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:What kind of trans and rear did they use in that corvair trike, anyone know?:"
:"Corvair:"
are you sure? real common to put a corvair engine into a bug transaxle back in the day...lotsa conversion plates available, along with reverse twist cams etc.[as the volks engine spun backwards to the corvair] if this was a corvair trans, then they had the reverse twist stuff, OR, they flipped the ring gear, OR, they just adapted the corvair to a volks transaxle and it would spin correctly! [as mid engined!]
mebbe takehicks will remember.
 

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Discussion Starter · #22 ·
Sorry Carl but Corvair Trike was built at AEE's shop in Buena Park in 1968, they opened it in February of that year. Tom had no way to give him a break on advertising since Street Chopper didn't even exist until January of 69 and then for only four issues that year. This information comes from the guy that helped build it, Jim Clark, and AEE's head engineer/designer Dave Brackett who also had been Tom's room mate.

Driveline is all Corvair, flipped third member. due to front location of engine the trike just looked right.
 

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Sorry Carl but Corvair Trike was built at AEE's shop in Buena Park in 1968, they opened it in February of that year. Tom had no way to give him a break on advertising since Street Chopper didn't even exist until January of 69 and then for only four issues that year. This information comes from the guy that helped build it, Jim Clark, and AEE's head engineer/designer Dave Brackett who also had been Tom's room mate.

Driveline is all Corvair, flipped third member. due to front location of engine the trike just looked right.
All I know is what I saw and heard. I have no particular love or hate for Tom McMullen or Boyd DeFrance. The pics in the articles were absolutely taken at D&D. If you have copies of the mags, you will see an old, well worn, long established shop, not a brand new one. I spent a lot of time there and knew the inside of that shop like the back of my hand. The break on advertising was the mention of his shop in the write ups. Tom McMullen had a lot of friends in the magazine business and made sure that AEE was given credit in Cycle Guide. Boyd also mentioned to me that Tom was so cheap that when the engine was rebuilt, he bought a head set and cut out the rest of the gaskets by hand. He left out an oil passage hole and spun a bearing when the engine was fired the first time. I later saw the trike at a show in L.A. Tom was there and I asked him about Boyd's part in the build. He said, "Boyd helped" and turned and continued to talk to his buddies.

Had a C4 trans,,from what I hear,,with a flipped third member
No. Corvair, flipped diff and short chains to sub axles to give it some extra wheelbase. It would have looked stubby otherwise. Gary Littlejohn's Cinderella Cart used the stock final drive. It always looked oddly proportioned, to me
 

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Discussion Starter · #25 ·
I just know what the guys that were there told me including Tom. And their shop was new to them but not new by any means.
Tom was known to pinch a penny with his employees but I never, ever, saw him cheap out on a build. His bikes, planes and famous 32 ford reflect that.

I know the Big Twin 5 wheeler had a C4 in it.
 

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I just know what the guys that were there told me including Tom. And their shop was new to them but not new by any means.
Tom was known to pinch a penny with his employees but I never, ever, saw him cheap out on a build. His bikes, planes and famous 32 ford reflect that.

I know the Big Twin 5 wheeler had a C4 in it.
Heres' an old quote from 2006. Hank's wrong about the ownership deal. The Boyds owned D&D Cycle, Teresi and Blair owned D&D Distributors, later called Jammer.
Too bad Boyd Sr is gone now. I know that Jr. was president of the L.A. Roadsters way back when. He would probably be in his 70s now.
Time, death, failing memories and egos do have a way of revising history.

Apehanger Hank
03-07-2006, 04:13 PM

Boyd Defrance and his son Boyd Jr. Owned a D&D machine shop, they did fabrication work on several well known customs (bike and car), Norm's 6 pack with sidehack, the McMullen corvair powered trike and the twin Sportster powered trike. Their products including your springer were sold out of the old D&D Cycle (Jammer) owned by Mil Blair and Joe Teresi(sp?).
Hank
 

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Discussion Starter · #27 ·
well for sure some of that is way wrong.
The twin Sportster engine trike (actually 5 wheeler) from AEE was built by one guy and that was Dave Brackett who I knew at AEE and talked to yesterday. It was well documented in Street Chopper.
They may have done some machine work for both projects (our engine work was the only thing farmed out other than paint and chrome) but they darn sure didn't build them.

Lots of guys have claimed to do lots of stuff that they didn't. Either bad memories, confused or just wrong. It is 40 years later, it's understandable.
As an example, I can't tell you how many painters have claimed to painted for AEE.
 

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The DeFrances' (Sr. and Jr. the "D&D's" in D&D) most definately did the machinework and set up McMullens' engine/trans/axle on the AEE trike.

That was kind of their "specialty" - putting Corvair engines into motorcycle applications. That's where everybody went when they had applications like this to do, nobody else was as sharp as the DeFrances' when it came to this stuff. They not only did McMullens trike, in that same time period they also did both of Norm Grabowski's Corvair-powered bikes 6 Pack and PP&Vinegar, Joe Alphabet's Boneshaker, and they also did the final drive and transfer on Joe Teresi and Mil Blair's transverse mounted, Buick-powered drag bike The Italiano. That's how Teresi and Blair hooked up with D&D, and decided to form D&D Dist, to sell the DeFrances' frames, springers, and other parts they made.

I put this all down in my article on the DeFrances' and D&D in my article for Greasy Kulture, and there's an article in I think the April '74 issue of Custom Chopper on D&D that also states that D&D did all the setup on the AEE trike's drivetrain. Larry Kumfermann and McMullen were friends, and Kumfermann did several articles about AEE in his magazine over the years, he was probably spot-on when he gave D&D credit for the drivetrain machining and setup on the AEE Trike.

