One look at this bike and you can see the history that the two wheels have rolled through. This is not a rat-rod bike that someone through together in their basement. This is the real deal and one of the baddest bikes to hit Southern California.
Story: Tony Colombini, Photos of Emily by Mitzi Valenzuela
In 1970 Doug Cameron set out to build a bike that no other Harley or Indian can beat. He crafted the bike with all the speed equipment and enginuity of the day. The top end was punched out to 86 cubic inches and the bottom end was balanced to handle the load. Doug added a larger main sprocket that pushes the chain dangerously close to the frame.
Speaking of the frame, this rig started out as a hard-tail 1936 Indian. The front end is from a ‘48 Indian and there are miscellaneous parts all around the bike from hand-built to early aftermarket performance adders.
The bike is on-view and available for sale at the new Blacktop Depot. Since it has been in the store, the thing people notice first is the shifter. Most don’t realize it is an actual WWII bayonette. The spring connected to the scabbard is the brake pedal return spring.
You may notice the spark plugs mounted on the bars next to the horn. I asked Doug what they are hooked to, and he pointed to the magneto on the left out front of the mill. He saw the puzzled look on my face and continued that they are his “visual tachometer” sparking away as the engine runs. “You get to a hundred or so and it’s like a blue flame shooting out of there.” He said with a grin.
The Steve McQueen Connection
When we first posted photos of this bike online I got a couple of remarks asking if we have Steve McQueen’s bike in the shop. This bike is actually the “model” for Steve’s “The Blob” bike (named after his first movie).
Doug built this bike to beat anything else on the road. Steve rode around with Doug and his buddies when he was in So Cal. For five years, Steve would hound Doug to sell him the bike. Finally Doug said; “I won’t sell you my bike, but I will build you one like it.” To almost every detail he built “The Blob” only a couple of differences such as the rear fender, sissybar and shifter. The bike that Doug built for Steve (left) is in the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa.
As Ol’ White sits in our entry at Blacktop Depot, we get all kinds of reactions. Some knuckleheads said they’d restore it. Others like it just the way it is. All I know is it took a bit of scrubbin’ to get the grease off Emily’s arm as she posed on the bike for Mitzi’s photos. Emily grew up in a garage and didn’t mind it a bit.
Come on over to Blacktop Depot in the historic C.W. Moss Building in Old-Towne Orange, California and see this historic bike yourself.