Tuesday, July 3, 2012

A Story Of Birmingham's Biker Past....

Part of this story I know to be true and part of it has been told to me over the years. I can't swear to any of it, but I am intrigued by all of it. Years ago there was a Harley dealer in Homewood, AL and they ended up closing around the early 80's (I can't swear to the dates, but I remember buying my first leather jacket there when I was around 15 or so). After it closed there was a shop called Onion's, it was named after the owner who somehow got tagged with that nickname. I think Onion may have worked at the dealer before it closed. Anyway, after the HD dealer closed Onion and the guys decided to build a bike with the left over parts. It was a Frankenstein bike for sure with a Sporty dual disk front end, a panhead swingarm frame and a flathead motor. For years that bike sat in the front entrance of Onion's shop. As a matter of fact it stayed there until Onion passed. After he died it was decided that it would be wrong to move the bike so it was closed into the corner of the building where it sat even though the rest of the front area of the building was walled up and the entrance moved to a different part of the building. This was at least 10-15 years ago and the bike is still there. I hope the bike stays there forever. I remember going to Onions shop a couple of times and that bike was always there. I really wanted to take it home with me back then but there was no way they were going to turn it loose. Today the business is B&D Electric Motor Co and you can stop and see the bike for yourself. If anyone has more detail or a different take on this story please let me know, I would like to get the truth and preserve it somehow so that this legend will be around and through it Onion will live forever. We have lost most of the really cool old style bike shops and I really want to try and preserve as much of the history of places like this as I can. Enjoy the pics and if you know anymore of the story you can contact me at jd@batmanstuff.com

The building as it stands now. This used to be the entrance of the bike shop.

Where the bike sits today.

Just as it's sat for many years.

See what I mean about Frankenstein? 3 1/2 gallon fatbobs, hand shift, flathead motor, tin primary.

Sportster dual disk front end, FL rear fender set up.

I would SO love to ride this beast.

Still there for all to see.

Better view of the forks.

Me sitting at a stop light while I was trying to remember which street it was on.

Once again, if you have more or better info on this PLEASE let me know I want this story to be preserved.


  1. Jeff, more "LOST AMERICA" to enjoy...Like this .... muchly...

  2. Thanks for posting Jeff...I really get off on this sort of story, and your blog made my day...Much appreciated!!!

  3. Have seen that bike many times and wondered about the back story.
    Excellent post Jeff.

  4. Very cool, Jeff. Thanks for taking the time to put that together. You rock!