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Hank Young: Recycling The Past For The Future

Date:06-01-2017 Source:chinamotor

In the last 10 years Hank Young earned himself a well deserved place in the Champions League of Bike Builders. Thanks to the outrageous bikes he built for Discovery Channel’s Biker Build Off (Watch this TV show on youtube/internet if you are really interested in Custom Motorcycles),  he made a massive impression on the international custom bike scene. With the technical innovations of today he brings together the vital spirits of motorcycling and Hot Rod heritage, and creates his timeless expressions of automotive vision. His fast rise to the top can perhaps be explained by his background.

Hank was born in Marietta, Georgia, 44 years ago to a family of hot rod and motorcycle lovers. Hank’s grandfather Joe was a restless hobbyist who conquered his boredom by tackling increasingly detailed and demanding projects in his spare time. He designed and built hydroplane racing boats, violins, clocks, a personal water-well drilling rig and also was an avid photographer. All the while he was holding an executive position at Lockheed – Martin. Hank’s father also worked for Lockheed as a computer programmer/machinist. His specialty was mastering the design and fabrication of special parts made on the first, state of the art CNC machines. In his off hours he designed and built Hot Rods and was an accomplished drag racer. Unlike his father and grandfather, Hank decided not to work for Lockheed. He chose to pursue his passion for Hot Rods. From an early age he rode dirt bikes and go karts, and from his 16th he owned and built cars and hot rods. He also learned himself to weld so well that at age 10 his skills already surpassed his father’s. He had became singularly obsessed with the workings of metal. So it was more than natural for him to get a job in ’84 at Joe Smith’s Antique Ford and Street Rod Parts. Here he fine-tuned his skills, and it was not for long that he was known to rodders nation wide, as the premier builder and provider of parts for ’32 to ’48 Ford street rods.

In 1991 he built his first motorcycle, an ’40 Indian Chief bobber. Complete with early sixties Shunk cams inside a custom stroked 96 cubic inch engine. The building of this bike led him to design and built a custom Knucklehead for his son, and a custom Shovel for his dad. Luckily for us he liked building bikes almost more than creating rods. But he still considered it a hobby. The big turning point in his career came with the building of “The Flying Pan”. This bike ,in which vintage and home-made parts were used, got worldwide attention from the motorcycle press and cemented Hank’s name firmly in the custom bike builders sidewalk of fame. After seeing this bike Hugh King of Discovery’s BBO asked Hank to attend the program and battle Chica. This led to one of the most inspiring episodes of that season. Especially the part where Hank explains his vision of using hot rod and vintage car parts is moving. Hanks “Lucky 13” was one of the most original choppers ten years ago, and it was a close finish when he lost to the already established crowd favourite Chica. In the second season Hank had to battle The Salinas Boys, and for this he build the Lakewood Special. Which brought him, thanks to a lot of fantastic innovations, like using shortened leave springs for shocks, the victory of this episode. When you check out the photos of Hank’s creations you can’t disagree with the fact that Lockheed lost a valuable worker but the chopper scene got a new star on it’s firmament. I can’t wait till he finishes his new project. To be continued…

More about Custom motorcycles at : www.paulfunkdesign.com

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