The Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show is like a nice bowl of gumbo: wholesome and with a little bit of everything. 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Doug McKenzie’s 1916 Harley-Davidson F model sat in a New England field for more than 40 years and still ran on the original plugs when it was brought back to life.

Rather than feature a single marque for the 12th annual event in San Luis Obispo, California, the meet hosted the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, which itself is 45 years old. Gracious, time flies when yer gettin’ old. 

Related: AHRMA Classic MotoFest Series Keeps the Tradition Alive

The event took place on the grounds of the Mountainbrook Community Church overlooking SLO-town, with sparkling weather following the morning fog, about 50 show entries, and a full roster of swap meet vendors. The field events included a piston toss, a tire roll, and the Best-Sounding motorcycle competition. Sadly, the slow race has been consigned to history due to liability issues.

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
To the surprise of no one, first place in the American division went to Mike Madden’s 1939 Crocker “Small Tank.” Only 70 or so Crockers were made, and of the handful of remaining close-to-originals, Madden owns three. But he’s not smug about it.

In addition to British, American, and European classes, the judges considered the categories of Pre-1941 bikes, On- and Off-Road Competition machines, Cafe Racers, Hand-Built bikes, and a class for Original/Unrestored machines. New this year was a class for Young Builders, established to encourage “younger enthusiasts in the passion of preserving, restoring, and enjoying classic motorcycles.” 

While the number of American V-Twins had dwindled this year, those on hand represented a wide spectrum of time, style, condition, and purpose. 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Jim Oftobani’s 1941 Harley WL was updated with a belt primary drive, a modern clutch assembly, and an electric start. There’s a lot to be said for classic style with contemporary convenience.

The earliest example was Doug McKenzie’s unrestored 1916 Harley-Davidson F model, which had sat in a Massachusetts barnyard for some 40 years. “But the magneto didn’t need to be rebuilt, and the clutch worked perfectly,” McKenzie said. “The first few times I rode it, it had the original spark plugs.” The only replacement part on the bike is the exhaust pipe because the original had long since rusted away. If there was an award for patina, this bike would have been the obvious winner. 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
The Central Coast Classic included a variety of vintage bikes, from McKenzie’s 1916 Harley to a 1970s Yamaha RD400 2-stroker.

Two notable figures in the classic/vintage realm were on hand: Steve Huntzinger and Mike Madden. Huntzinger has become one of the top restoration practitioners in the country after a modest start to his career.

“My first build was a 20-inch bicycle with a Briggs & Stratton engine,” Huntzinger said. His first “real” motorcycle? “My 1912 Harley Single, which I still have.” 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Mike Madden (left) and Steve Huntzinger are well-known names in the classic/vintage motorcycle scene. And yes, they both still ride ’em.

Asked if he had a favorite restoration between Indian and Harley in terms of the original quality in design and components, he replied, “Well, they’re all unique. But I can say that I never rode my Knucklehead again once I rode an Indian. That was the end of that. Of course, the Harley guys don’t like to hear that.” 

Madden interjected. “The last good Harley was built in 1915. They went downhill after that. They got heavier and bulkier.”

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
One of Steve Huntzinger’s favorite rides is his 1940 Indian Scout bobber, which was furnished with mostly new old-stock pieces. “It’s what you would have built if you were a rich kid in the ’40s,” he said.

When he’s not working on a commissioned restoration, Huntzinger works on his own cars and motorcycles. He has a ’32 Ford sedan driver and a ’57 Ford Thunderbird, and he is working on a ’32 coupe chassis with a Model A body. His bikes include a ’39 Indian Four, a ’47 Scout, and a ’40 Scout bobber. His 1971 Honda CB750 is a clone of the first custom he built 50-some years ago while working at a Honda shop in Pasadena. “I had to sell the first one,” he said, “but this one is an exact copy.”

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
The speedometer on Madden’s ’39 Crocker indicates the last high speed it attained, 74 mph.

