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|Honest Abe Has a Hog
|There is a new addition to the Abraham Lincoln bicentennial celebration, but it's unorthodox. Kim Shirley, a Springfield body shop owner, took a 1450 cc Harley Davidson motorcycle, took it apart, and rebuilt it to honor the 16th president.
"The Circuit Rider," as it's called, features custom copper plated wheels with Lincoln penny designs and matching copper plating on numerous small metal parts. The gas tank, rear fender and battery covers feature airbrushed Lincoln portraits and depictions of Lincoln sites. The air cleaner is shaped like Lincoln's stove pipe hat; the exhaust pipes look like wooden rails of the type Lincoln used to split, with an axe forming the shifter; and the foot pegs are copies of mid 1800s shackles, representing the issue of slavery. Black chrome adorns the engine cases and bolts.
Shirley says he has been fascinated by motorcycles since he was 5 years old, and it was a dream to build the Circuit Rider. He says it's relaxing to come home and work on things like this, because as the owner of his body shop, he manages 22 employees and rarely has time to build things at work anymore.
Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum and Library spokesman Dave Blanchette says he came up with the idea for the hog during a brainstorming session, where he says you can have really good ideas, and really crazy ideas. He says this just happened to be a crazy idea that worked. He says he wanted to get people interested in Lincoln bicentennial events who weren't necessarily history buffs.
The motorcycle is currently on display in the museum, but could eventually make it to the Crowne Plaza Hotel in Springfield where the annual Lincoln birthday banquet is held. Blanchette says he has been in talks with the White House, and there's a chance that President Obama will take pictures while on the bike.
(Illinois Radio Network)
|02 07 09 by Newsroom
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