Jason Parker has always been into bikes, cars and all things that would go really fast. How fast? Well, drag-strip fast, thank you very much! Never having a problem getting his hands dirty, or smelling like oil and gasoline for that matter, it wasn’t long before Jason embarked on building his very own speed machine – a 1969 Beaumont to be precise. Jason was fifteen years old. From that first tire shredding burnout onwards his motivation brought him to build race cars and American as well as Japanese motorcycles. Working relentlessly, this gearhead rented a storage space where many a motor vehicle was modified. With time, bigger shops were rented and a reputation was built. Today, after twenty-nine years in the “bizz,” Jason proudly wrenches in a very busy shop that displays his name. Concentrating specially on Harley-Davidsons (Pans and Knuckles being his favourite), 67 Ward Road in Brampton has been home to Jason’s filled to the rafters shop for the past eighteen years. His establishment appears more like a museum of vintage, classic and hot-rod Harleys than a full functioning motorcycle workshop. The place makes all lovers of old Harleys walk around in astonishment! In 1999, combining the look of large tire race cars, Jason found himself building a fat-tire, rigid framed, drag bike looking Panhead chopper. This was before the fat-tire chopper craze of the earlier 2000s. Feeling embarrassed by it all, Jason never got caught up in the obese rear tire TV fad. “I missed all that good money,” said Jason with a laugh, “I was always building skinny, fun bikes.” Jason has been building classic bobbers and choppers for a long time now and as he puts it, “I’ve got a good footprint in Ontario with the guys of my generation.” If Jason is not building full ground-up customs or restorations, he is building motors and transmissions as well as fabricating custom one-off parts. Jason also does a lot of work for other shops, although not many people are aware of that. “I’ve always had fun with it and I really like the history of the stuff and the bikes,” said Jason, “I don’t have ‘a job’, this is what I do seven days a week, fifteen hours a day – I love it!”
That Fuckin’ Orange Bike –
A 21-inch Avon Speedmasterfront tire leads the way from the past to the present. The mechanical brake wheel is firmly secured to a genuine Harley-Davidson ELC military bike springer front end. The ELCs had springers that were 2 and 3/8 inches longer than the usual stock springers of the day. The Aris rectangular headlight is equipped with newly fabricated mounts done by J-Park himself. The mini ape-hangers are 7/8 inch in diameter. Different from the usual 1-inch handlebars we typically see on Harleys these are a 1950’s Flanders product. Jason welded up the risers and made the right and left grip rings which replicate the old Harley styling. The smaller diameter handlebars give the bike a sleeker look and a lighter feel. The internal throttle is a nice touch. The Wassel peanut gas tank is pure ‘60s era. But what you don’t know is that it has been reworked extensively. Jason chopped, channeled and tunneled it into flawless perfection. “I shrunk it in every direction,” said Jason. “Choptastic!”The oil tank is genuine Harley but Jason modified it to accept banjo-style oil line fittings. The diamond pattern seat is a classic Selle Giuliari product. This Italian made seat was once supplied by Dixie Distributing out of Ohio, a legendary motorcycle parts company (for you history buffs).The rear fender is a “new old stock” Wassel unit for the 1960s as well, “it was the last one I had from a bunch I bought from Ron Finch fifteen years ago at the Detroit Swap Meet. He was moving shops if I remember right and I bought a bunch of Wassel tanks and fenders – as much as my arms could carry – for like twenty dollars each back then,” said Jason. Jason reshaped and stretched the fender to fit the Avon 4.50/18 tire. Do you like the sissy-bar? Another unique piece Jason shaped and welded using half-inch rod and ball bearings. It reminds me of a trident, the weapon of Poseidonthe God of the Sea in classical mythology. An authentic piece for sure and it’s what helps make this custom creation stand out from the rest. The cool little stoplight is yet another in-house conception. Jason’s good buddy Victor, who works as an aircraft mechanic, gathered up some LEDs that were laying around the shop and wired them up to the machined housing. Yes, it’s all about the little details folks! The 1958 Panhead motor