“Bosco Bill really wanted an Indian 4, but he figured that would never happen, so he did the next best thing and decided to build his own bike. He overdid the FOUR aspect of the project as he selected a ’37 Ford V-8, as his power plant. Using his barter and trade skills, Bill was able to put this bike together for $1500 out of pocket cash- and his poor judgment in character allowed me the chance to ride his flatty during this years Knuckle Shuffle.
The Ford V-8 develops about 80 hp, so says Bill, and other than the ’35 heads (which helped him line up his Summit Racing radiator to plumb the coolant lines, & his use of a S&S Shorty G carb for air n gas mixing chores- the engine is stock) that fire extinguisher is the radiator over flow tank. ’81 Gold Wing forks- 4” over and a late model GL1500 rear end (a trike conversion cast off part, he picked up for less than $100) due the chores at both ends. The engine is really the frame, a ‘stressed member’ though I don’t think there is much stress.
The torque converter and some trans parts are out of a Chrysler mini van- a circular saw blade was used to help connect the bell housing to the motor n trans- now a two speed with hand shift to lock up the torque converter via a wood splitter valve Bill modified for the application. A simple lever puts it IN gear (yellow butterfly) and the wood splitter valve lever locks up the rear end for highway cruising, Bill has seen 110 mph.
Gas tank is a stretched XS1100 Yamaha tank, with only about 3 gallons capacity, which @ 25 MPG provides less than 80 miles of range. It was about 9 month’s time since Bill had the idea to build his Home Brew Flatty till he took off down his driveway for the first of many trial runs. Since then he’s put about 8,000 miles on the bike.
I rode the bike a short distance, perhaps 3 or 4 miles, just out of town on one end and then out the other with some U-turns in between. The weight and length, Bill is not sure of the wheel base but length is 9’ and weight about 1000 lbs., make one ‘focus’ when maneuvering for turns but once under way and the wood chip valve lever locks up the drive, it was all grins going down beautiful and well paved Wisconsin blue roads.
I think it is magic when some one can bring various parts together and make a motorcycle live. Well done Mr. Bill, and thank you for the ‘grin factor’ your Home Brew Flatty left on my face.
Story and images: Paul Holdsworth
Posted by Sam Kanish