So damn ugly it’s cute
Looking at this Panhead, I’m reminded of a spawning salmon back in Alaska. Growing up there, you look forward to salmon season almost as much as the first day of summer vacation— partly because they start at almost the same time. Not the fun part of reeling in a big king salmon after an hour’s fight on a river or how your hard-won bounty tastes. I’m talking about the fish that got away and managed to breed then started to die. Spawned- out salmon are butt-ugly.
Trust me when I tell you that’s the politically correct way of describing them to spare their feelings. How else to characterize a half- dead fish that’s two-toned jaundice and red with mottled gray “graphics”? If you see one floating(ish) down a river after it’s made sweet love for the first and only time in its life, they look horrible. But at the same time, you can’t look away.
That’s the first response I had when I saw Trey Winslow’s ratted- out 1948 Panhead here. It’s not the prettiest bike ever, but the rust, crust, and funk of 40,000 years draws you in to really explore the ugly. “When I was growing up if my mom saw something she thought was ugly, she would usually say it was ‘ fugly’ or that it ‘was as ugly as a mud fence,’ ” Trey says. “Well, I never did see a mud fence until I finished piecing this thing together a couple of years ago. It’s kind of like when you see a dog that’s so damn ugly it’s cute. That’s what this bike is to me.”
Going into the project, Trey’s initial intentions were
good. He absolutely planned to spiff the Panhead up a bit. Eventually, whatever hell spawn possesses this bike won the battle of wills though. The bike’s bad looks grew on him like a fine coat of rust on neglected metal after a monsoon.
Trey added in some of his own fabrication to get it running. Most notably, that rear wheel. It’s a 19-inch spoker he made for this “beauty.” As it turned out, having a rust monster like this was a bonus for him. “I’m not that into keeping my mess clean,” he says. “As long as it goes and gets whoas, I’m good!” SC
“IT’S KIND OF LIKE WHEN YOU SEE A DOG THAT’S SO DAMN UGLY IT’S CUTE. THAT’S WHAT THIS BIKE IS TO ME.”