Her Name Is Betty And She’s A Classic

The Harley Shovelhead from the AMF era (model years 1970-1981) had a bad reputation. Yes, it has been mocked with nicknames like “Hardly Ableson”, “Hardly Driveable,” and “Hogly Ferguson”. It was partly unjustified because many Shovel didn’t have more issues that many irons of that time. Yes, Shovels will probably weep or seep and sometimes even leak.

But today the Shovel is acknowledged as one of the best engines ever produced by the mother factory, even under the AMF ownership. To the point that the Shovelhead, as a bike or as a motor, has never been so desirable and expensive since the Evo replaced it.

Many garage and professional builders have bought Shovels more for the frame and motor than for the rest of oem parts. It’s the way many of the great custom bikes you admire were born. Just buying the DNA, but from there creating unique bike personalities. At the opposite, although not the majority, some preserve or restore the Shovelhead the exact way it left Milwaukee.

Tim Scates would almost fit in this latest category, except that as a builder he could not resist bringing a few personal touches. In his mind, the only ones that could or should have been decided by the Harley factory. Named Betty, this slightly customized 1977 Shovelhead will probably please the old-timers and youngsters among you. Not as a daily rider to go to work, but rebuilt to get sunlight as much as possible.

Full tech sheet is below (photography @ H. Roesler for C. Huze)

Technical data:

Name : Black Betty
Owner: Timothy Scates
Location: Waller, TX
Assembly: Tim Scates
Year: 1977
Time: 2 months
Finishing date: Never
Model: Harley Davidson FLH
Engine: 1977 Harley Davidson 74 cu.in Shovelhead
Block/Lower end: Harley Davidson
Crankshaft: Harley Davidson
Cylinder: Harley Davidson
Pistons: Harley Davidson
Displacement: (Cubic-Inch) 74 cu. in.
Heads: Harley Davidson Shovelhead
Valves: Harley Davidson
Pushrods: Harley Davidson
Camshaft: Harley Davidson
Carburator: Harley Davidson
Air cleaner: S & S
Ignition: Points
Pipes: Extended
Horsepower (hp): 60
Transmission: 4 Speed Harley Davidson. Year 1977
Primary: Closed Belt Drive
Clutch: Harley Davidson Dry
Brakes: Harley Davidson Juice (Front & Rear)
Frame: Stock Harley Davidson
Year: 1977
Rake: Stock
Stretch. None
Swinging arm: Harley Davidson
Shock absorbers: Harley Davidson
Fork: Stock Harley Davidson
Type: Harley Davidson Electra Glide
Front: 21″ 1977 Harley Davidson FXE
Rear: 16″ 1977 Harley Davidson FLH
Hub/Rotor: Stock Harley Davidson
Spokes: Harley Davidson (Front & Rear)
Front: Harley Davidson Banana Brake
Discs: Stock Harley Davidson
Calipers: Stock Harley Davidson
Rear: Stock Harley Davidson
Disk(s): Stock Harley Davidson
Caliper(s): Stock Harley Davidson
Riser: Stock Harley Davidson
Bars: Ape Hangers
Mirrors: Stock Harley Davidson
Grips: Old School White Rubber
Front: Stock Harley Davidson
Rear: Stock Harley Davidson
Gas Tank: Stock Harley Davidson (5 gallon)
Seat: Stock 1977 Harley Davidson FXE
Oil-tank: Stock Harley Davidson
Front: Stock Harley Davidson Electra Glide
Rear: Stock Harley Davidson FLH Stretched 6″
Headlight: Stock Harley Davidson
Taillight: After market smoked lay down
Indicators: Stock Harley Davidson with smoke lenses
Wiring/System: Stock Harley Davidson
Painter: Hardy Rd Paint and Body Houston, TX
Base laquer: PPG
Color: Vivid Black

21 Responses to “Her Name Is Betty And She’s A Classic”

  1. 1 Robert Filla Sep 25th, 2017 at 8:33 am

    Good job, Tim

  2. 2 Sam Sep 25th, 2017 at 9:30 am

    What we used to call “sanitary”. Very nice shovel.

  3. 3 grmp54 Sep 25th, 2017 at 9:41 am

    SWEET !

  4. 4 Kroeter Sep 25th, 2017 at 9:49 am

    Nice looking ride.

  5. 5 highrpm Sep 25th, 2017 at 10:57 am

    brings back pictures of a 1962 chevy impala, black , lots of chrome accents and narrow white walls.

  6. 6 Rick LaBriola Sep 25th, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Shovels truly are the Bikers Bike

  7. 7 Crazy Harry Sep 25th, 2017 at 12:17 pm

    Looks just like my old ride but with shotgun pipes and the seat was black. But everything else exactly, thanks for the flashback.

  8. 8 NoH2Oh Sep 25th, 2017 at 3:06 pm

    Very cool. Very classy. Will always be in “style”.

  9. 9 donny brasco Sep 25th, 2017 at 4:04 pm

    I bot one in 1980 and still have it, still ride it! {it doesn’t look anything like what I bot off the showroom floor but its a trip to ride as a chopped bobber}.

  10. 10 Blackmax Sep 25th, 2017 at 4:26 pm

    Yes ! Bette is a Beauty !!!

  11. 11 Seymour Sep 25th, 2017 at 6:59 pm

    1980 FLHS here, unmolested

  12. 12 Shanedrive Sep 26th, 2017 at 8:11 am

    ’76 FLH w/ 80-81 OEM paint and OEM side hack. Been my faithful friend and daily rider for the last 28 years.

  13. 13 Cris Sommer-Simmons Sep 26th, 2017 at 9:21 am

    I had a few shovelheads and always loved them. Many memories and good times!

  14. 14 smithncustom Sep 26th, 2017 at 11:23 am

    1975 FLHP with Sidecar. 1972 Chopper long bike. 1974 CHopper with round tube swing arm. Shovelhead ’till I’m dead!

  15. 15 Johnny Gypo Sep 26th, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Very nice!

    an ’80 74″ FLH here. Truly soothes my soul every time I get on!

  16. 16 Jim P Sep 26th, 2017 at 3:17 pm

    Not usually a fan of Ape Hangers or extended (Lake) pipes – but this is a sweet ride. Enjoy your Betty, Tim!

  17. 17 Charles from MA Sep 26th, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    A beauty!

  18. 18 rags Sep 26th, 2017 at 4:06 pm

    yup.still have my 67.just keeps running

  19. 19 burnout Sep 26th, 2017 at 4:25 pm

    Very nice!! peace

  20. 20 takehikes Sep 27th, 2017 at 9:08 am

    Real nice until you get to that front wheel/fender combo. Rest of bike is old school and front is new bagger look….bad mix. Otherwise very well done.

  21. 21 Danny Sep 29th, 2017 at 1:08 pm

    Love those crash bars! Where did u find them?

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