Captain America revisited...

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Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5795
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
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Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Thu Dec 06, 2018 11:07 pm

Con had his Captain America chopper delivered a month ago...
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He wanted the chopper to more closely resemble Fonda's original. Changes were to include a new tank to match the original, Fishtail mufflers to replace the straight outs and the rear pipe to be closer to the frame( to reduce leg burn!). Horseshoe oil tank to replace the angled one and a full high back seat.

Quite a bit of discussion centred around the front end which has raked triple trees which not only look out of place, but provide virtually no trail... an accident waiting to happen. Rob has a new set of standard triple trees and a deal has been done to use those. That then brings us to the question of rake... 3 degree cups and/or some extra rake. Agreement reached to put in the three degree cups and standard trees and see how the girl sits... then go from there.
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Having already done an hour of so close examination of photos of the original, I made suggestions re using correct tail light and mounting it on the sissy bar as well as shortening the rear guard to match the Fonda chopper. Foot pegs could also be changed to Allen pegs. Headlight is wrong and horn needs changing... plus a few other bits.

Con is concerned about legality from the point of view of not being harassed by the Fuzz, and that is not only a factor with the front end, but more on that later. It also means he will keep the front guard and front brake. Rear brake is a disc and I suggested a juice drum, but that is unlikely due to costs. Con would also love to run a Pan in it, but enquiries produced a big no due to the cost factor.

Clearance lamps...

So, I said I would start with setting up Fonda style clearance lamps...

I had some other jobs to get through including preparing for our Choppers Australia Muster. Plus quite a bit of research was also required (over 8 hours) Very few photos of the original Fonda chopper are available... a few stills and poster shots from the movie, that don't enlarge well. There are a lot of Fonda look-a-likes when examined closely vary considerable from the original, so little help there.
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I have told Con that I will try to get what I do, as close as practical to the original (within cost and safety limits and his ideas). In fact with unlimited finances this would be a fun project to get something really close to Fonda's movie bike, but we'll have to be practical.

First step this is to blow up photos of rear end to see shape and dimensions of bracket plus mounting method...
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First thing I discover is that the sissy bar on Con's machine is mounted in the wrong place. It should be mounted on the next hole to the rear along with the clearance light bracket. To change it would mean cutting and welding so I will have to leaved it mounted as is for the moment. As the exhausts are mounted on the sissy bar, moving it after the exhausts are mounted will mean extra work, so I will wait til Con comes up for a look...
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He wants me to find and mount the correct chain guard, so mounting is researched and a period change guard ordered...
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Clearance lights were HD and currently available after market. I buy them in...
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While on the subject of parts, Con has supplied mufflers (36" instead of the original 30"), oil tanks and derby cover...
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His supplier neglected to tell him he needed mounting hardware as well as cork gaskets for the derby and inspection cover, so I order them in. Con had wanted to use chrome oil lines as per the original, but has an oil filter which the original Hog did not have. He suggests sticking with the existing black hoses, but on examination of the tank, it will be cheaper to get the metal lines and modify the return lines, because the horseshoe tank is set up for the original lines whereas the existing tank has barbs for rubber hose... so have to order them in as well. More hours of work and a four days wait for the parts; care of Pacific HD in Sydney...
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OK. Where were we? Right. Clearance lights. A blow up of the rear of the first Easy Rider photo in this post provides a clue to shape and mounting. A close comparison of the choppers in photo one and photo two shows the top clearance lamp angle differs. Two different bikes. We'll do the better looking angle!

I use the distance from the centres of the two large mounting holes at the front of the axle plate to work out my scale. Measurements then written on the photo. One thing I change. The original lower light points down wards and the bracket is somewhat unsupported. We may level up the light if it looks silly, but I do decide to shorten the lower length by 20mm just to reduce the possibility of the bracket cracking over time...
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Piece of aluminium bent up as a pattern...
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This tool is essential for an 'S' curve like this. Really easy, just a couple of pieces of half inch square bar welded to a quarter inch piece of flat bar...
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First bracket bent...
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Getting the second to match takes a bit more time...
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Bottom mounting tab, needs an angled cut...
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As we are making two of everything, we do each set of parts together...
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Neat curve like this marked with a divider...
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Two brackets mounted at bottom...
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Top mounts measured and cut and tack welded on in situ. Liberal use of non stick to protect rest of machine...
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In the last couple of days I have (with a lot of harsh words) fought with the oil tank mounting. To fit the guard, one bracket has to be lengthened.
The bottom clutch cable mount has to be replaced with a TCS custom one. The brake light switch has to be moved and modified and the oil filter shifted and a new housing made for it.

Bed time now, so I'll go through that lot next time...
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

TriNortchopz
Posts: 58
Joined: Sat Feb 24, 2018 5:41 pm
Location: Haines Junction,Yukon, Canada
Interests: Choppers, nature, learning more about choppers

Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by TriNortchopz » Sun Dec 09, 2018 4:28 am

Great research and attention to detail Prof! Seems like most of the photos are from the left side...
a bit of info here that may help:
"...Fonda’s iconic red, white and blue stars and stripes panhead chopper, with chromed hard tail frame, was designed and built by two African-American chopper builders—Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy—following design cues provided by Fonda. The motorcycle measures 98 in. long and 60 in. high (at the top of the sissy bar) and weighs approximately 650 lbs. There were two “Captain America” bikes built and ridden by Fonda for the making of Easy Rider to ensure shooting would continue should mechanical issues arise...."
https://profilesinhistory.com/press-rel ... asy-rider/

a few more pics here from when it was on display in the EMP museum in Seattle:
https://ultimatemotorcycling.com/2015/0 ... mp-museum/
Con would also love to run a Pan in it, but enquiries produced a big no due to the cost factor.
Maybe one more way to get closer to the look with this kit:

S&S Retro Panhead Conversion Kit
Here’s a way to give your Shovelhead engine the nostalgic look of a Panhead and improve performance at the same time...
https://www.wwag.com/cgi-bin/WebObjects ... e=%2153296

Prof
Founder, Choppers Australia
Posts: 5795
Joined: Sat Oct 22, 2005 3:54 pm
Location: Willunga, South Australia
Contact:

Re: Captain America revisited...

Post by Prof » Mon Dec 10, 2018 12:34 am

Thanks for those links. Would need to start with a genny shovel to make the top end kit worthwhile. Was going to put up mounting of the oil tank and building the exhausts this arvo, but ended up welding up a towbar for Rob's bus instead! Soon.
Chopit'nrideit... Prof

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