What Happens In Jack's Garage Tools Down The Road


Jack Dowlearn was a boy of nine when he first felt the Gulf Coast breeze rifle through his brown hair from the seat of a Cushman Eagle motorcycle.

Now, Dowlearn will not disclose his age, but he will tell you he has been "building motorcycles since Caesar was a corporal."


Jack Dowlearn used to rebuild cars but motorcycles, like this "Hardly Davidson" are easier, more fun and he can fit more bikes than cars in his garage.

His current ride is a 1983 Shadow VT 750C.

The bike had been sitting under a tree for three years when Dowlearn purchased it, brought it home to his garage then, stripped it down to the frame.

After a year's worth of Dowlearn's tinkering, painting and just plain work the six-speed, competition-class motorcycle has $180 rear shocks, a new Honda engine, an electric fuel pump, and dual front-disc brakes.

He converted it to a solo rider by removing the back seat and putting a deck on it.

"I built it strictly for me. It is agile and quick. I have more money in it than I would ever sell it for," he said.

"Go-rilla" his caped mascot, rides permanently on the back.

"It is my ultimate bike. The balance is perfect. When I leave the area by the Giant station, I can set the cruise at 50 miles per hour and I don't have to touch the handlebars until Star Valley," Dowlearn said.

Then, he simply leans his weight against the foot peg to turn.

His "other" rebuilt ride is a 1978 GL 1000 Gold Wing. The five-speed gray motorcycle with black, white and chrome accents is, "comfortable and classy," with its custom pinstriping and ostrich-leather seat.

"It has dual front-disc brakes and single-disc rear, so it will stop faster than it will run," Dowlearn said.


Jack Dowlearn loves to ride the motorcycles he had rebuilt.

Building motorcycles and showing them off is the best of fun.

At a mere 49 CCs, Dowlearn's "Hardly Davidson" is not speedy enough to be street legal, nor are the nine-inch rims big enough to satisfy the motor vehicle department.

When he bought the little bike at a yard sale, it was in pieces.

Yet, a smile of pure glee lights Dowlearn's face when he turns the key in the electric ignition and revs the engine to a hearty RmRmRmRmRmRm.

"There's even front and rear turn signals," he said.

Dowlearn has saved, rebuilt and sold 10 motorcycles in the past year.

He takes photographs as he disassembles for a smooth reconstruction.

The rust yard in Rye has a few less motorized victims, due to Dowlearn's skills. His lifelong hobby is not about money. It is more about his pleasure for a job well done and then being able to share that feeling with the buyer.

If Dowlearn was born with an aptitude for things mechanical, he also had a good teacher.

"My dad was very conscious of teaching us everything he could. By the time I graduated high school, my dad and I had built and lived in three different homes," he said.

The heuristician earned what he laughingly calls his "B.S. Me" degree from Texas A and M in 1973. A BSME is a baccalaureate in mechanical engineering.

When he is not pursing some aspect of his hobby, Dowlearn can be found helping customers solve problems at Ace Hardware.

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