Friday, August 29, 2008

"Doc" Hopkins Four-Tee-Five.

Steve "Doc" Hopkins and his wife Rhonda sit on his "Four-Tee-Five" motorcycle at Doc's Harley Davidson of Shawano County in Bonduel on Tuesday, Aug. 26, 2008.
Photo by Evan Siegle/Press-Gazette

via:green bay press gazette

"TOWN OF HARTLAND — It's one of those things that draws people over with a smile and look of awe.Or maybe it's bemusement.

The lanky vehicle isn't a run-of-the-mill motorcycle: Five seats and bars atop a quartet of vintage 1950s Harley-Davidson 45-cubic-inch motorcycle engines.

But for one Shawano County business owner, the unique motorcycle is not only a product of a desire to take on challenging projects, but it's also a tribute to the 105-year history of Harley-Davidson Motorcycles.

"I didn't even know I was going to build this four-engine motorcycle," said Stephen "Doc" Hopkins, owner of Doc's Harley-Davidson, near Bonduel. "I knew I wanted to build something out of old flathead motors — something told me to do that. Then one night it struck me to put four of them in a row."

He considered putting eight people on the motorcycle, but decided that would make the bike cumbersome.

"I started with a pile of iron … and just started cutting and bending, welding and making the frame," Hopkins said earlier this week, standing in the dealership's shop with the motorcycle in front of him. "I had a pile of old motors I'd bought at a swap meet in … Pennsylvania, and I started tearing those apart and rebuilding them."

The motorcycle was built in about 17 days. Hopkins said he wanted to get it done in time for the 105th anniversary parade in Milwaukee.

"I gave Willie G. Davidson, the grandson of the original Davidsons, not really a promise, but my best shot that I was going to get this thing ready for his parade," he said. "I did it, and that's what drove me to do a lot of it."

The motorcycle is heading for Milwaukee today and will be part of the anniversary parade. Hopkins said the bike will be displayed at the dealership afterward.

Plans for the Four-Tee-Five, as the motorcycle is named, were sketched out on a pair of white pieces of paper with pen. Hopkins opens the folded pages showing a design that looks like the finished product.

Written on one of the plans are the words: "Yes … We can do it!"

"I just enjoy building things, and people like to stop in here to see what's next," the Algoma native said. "I like the challenge. I didn't do this to become famous or anything, I just did it because I enjoy the challenge."

Hopkins added a reserve fuel tank, a small Hamm's tapper keg, to augment the three gallons of fuel stored in the frame.

"I don't care if you're a doctor, lawyer or some Joe working in a factory; it doesn't matter who you are or what you do we treat you all the same," said Hopkins, who pointed out he is more concerned about keeping customers happy and employees working than growing the bottom line. "We bend over backward to help each person as much as we possibly can."

Aside from motorcycles sales and service and a riding school, the dealership on Wisconsin 29 also houses a classic car and motorcycle museum, a zoo, Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast and pirate ship — which Hopkins also built."

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