Von Dutch's XAVW Motorcycle got discovered in a barn... What's so special about that ?! Let's find out. 

  Before I'll get into details and such about the bike I have to do a proper intro of the guys who founded it. I really don't watch Tv, very rare in fact. And when I do I prefer to go for something that has cars, bikes or vehicles related material included. On History Chanel we have Count's Customs Counting Cars show,  American Pickers and Pawn Shop. Everything else is... You know.  Even on these shows the level of drama and BS is a bit (too) high, but that's another story. The two shows mentioned at the end have from time to time something bike-car related topics.
   Not so long ago, a few weeks ago I think, the guys from American Pickers found a legendary bike. Von Dutch's XAVW motorcycle.
I won't get into details about the two guys from the show, John and Mike Wolfe. Let's just say that for me they are Tom and Jerry. But I actually enjoyed the cartoons. Anyway, Mike is a motorcycle guy.

     Von Dutch, Ed Roth and Robbie Williams are the granpa's of the kustom kulture, if you ask me. Kustom kulture, with a ''k'' yes, because it looks cooler that way (...).  So we owe it bigtime to these guys ! Thanks to them this current, phase or however you want to call it became a culture of it's own in the mainstream. What happens now when every wannabe can get tattoed and pay up for a chopper or a hot rod and be ''the culture'' ... maybe another time. I'm trying to stick to this story.

   Time and many other factors, human factors mostly, are responsible for making awesome stuff dissapear or getting destroyed. So finding something like one of the Von Dutch's original bikes these days is like the Holy Grail... of bikers.
But what's so special about this bike ? Long story short, the bike started as a project in 1965. And it took a lot of time to build and develop. Why ? Because it's one of a kind. 
    Harley-Davidson XA frame, a World War II shaft drive, BMW transmission, Moto Guzzi front end, Triumph rear fender and mufflers, Honda 450 gas tank. And a 36 horsepower flat four Volkswagen engine. 

So WOW was my immediate reaction ! The bike was stole....I mean bought by Mike for 21.000$ from the owner.

Long story now... here are some opinions about the subject from another guru of choppers, Irish Rich of http://irishrichcustomcycles.blogspot.com/ :

   ''According to what Randy Smith told me, Ed Roth swapped Von Dutch two antique outboard motors for the XAVW. When Roth got the XAVW from Dutch, the bike was totally disassembled, because Dutch got pissed that his horse wouldn't ride around in the sidecar that Dutch built out of the horse's watertroth for the XAVW, so Dutch got mad, and took the XAVW completely apart, and stacked it in a corner of his shop up in Calabasas.

Roth never put it back together, and traded it to Randy Smith for 15 sets of Randy's finned aluminum Pan covers. The sidehack Dutch made for the XAVW eventually wound up on his silver BMW, that Dutch rode most of the time to chase parts.''

     ''It is a BMW transmission. Some say Von Dutch did the adapter ring to mate it to the VW engine, but in an old Modern Cycle article on the XAVW, written by Dutch himself, he says that he designed the adapter ring, but someone else machined it for him, because he didn't have the machinery capable of making the actual adapter plate. My guess it was probably Boyd Defrance that machined the adapter ring, as that was one of Defrance Sr.'s specialties.

     See this is the beauty in this bike - Dutch made this bike out of a 36 HP VW engine, a '42 XA shaft drive frame and rear wheel drive hub, a Moto Guzzi front end, Triumph rear fender and mufflers, aHonda 450 gas tank.....and the whole thing is pieced together from cast-off and war surplus parts that Dutch blended together to create a custom bike that is so stock looking, a person not in the know would think that it was a production motorcycle.

   On building the XAVW, Dutch said: " I felt that the machine from all outward appearances, appear to be conventional, for I do not require the attention of juveniles, and quiet since I don't need the expensive attention of policemen".

   Von Dutch was supposed to build another XA frame-based bike for Keenan Wynn, with a Porsche Spider engine, but it never got past the planning stage.  ''

   As you may or may not know, I like to go for the extra mile on stuf that I'm really interested in. So here's the article from Custom Chopper Magazine, May 1971 about the XAVW bike. I kep the pics at high resolution so you can read it.

''After showing the bike at TorqueFest in Iowa this summer Mike made a deal with John Parham to lend the bike to the Museum for display. The museum has lots of bikes and memorabilia on loan which keeps things there changing, always new. You can head over to Anamosa, Iowa any day and sit down right beside the bike, study it and consider all the thought and the work Von Dutch put into it. ''

Credits : The last photo set was taken by ''TN Cave'' and posted on Jockey Journal . The quotes of Irish Rich were also posted from the same source.

1 comment:

  1. This is a fine article in all respects, the "new" kustum kulture crap is exactly what Von Dutch would hate. Thanks!!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.