Ace Motorcycles Panhead

1957 Harley panhead custom by Ace Motorcycles of Japan
There seems to be a trend towards compact, muscular customs in Japan. And if that means fewer vintage Harleys desecrated with ape bars, peanut tanks and cheesy metalflake paint, I’m happy. This Panhead is a classic example: it didn’t grab me immediately, but the longer I looked at the pictures, the more I liked it. It comes courtesy of Guy Bolton, editor of the excellent Greasy Kulture magazine in the UK. “There are lots of beautifully rendered touches to the bike,” Guy notes, “from the K-model front wheel to the narrowed wideglide, the Smiths speedo and the narrowed fatbob tanks. It won ‘Builder’s Choice’ award at the prestigious New Order custom show in 2009.” The bike was built by Ace Motorcycle of Kobe for Takuji Kawamura, who bought the Pan unseen from the States—predictably not in the condition described in the ad. He used just the frame and engine for this custom, which was built as an heirloom for his son Hiromu. According to Guy, “Ace is a well known shop for vintage Harleys in Kobe and the owner and chief builder is Mr Tokuyama. Mr Tokuyama listened to Taku’s ideas of what he wanted, but then basically built his own vision … Taku wasn’t too disappointed; after all, he went to Ace specifically to get their unique take on old custom Harleys. Taku told me, ‘Mr Tokuyama’s sense of style—of art—is well defined, and doesn’t waver.’ He claims this is the one of the first bikes that appeared with the seat cowl blending into the fender … a look that has since caught on with many builders in Japan.” The bike is featured in the latest issue of Greasy Kulture: order your copy here.


1957 Harley panhead custom by Ace Motorcycles of Japan
1957 Harley panhead custom by Ace Motorcycles of Japan