Sunday, November 29, 2009

Another Flathead Jedd Short Story

A Harley Story
Flathead Jedd

The year was 1947. The place, Long Beach California. The man, Philip Cronan. Phil was a World War Two veteran, proudly serving in the European theater with the 2nd Ranger Battalion. Upon being discharged from the service Phil got a job with the City of Long Beach as a Police Officer. After a few years, Phil became a Motor Officer for the city. Being that he lacked seniority within the motor squad, his mount was the oldest in the fleet. A 1940 Harley Davidson big twin flathead. But that was all about to change. His time had come and he was next up for a new bike. In May of 1947 he wish came true. He was assigned a brand new 1947 Harley Davidson UL, shop number 502. His first new motorcycle.
From the moment Phil took possession of the bike, it was love at first site. The police garage kept up on the maintenance, but Phil supplemented with his own oil changes and clutch adjustments. See Phil’s true passion was motorcycles. The police job paid the bills and why not get paid to ride, but his real desire was racing. Phil was a member of the Wing Nuts Motorcycle Club of Los Angeles and loved racing on the weekends. Since he had a new bike, he was king of the track. Every night before a race Phil would strip off all the police equipment and disguise the bike as a class C racer. He would then race, win and put the bike back together before the next days work. This went on for many years without any one the wiser. When Phil finally retired from police service, he was able to buy the bike from the city for a mere sum of $50 and to keep it in it’s race clothing, never having to put the fenders and pursuit lamps back on the bike.
Phil kept riding and racing the bike well into the 1950s, until the side valve technology just couldn’t keep up with the overheads. He eventually sold the bike and purchased a new Panhead. The old UL floated around from owner to owner over the years but never left Southern California. In the early 1980’s the Flathead appeared in the May 1981 Easyriders Magazine as a featured bike. It was rode around the San Fernando Valley in that configuration for several years until the owner ran into a curb and bent the forks. It was pushed into his garage and there it sat for many years.
Now enter Flathead Jedd. The year was 1997. 50 years after the birth of the UL. Jedd acquired the bike from the recent owner in a trade for his 1927 Ford hot rod. The first thing Jedd did was strip the bike down an resurrect it to it’s former Class C glory. Jedd as a big fan of the post war era of motorcycling saw no other way to build the bike than as a 40’s bobber. So it was put together as you see it today. The irony was that Jedd was a member of the Wing Nuts Motorcycle Club. The same club that Phil had been in. This was pure happenstance. The history of the bike wasn’t revealed until after it was owned by Jedd. Even more bizarre was that Flathead Jedd was called “Flathead” before ever owning the bike. No one ever knew why, including Jedd. It was all just meant to be I suppose.
The above story is completely fictitious and came from the warped mind of Flathead Jedd. There are a few facts that are true, but for the most part it’s complete garbage.


Anonymous said...


Class C was for 30.50 overheads
and 45" flatheads until 1969 or so.
Then it changed to 750 cc period.
A big twin is just too big for the
old class C. One thing is true..
1947 was a banner year for Long Beach.............


drsprocket said...

Jedd, and all you thought you had to worry about was me? Thank goodness they don't let Blind Melon out very often.

Flathead Jedd said...

I suppose you old guys are correct;
* Introduction of “Class C” (production-based) racing, replacing the former “Class A” (purpose-built racing engines/chassis).

* Three professional divisions: Novice, Amateur, Expert.

* All divisions use 500cc overhead valve or 750cc pocket-valve engines on all tracks. Minor modifications are allowed; fuel is limited to pump gas only. Overhead valve engines will be subjected to this displacement disadvantage until 1970.

* All divisions use black numbers with district letters on white number plates. The district letter (designating the rider’s home state), is located in the lower right-hand corner of the number plate.

* No National Champion is recognized until 1935.