Okay maybe I might have embellished the dragster part, but with a TP Engineering Pro Series 121-inch engine I can’t help but feel that way. In case you’re not aware of them, these Danbury, Connecticut-built engines are their own work of engineering art from the inside out. Basically everything you see was made there to the highest standards of high-performance possible which not only gives nice readings of 125hp and 120 lb-ft of torque but keeps it strong and reliable as a street motor. Sucking huge quantities of air through the extra-large velocity stack on the extra-large S&S carb and exhaling them out through the ceramic-coated stepped-header built by Frankie Serrano of FSD Exhausts not only lets those 125 ponies loose, but lets you know they’re coming long before they get there.
Getting this rig started might not be for the faint of heart as you might notice there’s a kicker hanging off the tranny. Somehow just looking at this bike I wouldn’t be surprised if it tuned well enough so it was truly a one-kicker or maybe two. Everything here has its special purpose besides just running and it all looks so well done I’m a believer. There’s a functionally thin, open belt drive (with no backing plate) that delivers the TP power to the tranny before a proper chain drive transfers it to the rear wheel. I know they’re lovely bits of engineering and all, but I prefer my belts on the primary and my chain on the final drive. If Jesus owned a chopper I think he’d specify it this way to and who are we to argue with Jesus?
One quick look from any angle on this bike and you can tell the builder has a good eye for the all-important stance of a muscle bike. The rigid frame has flawless lines from headstock to axle plate and everything in between. The dual-spring chromed springer looks vintage-ly lovely and beefy enough for a four-pot caliper up front to bring the relatively wide spoked front wheel to a stop safely. There’s also enough rubber on the road to do some back road scratching too without fear of running out of tire like most skinny 21-inchers. Out back a solid disc reasonably fat solid disc wheel adds to the performance quotient in the looks department alone. A huge rotor and caliper looks ready to handle whatever’s thrown at it and then some. Serious brakes for a serious engine on a fun ride, what more can you ask for performance wise?
The twin Fat Bob-style saddle tanks are mounted to enhance the look of motion even at rest. Careful placement and a good eye (again) really made the most of these assemblies. A wide leather strap covers the top of the tank encasing the only gauge on board and a couple of way-cool fighter-style red flip switches handle the electric duties. A strangely different, yet nice touch. A regular old cylindrical oil tank hangs under the dual-bladder suspension solo seat with a simple black leather covering. The bladder assembly is seriously unobtrusive and might not even be noticed by most admirers, but what it does to make a rigid a reasonable rider is awesome. Yeah, somebody built this as a rider and chose every smart move in the book to make it fun as well as fast. A perfectly functional as well as extremely good looking rear fender just does what it’s supposed to and fits the build to a tee.
The name of the bike, Detroit Hustler, painted on the oil tank tells it all about the rest of the graphics laid out over that luscious crème base paint. Anybody who knows just the littlest bit of late ‘60s/early ‘70s muscle car history knows what SS logo on the tank and timing cover stands for ─ Chevy Super Sport. They looked great in the grille of a Chevelle and they look especially nice repurposed here. The black musclecar-style stripes enhance the musclecar feeling (and appeal) without being the least bit themey. They couldn’t look better even smack dab in the middle of the grille of a cherry 454 SS as far as I’m concerned anyway. This somewhat simple paintjob is simply striking and to the point. Mix it up with the chrome and it’s killer. At least that’s the way I see it.
Finishing it off with a nice set of attitude apes and a vintage-style set of Harley-Davidson floor boards hits all the right buttons for me. I hate to admit it, but I love these half-moon floorboards on a chop and not only do they look retro-cool, but they give you some possible foot movement on a long ride. I like that. That modern version of a Bates headlight with a yellow-tined lens just looks great and even though it probably works like crap for a headlight, it puts out a cool hue at night. Plus I think that makes it legal to ride in France if they’re still doing the yellow headlight thing.
Whoever built this had a clear vision of what they were after and what they could build and still ride. They wanted very serious engine performance and they got that. They wanted decent handling and braking and they got that. They wanted rideability and reliability and they got that. And, they wanted a good looking ride with a style all its own and, damn it, they got that too. Man-o-man! What’s not to love?