As I’ve experienced myself, each of us often finds something different in the exact same thing. For instance, a piece of wood wouldn’t mean a lot to me, but a carpenter could definitely come up with a few nice ideas. The same thing with this bike in the pictures – for someone this is just a Harley Davidson rebuilt into a great looking bobber, but for the owner – Van Hai Nguyen, an architectural visualization expert from Berlin – it’s a lot more than that. As he explains, this bike is like a time machine: “As soon as I start it up, I am taken back to the past”, he says.
The bike was rebuilt to mimic 40s style motorcycles. First, Van wanted to use the original WLA parts to achieve that effect, but he assumed that the final result would look like a “bad copy” then, so instead of using parts from the legendary Harley Davidson WLA, Van fabricated them himself in his basement converted into a workshop.
The donor was bought about two years ago. Van says, that as a student he always dreamt of Harleys, so when he had a chance to buy one he didn’t think twice. 1976 Harley Devidson Ironhead is a nice looking motorcycle itself, but not the one that Van had been looking for, so without even trying it out he disassembled the bike completely and started building a motorcycle that would suite him better.
“The only electric tools I owned were a grinding machine, hand drill, compressor and a welder. Nonetheless, I had to get by with it”, says Van. Also, the budget was pretty small, so he had to take care of everything himself.
The artificially aged chrome (although a little dangerous to make, but totally worth it) gives the bike some spice and highlights the vintage style Van was aiming to convey.
Van Hai Nguyen spent one year building this bobber. When the bike was finally ready it was time to give it a ride. But as Van had never actually ridden it before he started to worry about the possible disappointment. Fortunately, as Van says, “…the first few kilometers on its maiden voyage were pure pleasure. I was hooked.”
You can also check it out on www.pipeburn.com.
Images by Klaus Huber-Abendroth