July 21, 2019
Matt Pontano out of Williamstown, New Jersey was actually surprised when he made the Final Six Pack, but one look at his finished machine at Cook’s Corner and we knew the “people” had certainly picked a worthy bike. On first glance, I bet a lot of spectators just assumed it was a weird, divorced-trans ironhead. A more trained eye would instantly pick up the fact that this engine is really a mash-up of two different Harley engines that the Factory never meant to go together. A 45” flathead bottom end was mated to an Ironhead Sportster top end which is commonly referred to as a 45 Magnum.
Usually a 45” bike is about 750cc and a Magnum nets around 900cc. This conversion of course changes from the brutally simple, but less efficient side-valve design to the more modern and high-performance overhead valve style top-end. Basically, you get a lot more power out of a pretty compact and neat little engine without going to a unit-construction Sportster set up.
The frame started as a Paughco 45” repop frame that Matt stretched up and out enough to have the perfect chopper stance with the 20” over springer. He also built that front end by cutting the old round tubes out and replacing with the hex you see in the photos. The overall flow of the bike is effortless, with oil and gas tanks perfectly molded in for a clean, no-nonsense build. It’s easy for a builder to go over the top in an effort to blow judges away, but Pontano showed he’s got the skill to create a funky-ass chopper without going overboard and that subtle style is hard to pull off!
Matt, thanks for being a part of this year’s Biltwell People’s Champ competition, it was great to meet you in person and cool to see your bike on the lawn at Born Free the next day.