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."
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.
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.