On a hot july sunday afternoon in 1993 - or was it a saturday? A balmy spring evening? August? June? Wednesday? Well, who's to tell. Anyway, the guys were hanging out in the shade of the local beer-garden, discussing the finer points of shotgun pipes and the open road in general. And before you know, they were soon in fantasy-mode, all kinds of ideas poppin' up on how to show life, the universe and all the rest their tail lights once more. Some sort of stunt people would talk about, a thing that couldn't be duplicated easily.Apocalypse for any bike - if not W&W equipped. A demonstration of the power of the human will. A triumph of never ending wrenching. But, how could they get this feat done? „Get 'er on the lift and hop'er up!“, „W&W parts only!“, „Old school!“, „Panhead engines!““Yeah, right!“, „On Panheads across Panama!” “Another beer, anyone?“, „Two Pan-heads“; Pan-ama, Pan-americana, Pan-ama City, that's it, dudes!“, „Everything Pan-ana!“, the guys were hollerin' and yellin', and all of a sudden, it was... THE PLAN:
We're going to build two Panhead-powered bikes, using only parts available at W&W, fly them to Panama, cruise the Panamericana Highway and won't let a few missing miles of road stop us. We'll just go right across the jungle. Nice plan.
The whole works had to be done on a budget - we're not rich here — so economy was crucial. First the attic was checked for usable stuff. Nothing there to write home about, apart fromt two aftermarket rigid frames, that were more or less unsellable, no papers, no TÜV, you know ... Originally designed for big Evo engines, these frames offered enough room to mount the panhead engines one inch higher for more ground clearance. Engines and gearboxes were sponsored by the W&W R&D department – the engines had been assembled using parts from our catalog only, and it was decided to put them to a righteous test.
It was assumed that the Panama roads would offer a certain degree of bumpiness, so Performance Machine wheels were selected for durability, and OEM Showa hydraulic forks for reasons of economy. The Showa forks would later prove to be not quite up to the job of providing even basic rider comfort. The rest of the parts were soon found in the W&W catalog: Quick bob tanks, K model solo seats, WLA army luggage racks. Plus a set of hand made foot rests with extra large teeth, a mounting rack for spare fuel canisters, a mounting base for a winch and lots of yellow paint.At last, after many moons of after work wrenching and thousands of test miles on dusty spanish back roads "The Pan-tastic Four", Wolfgang "Paso de Lobo" Schmidt, Klaus "El Paparazzo" Hagmeier, Darius "El Tornillero" Monser and Gerardo "El Guapo" Markel were finally ready to tie down the two Panheads on palettes to be trucked to the airport.