We received a very nice basket-case motor from Johnny Cantu and started to develop the project from what you see in the snapshot below.
We decided to use the 40-degree rake frame since this would give us an opportunity to use one of our longer Springers.
I need to comment about the frame we selected however. Paughco makes several different frames for the Sportsters and their frames for the early ironheads, up to around 78 have much better 'lines' than the frames they make for the 79 and up motors. This thing has been hashed around on the discussion boards for years when folks ask why Paughco didn't make a nicer looking frame for the later motors and the answer is because of 'conventions' and 'standards'. Basically Paughco designed a frame to fit the newer factory motor and components without changing the overall wheelbase of the bike so folks could just bolt on all of their old stock parts, including drive belt (or chain) and get a bike up and running with only a few days work. I guess this was good planning on their part but I've never been to happy with the configuration of the upper rear wishbones but the frame actually works so I'm going to quite bitching about why they didn't stretch it out more to the rear. I'm a 'straight-line' type of person but the more I look at this frame the better I like it. Be forewarned however that this frame is 'tight' and their isn't a lot of room between the tubes and what you need to stuff between them.
Anyway this looked like we we'd be on our way to a good little build-up project until we got a call from Aaron over at the Old Bike Shop in Dallas. He made us a deal we couldn't refuse on a completely factory stock, super low-miles 1981 XlCH pictured below.
The 81 we picked up from Aaron was made towards the end of the AMF ownership of Harley and it shows all of the typical 'budgetary' quirks the factory went through. Everything on the bike but the motor and frame were obviously sourced from 'low-bidders. The speedo/tach mounting bracket looks like something I would have made by bending some sheet metal in my bench vice. The front fork sliders look like they came out of a casting mold made from 'silly-putty'. Almost nothing on the bike is actually 'integral' and it really looks like the factory just bought almost everything from Custom Chrome or J&P and then just bolted it on wherever they found empty space. It's so sad to see Harley ever having gone so far south that they resorted to having to do this type of stuff to stay in business.
Thankfully all of that 'bolt-on' stuff will eventually be going into our scrap bin. Until then however I've got to figure out a physical fitness routine that will let me bend my 70-year old legs into a position that enables me to put my feet on the pegs of this bike. I need to ride this bike in order to figure out what we're going to do with it. In some ways it's ashamed to 'unstock it' as it is a good, un-messed with example of a stocker from back in the day. On the other hand it's just crying out to be 'liberated' from the shackles of it's AMF controllers.
For the time being we've decided to concentrate on the Paughco frame bike and to get some idea of what it might end up looking like we've begun to add bits and pieces we have laying around the shop.