includes a balanced S&S rod assembly, Andrews B-2 cam, Wiseco pistons and big-valve heads. The cam cover was shaved of all its fins to make it look like an earlier model and then it was chromed. With help from good buddies Wayne, Bob and Mitchell, the motor was polished to perfection. “We worked like fuckin’ slaves to finish all the polishing for this bike, just before the start of a certain show I attended – I was running a little behind,” said Jason.I like the air intake cover on the carb, Jason made an adapter plate so that it fits the S&S carburetor. The formed-to-perfection exhaust pipes were also fabricated in the shop. The 1¾ inch pipes which exit the motor heads finish off with a set of Superior cocktail shaker mufflers. “I made the ends longer because it’s hard to get the long-end versions,” said Jason. “The million-dollar tranny,” as Jason calls it is filled with Andrews gears and components. The gearbox was polished in-house and then everything and I mean everything, including the kicker shaft was sent to the Plating House in Vaughan for an electroplated layer of chromium. The extreme shine on this bike can blister a blind man’s retinas! Fabor Cycle provided Jason with the cool kicker pedal. It’s a reproduction of a 1950s Chicago Motorcycle Supply piece.The foot-clutch mechanism is an in-house made copy of a late 40s early 50s Lee clutch pedal but this one is equipped with ball bearings and bushings, “I put this set-up on a lot of my custom builds,” said Jason. The foot pegs are modified and chromed military bike passenger pegs, for a little more classic coolness. Jason also skillfully made all the foot control parts. The 1957 frame was massaged to make it more appealing and a traditional vibration bar was added to the down tubes where the sidecar mounts sit. Solid foundations are important. Toronto’s “maestro of tangelo” John Connery (Connery’s Custom Paint) is responsible for the pristine paint job. Jason asked John to add a candy fade to the House of Colour mix. This bike radiates like nuclear fusion! The beauty of the finish is that it emanates different colour tones depending on the ambient light. Mr. Connery once again laid down a truly stunning paint job!
Never Let The Bastards Get You Down –
Motivation can come from many different factors. In this case the beautiful rolling work of art you see before you came very close to never seeing the light of day due to the fact that Jason Parker came very close to losing his life. Being under the gun, pressure to finish up jobs, personal issues, stress, anger, lack of awareness, these are all factors that can often bring the strongest of people to the breaking point. June 11, 2016 was not a good day for Jason Parker. Taking a serious fall while doing 150-km/h on his black 1956 Panhead, Jason found himself at a life altering halt. It took two and a half months before he could even think of picking up a wrench again. With broken ribs, both hands stripped of their skin, a broken ankle and a shattered heel, Jason was pretty much confined to a bed and a wheel chair for half of a year. Eight (witnessed) somersaults on a paved roadway can cause a lot of damage to a body – yes, running with the devil has its price. With 2 rods and 3 plates holding his foot together, Jason wheeled around his shop determined to finish his project. “I was putting this bike together in a wheel chair with no skin on my hands, trying to polish all the parts, weld, putting it together. I went through hell to get this thing done. I obsessed on this bike more than I should have because I spent so many days in bed healing. I made myself sick thinking about it. I figured that I fucked up my life while trying to finish this bike so I wanted to make the best come out of it,” said Jason. He was on a mission. Although, because of the accident, he could not show the bike at the 2016 Freedom Machine event he did get it there this year. As you can imagine Jason got a considerable amount of praise. Jason promised himself he would finish this bike and bring it to the highest possible level of perfection. Determination can be a very strong remedy.
This custom bike is a full-blown display of respect to the kingpins of custom bike antiquity – classic styling and a regard to tradition that will never fade, never waiver, never die. At 43 years old Jason Parker will be building world-class bikes for a long time to come. “I ride a ‘56 Pan or a ’38 Flathead every fuckin’ day, I’m not into the 2-cam bagger thing,” says Jason. And that’s a promise!