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Sunday, September 26, 2021

    Riding in Memory Lane: Part One

    Chad Brislawn
    A lifelong Muscatine resident, Chad Brislawn has a passion for motorcycles and writing. He writes No Baffles No Brakes, for Discover Muscatine newspaper.

    Muscatine Living

    My friend bought his first Harley. He called me and said, “I bought my first Harley.”

     I said, “That’s awesome man.” 

    He said, “Can I bring it over to show you?” 

    I said, “Yep.” I’m paraphrasing here. 

    He comes rolling into Low Boy’s Motorcycle Lounge, which is actually just my garage but sounds way cooler, with this 1989 sportster 1200. This thing is loud and dirty, just like we like ‘em! It’s leaking oil a little bit on my floor, but a cut off chunk of cardboard later, designated “Mark’s Pee Pad,” and we’re good to go! I start checking this bike out–it’s definitely got some miles and some years on it. My first clue is that it’s leaking oil on my floor. It sounds good though, and for the age the paint has really held up well. “For the age,” right? Sorry old timers, I was born in ‘86, no offense. But, for the wear and tear this bike has obviously endured, you would think there would be some dings and dents but nope. It’s in good shape.

     I drew my attention to the custom painted three-piece tins (a set consisting of a tank and two fenders). All three seem to be done by the same artist, at least the base coat anyway. The base coat was a black with blue splattered speckles that give it a pretty cool look, but the artwork was throwing me off. How do I put this as respectfully as possible? The artwork clearly lacked professional experience. Does that work?

     As a beginner artist, I respect everyone’s individual level of experience. That being said, this thing was not good! It was a crude drawing of a white wolf with a bright yellow eye. I don’t think it was airbrushed. It seemed more like paint pen. And, to top it off, as you get towards the base of the tank in the black and speckled blue base coat, you see the word “HETZ,” This was a Hetz set and someone painted this crazy white wolf drawing on it? You have to be kidding me!

    The wolf painted on the 1989 Hetz

     For those of you not familiar with Jim “Hetz” Hetzler, he is a local pinstriping, airbrush, and custom paint artist who has been doing legendary work on bikes and street rods at his studio here in Muscatine for over forty years. Hetz teaches these skills at different workshops across the country. In addition, he and his wife Chris own and operate Kickin Kolor out of Davenport Iowa. At their shop, they can be found working hand in hand with House of Kolor developing some new crazy paint formulas and all other types of mad scientist related things.  

    So, I’m in shock that someone would paint this wolf over a Hetz tank. I’m thinking, “What a shame, you know?” Was someone just practicing and didn’t know what they were working on? It was killing me, I wanted to know the history of this bike, so I reached out to Jim and this is what he said.

    In two weeks, check back in to hear what Hetz had to say about the background of the mysterious white wolf paint job. 

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