Bike Build Tech Sheet
Owner: David Polgreen
Fabrication: David Polgreen and Chris Lampman
Year and Make: 1961 Harley-Davidson
Assembly: David Polgreen & Chris Lampman
Photos and Story by Josh Kurpius
King Diamond started almost entirely on a whim. My friend Chris Lampman told me to stop messing around with a generator shovel project I was putzing with and to do the pan in a VL frame project I had in my garage. We started working on the bike in October or November of 2007 and finished it by the third week of March 2008. We put in a lot of time in my garage that winter.
Almost every part on this bike is made from scratch or heavily customized. The frame needed a new backbone and a new neck forging, as well as new motor mounts to fit the Panhead motor into the smaller VL frame. We had to weld in new bearing cups in the neck, and I modified internal fork stops to work with the Ceriani front end. The bars were made from scratch. The seat pan was modified to increase the flip-up on the back; I also made a custom seat pivot bracket. The gas tank was heavily modified (removing a half-inch from the bottom, tapering middle section from the top, frisco’ing the bottom moving the petcock and putting in a new filler neck on the crown of the tank). The clutch lever is a modified aluminum British lever made to fit an H-D clutch cable. We cut the neck stem on the Ceriani trees in half and extended to fit in the VL neck. The pipes were handmade. The top motor mount, the foot peg and brake setup, the kick shifter, the primary cover mount/taillight and license plate mount, the sissy bar, the mousetrap eliminator, and several other things I am sure I am missing were handmade, as well. I tried to use round stock and curved shapes for everything, to get a rounded, organic feel on the bike.
I decided early on to have a quality fit and finish to this bike, which meant polishing, chroming and powder coating all the parts possible. I had the cases and the heads on the engine polished, as well as the entire transmission. I had the cylinders powder coated silver. All aluminum was sent out to be polished; Gary at J&D Plating did all of my chrome plating and polishing. For the paint, I told Harpoon to do whatever he wanted, and he came through to perfection. For assembly, I used chrome hardware throughout and used cloth-covered wire for the minimal electrics. In short, I spent way too much time and money to get this bike done–and clean looking.
After I made it look so pretty, I started riding it and promptly doused everything with oil. Eventually, I found the crankcase breather was clogged, forcing oil out of the engine in all directions. Once I repaired that, the oil leaking slowed tremendously. I rode all summer, it is fast, comfortable, and a real pleasure to ride. It looks nice and beat-up now, and it will look even better as I continue racking up the miles and flogging it around town.
Thanks go to Chris Lampman for all of his help building this bike, and all the 7th Street crew in St. Paul for their help and support. I stole ideas from all over, but I got a ton of inspiration from Max Schaaf, Rockabilly Jay, Irish Rich, Arlen Ness’s old yellow VL bike and All Stubbings’ “Detail Freak” bike (both versions-early and late). Thanks to Josh Kurpius for taking the pics, respect!