Sam Webber and his 1950 Harley Davidson EL Panhead
I was introduced to Sam at the Hard Times Show in Worcester, Massachusetts. As soon as he pulled up and parked his bike it immediately started getting peoples attention. When asked, he had no problem wheeling his 1950 Harley Davidson Panhead around to the side of Ralph’s Rock Diner to get away from the crowd so we could chat and shoot a few pictures.
After returning his bike to the show area, the perfectly aged, blue Panhead kept the crowd’s attention all day long. Throughout the day he must have started the bike a dozen times; he would proudly kick it over for anyone who asked him about the sound or about how well it ran.
After the show, Sam was kind enough to answer a couple of questions for us about himself and his bike.
- What is your name, how old are you and where do you call home?
My name is Sam Webber, I’m 24 years old and live in Northampton Massachusetts.
- How long have you been riding motorcycles?
I’ve been riding motorcycles for about 8 years.
- What (or who) got you into the motorcycle scene?
I actually started messing around with cars before motorcycles but realized it would be way cheaper to work on bikes than cars, though that probably isn’t the case anymore. A trip out to Born Free 7 pretty much sealed the deal as far as choppers are concerned. My friend Cam was also pretty insistent that I sell my Hondas for a Harley.
- What is the make, model and year of the bike you are riding; and what do you love most about this bike?
The bike I’m riding is a 1950 HD EL chopper. I think my favorite part is how mean it sounds when I let off the throttle. “Where did you find it?” is always fun too.
- Are you a one bike man or do you have a motorcycle “habit?” If you do have a habit, can you tell us about some of your other bikes?
Right now I am a one bike guy, but I would prefer to have at least two. I chose to sell my last chopper (69 XLCH) to fund my Panhead project. I also got rid of a lot of parts for the same reason. I absolutely have a habit but I’d call it an addiction.
- Back to your current bike. How long have you owned it?
This project started with a frame I bought in October 2018 and I began riding it mid June this year.
- Did you do all of the work on the bike yourself or do you have any friends, shops or builders that you’d like to shout out and thank for their help?
Aside from buying the motor rebuilt, I did all of the work on the bike myself with a lot of technical help from friends during the process. I also made or modified a lot of parts for the bike.
- Can you let us in on any unique aspects of the build or any noteworthy circumstances surrounding bike?
I originally mocked up almost the whole bike in my bedroom because my garage gets too cold in the winter. Once it was close I took it apart, painted the frame on my porch, and slammed it together in the garage.
- What are some of the most memorable times you’ve had with this bike?
I haven’t been riding it enough yet to have road memories, but so far sharing it with friends is the most fun. Letting my friend Nick learn foot clutch on it and seeing how stoked he was probably takes the cake.
- What’s next? Do you have any future plans for the bike?
The only plan for this bike is to ride it and keep it running. I have some grail parts in mind that I would swap onto this bike but I’m stoked on it as is.
(Follow Sam and his Panhead on Instagram at @samrwebber)
Story + Photos by Chris Lacour