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Dick Hirschberg

When I was about 10 years old, I used to hit the library's periodical rack so I could read the latest issue of Hot Rod magazine. Behind their main rack, they had a cupboard with all the back issues of each magazine stacked by year. I'd read the latest issue, then I'd grab 5 or 6 back issues to read. I was going thru the Feb. '60 issue, and Bob Greene had an article in it titled "No Two 'Wheels' Alike". I guess I should also add that Bob Greene was the first editor of Cycle magazine, and was also the first editor of Motorcyclist magazine. Bob also handled the motorcycle content for Hot Rod magazine in his column "Up On Two Wheels". Yeah, Bob knew his stuff.

In the above mentioned article, the lead-off picture was of this big bald-headed guy, rockin' Ray-Ban Wayfarer sunglasses, jeans, engineer boots, sleeves cut off his grubby sweatshirt at the armpits, standing behind the baddest 'sickle I'd ever seen. If you'd like to see that shot, I used it in my article in Greasy Kulture #8. The more I stared at the picture, the more I wanted a bike just like that, and I wanted that magazine. So, I took the magazine, slipped it in my shirt, and I stole it from the library. I guess that was my first "outlaw" act. I still have that magazine, by the way.

Over the years, every time Dick, or "Hirsch" as Bob Greene called him, would decide to build a new bike, Bob would feature it in his column. I really didn't know much about Hirsch, but I knew he could put together "diamonds out of coal" Harleys. It wasn't until much later that I found out who Dick was, and what part he played in both the bike and M/C club history of SoCal.

The bike that's pictured in the above photo was built by Dick sometime in '69, out of a BRAND NEW ElectraGlide. Dick was 46 at the time, and it was his first "electric foot" bike. He, along with help from L.A. H-D, produced one of the slickest bobbed Estart FLH's ever, pruned down to 525 pounds. Now, mind you, this bike was done almost 2 years before the first Super Glide hit the streets. If somebody in Milwaukee wasn't looking at the March '70 issue of Hot Rod back then, I'll eat my leather stroker hat!

Even today, Hirsch's ElectraGlide would be "right there". The styling is timeless. Also pitching in on this was Dick's longtime friend and drinking buddy Von Dutch, who did the engine turning, lettering, striping, and engraving on it. Dutch's touch graced every bike that Hirschberg built


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