Article and photos by Daniel Venditto
My bud Ray Hagee is a truck driver from West Chester, PA, a small suburban town about 45 minutes outside of Philadelphia. I first met Ray at the Old Skool Bike Show in Chadds Ford, PA, a few years back with his badass 1950 panhead, “Ugly Bike”. With the eye catching metal flake paint and careful attention to detail, it clearly stood out in the crowd.
About four years ago while looking for a project bike online, Ray came across this complete roller at a great price. After settling the deal with the owner, he came up with a plan and arranged a time to pick up the bike. As we all know, things don’t always go as planned. On the way home, Ray’s truck got hit by a car on the turnpike. His pickup really took a hit, but somehow, the roller was fine. Quite a way to start a build!
This being one of Ray’s first bike builds, he began to hit the swap meets and shows to get to know people, collect tips, and acquire parts. One of the customers on his truck route always had his bikes in the warehouse, so Ray struck up a conversation about the panhead and what he was doing with it. Since the customer was a daily stop on the route, Ray got to know him pretty well until he offered to help him out with the build. Marty Helverson another bud of mine from the local shows and swaps, had quite the collection himself. I recently shot and wrote an article about his ’48 panhead for Lowbrow, another one-of-a-kind build.