Tuesday, April 12, 2011

American Machine and Foundry


Time to jump in the way back machine and jog some memories. 

I know there some OG followers of SW that know a little something about these days and I'd love to hear from you in the comments area. Maybe I don't remember these days the way they were. 

To add some context to this I'm 39 years old this year, my old man is 59 and used to haul me around on the back of his bike back in these days. When I was 10 (ish) the disdain with AMF was at a fever pitch. 

I've read some stuff about how shovels and iron-heads are the coolest of cool right now and that those were the "glory days"... I say BULLSHIT! 
I recall my uncle havening a Super glide (I did love it, it oozed style) but taking nothing but shit for carrying extra valve guides with him and being able to replace them on the side of the road. There were also the "did you get a free tennis racket with that" or "I think your helmet used to be a bowling ball" comments that never seemed to end. 

Oh and my dads friend who had the crazy limp...."that's just Sportster knee, just like tennis elbow". Trouble head was a real saying and it's wasn't cool....

 Lots of cooky gimmicks as I recall (it would seem the Dark Customs apple didn't fall far from the tree)

Now don't get me wrong, I have a soft spot for a neat old shovel and I generally think Iron heads are cool. I love the style of these old machines,the vibe they give off and with todays strong after market parts the majority of the bugs are gone from the remaining machines.
But the glory days? 
Give me a fucking break they almost put HD in the shitter and ran all the neat old dealers and hang outs right into the ground. There was no glory there just good ole fashion American greed that gave rise to the Goldwing era.
I recall Pan and Knuck dudes treating Shovel guys as if they were Dark Custom customers these days with their new fangled "electric start".  
Maybe I'm wrong and these were the best of days but from my memories, I don't see the Moco having changed much at all other than putting out a far better product these days. I also realize this is the opinion of a fool and his blog but hell I have to post something and maybe I will jog some memories. 

OGs what do you remember about the AMF days?


Image1 said...

i'm not OG by any means, but... I think AMF did some really good things for the MoCo, this era is the only one that has any kind of style in my opinion, they took risks, brought the MoCO out of financial meltdown, softened the 'biker' image for the public, etc. Yeah, they didn't do much in the way of improving things mechanically/functionally, but that was what made a Harley! They were brute, unrefined, rattly machines, they were American so to speak. But thats just my whipper snapper view of it...

Shortbus said...

I'm with Image1...I'm not old but from talking with old Harley guys and a little research AMF kept HD from closing the doors. As for the machines go they had the same reliablity of a GM or Ford product at the time. With proper care they would last for many years and as you have seen most people just fuel and ride and then complain when they break down. My Ironhead has left me stranded a few times and leaks but it is only because the ones before me didn't keep is up to snuff.

Wes said...

I agree with whats been said so far and will add; The shovel guys ate crap from the pan and knuck guys for the same reasons I bust on twin cam guys. In our subculture of vintage bike maintenance and operation, all new bike owners are not worthy because they have not busted their knuckles and gotten their hands dirty enough to have paid any dues! Additionally, No one likes whats going on right now, whatever it might be. It was always better yesterday, and our memory is always better than the actual event. AMF is a vital part of Harleys history. They were making decisions that were smart for the bottom line and a new clientel base, not for the guys already riding older bikes. They did what they had to do to make the company profitable and there by saved the MoCo we now despise for the same decisions. I ride a Shovel because it's what i grew up on. I embrace the nick name "Troublehead" to the point it's tattooed on my person. AMF bikes get all the credit for making me a mechanic not because they are junk, but because, like me, they've spent a life time being maintained just good enough to get to the next party. I owned a real nice Twin Cam bagger but I always felt like i was kissing someone elses girl. Troubleheads for life!!!!

M.Miller said...

Well said Carlos. Im not trying to take away from the nostalgic coolness of the shovels and itll be over my dead body before I give my 77 up but its about time someone pointed out the obvious as I see it. Dont get me wrong the shovels got soul and you get to know them inside outside everynut and bolt of the beast(locktite is my friend) and AMF did some good but it was the catalyst for the moco atmosphere today that everyone seems to hate. and Image1 I respect your opinion but even a stock pan or knuck was dripping with style long before the shovel.but what the fuck do I know Im to wrapped up in racking miles