With the rise in popularity of events like The Race of Gentlemen, the 45" flathead WL and WR Harley Davidsons have become once again a quite sought after motorcycle due to the amount of abuse those fantastic old motors can withstand. Originally being produced mainly for military use during the second World War these mighty mini motors were on the frontlines for several years. However after the war ended the civilian market was flooded with several of these great bikes that have since survived all these years later to still be ridden today. After being bitten by the 45" Flathead bug after coming home from an exciting weekend on the shores of Wildwood, NJ for the races last year we sought out a good friend back in the midwest Billy "Mumbles" Miller who has been holding onto a rather interesting 1946 WL Flathead.
So imagine if you will, you put everything into building your own Panhead chopper and after riding it in events all over the country you discover that an iconic piece of your home town chopper history, an original 70s era bike built right down the street from you has surfaced after decades of being pushed into the corner of a garage. A true survivor that has been lost since the early 80's and instead of watching it get passed off to another several decades of unappreciative owners you search it out and bring it back to the town where it was originally built. Just imagine though in order to do so you have to sacrifice trading your own custom built Panhead.
The tracker build platform is a well tread territory when it comes to 90's Evo sportsters but there are times when a builder takes a different approach to that platform and it makes you question everything you thought was possible for that realm. We came to appreciate the work of Porterbilt's Ethan "Porter" Stiles over several years of seeing him involved in many projects locally in the midwest with his shop being based out of Indianapolis. It wasnt until Born Free show last year that his amazing sportster tracker build was complete and we truthfully in the whirlwind of the show were not able to photograph and appreciate it fully until were lucky enough to get a second chance at seeing it presented at this year's Mama Tried show in Milwaukee.
I say she’s from 1977, but “The CheMistress” is quite a concoction of parts. As it sits now, it is an 88” Shovelhead motor with S&S internals inside 1977 Harley cases with an Andrews B-grind cam, and the trans is a close-ratio, 4-speed cowpie inside an STD case.
We met with Bryan Ames of Flat Bastard Racing on Wildwood beach just shortly after this year's Race of Gentlemen to discuss his classic 1942 Harley Davidson WLA 45" Flathead tank shift race bike. After seeing the bike go through several changes over the past few years at the race this final form of the build was to us just a perfect example of the classic 45 WL.