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Dr. Sprocket’s history of Cutdowns & Bobjobs, part 2

April 14, 2011

Cutdowns continued.  Click here for part 1.


We’ll now move on into the bobjob era.   Remember it’s not bobber, those are for fishing.  First we’ll view some really cool vintage period black and white photos of machines and their riders captured back in the day.  #23  Rider unknown (probably an original Boozefighter from SoCal) astride his early 30’s VL HD bobjob.  Note the extensive chrome and custom paint.  Beautiful early period modified.



#24  I believe this to be C. B. Clausen, an original SoCal Boozefighter who was said to be one of the first to use the potent 80” ULH flywheels to stroke a knucklehead motor.  This machine is a 936 HD OHV bobjob.  Note the extra chrome and custom paint.  It also has a front brake aluminum cooling ring, 16” wheels, side mount license plate, etc.



#25  Another great 1936 HD OHV bobjob with Jimmie Kimble, another SoCal Boozefighter onboard.  Custom paint, “40 and up toolbox affixed & bobbed fenders.  Why I know that both these machines were 1936 was because of the first year only OHV front sidecar loops, cam covers, pushrod tubes, and in Clausen’s case the rear stand.



#26  Curly Cantlon, another Boozefighter from SoCal with Goldie, an original Boozette in the saddle.  Great 1947 HD OHV with bobbed fenders, custom exhaust, Flanders bars and risers.  Note the aftermarket fender tips and pre-1940 HD footboards instead of the stock 1947 units.



#27  A very young Armando Magri who later in the early fifties took over the Sacramento, CA HD dealership from his old boss Frank Murray.  Here he is on his 1936 HD OHV with straight exhaust, British style small front fender, and bobed rear unit.



#28A  This shot has been making the rounds.  Both gentlemen still to my knowledge are unidentified.  [See note below –PY] It must be at least 1949 by the Ford in the background.  Nice Vincent but let us focus on the fabulous 1947 HD OHV bobjob in the foreground.  Chrome forks and front brake.  Chrome dash oil tank and toolbox.  Aftermarket fishtail muffler.  Custom bars and dogbones.  Aftermarket damper bar between the front sidecar loops, Crocker taillight on a bobbed rear fender.  A very stylish machine for the period.


Greg Williams just wrote in that the man on the Vincent is Lucius P. Dawkins, as identified by Rick Schunk of the AMCA.  Here’s another photo of him on his Vinnie, before he fitted the cow horn handlebars:

Lucius P#1


#28B  Ray B. Cook area unknown aboard his 47 HD 61” EL OHV.  Bobbed on both ends with a huge pillion pad and small custom headlight.  Also sporting 18” or 19” non-standard wheels.



#29  Not to focus just on American bobjobs, here’s Harold Ball in 1948 astride on of his many Triumphs.  Harold had a shop with Elmer Graves in Sacramento.  He and Elmer raced with some acclaim and Harold always had very dapper machines.  Note the MCM upper chrome fork covers, polished front brake backing plate.  Non-standard headlight, sans front fender, nice custom exhaust, custom paint, and Bate’s style seat and pillion pad.



#30  Unknown Boozette on early Triumph with bobed rear fender, no front, aftermarket mufflers and pillion pad.  Nice period riding gear and adult beverage.  SoCal area.



#31 Ed “Spider” Hawtrey of Sacramento.  Early member of the original Fort Sutter Motorcycle Club and founding member of the later AMCA Chapter of the same name.   Here he is with his Indian with what looks to be late 20’s or early 30’s 101 Scout fenders mounted.  Possible Vard front forks.  He enjoyed hillclimbing and Hare and Hound events with good success.



