12 Jan 2011

my sixth bike was a chopped Harley 750 WLA

Well it is quite hard to show as I cannot find any pictures of it, but it did get me thrown out of art school at the time (1968/9). I have tried to put together a few pictures to give you some idea of what this thing looked like.It was a chopperized version of my old WLA Harley.

These pictures on the left are not quite right but give you some idea of what it looked like, apart from the colour, which was metal-flake red on mine(those were the days!) and not green. The bars were lower too, and the seat was of blue corduroy (ugh!) and it had a pillion patch on the rear mudguard. It had also retained the original springer forks, and not this kind of graft from a Sportster. Ok, so it didn't quite look like this!

I did all the work myself, including the paint job, but the mechanical aspect remained fairly standard, apart from changing the large front tyre for a skinnier one and taking off all kinds of sundries that were floating around (there always are on Harleys) to simplify the look.

I then put the bike into my end of year show at Chelsea art school as an exhibit. Today it would probably have won me a prize. Then it just got me sacked. Both are excessive in my opinion. I had actually worked quite hard on it as a project. Having told me that I has "finished my useful time at Chelsea", my teachers (who secretly quite liked it I think) then asked me whether it actually worked or not. I said it did, and proceeded to kick start it and ride it out of the door. That was the end of my student life and I had to find myself a way of earning a living pretty fast!

Here is another picture of a chopped '45 which, apart from the colour scheme and the fat front tyre, looks pretty much like my old effort. Actually I think this one looks quite nice. Almost makes me nostalgic...


  1. This Harley definitely gave you some ride on the memory lane. Well, you are quite ingenious to custom-made Harley parts and turn them into one awesome ride. That is a huge task, but it sounds to me that you can do it in a breeze. You can even make a career out of it, and I think your teachers will forgive you for that little incident when they see you riding on your self-made bike, happy and contented!

  2. I can almost imagine how awesome your Harley 750 WLA looked through your descriptions, but I bet it looked even better in person! It’s just sad that you don’t have a picture of it. My dad used to own a Harley 750 WLA, a red one too. It had undergone many restorations, but he tried to keep the original parts of the bike to make it look genuine. We still have the bike in our garage.