Eric Vaughan has been a loyal member since 2013, and he’s like many of you; he likes to get his hands dirty. He has a solid nine-to-five and spends the rest of his free time between his family and the garage. I've been following Destroyer Garage on Instagram, and it seems like Eric is always busy. So busy that his bike has taken a back seat many times so he could help a friend get back on the road. Once I saw the bike was ready for action, I didn’t hesitate to reach out to him. I hope you enjoy Plum Crazy as much as I do.
“I build bikes but not full time it's kinda like my side work I do for extra cash. I hope to open a shop sooner than later and do it full time (if I can swing it). Right now I have two lifts in my two-car garage, and I'm trying to get shit done as fast as I can. I'm originally from Boise, Idaho and skateboarded for about 15 years in that area. I came to Houston in 2009 in hopes of creating a new beginning. I played in a band right off the bat and found a spot where I can fit in. It wasn't till about 2011 when I started building bikes. It was something that I was interested in doing because I could fabricate and make things the way I wanted. Destroyer Garage is something I created about two years ago so I could put a name to what I was doing at the time. Whatever that was. I still have a hard time accepting that I build bikes for people. I just wanted to build things and make some cool stuff.”-Eric Vaughan
Photos by Mark
Owner name, location: Eric Vaughan, Houston, TX
ChopCult Member profile: ESV
Engine, year and make, model, modifications: 1949 el panhead punched out to a 74ci.
Frame: ‘48 wishbone frame, with a little molding and I windowed the neck.
Fork: Old servicar springer not sure of the year re-chromed and rebuilt everything.
Chassis mods: I picked up a tank from a buddy he had on his old bike, and bought a Lowbrow fender. It was too narrow, so I widened it with a piece of stainless. You can’t see it because I painted over it. I think eventually it will be shown, but I wanna ride it for now. Tire/wheel size and style: The front is a skinny rim I found down in a south Houston Harley junk hoarders shop, but we had a lot in common already. We struck up a deal, and I knew it was going to make a killer wheel. I laced it up to an old star hub that wasn’t worn out yet with some stainless Buchanan’s spokes. I wrapped it with a Firestone 2.75/21. The rear is a typical 16x3 laced to a star hub I found on craigslist with stainless Buchanan’s spokes wrapped with a Firestone 16”.
Favorite thing about this bike: It’s gotta be the stance. I’m very pleased how it sits and tries to catch that muscle car attitude. Next modification will be: To finish it. There are always things to do to on a build like this. It’s never done and especially when I can’t stay happy long enough to enjoy anything. Perfection is always a goal for me, and I'll touch it ‘till it gets that way.
Other mods, accessories, cool parts, etc.: I found the bars at a swap a few years back for 20 bones. The dude said he'd had them forever. I’ve personally never seen a set like that and thought they were pretty cool. I made the tank mounts out of some stainless bar stock and some bungs I had laying around and honestly I had plans on mounting another tank on it and had the frame already painted after I decided to use this skinnier tank. I was forced to make a custom mount if I didn’t want to weld to the frame again, so I came up with the mounts. I didn't want the tank to touch the frame so if you look closely you can see it floating off the backbone. That inspired me to make the headlight mount and the throttle bracket. The sissy I bent up with the same stainless bar stock and mounted a Prism Supply led light to it. The exhaust was a little different from what I see people do I wanted to try using lobster cuts, so I looked up on YouTube and figured it out with my chop saw. I can honestly say that took more time than I was ever willing to commit to that project and I will probably never do it again.
Any building or riding story or info you'd like to include: Here’s a crazy story on how I ended up with this bike. I’m always scanning Craigslist, and I came across this $1500 1980 shovelhead; it was posted like 1hr at the max, I called her, and she told me the bike was still available and that she got off at 5 pm later that day. I called her at 5, and we met up. I was expecting to be a few dudes there at her house and that this could turn into a bidding war of some sort. I picked up my friend Bob, and we hauled ass. We got there, and the bike was sitting outside with nobody there but her brother. I scooped it up and in about 45 minutes of work and a new coil I had that bike running and popping wheelies down my street. I contacted a guy up in Liberty Hill, TX, that had an old basket case panhead. Motor, tranny, frame, wheels, front end, it was hideous. I told him I'd make the drive up there with my boy that Saturday with this shovelhead and trade him straight across for the pan. He thought it was plum crazy when I showed up and traded him for that dirty ol’ panhead. That's kinda what inspired me to call it plum crazy, that and I used to build model cars like a champ for my pop when I was younger, and my favorite one was a plum crazy 1970 Dodge Challenger.
Thanks to my family, all my friends who supported me with beers and ideas over time, my boy Jett for playing hide-and-seek with my tools and parts (always keeping me on my toes), to Great White for getting me pumped up on bad decisions and killer covers, and anyone else I missed. Thank you. -Eric
Article by Lisa Ballard / @lisamballard
Photos by Mark /@themarkofphotography