An American Classic.
My 1948 Panhead chopper launched me into the world of motorcycles–especially anything related to antique Harley Davidson. This bike is true to what a chopper is known for, made up of a 1948 Panhead motor matched to a ’51 transmission and a ‘53 frame.
This bike was the beginning of a new journey opening up something genuine; new experiences and the forging of new relationships. I spent hours searching for vintage parts, so while I was following up on an ad for a 1948 tank emblem, thats when I met Jeff Coffman. Jeff and I connected, and traded emails regarding parts and pictures of bikes. This quickly led to us jumping on a call.
During the call, Jeff invited me down to his shop outside of Portland to see his parts first hand. I knew there was a story there; I wanted to learn more about Jeff, and see all the Harley Davidson bikes and parts he has. There was also an underlying hope that this might be the place I find a bike that fast tracks the brand into The Race of Gentlemen.
With an open plan and a chance to see, photograph, and explore the story of someone very interesting, the chance atanother Black Bear Brand story had presented itself.
Needing talented individuals to come along and record our journey, I decided to invite one of the brands main photographers: Chad Lyons. Chad has been an integral part of the brands stories over these past 2 years and as I presented him with the opportunity, he quickly agreed to come along for the ride. I also invited Ian Beaudoux, a killer cinematographer who I had recently connected with about a handful of ideas, stories, and similar interests. The group was off and ready to Dundee, Oregon.
Jeff’s American Classics is a shop with an overwhelming amount of Harley Davidson history. At every turn you see more authentic bikes, parts, and pieces than you can wrap your head around.
Jeff is all old school, and all biker; no bullshit. He has a wealth of knowledge about Harley Davidson’s beyond what I’ve ever experienced and I was ready to see just how far his knowledge would take us.
As we walked through room after room, we talked about the parts, designs, and fabrication methods that help define the model and year each goes to. Jeffs passion for authentic builds was something I shared as well.
The day was spent walking though the shop with Jeff answering my questions and learning more about his history. It was simply wild.
Jeff’s life was motorcycles. It quickly became clear just how connected to the culture he was. It was a part of him and it was something I wanted to be a part of.
The day was certainly fun. We learned and saw a lot. We shared a day talking about Harley Davidson, Black Bear Brand, passions, history, and the meaning of life as we each saw it.
The day didn't conclude on anything specific but it was through this I decided I was going to find a way to build a Harley Davidson from the ground up. The bike we would enter into TROG had to be 100% real deal with NO re-pop shit; and Jeff was going to be a big part of it.
This was the start of something more than a friendship. To me Jeff was like a teacher. A mentor, guiding me, and passing on a piece of his knowledge and experience.
photos by: Chad Lyons