This has been an overview of cutdowns and bobjob as it was.  I’ll finish this exercise by showing you a fe current examples of bobjobs being ridden today.  Last buy not least a few photos of what I view as the original period Factory Manufactured two-wheeled hotrods, the Crocker motorcycle.  #33  here’s an unusual 1937 HD big twin flathead with bobbed and de-valanced fenders, 19” VL wheels, a rare factory TT or hillclimber oil tanks (shorter in height) allowing the transmission to be raised higher, a rare right-hand and standard left-hand tank shift levers, Flanders bars and risers.  This machine was built for higher ground clearance to ride through Death Valley’s famous Titus Canyon by Dale Walksler.  This is his son Matt who I’ve known since he came up to only my knee.  He turned out to be an excellent rider and old motorcycle wrench.



#34 Another 1941 to 46 HD bigtwin flathead with dual shotgunned 45” HD mufflers, sans front fender, and a rear fender that’s had the hinged rear flap removed and apiece added to extend it.



#35  I believe this to be another R. L. Jones creation.  Custom single leg frame (like the VL frames they used to stuff knuckle head motors in back in the day).  DAH hillclimber gas tanks, VL front forks, JD bobbed fenders fore and aft, 19” VL rims, and what I believe to be a 1936 or 37 motor.



#36  I saw this ‘41-‘46 HD OHV at Oley, PA a few years back.  As ridden in the day.  Bobbed on both ends, modified exhaust, custom handlebars and risers.  Note restored 1947 HD OHV bobjob in the background.



#37A and 37B.  This is a 1947 HD OHV that I built for my friend Uncle Lenny Miller.  It’s the typical Calbob of the late 40’s and early 50’s.  Bobbed rear fender, sans front, shot funned dual exhaust, KR seat, scalloped tanks, Flanders dog bones with 1949 Panhead HD handlebars, Wagner hubcaps fore and aft 18” tires (last year as stock fitment was 1940), and Crocker taillight.




#38  This is the last of my modified knucklehead photos.  This is where the bobjob evolved into the early chopper.  Sans front fender, front added to the rear and flipped up, Wassell British gas tank added, Bates seat, no floorboards (footpegs added instead), 16” rear wheel, 18” or 19” front wheel, (later 21”), Flanders bars and riser.  When you removed the stock three and one half gallon tanks and added the peanut style gas tank they started to evolve into the more custom of chopped up motorcycle.



#39  I built this Excelsior Super X from left over parts after a restoration of a 1928 model and a late 1929 model.  I affectionately called it “Scraps”.  Late ‘29 aluminum tanks, early pre ‘29 frame, bobbed early rear fender, early pre 29 forks, stock pre mid ‘29 moto, dual pipes, 18” sportster front wheel and a big twin rear hub with disc brake in another 18” sportster wheel.  The brake was activated by the stock mechanical linkage to the master cylinder hidden on the rear left side.  Bates style seat and pillion pad, Bates headlight (removed for drag race) and Spardo British taillight.  This machine made twenty horsepower and I beat a dual-engined Mustang dragbike putting out about the same.  “Scraps” ran sixty miles per hour in the high teens.  Not bad for a 1928 motor and over 200lbs rider.  Compare it to a stock Model A Ford.



#40  This Super X was built in the late ‘30’s by a policeman in Santa Ana, California.  Late ‘29 aluminum tanks and frame, bobbed rear early Super X fender, pre-mid ‘29 motor, English taillight, Bates headlight and seat.  It’s very rare to see an early Excelsior Super X bobjob.  they were only in production from 1925 to mid-1931.  750cc IOE (intake over exhaust) motored with the transmission part of the engine case (like the later HD Sportster) with the gear driven primary.  Great machines.  I rode my stock 1928 model for over fifteen years at speed.  My friend Steve now owns this bobjob and my old faithful 1928 model.



#41A  Up next three Indian Chief bobjobs.  First one with early leaf spring front fork (pre-war).  By the tank emblems I believe it to be a 1940 model.  Sans front fender, earlier bobbed rear fender (no side valances), Model A taillight, and early automobile custom air cleaner.



