Acme's Panhead Survivor


Everyone remembers his first ride on a motorcycle. Not your neighbor's minibike or some janky scooter: I'm talking about Real American Iron. Wayne Ahlquist and his brother Jason at Acme Choppers tasted two-wheeled excitement for the first time aboard this. Harley's panhead-powered Hydra Glide set new standards for performance and handling from the MoCo by introducing telescopic forks to the engineering equation.

When Wayne and Jason's Uncle Joe DeRosa treated them to their first double-digit blast over New England tarmac as young boys, the bike-building brothers were hooked. Thirty-something years later, that cherry-poppin' panhead is still in the family.


Before he passed away, Wayne and Jason bought their uncle's Harley to keep the machine in the family. Uncle Joe bought the bike when he was 18, and gave Wayne and Jason their first rides when they were eight and six, respectively. The brothers changed a few bits on the beloved Hydra Glide after their uncle's death, but it's the same machine Wayne remembers blasting around on when he was a kid.

My own first taste of two-wheeled freedom on tarmac came aboard my Uncle Greg's CB450 around '73 or '74. I'd ridden minibikes before then, but that jade green rice burner was the fastest machine I'd ever seen. Uncle Greg and I must have looked like two monkeys fucking a football on Honda's diminutive street bike, but it didn't matter. With my chubby little hands clenching his even chubbier midsection, Uncle Greg and I speeded around the neighborhood like fugitives from a NAMBLA party.

Wayne and Jason's love affair with their uncle's Hydra Glide has only strengthened with time. "Jay and I share the bike now, which means we mostly share working on it. It's an old panhead, after all." I don't know what became of my Uncle Greg's CB450—it's probably rusting away in some Florida swamp—but I remember poking around that thing like it was yesterday. 

To all the uncles of America, thanks for introducing your nephews to the virtues of two-wheeled freedom.  

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Comment with Chopcult (22)

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 05:42 am

Wow...awesome bike!!

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 05:59 am

Nice Bike....Even better story...Very cool

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 06:28 am

Nice to have a legacy.

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 08:13 am

fuck i cant stop looking at that ugly ass headlight visor

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 08:30 am

that pan is cool as hell

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 09:13 am

Super Sweet! LOVE IT !

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 09:43 am

simply legendary...

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 10:44 am

Don't click the NAMBLA link.

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 11:18 am

Pure Sexy! The article in cycle source on these cats made me wish my brother and I could work together. Lucky dudes

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 03:08 pm

Yeah lose the headlight visor nice bike front fender cool too

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 03:08 pm

Yeah lose the headlight visor nice bike front fender cool too

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 03:50 pm

that's nice to keep something like that in the family and to see that it's still original

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 04:41 pm

This is New England, not SoCal!!! Hahahahahahaha

Nice bike!!! And great pictures as always!

Commented on 8-26-2011 At 04:57 pm


Commented on 8-27-2011 At 04:01 am

Cool panhead, btw the law states only 2 testicles per bike....

Commented on 8-27-2011 At 05:49 am

Got a couple more year's before I can put the panic on my sisters face with my 2 nephews.

Commented on 8-27-2011 At 10:46 pm

Like. Reading the comments I couldn't help thinking that it's funny how some folks bikes "after" is like others'"'before" bikes. And Vice-versa ;-)

Commented on 8-28-2011 At 03:11 pm

Very Nice!

Commented on 8-28-2011 At 05:51 pm

Wow, Nambla huh? i thought i was the only!

Commented on 8-29-2011 At 05:21 pm

Great story love the tradition

Commented on 8-30-2011 At 10:32 pm

klassic! Nice ride

Commented on 2-8-2012 At 01:16 pm

Fuckin gorgeous! haha love the name!

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