Ken Carvajal’s Harley-Davidson FL Custom Build - Started From Scratch
The motor and transmission came from my friend Michael Geltz who gave me a deal I couldn’t refuse. He also happened to have other parts that I needed such as the Linkert M74B, 1 & 1/2" primary belt drive setup and a few other odds and ends. As soon as I sent him the payment, I started buying the rest of the parts for the bike. I wanted to challenge myself and do it all by myself in my garage which probably took way longer than it should have.
Nine months later, it made its way into the Stag Magazine, issue #11, MamaTried Show in Milwaukee, The Congregation Show in North Carolina, Fuel Cleveland, The Greasiest in Lombard, and the No Show digital bike show by Harley-Davidson. I’m very honored for the invitation to show the bike at all of these great motorcycle shows.
After that tour of shows, I freshened the top end and installed a PSP manifold with the Pangea Zeppelin air cleaner. The bike now usually fires up on the first or second kick. I’ve shaken it down quite a bit and have taken it on a couple long distance trips. One of those trips was this year's Apocalypse Run #13 where I rode it from Chicago to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and back. Aside from a loose wire and a faulty ignition switch, it got me home safely.
It took nine month for Ken to finish this build, but it was totally worth it.
Vintage Harley-Davidson Panhead Custom Build
It was originally painted Garnet red and I thought it looked good, until I rolled it out of the garage and into the sunlight. Just something about it didn’t sit well with me. It originally had a re-pop Wassel tank and I had been looking for a Hap Jones tank for some time. As soon as I found one, I used that as an opportunity to re-paint the whole bike black, which is what I wanted to do in the first place.
I’m really happy with how it sits currently and I find it very rewarding to ride, given that it started out as a bunch of parts. But it wouldn’t be where it is today - an awesome Harley-Davidson FL Panhead, if it wasn’t for my friends who helped along the way.
Ken’s custom harley panhead and it’s beautiful vintage look .
I get asked a lot about the front end which at first glance, looks like a vintage Triumph front end. I initially wanted to get a 2-under springer but at that time, I had been over my budget. So I modified a narrow glide, cleaned the trees, had my buddy Phil at Bravetown shave the lower legs to fit inside a set of MCM fork shrouds that I got from Ed Zender at Morrie’s Place in Ringwood, IL. I also had him make the spacers to fill the gap between the shrouds and the top tree.
A lot of effort has been put into the front end.
The hand shifter was a piece that I cut from an old sissy bar that came off of my Triumph and the wooden knob was from an old antique file that I found in my garage.
Who would have thought an old sissy bar could become a hand shifter, right?
The rear fender is special to me. It’s made by my dear friend Ron Brefka at 7 Metal West who forms these by hand based on your specs, rear wheel/tire size. He’s a hardworking guy and takes great care when making these fenders. Honored to have one of his fenders on my bike.
Words and photos by - Ken Carvajal
Interested in custom Harley-Davidsons? Check out some of these other amazing builds:
- Emma Myers and her custom Harley-Davidson Sportster build
- Hillary Eickhoff’s 1990 Harley-Davidson XL1200 Sportster Chopper
- Ryan Grayson’s 2001 Harley-Davidson Sportster Chopper
The rear fender was handmade by my friend Ron Brefka.
Owner: Ken Carvajal
Year/Make/Model: 1962 Harley-Davidson FL
Fabrication: Sissy bar, front end, brackets, gas tank, fender, tail light, hand shifter, foot clutch,
Build Time: 9 Months
A beautiful mix of stock and custom parts help make this Panhead chopper stand out.
Year/Type/Size: 1962 Panhead, 74 cubic inch
Carburetor: Linkert M74B / Phares Cycles PSP intake manifold
Exhaust: Paugcho 3 piece w/ EMGO cocktail shakers
Air Cleaner: Pangea Zeppelin (J Slot)
Ken’s custom Harley-Davidson Panhead chopper in its final form.
Year/Type: Paugcho Wishbone frame, windowed neck
The front end was carefully modified for this build, with the MCM fork shrouds (meant for a vintage Triumph) really setting it apart.
Type / Brand: Modified narrow glide - 35mm, shaved lowers, trees, MCM fork shrouds and spacers
Cocker Classic rear tire, a good look for the era of this Panhead.
Wheels & Tires:
Black DIY paint job by Ken.
Paint by: myself - DIY, black
Plating/Polishing: 7 Metal West
A bicycle light as tail light is a nice touch.
Front Fender: Nope
Rear Fender: 7 Metal West
Gas Tank: Hap Jones / 2" cap
Handlebars: 7/8” - 16” Emgo
Grips: British re-pop
Mirrors: No need for those
Hand Controls: Super Pratic throttle
Foot Controls: OEM rocker clutch modified as foot clutch
Headlight: Re-pop Bates
Taillight: Bicycle light, modified with a dual filament LED light
Turn Signals: Nope
License Mount: Zip ties
Seat: Gentry Dayton solo seat
Ken's custom Harley-Davidson FL Panhead chopper out enjoying nature.
The handlebars are 7/8" diameter, 16" ape hangers.
1962 Panhead, 74 cubic inch engine.
The gas tank is an original Hap Jones peanut tank with a British-style 2" filler cap.
The windowed neck on this this beautiful vintage build is a small but cool custom touch.
The sissy bar, fender and tail light add to the great lines of this bike.
Modifying a bicycle light for use as a tail light turned out well.
OEM Harley rocker clutch modified as foot control.
Ken's nine months of hard work really paid off.
This beautiful vintage machine has some soul to it.
Some details on Ken's 1962 Harley FL Panhead chopper.
Gentry Dayton sprung solo seat.
This original Hap Joes peanut tank with the offset 2" gas cap, which is actually an oil filler cap from a vintage Triumph.
Some more detail shots of Ken's Panhead chopper.
Ken's got his mark on the Panhead he built.
Ken's 1962 Harley Panhead FL chopper
Now all that is left is to enjoy riding this beauty!