WHERE WERE YOU IN ’82?

The 1982 Oak­land Show revisited

Street Chopper - - Contents - WORDS: JEFF G. HOLT PHO­TOS: STREET CHOP­PER ARCHIVES

The year of 1982 was by all ac­counts pretty mon­u­men­tal. IBM dropped the PC-DOS ver­sion 1.1 oper­a­tion sys­tem, the Brits were bomb­ing the hell out of the Falk­land Is­lands, the US was still con­duct­ing nu­clear test­ing in the Ne­vada desert, and John Updike was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.

But noth­ing came close to bike junkies as the Oak­land Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show. This show started in 1950 to the de­light of tens of thou­sands of North­ern Cal­i­for­nia cus­tom ve­hi­cle builders, own­ers, and ad­mir­ers up un­til 2004 when the show moved south and was re­named the Pomona Grand Na­tional Road­ster Show.

Di­rect from the Street Chop­per archives of the May 1982 is­sue, we present to you just how the cus­tom mo­tor­cy­cle life­style was in the early ’80s. This was the 34th year of the show, and as you can see dig­ger-style ma­chines were ev­ery­where, as were forced-in­duc­tion en­gines. There were also a fair amount of early Flat­head, Knuckle, and Pan­head-pow­ered real- deal chop­pers still un­der the roof of the Oak­land Ex­po­si­tion Cen­ter. Both the gals and guys had tight jeans and feath­ered hair, and if you were a dude who didn’t have a mous­tache, you weren’t shit.

One of the high­lights of the show in 1982 was a young Cory Ness de­but­ing his first bike known as Turned Loose, which started the life­long ca­reer of this sec­ond- gen­er­a­tion Ness builder. These pho­tos also show that the old adage “what’s old is new again” rings true, as the style and com­po­nen­try used on these bikes some three decades later are still show­ing up on cur­rent bike builds. And that is a good thing.

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