Lowbrow Spotlight: Chris Morehouse's 1949 Harley-Davidson Panhead Land Speed Racer


Owner: John Morehouse (Father)
Year/Make/Model: 1949 Harley-Davidson 
Fabrication: Haifley Brothers
Build Time: 8 Months

Year/Type/Size: 1949 Panhead 90 cubic inches
Carburetor: S&S super B
Exhaust: RPM
Air Cleaner: S&S


Year/Type: Custom, Haifley Brothers
Rake/Stretch:2 inches rear, 2 inches down tubes, 34 degree rake.

Front End:

Type / Brand: Harley-Davidson, 39 mm


Front Size: 21 (Bobs Cycles)
Rear Size: 19 (Bobs Cycles)


Front Fender: N/A
Rear Fender: Harley-Davidson
Gas Tank: Harley-Davidson
Handlebars: Clip ons 
Grips: Lowbrow Customs Pursuit Grips
Mirrors: N/A
Hand Controls: Brembo
Foot Controls: Custom
Headlight: N/A
Taillight: N/A
Turn Signals: N/A
License Mount: N/A
Seat:Haifley Brothers

Chris and John Morehouse

The whole process started as a group of friends who wanted to go to the race to spectate, turns out I'm not a spectator i needed to race. Some how I then conned my dad into financing the whole thing. Back in December of 2015 I took a pro-street style Panhead that was super ugly and robbed the motor and tranny from it. Fro there it was on. I immediately started working with Doug and Kelly Haifley on the chassis design with an emphasis on still keeping a vintage styling. The motor went to the East Coast for an entire re-build. There was a lot of effort that went into building this bike from family and friends.

We were race ready by July of 2016 but without a race motor. The motor builder was dragging his feet. I really wanted to test chassis at El Mirage before Bonneville, so we pulled a stock Panhead motor out of one of my other bikes and headed for El Mirage. The bet between myself and my rookie team in the dry lake bed was we would not break 100 mph. We ended up hitting 114 mph on the first pass, and 120 mph on the second. With so much success at El Mirage and our stock motor, it made us feel pretty cocky heading into Bonneville. On the contrary though Bonneville 2016 was very humbling. We were riddled with fuel problems, broken parts and a broken spirits. We left with a 135 mph speed on a 142 mph record. Fast forward to Bonneville 2018, new team, rider position changed, head, cam and motor changes we were able to get the job done with two records. One in fuel and another one in gas classes. The vintage gas record is now 141.518 mph and the vintage fuel is now 142.032 mph! The whole build can be tracked on my instagram at @pinche_49_

This father and son project was a true team effort, thanks to Jeff Larson, Emily Clark, Scott Ross, Mark Lieber, Ed Bular, Doug (I'll be your Doug), Rod Adams, and John Morehouse.

Words by Chris Morehouse • Photos by Jennifer Farris

Photo by Mikey Revolt

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