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Video Interview: Curt Owen on his Custom Shovel

Video Interview: Curt Owen on his Custom Shovel

About a Custom Shovel

FEBRUARY 23, 2015 - Custom Shovelhead by Jeffrey Najar Curt Owen talks with Pat Jansen of Progressive Insurance at the 2015 J&P Cycles Ultimate Builder Custom Bike Show in Chicago. Owen built Moonlight Tango, a Pro Street sled,
featuring a single sided swing arm, stretch and rake on the frame with hydraulic suspension, wide glide girder front end, head work, Leineweber cam, crank work and Wiseco pistons.

About the Shovelhead

The Shovelhead is an air-cooled, 45 degree, V-twin motorcycle engine manufactured from 1966 to 1985 by Harley-Davidson. Initial models had an engine displacement of 1,208 cc (74 cu in). Roughly halfway through production of the 1978 model year, this was increased to 1,340 cc (82 cu in) for some of Harley’s Big Twin bikes. 1340cc, referred to by the company as 80ci., engines were optional on FLH models halfway through 1978 and through all of ’79 before becoming standard equipment for FLH models in 1980.
Custom Shovelhead with single-sided swingarm
Custom Shovelhead with single-sided swingarm
These bikes were referred to as FLH-80 Electra Glide II models. FX model bikes continued to be offered with either 1200 or 1340 cc engines till 1981 when 1340cc, also referred to as 80 ci., was made standard across the Big Twin line. The “shovel” cylinder head represented an offshoot of the Harley-Davidson_Knucklehead engine but featured a slightly different look. The name was derived from the appearance of the rocker box covers. Because these covers bring to mind the head of coal shovels when inverted, the name shovelhead was a natural progression. The shovel engines powered Harleys up until the introduction of the Evolution engine in 1984, ending the reign of the “shovel” as enthusiasts frequently call these engines. The shovel engine does not have covers, per se, but rocker boxes and rocker arms which pivot on shafts. The design provided more than a unique look; it produced 10% more horsepower than the panhead engine which it replaced. From 1966 through 1969 the shovelhead kept the panhead style lower end. These early style shovelheads with the generator bottoms were often referred to as slabside shovels. From 1970 on the shovelheads used an alternator bottom often termed a cone shovel. Produced by  

Dr. Jack Tequila has two passions, motorcycles and tequila. He resides on a sailboat in the port city Wilmington, NC.From time to time, Dr. Jack will throw a few tidbits and observations our way.

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