Southeastern Customs Gangreen Time Machine

Written by  Story By Johnny Pants Photos By Jack “Green Around The Gills” Cofano Tuesday, 28 November 2017 18:19
Published in Choppers
  Some builders like the builder of this bike, Rodney Smith of Southeastern Customs in Supply, North Carolina, you just gotta love ‘em. Rodney builds what he wants regardless of any trends and never does the same thing twice. He’s a hot rodder at heart as well as a motorcycle freak and the crossover skills from restoring and modifying American iron have given him a different outlook on what he likes in a custom bike. Whether it’s his Shelby Cobra trike or his personal everyday Shovelhead custom, the man’s got his own vision and he’s not afraid. Two great attributes any builder should have and old Rodney’s got ‘em in spades. 



  Rodney’s latest build around an old Harley-Davidson Ironhead engine called Gangreen is a perfect example of what I just said. It’s a salute to Old School utilizing modern methods and materials to make an eyeball garnering event at any show this bike is entered into. It’s a hot rod update of a traditional chopper style with a pile of modern sass for maximum attention-getting effect. The man enjoys shocking people and seeing the reactions while never doubting whether he chose the right direction or not. There’s always specific design intent inside his head and he never fluctuates along the way. Plus he does all of his work in-house. 

   All builds start at the engine and this baby’s got as nice ‘70s Ironhead Sporty engine that looks much closer in appearance and architecture to something from Harley’s past than the coming Evolution series. It just has that raw, bad ass image and sound only an Ironhead has and is a fine choice to build an Old School-style bike around as it is pretty damn Old School going on well over 40-years later. The forward-facing SU carb with a nicely machined suction chamber sucking air through a velocity stack looks the part for an era-correct mod. So don’t the crazy ass dual pipes shooting straight back and then straight up before dumping out tractor-trailer style just below the “queen’s” ears. 

  Wrapping up the finished pipes in header wrap to keep the flesh burnings down to a minimum was smart, but Rodney’s not a completely traditional guy. So, he wrapped them in green header wrap. I’ve never green header wrap ever and have no idea how exactly Rodney accomplished that feat. Hey, like I said Rodney’s not afraid to take chances. The engine itself is also bathed in green powdercoating and the show chrome finish on the engine covers gives some sharp color contrast to the green monster. 

   The power plant was placed in a pretty racy-looking rigid frame with a radical rake and a single curved downtube breaking off into two tubes to form the engine cradle. It’s a beefy unit with a stance that says, “Let’s go!”  Especially so when Rodney installed that long-legged springer that reaches for the horizon while cradling a 23-inch laced wheel sans any brake. Out back another laced wheel sporting a big disc setup wears a fat-enough tire to firmly plant this bike to the ground whether parked or going a million. It’s all traditional stuff that fits well together making for a nice running chassis to finish up around. 

   No traditional Sportster, Wassell, Mustang or coffin-style tank was auditioned for holding fuel and that only makes the build better for it. Rodney came up with his own tank that shoots up at a 45-degree angle and is more a piece of bodywork than a fuel cell. It ties the King & Queen seat directly to the head tube and provides nice space for paint too. Speaking of that K&Q seat, I’d have to guess that’s where the hidden electrics are hidden. The metalwork that forms both the seat and the rear fender is the only possible place you could hide a battery and whatever electric gubbins you need to conceal. 

  Up in front, Rodney repurposed some kind of tank into an oil tank that sits right out in the breeze for a little extra cooling and he also wisely added a spin-on filter unit piped in directly below. All this airflow should keep the Ironhead from becoming a hot head along with clean oil schmoozing around inside. Some people might object to the purposeful braided stainless lines going about their business, but I’m okay with that. Sure makes it easier to work on is the way I look at it. 

   There’s no doubt about it, though, this bike is as much about color as anything. The emerald green and yellow paint scheme might be a bit too brash for some, but I’ll bet it’s just fine with a lot of others. Frankly, building a custom bike is all about showing off. Some like to show off more than others and this is in their realm of street and show showboating. I can almost guarantee that nobody ever walks by this bike without looking at it and taking a second look after passing by. It’s an attention grabber and that’s what makes Rodney tick. He’s out to grab your attention with every build and he always succeeds don’t you think? 

   For more info on Southeastern Customs visit or find ‘em on Facebook.

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