January 2023 Shop Update

On any typical day in the Wheels Through Time winter off season, you can expect to see an empty parking lot and a darkened lobby. That’s not to say that the sound and hustle about the museum is absent; in fact it’s quite present. Just a short walk to the back of the museum is where the action happens, the hands get dirty, and the motorcycles revived. As we move along with our many projects this winter, we wanted to take the time to document the process and share it with our fans! So, with grease on the keyboard, we’re bringing you mechanic’s corner updates on all the exciting projects this winter!

 If you’ve kept up with our YouTube channel, you know that we recently shared a video discussing the great question that keeps us up at night, resurrection versus restoration. In that video, we discussed two project Knuckleheads that came to us in similar states of disassembly, a 1939 EL and a 1941 FL. We arrived at the decision to rebuild the 39’ with all it’s crusty parts and patina as all the parts match and have a tremendous amount of character. The 41’ was taken apart years ago, yet many parts were primed, and the restoration process had been started. The 41’ will be a better candidate for a full restoration with all the one-year-only trimmings.

 The 1939 has been in the shop since this summer, and you may have seen us talking about it on our videos. It’s been many months since we started this project, but the long wait of staring at an engine-less rolling chassis is now over. After many days in the shop rebuilding the bottom end, Matt completed the bottom end while keeping the perfectly aged finish on the cases and cylinders. Once the cylinder heads arrive back from the machine shop, it won’t be much farther away than a few kicks. Even the finishing details are coming together. I can’t say much as it’s a surprise, but saddle up your (iron) horse, pack your bags and be prepared to come to museum because you’re going to want to see the bike when we open in spring.

The 1939 Knucklehead on the bench

 The sheer size of the pile of boxes with “1941 Knucklehead” labeled on them would lead one to believe that we would have this project done sometime in the next decade, but this is Wheels Through Time. Once the minuscule task of sorting every nut and bolt on an 80-year-old motorcycle was complete, we celebrated with a week of sandblasting. The cleaned parts were sorted and divvied up for finishing. The engine cases were cleaned and sent out for repair while the transmission was cleaned and rebuilt. Now the game begins of eager post office visits looking for boxes of newly finished parts to bolt onto the chassis. Once the boxes begin to arrive, progress on this motorcycle will be quick and frequent. Be sure to follow us on YouTube for updates as we assemble this bike from the ground up, and keep an eye out for more mechanic’s corner updates on the website.

December 30, 2022