A few days ago, after I posted a picture of a super cool painted wassel gas tank on dWRENCHED Facebook account , a comment popped up :
''That looks like the kind of paint jobs I did back in the early 1970s.''
That was more the enough for dWRENCHED to get the ball rollin' and investigate ! From that comment to a very cool interview / article you'll read below...seconds passed. Everything was already rolling together in my head !!!
This is the picture I'm reffering to (for the ones interested) :
Doug Coffey is the name in our story here... So let's meet the guy !
dW: Tell us a bit about yourself Doug.
Doug Coffey: It was 1969 and I was living in Moncton, New Brunswick (Canada).
It was the wrong coast in the wrong country but I started selling custom chopper parts out of my basement.
Around 1972 I had moved up to a two car garage and used it for selling parts, doing custom paint jobs and building bikes. We used to paint with acrylic lacquer in those days so the overspray dust got all over everything but it landed dry and could be blown off easily.
In 1979 I relocated to London, Ontario and finally got to build a real spray booth in my new shop.
I only painted and built bikes for a couple more years and then I went wholesale only and just sold parts to dealers across the country.
In 1987 I started Head Quarters and also was a contributing editor for Hot Bike magazine. Business boomed after that and we grew and relocated a few more times. Now at age 62, I'm still operating Head Quarters but taking more time for myself to persue my true passion which is right back to square A building choppers.
My new spray booth is under construction and I will soon be painting again...but only for my own projects.
NOTE : I left the pics exacly how Doug posted them on Facebook for me, @ the same size so you can check out his work to the fullest !
dW: What was your first project you painted..when and how did you realised you were ment for this ?
DC: My first project was a Sportster tank. I instinctly knew how to custom paint but I didn't have a clue how to prepare a job and actually get the paint applied.
I had more than a few disasters getting started but after a few attempts I got paint to stick and not come off after taping...I was on a roll after that.
dW: Your worst nighmare in painting projects ?
DC: Haha...anything i did for free. It seemed every time I offered to help out a friend that whole thing went to hell. Not because I wasn't trying hard enough, just damned bad luck. When I charged real money, I rarely had any problems. It didn't take me long to start charging for every single job.
dW:Are there any particular work jobs that are close to your heart even now ?
DC: Oddly enough, the first guitar i painted. it turned out well and i hated to give it up but the owner was very proud of it and used to show it off on stage while playing rock gigs. He throw my name around and that drove a lot of business my way.
''...for Bernie Melanson with Harvest.''
''A job I did for Philly back in Moncton 1976. ''
''A root beer flame job I did in 1979.''
dW: Why did you stopped doing it, master ?
DC: I stopped because I wanted to persue the wholesale parts business and I just didn't have enough time to do both.
dW: Now that I got you all pumped up and famous again (sense the sarcasm, oh hahaha) you'll start doing it again, right ?
DC: LOL, yes I sense the sarcasim, but it's all good. We are just having fun anyway.
I'm starting up again because I want to do everything on the new bikes I'm building for myself and my wife.
When i build a bike I like to have complete control. The only thing I do not do is chrome plating, so if anything goes wrong, I only have myself to blame...and after a little crying in my beer, I can always fix whatever is bothering me.
''Flip flop pearl overlays. I did this just for fun.''
''My own 1969 Camaro. SS 396 tire smokin' mofo. About 1976 I think.''
''Another 750 Honda in Jammer rigid frame package.''
''One of my bikes I painted in 1976.''
dW: The old stuff are highly popular these days. And since the chopper craze is over and the high dolla dolla big chromed monsters are out of the scenery, finally the real art of the choppers raises among us.
In the underground, where it should. ''Like in the ol' days'' (?).
DC: I sure as hell agree with you on that point George. I'm really looking forward to seeing what I can do. And what some of the other true builders turn out. Now that it's more about true passion and creativity and not the almighty dolla'.
We are all back to square A..except now we have a lot more talent and some good tools to work with. I think the future for custom bikes ahs never looked brighter...for the true enthusiasts.
Thank you for this opportunity George.
''750 Honda Automatic I did for Toy for Big Boys in 1977 ''
''Part of another Honda 750 in Jammer frame package. Craig Boby was the owner.''
''This was a Panhead frame I stretched and painted in 1976.''
''I built this bike in 1973. I will never forget the sound the frame made when I finished hack sawing through that second down tube. *Bwranooow* as it sprung out of shape. It is nothing short of amazing that many of us built such fine bikes with nothing more than simple tools. I didn't even own a drill press at the time. ''
It was an honor for me and a real pleasure to make this article and to chat with Doug. We still do that and hoping we will still do it from now on. He's a really cool crazy cat...
DC : I'll be painting again in September. I bought an office trailer I'm converting to a spray booth now. As soon as the hot weather and humidity are gone I'll be back in the saddle with (paint) guns a blazing.
dW: I'll add that in the article to...ha...busted !
DC: LOL !