Though first purchased by Michael Bailey in 1974, it was more than 20 years before his 1955 Harley-Davidson would get the chopper treatment. Instead of hiring the work out, he took on the task himself -- which resulted in a two-year build time for the Purple Haze chopper.
A stretched Atlas hardtail frame was substituted for the original, providing a leaner look and more-radical profile. Girder forks replaced the heavy Hydra-Glide telescopics, and modern wheels and brakes were fitted at each end.
Displacement of the original Panhead V-twin remains at 74 cubic inches, but many parts have been replaced with modern, high-performance substitutes. The "Who's Who" list of internal hardware includes a Sifton cam, STD heads, S&S crank, and Wiseco pistons. A single SU carburetor tends the fuel mixture, which is lit by a Mallory ignition.
To complete his first project bike, Michael applied blue-to-red chameleon paint to every square inch of steel. A Harley-Davidson logo dresses the fuel tank, and a layer of chrome dresses the oil tank and forks. It may have taken two decades for Michael to convert his old Harley into a stunning chopper, but judging from the outcome, it was worth the wait.
Go to the next page for more details and pictures of this Harley-Davidson-powered chopper, the Purple Haze.