I was just browsing Craigslist and Facebook Marketplace on Wednesday, as I abnormally do, when I spotted something in an ad from someone cleaning out their garage. Most of what I saw in the one photo (and it was a screenshot of a photo at that,) didn't interest me; just some lawn equipment and a few late-model kids' bikes. But, amongst the bikes in that small photo, I could just
make out the shape of a vintage muscle bike. I did a little more digging, and found that the seller posted another ad around the same time with better photos, and sure enough, it was
a vintage muscle bike, and one I'd been hoping to own for some time now: a twin tube Hawthorne! I left a message asking what they wanted for the bike, low-key hoping they'd give me a price far outside my budget just so I could get my OCD and bicycle obsession to shut up for once. Plus, the bike was in a town over 2 hours of turnpike-driving away from home, and I really need to be conscious about my non-expendable funds anyway.
Well, I hadn't heard from them for most of the day, so I just ran up to Sapulpa to grab some parts out of storage for the Elgin Dad had just acquired a week ago, and run a few other errands. It wasn't until I got to the storage building that I heard back from the seller, and the price they gave me was too good to ignore, even after factoring in that I'd use up almost a full tank of gas in my Ford Focus just to get there and back. $20. I could've asked them to hold it for me until the next day when I could see it in the daylight, and maybe do some exploring and photography on top of that, but I figured I was already out and about, my car has a hitch-mounted bike rack, my car had enough gas for the trip, and I had enough cash on me to pay for the bike. Why not just go and get it now? So that's what I did.
By the time I got to the seller's house, it was already past 8pm. It's dark, but the seller left the outside lights on so I could get a better look at the bike. I looked at the bike, and while I could tell it wasn't perfect, the frame was straight, and nothing was seized. I got talking to the seller, David, and it turns out that he was the original owner of the bike! He had it since it was brand new back in 1969-1970, and he'd held onto it for that long. He tried getting his kids/grandkids interested in it, but I guess they didn't want it. He didn't want it to rust away, so he figured the best course of action was to sell it to someone who'd fix it up and ride it. It was cool getting to know that the bike I bought had a story to go along with it, and that it survived this long with most of the original parts intact. I loaded up both the Hawthorne and the Murray, then made the long drive back home. I made it home right around midnight, with a grin on my face and another new project bike in my stable.
Normally when I'm looking for a project bike, I'm looking for something I can customize in a multitude of ways. I like removing correct parts, adding "incorrect" parts, fabricating a custom tank, and adding wild paint colors and graphics to my custom builds so they stand out from both their stock counterparts, as well as other custom bikes. This bike has such a unique look already going on as it is, that the only thing I can think to do with this bike is to give it a different paint job, preferably a color other than red. I want to clean up the rust and repair or replace whatever needs it, but aside from paint and tires, I think I'll keep the modifications on this bike to a minimum. Of course, I could always change my mind, but for now, I think I'll keep this one simple and easy.
Now, on to the photos!