OCC POW MIA Tribute Chopper

 

 

 

Never To Be Forgotten
A Rolling POW/MIA Tribute From Orange County Choppers

By now, there are very few people in America who haven't heard of Orange County Choppers. You don't even have to be a motorcycle enthusiast to know of the shop. If you have a television hooked up to a satellite dish or cable, there is very little chance that you have not heard the Orange County Choppers name uttered while surfing through the channels. There have been hundreds of new builders who surfaced since the Harley market started gaining some serious steam in the mid-'90s. And, while some of these builders have been more successful than others, we can't think of any that have enjoyed the meteoric rise to fame that OCC owner Paul Teutul and his son, Paul Jr., have experienced.

The Teutul's television show, American Chopper, is one of the most watched shows on the Discovery Channel. Paul Sr. has a style on the show that comes across as, well, we'll just say, a tad intense. Although some of us on the outside may find this a little uncomfortable at times, those on the inside know that the Pauls just have their own way of communicating. Everything is up-front and to the point. The Teutuls have earned the respect of the television-viewing public who can't get enough of watching as the entire OCC crew tries to meet their deadlines against obstacles that seem insurmountable at times. Just as you get the feeling that whatever bike they are building for the show won't be completed on schedule, the OCC crew pulls out all the stops and the job always gets done.

Orange County Choppers' latest project is the POW tribute bike seen here. The bike was Paul Sr.'s idea to pay homage to the American POWs and MIAs who served during the Vietnam War. He knows these guys never received the level of praise or recognition they deserve for laying everything on the line to serve their country, and his new POW bike was his personal way of saying thank you.

Paul Sr. started with an OCC rigid frame with only 30 degrees of rake, but an additional 10 inches of length was added to the forward tubes to make the bike's fuel tank and triple-trees sit high in the air. The added center-height also makes the bike look incredibly large. Jeri Springer built a special extended springer frontend with springs that ride behind the main fork legs and down near the axle. Yeah, we know what you're thinking, and no, it's not the same guy. Hallcraft built a pair of very special wheels for the project. The 21-inch front and 18-inch rear wheels have spokes that were made to look exactly like strips of cut barbwire. For braking, both wheels use Hallcraft floating rotors with OCC calipers. A 120-series Metzeler tire was mounted up front and was matched with a 240-series Metzeler at the rear of the bike.

With all the activity that was taking place in the shop, Paul Sr. only could afford to set aside two weeks to complete the bike. Rather than build an engine from scratch, he opted to pick up a 100-inch RevTech crate motor. The engine configuration remained untouched, but an OCC associate did spend a bit of time fine-tuning the 45mm Mikuni carburetor and Crane Hi-4 ignition to run perfectly with the Yaffe exhaust system. A Primo/Rivera open-belt primary drive and Primo/Rivera clutch was selected to go between the engine and the five-speed RevTech transmission.

An OCC-built fuel tank had to be constructed with the fuel neck at the very tip-top of the tank that appears to be tilted at an upward angle of more than 45 degrees. A simple pair of fork braces was made to tie the legs of the springer together in lieu of a fender. The rear fender is an OCC creation and also one of the most important parts of the bike. Paul Sr. wanted something huge that would completely encase the 240-series rear tire and give him an area to place a miniature version of the names found on the Vietnam Memorial Wall.

Justin Barnes, of JB Graphix, took care of all of the paint and graphics work. The fuel tank has a scene with the silhouette logo symbolizing POWs and MIAs, along with troop movements and helicopter flights taking place in the background. The rear fender has a huge list of some of the real names of soldiers who served during the war. In fact, OCC employee Rick Petko's mother's cousin is on this list, giving the project an even deeper personal touch. Justin used barbwire graphics as pinstriping to separate the black and white sections of the bike's color scheme.

Once the painted items were returned from JB Graphix, most of the OCC crew pitched in and help to finish off the bike. Paul Cox is responsible for the incredible custom spring-mounted seat complete with detailed artwork and flawless stitching. A sissybar was custom-bent from twisted steel and sent out for chrome, along with a few feet of custom formed barbwire that Paul Sr. used as accent pieces to run down each side of the frame. For lighting, a Perse headlamp was hung below the triple-trees of the springer frontend and an OCC taillight was placed on back. The very last items to go on the bike were the OCC handlebars with OMP hand controls and OCC forward controls.

The bike was so new at the time Paul Sr. sent us these photographs, it only had a handful of miles on it. He tells us that those few miles were enough for him to decide to hang on to this one for good.

Source By Hot Rod Bikes Staff

 

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