Madden, whose Huntzinger-restored 1940 Crocker won Best in Show at the 2006 Legends of the Motorcycle event in Half Moon Bay, runs a diesel maintenance shop in Paso Robles. 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Mike Madden has put more than a few miles on his award-winning 1940 Crocker “Big Tank,” seen here riding to a different event.

“We work on motorcycles when we have time,” he explained. “Steve’s helping me out with the finishing touches on an Ace Four.” Madden has three Crockers, all Huntzinger restos, and his 1939 “Small Tank” took best American honors at the Central Coast Classic.  

Huntzinger’s restoration work is revered across the country, so we asked how he charges for his work. “Totally time and materials,” he said. 

Madden jumps in again: “It depends on the attitude. It’s real simple, he works on a retainer basis: You give him a wad, and he’ll call you when it runs out. ’Cause he quits. It’s real simple.”

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Looking north to the Santa Lucia Mountains, Madden’s Crocker fronts Jeff Koskie’s Velocette Thruxton and Vincent Comet, which won the best British class award.

“It works,” Huntzinger said. “I just have select people I work for, so I don’t have the riff-raff and…” 

“With the exception of me!” Madden again interrupts. When these two get together it’s almost like stand-up comedy – a couple of wild and crazy guys. 

Taking a different custom approach, Richard Jones from Thousand Oaks has put a unique spin on a Harley Sportster. His 2000 Hugger has been given Vincent-style touches to create a distinctive machine. 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Richard Jones’ 2000 Harley Sportster is cleverly disguised as a Vincent Black Shadow derivation.

“It started as a challenge from a bunch of guys in a chop shop,” Jones said. “They wanted to know if I could turn a Sportster into something like a Vincent Black Shadow. And this is the result.” 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
The vintage Indian girder fork is Jones’ own fabrication. He and his son Matt are in business as RJH Retro Nation, specializing in “old school motorcycle reproductions.”

Jones’ custom features a front end of his own design. “I build Indian girder forks for replacement parts or customs that need a specific size.” Richard and his son Matt have a website at

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Bob Pogue’s XR750 tribute is based on a 1969 XLCH, a nod to the most successful dirt-tracker ever built.

Bob Pogue of Lompoc had two entries in the Hand-Built class: a turbocharged ’72 Honda 500 Four and a ’69 Harley Sportster XLCH done up as an XR750.  

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
The answer to a question that perhaps only Bruce Hanson ever asked: What do you get if you put a twin-turbo, 600-hp Chevy V8 in a trike? One thing you get is people’s attention.

But the Hand-Built award ultimately went to Arizona’s Bruce Hanson and his twin-turbo Chevy V8-powered trike called “Justified.” Its Corvette engine was stroked to 383ci and makes 600 rear-wheel horsepower, transmitting power to a Jaguar differential. The trike weighs 1,100 lb and will allegedly go from 0 to 100 mph in three seconds. Bob’s wife says the passenger seat is quite comfortable. We will take her word for it. 

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
The radiator of Hanson’s trike doubles as a rear spoiler. Rear wheels are 19-inch Corvette; in front is a Harley 16-inch wheel in a Wide Glide fork. With extra-heavy-duty springs.

Gary Roper was down from Medford, Oregon, with his vintage roadracers: a 1951 Velocette 350 MAC and a ’26 Indian Scout with a 1936 engine, the latter taking top honors in the Roadracing category. Gary races both machines in American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association competitions and was headed to Birmingham, Alabama, for the season finale at Barber Motorsports Park. His race this summer at Laguna Seca was covered in the October issue of American Rider

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
Judge Vincent Schardt inspects Gary Roper’s Indian Scout racer. The 3-speed handshifter collected three trophies at the Laguna Seca AHRMA races this summer.

For complete show results, go to

Central Coast Classic Motorcycle Show
A spectator eyeballs Gary Roper’s Indian Scout racer.


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