San Berdoo - In a workshop at Berdoo College, new (aftermarket) parts from a New York manufacturer are being assembled to replicate a 65 year old Harley-Davidson®. "Minus the tank embelms....of course! We wouldn't want any problems from Milwaukee..." said instructor Dennis Franz. "They reproduce just about everything now, frames, cylinder heads, crankcases, gaskets...you name it. We buy the motors complete. The challenge is making some of these parts fit."
The work is done by about 20 students in the college's antique auto restoration class, a course unique among community colleges in the county. The class in the in the rear of the T-Building on the north side of the campus. It provides tools for learning and restoring cars (Model A Fords to be exact). And, conveniently, it's a place where students can work on their own cars and motorcycles without the worry of irritating their neighbors. "It's harder for people to do it at their houses nowadays," said student Mike Smith, 47, of Berdoo.
Even though the finshed motorcycle cannot be registered and licensed in the state of California, the college is participating in a trial program with a community college in Ohio. The early stages of the project were rolled out in September at the annual "Route 66 Rendezvous", "which drew alot of interest and questions from the crowd", added Franz. The finished motorcycle will be shown at the Los Angeles county fair, and then sold to the community college in Akron ("The Rubber Capitol of The World") - results of a plan between Franz and his long time friend Bob LaCosta, a mechanical arts instructor at Akron's Community Learning Center. "Bob and I grew up together, riding motorcycles at the bluffs around Huntington Beach. Harleys and Model-A Fords were our transpo", said Franz. When Bob contacted me about the replica Harley we were building, I told him, "Sure, if you buy it from us when it's finished, you can tear it down to see the changes we made, and let your class build one just like it." When questioned as to whether it was fair to do all the modification work, so someone else in another state could learn from it, Franz replied, "Aw it doesn't matter. He'd do the same for me. We're like twin sons from different mothers."