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Old 07-28-2014, 10:19 AM   #2421
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Pete Hill with his supercharged knucklehead HD. Glen Kerr (Concours d'Elegance winner) on Dubble Trubble (twin Triumph) and Larry Welch on his rocket bike (Heavy Trip 2).
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:24 AM   #2422
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Absolutely outstanding!!!!!
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Old 07-28-2014, 11:30 AM   #2423
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Over the top cool!... Thanks!!!
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Old 07-30-2014, 02:19 PM   #2424
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I finally have time to post information about the Concours show in Plymouth Michigan. It could not have gone better.

We arrived Friday evening in time to get a preview of some of the Classic Cars entered. Have any of you ever seen a Duesenburg, the ritzy iconic car the term "it's a doosy" came from? The value of these cars exceed one million dollars. There were 9 entered. Or a Tucker? Or a Packard 12 cylinder roadster? You get the picture. There were over 200 such vehicles entered including some very early motorcycles, some were rare brands I had never seen before. Larry Welch found them first and told me where they were.

To see 9 iconic drag bikes displayed among all those rare automobiles was simply unbelievable. It has never happened before. I will download the pictures I took and start posting more information soon.
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Old 07-30-2014, 09:34 PM   #2425
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These are the present owners of the 9 bikes shown:

1) Frank Spittle --"The Freight Train" twin-engine Harley
2) Clyde Hensley-- E.J. Potter Chevy V-8 bikes #1 and #7
3) Glenn Kerr -- "Dubble Trubble" twin engine Triumph
4) Pete Hill-- supercharged Harley
5) Larry Welch---Rocket Bike
6) John Stein--"Barn Job Vincent and Perry & Scott twin engine Triumph
7) Ray Price---Harley Funny Bike

This picture was taken after all the cars and spectators had left and we were getting ready to load the bikes. I will post individual pictures next.
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Old 07-31-2014, 02:34 AM   #2426
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Lions
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Old 08-01-2014, 11:55 AM   #2427
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In the early '60s this was the most popular vehicle on the drag strip including AA/F dragsters. I first saw it in 1963 or 64 and wrote about that experience on page 24 of this thread. It, of course, is E.J. Potter's "Bloody Mary" Chevy V-8 drag bike. That was 50 years ago and I still rate it as one of the most thrilling days of my life. It is hard to believe Potter lived to age 71 after putting his life at risk with so many different projects.

This was Potter's first V-8 bike and next to it is # 7, the last one. Clyde Hensley owns both and they are for sale.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:04 PM   #2428
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This is "Widow Maker" #7 at the show and E.J. Potter on it 15 years ago at the '99 Super Stock Reunion, an event I organized. It was the first time he had rode it in 27 years.
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Old 08-04-2014, 09:18 PM   #2429
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

Quote:
Originally Posted by Dean Lowe View Post
I found this photo taken at LIONS, but don't know who it is?
Hey Dean, this is Don Harris. He is still alive and kicking, lives in Nor Cal and comes down once a month for our racer dinner with Sam Wheeler. In addition to being a drag junkie, Don went to Bonneville and ran nearly 200MPH on a similar bike. Ask him about gas and he will tell you he does not know anything about tuning gas, but nitro? They ran a high percentage. He was a student of Bud Hare from way way back in the early days.
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Old 08-05-2014, 02:56 AM   #2430
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Thanks for the info. Bud hare had a triumph triple on the salt one year. I don't know what he had in the tank, but when he fired it up in the pits, it burned your eyes and nose worse than today's top fuel cars! Sounded as good too.
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Old 08-06-2014, 12:48 AM   #2431
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Don tells stories about what a drunk Hare was. He would be mixing nitro and would just pass out, wake back up in a few minutes and resume working. His favorite saying was "mix me a drink, and make it a strong one, you know I run a HIGH percentage."
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Old 08-06-2014, 02:25 AM   #2432
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Well, I wasn't going to go there, but Bud did have the look of a guy on a 3 week bender.
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Old 08-07-2014, 11:49 PM   #2433
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50 years ago when I was just beginning to race my Triumph one of the bikes I drooled over was the Perry & Scott twin engine Triumph out on the West Coust. I got to see it for the first time a couple weeks ago. John Stein has done a wonderful job on the restoration.
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Old 08-08-2014, 12:19 AM   #2434
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Default Re: Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes

