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Interview: Flathead Jedd

 

Flathead Jedd is known around southern California for his fine collection of all things period correct. Sweaters, photos, whole motorcycles, you name it; Jedd probably owns something old that would make you jealous. We got a chance to crawl inside Jedd's skull and see what makes this guy tick.

 


Jedd, you've got your finger in a lot of pies these days. What are you a part of and can you give us a description of each (NLAMC, WNMC, Blog, etc)
First off I love pie. I prefer berries, then cream pies are a close second. I stay pretty busy with my ventures so I don't have much time for pie. The North Los Angeles Motorcycle Club (NLAMC) is the clothing company I have with my friend Wes of Four Aces Cycle fame. The NLAMC is dedicated to bringing you quality vintage motor clothing. The NLAMC started in 1949 in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. It was made up of guys that wanted to race. Our passion is vintage motorcycles of the 1940s and '50s. We love the vintage racing jerseys and club sweaters from that era, but found them to be rare and expensive. So we decided to make them ourselves. People seemed to really like what we were doing so we decided to make our products available to everyone who shares our passion. This business keeps me really busy as I am the sales department, art department, R&D and the CEO. Wes does the other stuff. He thinks I have the hard part. I think he does. Things stay pretty harmonious this way. I'm also a member of the Wing Nuts and maintain the Wing Nut blog with a little help from the other members. I also maintain the NLAMC blog and have been known to sweep up around Four Aces Cycle form time to time.

Who are the Wing Nuts and what do they stand for?
The Wing Nuts are a group of friends that ride motorcycles. We all share a passion for the bikes and style of the 1940s and '50s. I guess you could say we are a period modified club. We are based out of the San Fernando Valley portion of So Cal. We like to race and our members go to Bonneville every year and test out their bikes on the great white dyno known as the salt flats. We are trying to preserve the early post-war days of motorcycle clubs and riding of the '40s and '50s. I guess that's why we wear sweaters, not vests. We also go to a lot of vintage bike shows and are AMCA members. We never do well at those shows. We realized that the restoration crowd not only was not too fond of modified bikes but didn't know much about them. So we are spreading the word and making people take notice that modified bikes are legitimate and just as important to maintain as stock restorations. That's a big reason for the blog. It bridges the gap between the '60s and '70s modified bike and the stockers of the early years. 

Your fascination with early MC's is pretty obvious. What specifically draws you to that era?
I've always been a fan of anything with an internal combustion engine: cars, bikes, boats and planes. I was mostly a car guy growing up and was a big fan of the '40s Westergard style of custom cars and hot rods. I felt that way about the bikes of the era as well. I hate to say "bobbers" because that is the most misused word in the motorcycle vocabulary today. So I'll call them "cut downs" or "bob jobs." The thing about customization during the '40s and early '50s, was that it was done for a reason. Not just for the sake of doing it. It was function over form. Bikes were stripped down to be raced. Parts were modified to improve speed and performance. Cosmetics were changed to improve upon the stock look. Somewhere towards the late '50s things were changed for the sake of change. If an 18" anadegizer switch is good than an 20-incher must be better. That's the mentality I don't like. Don't get me wrong, I can truly appreciate a period modified bike from the '60s or '70s. It's just not my cup of tea. I guess I really like to look at the progression from a '40s race bike to a '70s chopper. One last thing I like about the early stuff is that they were the first dualsport bikes out there. You rode to work on the same bike you raced on Saturday. That to me, is just cool.

What bikes are currently in your stable?
I have my 1947 Harley-Davidson UL, my 1948 Triumph T100 and my 1965 Triumph T100SC desert sled. I also have a stable of ho's 'cuz the pimp life ain't easy.

How's your new modeling career treating you these days? 
Oh yes, my modeling career. It's going quite slendidly. In an effort to save money for the NLAMC business Wes and I have been modeling our own products. I can't think of two uglier men to be models but times are tough. I guess it started with Rin Tanaka's My Freedamn! 8. Rin was kind enough to give us a few pages in his book and that just springboarded my life in front of the camera. Now I'm instantly recognized and professional photographers take pictures of me whereever I go. In all honestly I think sweater sales have gone down since I posted my pictures!

