The Widow Maker
The concept of this iconic machine was born during high school. E,J. Potter got the idea stuck in his head that a small-block Chevy engine looked like a Harley motor from the end, only longer. Finally following through with that reasoning, in 1960, Potter used a Harley frame as the base for the first bike.
That bike would evolve into his drag strip act and ticket to international notoriety began. Potter first built a centrifugal clutch using Harley-Davidson brake parts and a sprocket from a combine that was on his father’s farm. After a couple of failures, Potter had the machine set up where it would run about 115 mph in the quarter mile.
Then the idea that would become his signature came, “It developed one night, while drinking about one beer and feeling really philosophical in my drunken haze, I came to realize that the clutch had to go in favor of a direct drive system,” Potter remembered.
Potter would start the bike on a stand at the line at about 7,000 rpms, then when the green light came on he would drop the bike off the stand and away he went.