Thursday, December 18, 2008

A Blog, a Bike, and Inspiration

Then came Hirschberg... and an inspiring machine.

Today I stumbled on to this photo of Dick Hirschberg and his cool cut down 69 shovel. It was found on Irish Rich's new blog Homage. His blog is mostly geared to the honorable task of paying tribute to the Heroes that inspire him. A duty I try to do myself every now and then.

I was jazzed to find the photo since I'm always on the hunt for cool swing arm bikes to serve as inspiration for my 65 Pan. Looking at the photo, I couldn't help thinking of Then Came Bronson and not just because of his sailor's watch cap. The pared down big twin takes on a Sportster look aided in part with what appears to be a 18" rear wheel. It also has the same English (Lucas), style tail light/license mount and similar (bobbed), fender treatment as the Bronson bike.

The man that launched a million Watch Caps. I bought one myself.

Dick's bike was built the same year (1969), the show aired. Is there a connection? Bud Ekins did and coordinated the stunts for the pilot film and TV series. Rich's blog mentions that Von Dutch did engine turning, lettering, striping, and engraving on Dick's bike. We also know that Dutch worked off and on for Bud. Did Von Dutch have a hand in the Bronson bike? Was Dick's bike influenced by the Bronson bike, the other way around, or was this just the style of the times?

Bronson sans a cap. Note the tail light and bobbed fender.

Information for the Bronson Sportster can be found at:

I went back to that website to see what it said. I had read the information there before but, forgot the details. It has interview statements from Bud Ekins saying that he was the one who customized the Sportster and the other bikes used in the show. It also has a MGM press release listing all of the mods done to the Bronson bikes with additional comments from Ekins. Von Dutch is never mention.

Did Bud actually do the physical work or did he have Von Dutch or someone else perform it? Whoever actually did the work, the Bronson and Hirschberg bikes are more or less connected through the Dutch /Ekins relationship.

From the same era. A proud Kenneth Howard displaying his handy work. Although the fender is not bobbed, it features the same English style tail light/license set up.

Ideas, influence, and inspiration come from different sources but, in the end, everything is connected.

Somewhere I once read, "There's a little Von Dutch in all of us".