Sturgis Rally
Sturgis Rally
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Originally posted by Buck Lovell on Tuesday, 01 November 2011 in Buck Lovell's - American Biker Blog


By Buck Lovell photos by Lovell Photography

Way back when Flatheads, Knuckleheads and even Panheads could be had for a song they were bought and chopped by many a rider with no thought for the future, and restoration. They were just old tired motorcycles, fodder for wanna be bikers. These day Panheads don't get chopped, and even if you could find a Pan for a decent price, they get don't get Chopped they get "restored." It is considered a sin by many to NOT restore an old motorcycle. And believe it or not even choppers are getting restored. In the near future I'll be showing you the Knucklehead Chopper that Cobra's Denny Berg restored after finding an old tired biker who was willing to relinquish ownership.

The bike you see here is not a restored Chopper, but a complete fabrication from the bottom up. John Ventriglia, owner operator of Rivera-Primo got the "build a chopper" itch. This Hot Rod Panhead is the result. I sold him a Mike Edlund fabricated rigid frame (cradle style) specifically for this build. I really didn't want to let it go but John kept waving money at me, and it finally went. It was the last Edlund frame to be built in the U.S.A. for a while because Mike went back to Sweden.

In my photo file I found a Black Panhead Chopper that was built in the sixties, and John used those photos to build this bike. John has been riding rigid frame motorcycles since the early seventies, so he knew exactly what he wanted for this build. Inside the tin primry covers is a Primo primary belt drive (what else would be there huh?) and a very scarce two inch S.U. carburetor feeds the motor. John found that round slide, large mouth carburetor in a secret stash somewhere in the Rivera warehouse. There are very few two inch SUs surviving today.

Is a 98 cube monster, with dual plug cylinder heads. The rider must maintain a very firm grip on the Z-Bars when twisting the wick. Fourth gear wheelies are not uncommon.

This is the "Pipe-side" of the Black Pan......

 The primary side of the bike displays the later model Panhead outer tim primary cover with the compensator bulge up front. That mechanical brake didn't really work well even when it was at it's best. A gorilla grip was required to be effective.

This is a 1954 Panhead with of course a hydraulic fork rather than the Springer seen on the Chopper, but you can get an idea of how the stone stone bike looks.

John's Hot Rod Pan is a Classic rendition of the Choppers of yesteryear, but with a modern metallurgy motor, and twelve volt electricals (stock was six volt).

Why the dual upsweep cocktail shaker mufflers?. They were very functional. They dumped at exactly the height of a typical drivers side car window to annoy the squares. It worked....on my father. He hated bikers.

 This motor image is available as a poster....just shoot me an email or visit

Classic is always in the eye of the beholder.....this motorcycle is a genuine American Classic.


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