35th Anniversary Bike

Hot Pan

customized Harley-Davidson Pan Head

Sometimes things turn out differently ......

At first glance, everything looked too good with the 56 Panhead. The Pan had not been moved for over 25 years and a lot of collected invoices proved that the engine had been overhauled in the mid-90s. The numbers on the engine, gearbox, frame and forks matched and a 6V electrical system rounded off the first impression.

The first conclusion: A Panhead is not pretty in many places but still very original, so you can’t go far wrong when buying one. The plan: get it up and running, spruce it up here and there, screw it together properly and you’re done.

But far from it, because the further the bike was dismantled, the more amazing patches came to light. This went on until, in the end, not a single bolt was left in place and only the bare frame remained. The engine housing and the cylinder heads ended up on the welding table, broken exhaust manifolds that had been adventurously patched and a broken alternator bracket had to be rewelded and reworked. But not only the engine and gearbox, but also the clutch, primary, forks, wheels, brakes and the entire electrical system were infested with a kind of “tinkering malaria”!

This “wrecked” state then gave rise to plan B, because if you’ve already dismantled everything and have to work on every part, then you might as well conjure up a cool custom bike from it. That suits us better than a restoration anyway and also immediately boosts the motivation of everyone involved.


It quickly becomes clear what the Pan should become: a reduced bobber in the hot rod style of the 60s, with a short rear fender, manual gearbox and, of course, flames. As far as possible, everything was to be finished with contemporary surfaces. So lots of black and hardly any chrome combined with polished aluminium and parkerised surfaces on add-on parts and screws. Then give the tank and fender an old-school paint job and you have a really hot Pan that looks like it was never intended for anything else.

First Ride Out: European Bike Week



Author / Editor

Kim Lara Bergerforth

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