Sunday, March 16, 2008

Nostalgia Drag Bike?

Nostalgia. Nearly everyone is infected with it to a certain degree. Whether it is a passion for the things from their childhood, or just antiques in general, the sense of nostalgia seems to spring from a yearning for the good old days. Those of us who are involved with motorcycles are no different. Now if you take a guy that has been riding motorcycles for 35+ years and drag raced for nearly a third of those years, then I guess it shouldn't be too hard to figure out where his nostalgic urges might lead.

Now when I was active in drag racing, beginning in 1986 I raced a Knucklehead. Guess that means that I had a head start on the nostalgia thing, what with heads on my drag bike leaving the factory prior to 1947. Yep, that means I was working with equipment 40 years out of date. This self imposed handicap had way more to do with the "cool factor" and my ongoing love affair with Knuckleheads than any kind of common sense. Still, I was lucky enough to start racing at just the right moment in history to win national championships in '85 and '86 in two different classes. Had I started later, the potential of the Evolution cylinder head would have made it impossible. Earlier and I would have had to compete against an earlier generation that seemed to get amazing results despite the comparative lack of technology.

I have been toying with the idea of building a nostalgia Knucklehead drag bike for quite a few years now. Something to mimic the bikes raced in the '50s or '60s would be just about right. Somehow I managed to hang on to a set of dual carb Knuck heads that appear to have been built "back in the day." The holes drilled in the cooling fins along with the big intake valves and porting work make me think that they have seen some drag strip action sometime in the distant past.

Vintage Dual Carb Knuck Head

So you can only imagine how intrigued I was a couple weeks back when an auction for an "Antique Harley Knucklehead Blower and Manifold" came up on eBay. From the pictures it looked as though it might even be a S.C.oT. blower. While I am far from an expert on them, I have seen them in magazines on vintage style hot rods. Though the seller said he saw no name on the blower, its age was pretty evident. Still, I likely would have passed on it, had it not been for the fact that I sold a top end on eBay at the same time. Fittingly, what I sold to pay for the blower were the heads, cylinders and pistons from our son Joey's drag bike. We had upgraded to aftermarket heads and big bore cylinders long ago which left these parts in need of a home.

eBay Blower Find

I am happy to say that I was successful in "winning" the auction despite several other bids. Best of all, I paid less than what I sold the top end for. Stay tuned for more on the blower, the history I am learning about it, and my tentative plans for it.


Triumph110 said...

My main ride now is a 32 year old Sportster Ironhead. And you are right about the "cool" factor, even though it is of AMF vintage, everyone asks about the bike. If interested, check out my website, All kinds of stories on old motorcycles.

panic said...

Yes, that's a S.C.o.T. More info:

panic said...