Only on the Web It was a beauty; a 1935 VLD Harley-Davidson. All the parts appeared original, and best of all ... it kicked over! This sweet rumble of success sent his adrenaline pumping. He could be in love again. It was the closest feeling he could compare it to. He'd purchased his Harley in November of 1996. Things were cool, but dry, and he managed a few practice rides around the block. This was a whole new way to ride and he was looking forward to mastering it. When one rode a 1935, they knew they were "riding a motorcycle," they were an integral part of the machinery and, in this case, the caretaker to a piece of motorcycle history.
With snow falling, time off work for the holidays, and the luxury of a heated garage, it didn't take long for the bike to become reduced to a skeletal state. The previously intact bike now became segregated piles; engine, frame, fenders, tanks, along with the "needs to be chromed, cadmium plated, parkerised, and painted" piles. Bolts, washers, and screws were strung on wire, tagged and labeled.
Steve Slocombe's Buying And Restoring A 1930-36 Harley-Davidson Big-Twin became his bible. Yellow highlighter was his tool of choice to decipher the details that would make his bike a totally correct showcase bike, right down to the smallest detail. Photos and correspondence with Mr. Slocombe were invaluable. Correct barrels and heads, the exact color of paint for that particular year, and the many intricate details that had to be right were gathered and logged into a spiral notebook bearing his greasy fingerprints. An occasional spot of red from a scraped knuckle was the trophy for his ongoing work.
Eventually the snow began to melt, leaving the roads clear and giving way to jarring potholes pitting the streets. Spring began introducing the deep, unmistakable throaty sound of the Harleys that were up and running. To him, the sound is a sign of spring, more so than the birds that were beginning to return to warmer weather, but much sweeter. Sweeter, except that there would be no rumbling from his '35. Where had the time gone? When did winter give way to spring? When did spring surrender to the heat of summer that gave riders a tan in the shape of a tank top?