Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go

Daily Slideshow: There was a time when one man built, tuned, and raced his own motorcycle.

By Brett Foote - November 1, 2018
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go
Vintage Harley Drag Bike Is the Epitome of Show and Go

Real Survivor

In the old days of motorcycles, people built, modified, and maintained their rides on their own. This went for everything from your daily rider to the fastest race bikes on the planet. Things have obviously changed a great deal since those days. Thus, it's nice to see real survivors like this '70s vintage drag bike that we found over at Mecum Auctions.

D.I.Y.

In true old-school fashion, this stunning Harley drag racer was built and ridden by the one man - Don Rothwell. Rothwell built the frame in a fashion similar to the ultra-popular Yetman but fortified it for the extra power brought on by the addition of nitro.  

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Hand Built

That hand-built theme continues throughout the rest of the bike. Rothwell also built the Slider lockup clutch, fuel and oil tanks, caliper carriers, clutch, and drive supports himself. And of course, he also built the engine - an 89-inch Sportster-based 2-cylinder. As you might be guessing by now, he also did all the tuning to get it sorted out at the track.

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Finding Inspiration

Rothwell built his Harley as a tanker-style racer, which he admits was inspired not only by other fuelers of the period, but also by Ray Price's legendary funny bike. Rothwell got the chance to see that insane creation race back in 1974, and it inspired him to build his very own ride.

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Bulk of the Build

Most of the work, of course, went into the engine, as it should. The punched out motor features a bore measuring 3.5 inches and a stroke of 4 5/8 inches. The engine wears a rare first-year S&S Fuel carburetor, which Rothwell performed his own dual float bowl conversion on.

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Beefy Internals

The beefy engine also sports Lieneweber L-3 cams and rare ACE cylinders. The massaged nitro heads feature 1.94-inch intake and 1.94-inch exhaust, which is big enough to be used in some hot rod cars, let alone a motorcycle.

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Impressive Performance

Other performance-related goodies include Truett & Osborne flywheels and XLR straight pipes. And it all adds up to performance figures that are extremely impressive, even today. The bike has run a best 1/4-mile of 8.5 seconds at 160 mph and done the 1/8 mile in 5.7 at 130 mph.

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

Looks to Kill

But make no mistake - this amazing machine isn't just some clapped-out racer. It looks every bit as good as it goes. Part of that allure, of course, can be credited to the ever-cool Ceriani 32mm front end fitted with a Kosman wheel.

Since the restoration of this amazing Harley racer was completed, it's only seen the track a handful of times. Which is understandable, given its historical significance and immaculate shape. But if it were us, we'd have a hard time not wringing this bad boy out every chance we got!

>>Join the conversation about this vintage Harley drag bike right here in the Harley-Davidson Forum!

 For help with service and maintenance of your Harley, check out the how to section of HDForums.com.

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