Etta, the Harley Davidson Sportster

The story of how, exactly, I got her back is not worth telling, but she came back in bad shape after being left outside for a couple of years.

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_BeforePoor Etta

I’d asked around to a few shops if they were interested in restoring my old bike, but the whole time had one friend in mind who would be perfect for the project.  When Mike consented to take her on I literally jumped up and down.  Len and I brought her over to his garage in January of 2014, with the request:  “Get her running and give her a little fluff, please.”

Mike’s a really meticulous guy. If he’s working on something, you can sleep very well at night knowing it will get done right.  We were both super excited about the project.  I had a couple of unexpected bucks and some simple ideas.  Mike had his garage, spare parts and a headful of ideas, and what he did to that bike in the next 5 months was a miracle.


Of course, every time he tried to do something simple, he’d find something wrong with it.  She ended up naked and bony.


He painted and powdercoated everything.  EVERYthing.  Sometimes in terrible temperatures, as the winter was super cold.  He got bronchitis, no doubt from all the powder flying around his garage.  He wouldn’t sleep.  I’d tell him to go to bed and he’d say yup, just one more thing …


Then the mockups started.  Color?  Where?  Wait … those bullets look good.  Let’s do more of those.


You need new wheels, those spokes are bad.  Craigslist has these, what do you think?  Not sure where to cut the fender …



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This went on for months.  I was indecisive.  Mike wanted me to be happy.  I’d bring over cases of Yuengling Light and he’d send photos and videos.  The only thing I was 100% sure of was no flames, no skulls, no bones, no snakes … nothing stereotypically “badass.”  Not my style.

He even found a PERFECT seat, and got some donated vintage parts from friends.  Lots of people sent bullet shells, too.


Etta came out FANTASTIC.  100% thrilled with her, and Mike (and his wife, who didn’t hurl him out of the house for forgetting about his other chores).  There’s no way I could pay him what all that work was worth, but he was a gentleman and stuck to the original deal, and the friendship has remained intact.  Which is all I really wanted.

Mike introduced me to Chris, who pinstriped her.  And look how gorgeous.  Running fine, no issues, turn the key.  Happy gal!!




2014-04-19 13.50.17Helmet matches, too.





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