Saturday, July 18, 2009

Shadow Drag Bike!

Last Saturday, I got a call from Steve Crocker telling me about a Black Shadow that was listed on Craig's List in Nevada. He was calling me to turn me onto the listing. After I explained that I didn't have enough money at the moment to buy lunch, it was decided that if the bike could be had, we would go in on it together with the purpose of restoring and selling. Steve had talked to the owner a bit, but it made more sense for me to take over the negotiations seeing as I speak fluent "white trash biker". After many hours on the phone, and the reaching of a price that would stop the contacting of the other guys wanting to buy it, a deal was struck. A few days later, I'm in my truck heading off to the Nevada desert with a big pile of cash. My wife was sure that I'd be in a shallow grave by noon, and kept phoning me to make sure I wasn't dead yet.  See, the bike has been holed up in a garage is partial disassembly since the early 1970's. It was owned by a guy who was a self described "Harley guy" and the poor Vincent was surrounded by Iron Sportster motors and shitty aftermarket HD parts for many years. He played it up like he wasn't really in love with the Vin, but I noticed that he head a photo of a restored Shadow in his wallet. Having sold my own Vincent hen times were tough, I understood his pain.
A few hours later, I'm on the road with a Shadow in the truck, and no gunshot wounds. Mission complete. The bike is spectacular. It's a verified matching #'s Shadow that was built in '54 and first registered in the states in '55. The history that I was given is that it came out of Roth's shop in the late 60's and made it's way to Las Vegas. This I will need to verify, so the hunt for info has begun. Luckily, "Big Sid" Biberman will be at Glory in a few weeks, and there are still a bunch of the old boys from the Roth crew still kicking around LA. I'm sure we'll have the history wrapped up in a week or two.
As expected, there are shit loads of mods. First, EVERYTHING has been chromed. It has two front heads with massive DelOrto's. The tank has been cut away to allow the velocity stack on the rear cylinder to jut out. It's got an 18" Boranni with a spool front hub and no brake. The rear is a 16' Boranni with no brake or sprocket(?). It's also been made "hard tail". It's missing lots of minor head parts like rocker arms and push rods. Let's just say it's going to be quite a re-build. My two favorite thing that the guy told me when I was picking it up was 1. "the crank looks like a god damned mirror and spins all day" 2. " I had a picture of some weird loking guy next to the bike with a monkey sitting on it". 
It's things like this that remind me to not complain about the everyday problems in life.... I'll be posting more info as it comes in, and trying to document the entire thing!


  1. When I lived in Indiana there was an old salvage shop south of where I lived. I'd go there to grab parts for the CB 750 cafe racer and RD350's I was building.... anyway, it was run by two older fellas who, back in the 60's were one of the few Benelli dealers in the states. I'd walk through the back where they had tons of bikes and parts and i'll tell you, I've never seen that many Triumph, Norton and BSA motors sitting, organized on shelves.... point is, if your looking for parts, there's a good chance they have stuff in there THEY don't even know about.... FWI

    tbyrd - Hollywood

    D & A Motorcycle Salvage in Decatur, Indiana (in)

    Name: D & A Motorcycle Salvage
    Street: 3919 North Salem Road
    Decatur, in 46733-9031
    Phone: (260) 724-7055

  2. LOL, I just opened this comment to say WOW! but after reading the first comment, I can still say WOW!

  3. dang! a real vincent drag bike.
    Those must have been real monsters on the strip!
    praise the gods of speed!

  4. Great Score! I will be watching this one.