Tuesday, December 6, 2011

A fan's AEE story....

Dave Brackett our talented designer/engineer/fabricator  received this recently from a fan of AEE and Molly:

I've really enjoyed reading your AEE & Molly histories. I grew up in Placentia Ca. AEE was just down the street and I went there many times with friends that were building Choppers. The first time I went to AEE it was still in Anaheim and I remember seeing Big Twin with those tires all the way across the rear. It was the most radical thing I had ever seen. I don't believe it was finished when I saw it. All the other trips were to the Placentia Location. I remember being a little freaked out when Rose came to the counter. Turns out she new more about Chopper parts than we did. In the early 70's a lot of my friends built or bought Choppers. Two of them were painted by Molly. My neighbor, Frank, traded a Triumph 650 for a really nice 59 Panhead Chopper. Shortly after he laid it down on the 57 freeway. He wasn't hurt but the bike didn't fair to well. He tore the bike down and sent the tank,fender and frame to Molly for paint. I went with him several times to check out the progress on the paint. On one trip another friend of mine decided to light his pipe in the shop. The fender was sitting on a 55 gallon drum. After lighting his pipe he threw the match into the drum. The fumes in the drum ignited and blew the fender across the shop. After Molly threw us out of the shop he brought out the fender which just had silver flake on it. There was a small crack in the Bondo at the tip of the fender and he told my friend that he wasn't going to fix it. That crack was there for the life of the bike. When He brought everything home I thought that paint job was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I helped Frank assemble the bike and he let me borrow it whenever I wanted.
I didn't build anything back then. Well a few years ago I decided to build a clone of Frank's Panhead. I had taken a lot of pictures of his bike so I made enlargements to use as a guide. I found a 60 Panhead in the Cycle Trader that had been chopped in 1970. The guy finished it and hardly ever rode it. The bike made the March 72 cover of Cycle World's Special Choppers Magazine. It was in great shape but was ugly ! He bought most of the parts at AEE including the springer. The rest of the parts were purchased at Cheatah Choppers in Santa Ana. I took it all apart and built my clone. The springer is the original chrome. I copied the Molly paint job from the pictures I had. I spent days tapeing out the designs that he probably did in hours. His paint jobs were epoxy but I used House Of Kolors urethane. It's really a nice bike to ride and I was surprised how well the springer works. Most Choppers were hard tails but Franks wasn't and at 60 I can't ride a hardtail. I attached three pictures. One of the clone, another of my paint and finally one of the originally Molly job. Thanks for taking time to read this. I could have gone on for pages. Thanks again for the website.
Art Holling

 and thanks to Art for confirming that our chrome and springers were the best!

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