bike. Now he’s takin’ more of my stuff for a Shovelhead he’s doing.” Of course he said it with laughter and went on to tell me that having a good m a n like Jr. for a son that he could hunt, fish and ride with has been a blessing. Charlie has had the opportunity to meet plenty of people over the years, and has become friends with Jerry from Gardner Westcott, Ron Finch, Arlen Ness, and Buzz at Cycle Shack. Well, that’s just been a real nice way to live.

Keep watching for more on Charlie in upcoming issues. As we ended our conversation about his bike, I roped him in to teaching us all some more about this stuff by doing a tech article here and there. It would be a real honor to bring his work to our readers.

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Memories Tech Sheet
Owner: Charlie Hadayia Sr.
City: Norton, MA
Fabrication By: Charlie Hadayia Sr.
Year: 1951
Model: 1951
Value: 25K
Time: 6 Months
Year: 1951
Model: FL
Builder: Charlie Hadayia Sr.
Ignition: S&S Single Fire
Displacement: 74ci
Pistons: Cast
Heads: S.T.D. Replica Castings 7 Hemi Ported
Cam(s): S&S
Carb: S&S Super E
Air Cleaner: S&S Tear Drop
Exhaust: Paughco – Rear Pipe Fabbed By Charlie
Primary: Stock Tins
Year: 1951
Make: H-D
Shifting: ‘52 H-D Lid – ‘68 Clutch & Mouse Trap
Year: 1951
Make: V-Twin
Rake: Stock
Type: Stock
Builder: H-D
Extension: 2 Inches
Triple Trees: Stock Harley
Front Wheel: Powdercoated Black – Chrome Spokes
Size: 19”
Tire: Continental
Brakes: Stock H-D Drum
Rear Wheel: Powdercoated Black – Chrome Spokes
Size: 16”
Tire: Continental
Brakes: Stock Drum
Painter: Hartnett’s Custom Paint
Color: Candy Yellow Over Gold Flake
Graphics: Lace, Fade, Gold Leaf Striping
chroming: South Shore Plating
Bars: Charlie Sr
risers: Stock Harley
hand controls: V-Twin & S&S
Gas Tank(s): 3 1/2 Gal. V-Twin
front Fender: Biker’s Choice / Charlie Sr.
Rear Fender: Custom Chrome
Seat: V-Twin
Foot Controls: Harley
Speedo: Biker’s Choice
Headlight: 6 1/2” Springer
Taillight: Biker’s Choice LED
Photographer: Mark Velazquez

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