does anybody remember a photographer named keith arnold from so cal back in the early 70"s mostly from Lions and Irwindale, he did alot for drag scoop. fastray
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Old 08-10-2014, 08:38 PM   #2435
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This is one of the most revered Vintage Fuel Drag Bikes in the world. Clem Johnson's "Barn Job" Vincent now owned by John Stein. No drag bike accomplished more in the early days of drag racing and it got the most press coverage because of it. It is another bike I got to see for the first time at the Concours show. I don't believe Clem ever raced it on the east coast in it's long career.

The history of motorcycle drag was represented at Plymouth Michigan like never before.
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Old 08-11-2014, 03:06 AM   #2436
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I count myself lucky to have grown up in So Cal. I got to watch both of those bikes run at LIONS in the early 60's.
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Old 08-11-2014, 06:18 AM   #2437
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What I assume is the battery bracket on the Barn Job caught my eye. Does it hang the battery sort of like some Amal GP remote float bowls? What a lot of milling work to just hold the battery. Clem Johnson was an artist who also made his bikes fast.

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Old 08-12-2014, 07:32 AM   #2438
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Quote:
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I count myself lucky to have grown up in So Cal. I got to watch both of those bikes run at LIONS in the early 60's.
You were fortunate enough to see most of the West Coast Fuel Bikes we all talk about today Dean. Thanks for the pictures you have been posting.
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Old 08-13-2014, 10:23 PM   #2439
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Here are pictures of the last bike in the Concours show. It is my bike the Freight Train. I purchased it from T-Bird Yelton last year after a 28 year absense from my basement. He was my crew chief and I sold it to him in 1985 when I retired. He has been a great steward for it all these years but it has been a wonderful feeling having it back home.

T-Bird rebuilt both engines and generally went over the whole bike and cranked it on alcohol before delivering it to me. It has sat idle in my basement for over a year. Just before the show T-Bird came up to give me a class on starting it. When I bought it from Elmer in 1983 we started it on rollers and did so the 2 years I raced it. But T-Bird built a remote starter for it that spins both engines easily. The only problem is it weighs 70 pounds and it isn't easy for a 70 year old man to pick up a 70 pound starter.

We poured pure alcohol in the tank to crank it since it had been a year between start-ups. A neighbor had come over. I picked up the starter and with grunts got it hooked up. When I pushed the starter button it startled me at how quick it was running. I pulled the starter away and smiled. We let it run a little and shut the fuel off. It was the first time I had heard it run for 8 years after the engine explosion at Bowling Green. Now it was time for the good stuff.

I poured nitro in the tank and struggled getting the starter hooked up. We cranked it again and let it run longer. When our eyes were burning and gasping for breath T-Bird shut the fuel off. My neighbor was speechless.

When I was ready to load it in the van I gathered up about 10 neighbors to make it easier to pick up. None had ever seen it before and had no idea what I did before they moved in the neighborhood. I won't get into their comments.

The day of the show I was very nervous about cranking it for the first time ever without T-Bird. But Larry Welch offered his assistance and eased my mind. It takes time to crank this bike and it was gathering people around it. When I cleared the engines out with the spark plugs out there were a couple dozen curious people by then. I poured the nitro in and more gathered. Larry squrted the injectors and I pushed the starter button and it was running...hitting a wicked lick. It was just like old times except I wasn't worried about getting hurt. By then people were running over to it. There were probably a hundred people around it when I shut it off and I can tell you I have never heard cheers that loud when it was cranked. The most surprising thing to me was I could hear my wife cheering too.
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Old 08-14-2014, 11:16 AM   #2440
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Oh to be young again Frank. That's about as close as you can get without actually riding it. Bet the adrenaline was pumping.
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