Custom 1948 Harley Flathead Model U.
Bonny & Clyde Inspired
Published by January 18th, 2016 in Builders and Customs.
Those who dislike theme bikes will not be too happy to see a Harley Flathead Model U being reborn under the colors of Bonnie Elizabeth Parker and Clyde Chestnut Barrow, known by most under the first names Bonnie & Clyde. Yes, the 2 criminals who traveled the central United States during the Great Depression, robbing and killing people. The 1967 movie featuring Faye Dunaway as Bonnie and Warren Beatty as Clyde, “romanticized” somewhat the couple’s run from the laws. Doesn’t matter that this custom project seems to give them the status of heroic legends. At least, under the effort of a shop called Ironborne Motorcycles, this 4-speed late 1948 model Flathead (side valve 74 cubic inch, 1200 cc) is back on the road.
So, for some among you who would prefer a plain restoration, go beyond the paint job although it has merit because it is faithful to the photos that Bonnie Parkers took herself before abandoning her camera when with Clyde she was obliged to run from police in the Spring of 1933… There is also a lot of merit in correctly rebuilding a H-D Flathead model U (the WW2 military version was model UA, with the A added for Army), a civilian motorcycle produced in limited numbers immediately after World War II and considered relatively rare. Motor is now fitted with a Dell‘Orto carburator.
Frame and Springer front end are non- altered 1948 H-D OEM. Regarding custom features, the shop created their own enclosure-protected belt drive primary system with BDL clutch and of course an updated chain final drive . An antique headlight with modern internals was bolted atop the original Springer front end. For exhaust, the choice was to built fat custom-made exhaust pipes ending in a squared-up trumpet muffler. The intention was to somewhat be reminiscent of the early thirties V-8 cars the duo Bonnie & Clyde relied on to escape police after robberies and murders.
Today, with a little bit of TLC, the reborn “U” still provides an enjoyable ride for the one seeking a relaxed pace in life … although you could push it hard to 95 mph in case of absolute necessity, for example fleeing the ghosts of Bonnie & Clyde.
I hear that Ironborne Motorcycles will attend the Verona Italy Motor Expo (MBE) this Jan. 22-24 with what is announced to be new very wild creations. I am watching (photos @ H. Roesler for C. Huze)