#41B  One of my favorites.  John Donovan built this late 1940’s Chief bobjob (note different fork), plunger rear frame (original softtail) no front fender, bobbed rear with BTE taillight, and a rare for a bobjob two-up chummie seat.  John passed on way too early in his life and is missed a lot.  This machine resides today in my hometown unchanged.



#41C  John Parker’s early fifties model Indian Chief bobjob.   Note super rare Vard front forks, bobbed full valanced rear fender, dual exhaust, louvered chain guard, and custom paint.  If you’ll look closely you’ll see a 1939 to 1946 HD taillight affixed to the rear fender.  You can’t fault a rider who likes Johnny Cash.



#42A  The last three photos will be Indian Scout bobjobs.  Here’s Dave Edward’s (former editor of Cycle World) iconic Sport Scout built by Jerry Greer.  Custom dual exhaust, Spardo taillight, Flanders bars and risers, no front fender and custom rear fender.  Period paint job.



#42B  Owner Larry Harris of New Jersey with his Steve Huntzinger restored Sport Scout bobjob/racer.  Bates seat and pillion pad, altered rear fender, sans front.  Aluminum rims and custom bits and pieces.  A very strong running Scout!



#42C  My old 1930 101 Scout.  Rear fender flap removed along with entire front fender.  Non-stock seat springs (period style), ‘49 Chevrolet pickup taillight, and period custom air horn.  This machine sat for thirty years in a SoCal motorcycle shop.  Its last trip before I bought it in the early ‘90’s was 1962 from LA to Las Vegas.  I had George Hood rebuild the gas tank which then needed repainting.  (I had them signed on one side by Bill Tuman and other side by Bobby Hill.  Both early fifties Indian Factory wrecking crew racers) and I rebuilt the tired and worn out but never touched motor since the factory built it (thank you John Scheafer).  This machine would run!  I have witnesses.



That’s about it for cutdowns and bobjobs.  I’ll finish up with a couple of the best looking early stock machines to be manufactured.  They had their mechanical problems but weren’t in production long enough to work them out (1936-1942).  They looked like the best bobjob of the period “only stock”.  The Crocker!  #43  I believe this to be Rotten Richard Morris’s early model Crocker (note the small aluminum gastanks mounted by two screws on the sides).  Aluminum tool box was never produced by Albert Crocker but were made later off of original factory drawings.  This machine was restored by the late Ernie Skelton who worked for Albert Crocker.



#44  I believe this to be Daniel Statnekov’s early model Crocker.  Beautiful stock girder forks, aluminum tanks, and bobbed looking fenders.



#45  Another Daniel Statnekov Crocker.  This one is the later model big tank model.  Again restored by Ernie Skelton.



#46  Jack Gormleys late model big tank Crocker.  Only about sixty or so Crockers were produced with only about half being found and brought back to life.  A fairly high survival rate indeed!



#47  Last but not least is John Cameron’s Crocker Special.  His son Dee still has this machine.  John raced it in Mexico in the late thirties / early forties as it was outlawed by the AMA form competition in the States.  Early rare Crocker hemi head motor in cutdown JD HD frame with English four speed transmission.  Lots of Cameron custom bits and pieces on this machine.  Yahoo Buckaroo!  I’ll end on this note.  Take two and call me in the morning.

The Doctor.


4 Comments leave one →
  1. April 15, 2011 4:56 am

    I have a couple of pictures of bikes from the board track era being ridden on the street with racing type handlebars. Great post, Paul

  2. Jim Abbott permalink
    April 15, 2011 6:50 am

    Pete: I tried to find a snap of the Velo Bobjob from last year’s rally in Utah. Couldn’t. Jim A.

  3. May 4, 2011 12:57 pm

    Great photos and solid descriptions. Thanks for sharing Pete.

  4. May 10, 2011 12:03 pm

    Hi Pete, great post, funny i found a couple of these pictures surfing the web a few month ago
    allways interesting to have more
    thanks, Frank

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