Dean Scharzenbach first laid eyes on this mysterious 1965 Norton survivor in his buddy Greg McFadden's garage almost twelve years ago. The moment he saw it he fell in love with the molded square tube frame and the quirky hand-painted graphics and knew he had to get his hands on it. Unfortunately, at that time, Greg couldn't sell him the bike. Someone else had already called dibs and had even given Greg a bit of cash to hold onto the bike for a while.
Seeing the bike year after year, still collecting dust in the corner of Greg's shop, Dean never gave up on his dream of acquiring the abandoned Norton chopper. Dean would relentlessly attempt to convince Greg, time after time, that that small deposit wasn't quite enough to warrant holding on to the bike for so many years.
Dean's patience and persistence eventually paid off when, about three years ago, Greg finally decided to sell him the bike.
Once in his possession, and after closer examination, Dean realized that this bike might have a history that was worth digging into. And he sure was right. As it turns out the old Norton that he had waited so long for was more than worth the wait.
Dean has spent the last few years researching the history of his Norton survivor. He started by showing some photos to friends in the motorcycle scene and asking if they recognized the bike or any of its unique features. He would spend time scouring old chopper magazines for clues. He searched online for hints of the bike's origin. He would eventually learn that his 1965 Norton chopper was, in fact, a true survivor.
The frame, or at least some aspects of it, was built in California sometime in the early seventies by Tracy Nelson of the famed Fiberglas Works. The artwork was imagined and hand-painted by the famous southern California surf and skate artist Jim Phillips.
Through trading emails with Jim Phillips, Dean has confirmed that the artwork - except for the Rolling Stones style mouth, which must have been added by another owner - was indeed painted by Jim. He also learned that the cartoon of the little streaker that Jim had painted on the bike was a likeness of Paul Bruhn. Jim recalled that, at the time, Paul was Tracy Nelson's accountant and he believes the bike was originally built for Paul.
Unfortunately, thus far, Dean hasn't been able to come up with much more than that on the history of the bike. And he still has plenty of questions. One of those questions being how exactly did the bike make its way from sunny California to the dark corner of a garage in rural Pennsylvania? Naturally he would love to know more and he will be continuing his search for the missing puzzle pieces.
In the meantime, he has been going over the motor and working on getting this little piece of chopper history back out onto the road and into the wind. He plans on leaving the frame and paint job as-is and ensuring that any other work done to the bike is period correct and fits in with the original aesthetics of the bike.
If anyone out there has any information on the history of Dean's Fiberglas Works Norton chopper, or even any leads, please email him at email@example.com.