Can you give some details (specs, build story, history, etc) on your Triumph.
The bike is a 1948 Triumph Tiger T100. It's a local So Cal bike that has passed hands several times, but always seemed to come back to Four Aces Cycle. So I quietly asked Wes one day if I could buy it. He agreed and laughed at me 'cause I was the Harley guy. After all I'm Flathead Jedd not Vertical Twin Jedd. After all, like so many guys my first old bike was a Triumph so I've always loved them. What else would I do my paper route with? It's got a lot of period aftermarket parts, Flanders risers, Hellings and Stellings bars and a few Webco nicknacks. Like most of my bikes it's my design and my friend's work. To me it is a period-correct Triumph to match my period-correct Harley. Guess I need me a period-correct Indian to round out the stable.

Do you do most of your own work on your bikes? What do you send out?
I do a lot of my own work. I used to do more but seems lately I have less time than money. Which is not saying much. I like to come up with the overall design and to collect the period parts. I'll assemble most of the bike, but I'm not a motor guy. I'll take the motor out and put it back in, but someone smarter than me will build the motor. I also don't do electrical. I've burned up enough parts over the years to know when to swallow my pride and get some help.

What's your take on the current custom motorcycle scene? What does it need more or less of, in your opinion?
The current custom motorcycle scene is very confusing to me. I never know if I'm cool or not. I've seen some beautiful bikes out there and I've seen some real turds. Since I'm partial to old style customs I like when they are being built and ridden. I'm just not a modern bike guy. I can truly appreciate the workmanship and fabrication, but overall I don't get a lot of it. I do know that as long as motorcycling is popular and accepted, I'm happy. A few weeks ago all of the Los Angeles area freeway emergency info boards read, "Be careful. Share the road with motorcyclist" or something to that effect. I thought that was pretty cool. We're here, we're in gear, get used to it! My opinion should not count when it comes to what we need more or less of in the motorcycle scene, but I'll tell you what I don't like. Old motors in new style bikes. Just does not compute with me. What I'd like to see more of and have been are small events, field meets, local shows and vintage rides. When I was a teen whenever we got together and rode it was on old bikes because that's all we could afford. A pack of flatties, pans and knuckles going down the road together is the coolest thing ever!

What goals have you yet to accomplish, but see in the near future?
I have tons of goals for the future. It's these goals that get me out of bed every day. I'd say I'd really like to put together and host some period modified shows. I'm tired of going to many of these bike events and having all these very specific classes for restored bikes and the little left over class for "period modifieds" that pits a '40s bobber against a '70s chopper. I want to have a show that when you roll up on your 100 point Indian Chief YOU get put in the left over class. The Wing Nuts have been working on this for a while, but we always seem to get into arguments over judging criteria, which is pretty funny to me.

Any thanks or web links you'd like to include?
I want to thank Wes, Jeff, Brent, Bryan and Chopper Dave for helping me on my quest to preserve the history of motorcycling.

wnmc.blogspot.com

nlamc.blogspot.com

Photo credits; the good ones: Wes D.

The OK ones: Bill Bryant


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Comment with Chopcult (14)

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 03:55 pm
 

What are those 2 spark plugs doing in that one photo?

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 04:15 pm
 

I would bet they be spares...

Hey, great article. Thanks for sharing, and as always, terrific photos. :)

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 04:16 pm
 

On the catwalk yea, I shake my little tush on the catwalk...

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 04:20 pm
 

its a spark plug holder for spares.

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 05:10 pm
 

That spark plug holder is trick. I'm inspired to build something similar. I shouldn't tell anyone yet, in case it turns out crappy. If they are nice, I'll have to sell some to get the money back from buying the tap.

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 05:35 pm
 

This another April fools? Just kidding Jedd, Good stuff.

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 05:36 pm
 

Very cool article it is good to see there are people out there who aren't just care to be part of the cool crowd, but actually care about keeping a tradition and part of history alive.

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 06:35 pm
 

Cool article.

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 08:21 pm
 

great write up on a great guy. the early stuff rocks and he always post up awesome old photos!

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 10:39 pm
 

Good stuff, thanks

Commented on 3-31-2010 At 11:19 pm
 

Neet stuff! Kool article!!! Ya gotta love it!

Davo

Commented on 4-1-2010 At 03:50 am
 

4 sweater shots. Killer....

Commented on 4-2-2010 At 04:10 am
 

Good stuff. Love that van caught in the pictures too.

Commented on 4-2-2010 At 04:59 am
 

mmmm more blogs for a readin!

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