Sunday, January 16, 2011

Floyd Craig Fuel Injected Chevy Tee Hauling Ass

Grandpa John likes to collect old pics from the Kansas City Timing Association, The Front Street Drag Strip or any vintage racing from the Kansas City area.

This photo is the late Floyd Craig and his Chevy "Tee." Grandpa John thinks this photo was taken by Pam Pollock who is Jerry Pollock's wife. Jerry drove Floyd's dragster later on. This photo isn't in Kansas City.

Obviously this car would never pass today's safety standards (even at the nostalgia drags). Grandpa John said it had a steering box out of a John Deere tractor...the front end pieces don't look to sturdy either!

I only knew Floyd later in life as a grouchy old man. He must have been something when this picture was taken. He signed this photo for Dad before he died. He couldn't understand why anyone cared about that old stuff. In his later years he didn't miss the old days.

Wayne's Motorcycle - House of Choppers Kansas City

In the advertising agency business every so often the creatives find some sort of project that they want to do "pro bono" as in free. Back in the late 90's I worked for Nicholson Kovac, which was then called NKH&W, Inc.

One of our better copy writers named Ned Connolly came to me and asked me about Wayne's on Southwest Boulevard. I knew of the shop (Grandpa John knew Wayne), and I knew the two son's were running it now after their dad had passed. Other than that I wasn't too aware of their activities.

Ned went down there and talked to them and they were interested in some cool creative work for free. So Ned and an art director named Kyle teamed up with photographer Ron Berg and developed these three print concepts/posters. Grandpa John and I were the models for them. We shot it all on Cliff Drive in Northeast.

Berg won a couple of awards for the project. When Ned left the agency he gave me these prints. I had them framed and have enjoyed them over the years.

The magical wordsmith (his own self-appointed title) Ned wrote these headlines:

Souls Never Rust
Silence Starves an Open Road
She Got Her Mama's Figure. But Her Daddy's Heart.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

New Harleys For Everyone!

I have written on this blog before about my life long interest in motorcycling. I started riding (legally) on the street in 1989. I was 18, and Grandpa John turned over the last remaining Triumph that was in our back shed. It was the only one that had never been chopped up. It still had the Engle-Jones Motors dealer sticker on the tail light. I started burning up the road all over town.

This was just before the Harley rage. Most of the Harley's I encountered were Shovelheads at that time. The Evo bikes started to appear more and more as the 90's progressed. Soon, by the mid 90's there were waiting lists. The local KC dealer network was selling bikes for $5,000 over list. People were selling their places on the waiting lists for $1,500. Times were crazy.

I still remember one trip to the local dealership where there was only one used bike in the whole place. All new bikes were given to people on the list, and the used bikes were selling for new prices. The lone bike on the floor was a hot rod Sportster that was built by the McCrearys in St. Joe. It had a paint job with yellow caution tape because it was so dangerous!

Despite my new found committment to young children, I still manage to slip out to the occasional dealership event and to see what is going on. I mainly ride for transportation now, I don't have much interest in the organized rides etc.

Last Friday I made a secret shopper visit to one of the local dealers. I could not believe my eyes. They have so many bikes it is unbelievable. I don't know what is going to come of all this.

My brother-in-law is a financial guy. He keeps up on all HD news and sales trends. He doesn't see any light at the end of the tunnel. He claims that through their failed financing programs, aquisitions that never should have happened, and continued support of unprofitable divisions, Harley has saved none of the money they made in the good times. In fact, they are in considerable debt. Now with a product that there are no longer waiting lists for.

It is hard to believe that a company that was so close to closing its doors would not learn to save something, but it happens. It will be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Chrome Primary Chain Belt - Peter Fonda

If you are looking for a belt I have posted some tips here.

About 10 years ago I decided I wanted a chrome primary chain belt like Peter Fonda wore in Easy Rider. Peter's was a two row, big twin version. What I was really looking for was the three row Sportster type I remembered friends of my Dad's wearing when I was a kid. I figured I would just hit a few swap meets and find one that would fit me. Fat chance!

I quickly learned that no one was making them anymore, and the ones that were around (if you could find one) were quite small. I guess people were thinner in the 1970's...

I found one that fit Abby at one of the Jeff Williams Twin Drive In Motorcycle Swapmeets. I took it home and showed it to my Dad. He quickly surmised, "We can order chain like that at work, I will get you some." He got me some triple row chain that was nickel plated. Actually he got me 10 feet of it and a box of master links.

So I was in business. I made one big enough for my 38 inch waist and Dad made me a simple buckle. I got it plated and then we had success.

I have gotten a lot of comments on it over the years. There are a few of these belts now that have surfaced on eBay and other sites for sale. I used to buy some every now and then and take a couple smaller ones and make one bigger one. Prices have got too high in the recent times so I gave that up.

They are the perfect fashion accessory. It will hold you pants up and also can be used to get a little "extra edge" when you need to administer a beating to someone.

There was a company called M&M Limited years ago that sold them out of Chicago. They called them Eazy Rider Motorcycle Chain Belts. Here is their ad with the different styles. I have one of each of these belts in my collection except the Gladiator. I have only seen one of those on eBay and it sold for big bucks.

Here are a few of mine and others I have bought and sold over the years.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Cruising in Style with Lyle Donkersloot

I was going through some old files and found some of my Wide Open stories from a few years ago. I thought I might post some of my favorites. This story was about Lyle Donkersloot who owned Okobogi Choppers in Iowa. He was a long-time member of the El Forastero Motorcycle Club.

Here is my story about him and the chopper shop.

Lyle with Abby and her friend Kathy at the drag strip.

Lyle was a neat guy. I really enjoyed the time I spent with him working on the article and at later events. Unfortunately he was killed by a drunk driver on July 31, 2005. The motorcycle world lost a colorful character on that day.

Me sitting on Lyle's chopper (with his permission of course) at the David Mann Benefit. Good times indeed.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Olympic Stadium Race Track Kansas City, Missouri

Look out! Grandpa John has a new line of t-shirts planned for this Spring...Get your orders in early!