Written by Martin Hodgson
The truth is we’ve run out of superlatives to describe the motorcycle building genius that is LA’s Max Hazan. His creations are known the world over, museums count them among their most prized possessions and even the late great Anthony Bourdain spent time trying to understand what makes Max such a master of his craft. But in his latest work we get perhaps our greatest insight yet; from the vivid memories of a childhood Atlantic crossing comes the extraordinary Hazan Motorworks 1938 JAP 500.
“I have been wanting to use a JAP engine for as long as I can remember. My parents went their separate ways when I was around three years old and I grew up splitting my time 50/50 between my Mother in England and my Father in NY. During the summers in Northern England there was a local speedway track that we went to every Thursday night we could get a ride, and although JAP wasn’t being raced anymore, I got my first whiff of methanol and castor oil,” Max remembers fondly.
“There was a local speedway track that we went to every Thursday night…I got my first whiff of methanol and castor oil.”
Fast forward to 2018 and a client showed him a picture of a 1940’s black race car he found in a book and said “I like the feel of this,” and left the project at that. Here, finally, was Max’s chance to create a build around the legendary JAP single cylinder engine. In the early half of the 20th century just about every British manufacturer had used one at some point and just as many were shipped overseas. Decades later and Max was on the hunt, “After a couple days of searching good old Southern California came through with a 1938 500cc race motor less than 40 minutes from my house.”
Back at his downtown LA workshop Max began the design process in the way he always does, engine up on the bench, two wheels and then a rough sketch is commenced. In no more than an hour he had the layout down and the basic dimensions decided, his level of talent and the ease at which it comes is almost unfair. With alcohol slurping speedway bikes such a rich part of the JAP history the decision was made to maintain the elegant simplicity they offer, with the engine as the centrepiece, but without just creating a race bike wannabe.
“The rear wheel is actually an MX wheel (KTM) with a modified hub and a clincher rim that I had to cut and re-weld to reduce the diameter from 24” to 23”. Apparently there was a shortage of 23″ clinchers so I had to get a little crafty, the front hub was just another random idea to clean things up too,” explains Max as nonchalantly as ever. The giant Firestone front tyre with chunky Michelin rear give an exaggerated Speedway appeal, a little … Plus d’infos
Read more here:: PRESTWICH PERFECTION. Hazan Motorworks’ Stunning ‘38 JAP 500 Bobber