I'm thinking that CarlLaFong's recognizing the inside of D&D's shop in Burbank in the Cycle Guide articles was probably right. It's been a long time since I read those Cycle guide articles, and I don't have those CG issues anymore to compare the shop's interior shots with the photos I have of the inside of the D&D Burbank shop. D&D moved into the Burbank shop in '65, from their previous shop way out in The San Fernando Valley.

And, in addition, Takehikes, you said that McMullen got the bike for The Mindbender from Roth. When he got it from Roth, was it a stock bike, or was it already chopped? My understanding from asking around out there in L.A. about The Mindbender was that McMullen had purchased an already chopped bike, and reworked it into The Mindbender. I know that Watson painted most of Roth's cars, is it possible that Watson set up the deal (on that bike I posted) for Roth, and he in turn sold it to McMullen?
 

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Discussion Starter · #29 ·
I don't doubt that others participated in the engine/driveline portion of the Corvair build but they did not conceive of nor build it, Tom and Jim Clark did along with a couple other guys. Kind of like a lot of builds, plenty of help but there is no doubt who built it.

Pictures I have seen and stories I heard on the Mindbender from Tom and others at AEE lead me to believe it had been mildly warmed over by Roth before Tom got it. It was not stock. Pretty rough and in fact Tom's first shot or two at building it pretty much sucked too (ever see the spiderweb paint or the spotted paint which was on it when he got hit?). He hit it out of the park when he did the molded removable banana tank though. That bike was just so perfect. I about cried the day it left. That god damn bike hadn't run in a month or two and little ol' Tom came out and kicked that bitch to life with just a couple kicks. Ya should have heard that thing running inside our showroom/warehouse...fucking awesome.
My buddy Lenny ,our parts manager, got to ride it one night and he said it was one of the best moments of his life....cruising in SoCal on the Mindbender headed to the LA Rattlers clubhouse with Tom beside him on the red Supersport.
 

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The first version of the Mindbender before the accident was in a Panhead frame. Looking at these pictures I don't see how the Watson bike became this.
From what I can remember reading at the time, the bike was mildly chopped when he got it from Roth. McMullen raked and molded it and added the 10" slugs (yes, slugs).
 

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I'm thinking that CarlLaFong's recognizing the inside of D&D's shop in Burbank in the Cycle Guide articles was probably right. It's been a long time since I read those Cycle guide articles, and I don't have those CG issues anymore to compare the shop's interior shots with the photos I have of the inside of the D&D Burbank shop. D&D moved into the Burbank shop in '65, from their previous shop way out in The San Fernando Valley.
I had the mags until 5 years ago when I sold my collection. Five 5 drawer file cabinets full. I wish now I'd saved a few. Someone has copies, somewhere. I'd sure like to see those pix once more. I don't want this to turn into a pissing match, but as I stated earlier, I know what I saw and I know what Tom and Boyd both told me.
My knees ache and I need to rest more often, but my mind is as sharp as it ever was. Of course, this was the 60s and 70s so there may be some chemically induced memories.
I do recall D&D, Moore's, who was across the tracks from Boyd, old Charlie Wilson in Burbank, who helped Dick Hirshberg with his shovel, Pelton's, a formed HD dealer, Casey's (still there), Jungle Jim's in Lynwood with the most amazing stash of bikes that I ever saw. We have lots of Cycle Boutiques now
Oh yeah, I'm sure a few people painted for AEE, but Molly was their go to guy
 

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Discussion Starter · #33 ·
Truly amazing thing is Tom knew everyone and not just in the chopper world but in the hot rod world too. One day we would have Jerry Magnuson visiting, then Jerry Branch, then Tex Smith, then Molly, then Sugar Bear, then I swear to god one day Dan Gurney! It was a never ending parade of stars in both the cycle and hot rod world around AEE.

We gave away the Corvair Trike in a contest. It disappeared and then showed up a few years back and went to someone in SoCal and I want to find it. Everyone ask around for us. We just want to locate it and keep track of it.

www.aeechoppers.com
http://aeechoppers.blogspot.com/
 

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i know this isnt the one you are looking for but the AEE bike with 4 rear wheels ''big twin'' is in colorado, they were tryin to sell on ebay but noone bit. if you were interested might be worth lookin into, it needed work, parts were switched out etc..
 

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as per irish rich;"The DeFrances' (Sr. and Jr. the "D&D's" in D&D) most definately did the machinework and set up McMullens' engine/trans/axle on the AEE trike.

That was kind of their "specialty" - putting Corvair engines into motorcycle applications. That's where everybody went when they had applications like this to do, nobody else was as sharp as the DeFrances' when it came to this stuff. They not only did McMullens trike, in that same time period they also did both of Norm Grabowski's Corvair-powered bikes 6 Pack and PP&Vinegar, Joe Alphabet's Boneshaker, and they also did the final drive and transfer on Joe Teresi and Mil Blair's transverse mounted, Buick-powered drag bike The Italiano. That's how Teresi and Blair hooked up with D&D, and decided to form D&D Dist, to sell the DeFrances' frames, springers, and other parts they made."
anybody remember if the corvair trike was standard or auto?
i can damn sure see how i would sub that pc of engineering out! flipping the diff and getting backlash and gear mesh right was no easy task![i`v done it,almost correctly,too!] if i had a coupla "go to guys"[and i do, thats who straiten`d out MY f*ckups] i would use them!
love reading the history of these classic old shops as THEY represent chopperdom to me, not the so-called masturbators,,,er, master BUILDERS of today!
 
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