The Perfect Shovel

Article By: Jimmy Frizzel

Photos By: Dino Petricelli

Originally Published In The May 2019 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine

There comes a time where you have a long staredown with your bike, contemplating the future and expectations of its existence overlooking your own drive and follow through to benefit your inner personal goals. One by one, the bolts loosen as parts get cataloged into various boxes, painstakingly packaged as to not confuse your future self. For some of us that may, in fact, be where the story ends but for the fortunate few there’s Dave Perewitz.

Perewitz Cycle Fab in Bridgewater Massachusetts is no stranger to “the basket case curse”. Anyone that’s been in the game for any period of time has shelves full of other people’s shattered dreams. A repeat customer of Dave’s had been holding onto his boxes of hope for thirty plus years before the sun started to shine again. He bought a ‘71 FX Shovelhead in 1980, and somewhere soon after, it was taken apart and it was all but forgotten. Eventually he approached Perewitz about his dilemma, and a rebirth was soon planned out.

Dave has never been one for concept drawings and long drawn out formalities. He has the talent and ability to see the entire build in his head from beginning to end. He knows where to start and where to go and that is the kind of builder you want in your corner. Once he had the boxes in his possession the motor was sent to Buffalo New York to his engine magician Dan Thayer. When the Perewitz team is hellbent on shattering records on their land speed bike, Dan is the man that finds every last available shred of power, and for this build, he was the only one Dave could trust to resurrect the 88ci shovelhead. Soon after Dan returned life to the Shovel, both motor and transmission were returned to the stock FX frame. A late model FL dual disc front end with Legends inserts was mounted up front along with a 21 inch spoke wheel. The twelve-inch ape hangers give the rider something to hang on to tucked behind Bill Blackmore’s wedge fairing; there is a road glide styled shield only roughly twenty percent smaller with a custom dash made in house. Perewitz decided that the fuel would be stored within the confines of Softail flatside tanks keeping with a custom touch masked in mostly Harley parts

Towards the rear, a set of FL fender rails were mounted upside down allowing the stock FX fender to sit low and hug the 18×4.5 wheel. Repo early seventies FL saddlebags were then introduced to the build. They were gingerly dropped down and a touch back. An in house seat pan was wrapped up to flow with a heavily modified oil tank laid beneath. All the added adjustments and gentle massaging only needed the unbridled shovelhead screaming into the oneoff two into on stainless steel exhaust. ??? When all was said and done with everything expertly laid into place the Perewitz paint job brings the “once forgotten” into unforgettable status. Dave Perewitz rides what he builds, and this bike is no exception. With just around 500 miles on it, he made sure it was the perfect specimen. With mideighties Heritage foot controls hovering over floorboards everything sits exactly where it should. The PM brakes with Berringer master cylinders compliment the Works Performance suspension and allows this Shovelhead to exceed its original intentions.

When you have a bike collecting dust in several boxes in your basement, it can whisper to you in your sleep. For most of us in those thirty so years, it may have been sold or parted out and lost forever. Rarely does the Phoenix rise from the ashes in such glory. Dave’s uncanny ability and knowledge is what allows all these parts to flow so well. The true test of a builder is to witness the finished beauty of a custom bike and not be able to separate the sum of its parts. This alone is what separates “a few good details” from “a truly beautiful bike” When you’re able to give your input and have total trust in the process, a thirty-year dormant period just makes the story that much more interesting. Perewitz is a one-stop shop that can make a bike like this a reality, it’s a lasting statement to bike building.

The Perfect Shovel Tech Sheet

Owner: Mike Colaruso

City/State: Swampscott MA

Builder: Perewitz

Year: 1971

Model: FX

Value: Priceless

Time: 1 Year



Model: Shovel

Builder: Dan Thayer

Ignition: TwinTec

Displacement: 88cu

Pistons: S&S

Heads: Dan Thayer

Cam: S&S

Air Cleaner:

Exhaust: Stainless Perewitz

Primary: BDL


Year: 1974

Make: Harley-Davidson

Shifting: 4 Speed


Year: 1974

Model: Harley-Davidson Swing Arm

Rake: Stock

Stretch: Stock

Front End

Builder: Harley-Davidson

Type: Glide

Triple Trees: FL

Extension: None


Front Wheel: Spokes

Size: 21”

Tire: Avon

Front Brake: Performance Machine

Rear Wheel: Spoke

Size: 18”

Tire: Metzeler

Rear Brake: Performance Machine


Painter: Jay Crane / Perewitz

Color: Blue

Type: PPG

Chroming: Meclec


Bars: 12” Wedge Road Glide

Risers: 2”

Hand Controls: Berrenger

Foot Controls: FL

Gas Tank(s): Softail

Oil Tank: Paughco

Front fender: RWD

Rear Fender: RWD

Seat: Mustang

Headlight: Wedge Fairing

Tail light: RWD

Speedo: Dakota Digital

Photographer: Gino Petricelli

Leave a Reply

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