Brian Harlow’s Minnow-’58 H-D FL
Brian Harlow’s Minnow-’58 H-D FL
This 1958 Harley-Davidson FL will always be parked at the lodge for so many reasons. The reliability and pure enjoyment of this bike is undeniable, followed by the amount of friends that have played a part in its coming together on the cheap.
The bike doesn’t test me or tempt me—it’s just a harmonious relationship between man and machine. There is nothing more than I can ask for! So as the paint fades and the cases start to drip there will be no love lost but rather stories to tell and miles to go.
Thanks to my pals for being just that … and thank you, Harley-Davidson Motor Company for engineering machines that have been changing lives for over a hundred years.
In the winter of 2008, I had torn my shovel down to the frame out of pure boredom and lack of funds for a new build. I set the motor and trans on the bench and blasted the frame, oil bag and gas tank for some cleaner lines and a change in color.
At the time, I had a ’74 Bronco sitting in my garage collecting dust until my friend Bill at Third Coast Hot Rods came by and offered to trade me a paint job and some loose ends for the Bronco. I agreed to the trade and we started laying fiberglass and bondo to the frame while trying to get the color right. I knew that I wanted the bike to keep a black look at night but to have a little something extra in the sun. After a few quarts of sour faces, we finally found the HOK ice blue. The second he laid it on, we knew it was the final color.
Once I got the frame and tins back to the garage and started assembly it never felt quite right. I would look at the paintwork and be super into it, but as soon as I set the old shovel workhorse in the frame I found it just lost its look.
Right about this time, my pal Johnny Ratchet had stumbled across a panhead that he wanted to pick up in Indiana. Ratchet headed out to look at the pan and called me up about an hour later. “Hey Man, this bike comes with an extra motor and trans complete.” Without hesitation, I told him to grab it and we would work out the details when he got back. Sure enough, he shows up with a truck full of pan parts along with his complete runner and a smile that you get from being on the right side of a hustle.
My friend Dan ‘Bacon’ Carr was taking a parts load to Ontario, Canada. I met him in a parking lot in Chicago to drop the motor and trans for a complete rebuild and some new history. A month or so later, I got the goods back and as soon as I dropped the fresh pan in the frame everything became right. We all know that old saying, “A bike builds itself,” and this was no exception. Everything just started falling into place from that moment. When I finally rolled the bike out into the sun for the first time it reminded me of a fishing lure reflecting the sun in shallow water. I named the bike “The Minnow” and like any good fishing lure the bike has never let me down since.
Build Tech Sheet
General Owner: Brian Harlow
Fabrication: Brian Harlow
Assembly: Brian Harlow
Bike’s Name: Minnow
Color: Ice Blue
Shop: Cabin Workshop
Year /Make/Model: 1958 FL
Build Time: Winter
Engine Manufacturer: Harley-Davidson
Displacement: 74 cu.in.
Carburetor: S&S E
Air Cleaner: NOISE
Finish/Paint Painter: Bill “Numnutz” Kriwko
Frame Manufacturer: H-D Wishbone
Front Wheel/size: 21”
Hub: Jr’s Cycle Products spool
Rear Wheel: 18”
Brakes: H-D mechanical
Hand Controls: Motor mount mid controls with heel shifter
Oil tank: Dented chrome horseshoe
Seat: No name vinyl
P-Pad: No name leather
Sissy Bar: Needs chrome
Keywords: 1958 Harley-Davidson FL, Harley-Davidson Motor Company, Panhead, Johnny Ratchet, The Minnow, H-D Wishbone, Ontario Canada, Brian Harlow