Swamp Li’l Rascal

I’ve always been a fan of muscle cars and choppers but never really had the money to afford one or the other. A few years ago, after winning some money playing poker, I decided it was time to finally get my motorcycle licence and eventually get myself a bike.I asked my friend Vincent, who worked at Cycle City in Longueuil for over tenyears, what he thought about a nice little Triumph I was considering. He said that I was too big for a Triumph and that I should get a Harley instead. Despite his advice, I went ahead and bought the 1970 Trophy. The bike needed some love, so I had the guys at Choppahead in New Bedford, Massachusetts chop it into perfection.

I love to collect things! I like vintage guitars and old drums, so I guess just one bike wasn’t enough. After attending Born Free in California, I started to look for a Harley project. I scoured Kijiji for Panheadsand Shovelheads. I mostly wanted a pre-1957 Panheadthat would pass inspection here in Québec with a hard tail and no signals for a clean sixties style chopper look.

I finally found one in Toronto. It was a 1950 FL built likea rat bike with the original frame; the perfect bike for my project! I slowly began to acquire parts from Visionary Cycle (thank you, Carmine, for all your help), and had the bars bent by Arie Vee from Vee Mfg. The rear fender was hand made by Cooper Smithing Co., and I bought lots of stuff from Paughco and Lowbrow. I was inspiredby builders like Jason Webber, Arie Vee, and Matt Jackson.

I picked up the bike in September 2015 and started to disassemble it in January of 2016. At first,I wanted to do it all by myself and learn to weld, but Vincent told me I should have one of his buddies help me with the fabrication. This time I listened to his adviceand was then introducedto Sylvain Genest.

Sylvain and I quickly became friends,and he was happy to help me with my project. I have to say that Iwould not have the bike I have now if it wasn’t for him. The frame was butchered,and he fixed it all. He fit the pipes and built a motor mount, chain guard, and the jockey shift stick. He also built the front light bracket, rear peg brackets, and the whole structure of the king and queen seat. I enjoyed the time we spent together and learned a lot hanging with him.

The engine was rebuiltfrom the flywheels up by a highly experienced good friend of mine, and I had the pleasure of doing it all with him. I couldn’t be more thankful for that.
The flywheel assembly and heads were taken care of by J-Precision. We were surprised to find the crankcasecracked when we took the engine apart. Sylvain Genest came to the rescue and did a fantastic job saving this piece of history.

For the paint job, I wasn’t sure who I wanted to work with. While flipping through a Revolution Magazine, I came across a bike painted by Ateliers 12oz, and right away I knew they were the ones I wanted to work on my bike. Dominic was really into working on my project. 

I was inspiredby a 70’s style van design, and he reallydid a great job working with me to find the right colours and design. Raphahell and Dominic are talented professionals; I highly recommend them.
I am grateful for the opportunity and help I received to get this dream bike together. Lastly, I would like to thank Gratien at G.G. Buffing who added the finishing touches with a great chrome job, just in the nick of time! Hopefully, I can clear enough space in my garage to do it all over again.

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