Monday, January 3, 2011

Mystery Bike Revealed Part 1 Funny Bike 2

This unidentified bike was recently featured in Irish Rich's post on Phil Ross. It looked familiar and had South Bay Style written all over it, so I made an inquiry to a good source and after a chain of emails it's owner and builder contacted me.

This photo from Rich's blog started the inquiry. The stance and style of the paint seemed all too familiar.

The man responsible for the bike is Bruce Parrish. If the name sounds familiar it's because he was mentioned in the Why White Bear? post as it's painter.

The following is the email I received from Bruce. I'll fill in what he later told me in the captions.

Chris, I am the mystery bike owner and builder. I still have it. That was the 3rd. build of the same frame over a 10-13 year period. I have pictures from most all the projects I have been involved with over the years. I was a painter for a lot of South Bay bikes. AKA Painter Bruce.

The running mock up. One reason the bike looked familiar, the handlebars were lent to Joe Hurst when White Bear was in the Trident's Show. See last August's Header. All photos courtesy of Bruce Parrish

I hung out, partied and road with Dick Allen and the like from the Redondo Beach area. For a few years my paint shop was in the back shop of Phil Ross's known as "Parrish Arts. " I later became a metal Fabricator and called my business "Parrish Parts", worked for several businesses for about 16 years.

This was the 3rd build of this bike and 2nd of what Bruce called the Funny Bike. Funny Bike?... it's because Bruce built it like one would build a Funny Car. Bruce fabricated both the gas and oil tanks plus all the trick goodies you can spot.

I have been back on my own since 1992 with my business now as Parrish & Sons Specialties. Do check it out Thanks for your interest and feel free to contact me. Happy New Year, Bruce Parrish

All laid out and ready to go. Something tells me this guy is meticulous.

The frame was altered to Bruce's specs. (2" in the back bone and about 3" in the front legs), by Kevin Daily of Zap Fab. Kevin started calling this style of neck a "Brucie -Neck". The South Bay Swoop sissy bar is unique as it's a true two piece type and mounts through the top of the fender.

More of Bruce's fine and tidy work. Most of the work was done while he worked at Dan Woods shop. Yes that Dan Woods. Prior to this he shortly worked for Steve Davis and largely credits him for learning and developing his metal shaping skills.

Bruce spent about two years (1976-'77), on the bike and was finished in '78. The bike was ahead of it's time. Note the attention to detail on items like the fender bracket, clutch linkage, the shifter and ratchet . This kind of machine work with these types of materials was pretty much unheard of in those days.

The bike could be run minus the top sissy bar section. Bruce knocked the center out of a 15" Porsche rim and had Buchanan's dimple and drill it for spokes. It was then laced up to a Kosman hub. The fork is an 18" over Dick Allen springer.

Here's the left side again, but this time all dolled up. The engine is a 1950 with S&S flywheels and Sifton cam. The carburetor was first an SU but was later switch to a Branch dual throat Mikuni.

It's hard to believe that this bike was never featured in a magazine. The bike was almost sold and disassembled many years ago, but Bruce still has it. Hopefully one day he'll put it back together as Funny Bike 3.

Bruce definitely played a part in the South bay bike scene and I'm honored to shed some light his contributions. He has since sent me more photos, some of this bike in it's other guises.... so stay tuned folks.... and oh yeah, don't forget to check out his website.