Dan Collins' Knucklehead


Old Gold Garage Company's Dan Collins is a familiar name around here, and several of his motorcycles have been ChopCult features in the past. Like most of us, for years the bike on top of Dan's dream list has been a Harley-Davidson knucklehead. Finally getting this pile of crusty parts turned into a running, riding, freedom machine just before the EDR meant that Dan could shake it down the hard way. A cracked gas tank and a couple minor issues gave our friend something to do in San Felipe, but nothing could stop an oil-soaked Dan or his old motorcycle from completing their mission in style.

Photographer Michael Schmidt and Dan found some neighborhood dirt roads in Ensenada and came back with these stellar images. Thanks, Michael.



Owner name, location: Dan Collins, Ventura, Ca

Bike name: The Velvet Hammer  

Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1945 Harley Knucklehead EL stroker motor (80" UL flywheels)

Frame: Early Panhead Wishbone 

Fork: Chromed Knucklehead springer 

Chassis mods: Shaved and molded frame 

Tire/wheel size and style: 21" Avon Speedmaster 16" Beck 

Favorite thing about this bike: It's mine (took me 20 years to realize the dream of owning a knuckle, even if it is a dirty pile of parts). Also it waterproofs your jeans while you ride. 

Next modification will be: Anybody's guess. But I have a VL frame in the shop attic...   

Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc: S&M foglight, tailgunner taillight (modifed for brake/ taillight duty) Old Gold Garage stainless TIG welded drag bars, Old Gold Garage "tuna can" air cleaner (named by Bill), Linkert carburetor built by Kiyo at Garage Co., original Wassel tank from my '51 BSA barhopper, '36 ford spare tire cover used as rear fender, original Bates seat pan found at El Camino swap for $5 recovered to it's original glory, diamond P pad also $5, '39 knuck cam cover, Old Gold Garage brass foot pegs, hand made peg stands by me, panhead clutch and brake levers, clear red plug wires with rajah terminals. 

Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: I rode the piss out of this thing on the EDR and it never left me stranded. That was my shakedown run. I fucking love this bike.  

Thanks to: Mainly my right hand man Gordon Chappel who got it running right and handled the wiring duties. Also big thanks to Kiyo at Garage Co for being a great guy and hooking me up with a super running linkert so I could shitcan the SU. And Kurt from Ventura Motorworks for the small parts I needed to rebuild my distributor etc. And lastly to all of my friends who made sure I had a great time in Mexico and had food to eat and beer to drink when I didn't have a penny to my name. 

See more of Dan's work here

Big Thanks to Michael Schmidt for the killer photography

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Comment with Chopcult (28)

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 05:20 am

The bike is nice, the aircleaner is awesome.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 06:13 am

damn thats tough's perfect...I dig the tailight...I dig the I even need to mention the machete?

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 06:35 am

everytime i went through a military checkpoint i thought about you and that machete! hahaaha it was good to meet ya and talk about this awesome machine.

i gotta say even half of the things that happened to dan on the edr would have put most people pissed off and ready to be home- but he trucked on and seemed to be in good spirits (considering) every time we talked

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 06:36 am

now that bike is fucking ruling.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 07:29 am

It's OK, but as Dan knows himself, it's no Chaco Taco.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 07:39 am

Pinchi Jale de-aquellas. Nice, nice job. Me likey. Clean lines, plus if the puppy runs, nice. Kucks always spew oil.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 07:57 am

What a fine example of a knuck and probably the best photos of a bike I've seen on here!

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 08:10 am

Super cool bike!

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 09:10 am

With the ardor and slick garage know-how of a true artist, Dan forms yet another significant master piece from vision. Props to Michael Schmidt also for some sick photography skills

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 09:24 am

Sweet bike! Great guy, I am glad to have met you! Tim

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 09:34 am

chopcult should=anything old gold does

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 09:41 am

Very cool bike and awesome pictures. Another knucklehead dream achieved!

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 09:51 am

I love Dans Work, Thats a cool tank

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 10:38 am

It's awesome to see my generation handle both bike and car culture with the simplicity and style that Old Gold does, congrats Dan for such a spectacular creation.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 01:00 pm

awesome bike man. it looks cool as hell.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 01:10 pm

What a great looking bike. The epitome of what a rode Knuck should be.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 07:50 pm

i saw this bike on the edr and it is sick.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 10:57 pm

Man this bike is slick as hell. I love how it looks.

Commented on 6-13-2011 At 11:25 pm

such a knuckle is on top of my dream list too!
this is an awesome ride!

Commented on 6-14-2011 At 01:57 am

Love it . . . want it. Waaay cool.

Commented on 6-14-2011 At 07:49 am

Dan is a RULER!!!

Commented on 6-14-2011 At 07:55 am

great lookin bike

Commented on 6-14-2011 At 10:41 am

great little details!

Commented on 6-15-2011 At 06:46 pm

My uncle had a garage named "the velvet hammer", nice bike!!!

Commented on 6-16-2011 At 01:18 pm

undoubtedly was my favorite at EDR...if you ask for beer beer will come...

Commented on 6-22-2011 At 10:17 am

the only thing that I'd change is the name on the title....and maybe a BIGGER blade

Commented on 1-3-2012 At 09:55 pm

interesting Knucklehead.

Commented on 7-16-2012 At 07:47 pm

dude is a the stuff he builds

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