WHY STAN DISHONG IS KNOWN AS ‘THE HOG LEGEND’

Of all Stan Dishong’s accomplishments and high-powered two-wheeled creations, his hand-built, 96 cubic inch – heavily modified Harley Dragster – The HOG – was legendary at dozens of drag strips across the western United States.

The HOG was as much a work of Art

as it was a Dragstrip Beast…

Just Look at those cylinders and Carberators!

…And a BEAST it was… Just ask

the Lions Dragstrip in Los Angeles!

Stan named this gleaming, record-setting beast

“The HOG” (Note the gas tank!)

… mostly for the way it inhaled fuel.

It was his most famous creation

– earning him the title ‘The HOG Legend.’

But we’re getting ahead of ourselves…

the HOG story comes later.

Let’s start from the beginning:

Born on September 9th, 1928 in Hamburg Iowa, Stan grew up in the Midwest, following his father on the horse racing circuit.  He traveled throughout the middle of America handling and training fast thoroughbreds – listening to the cheers of horse racing fans – and learning from his father a focused commitment to winning (that’s Stan holding the bridle).

But living on the race track for Stan was not all fun and games.  He was born almost exactly one year before the U. S, stock market crashed, grew up during the depression – a time of soup kitchens, gas rationing and no parts for bikes! He lived his teen years during World War II.  Through all this he learned valuable lessons that he would later take to the racetrack, this time on the Iron Horses of Harley and Indian!

As a Teenager…

While growing up Stan learned discipline, he learned sacrifice and – most of all – he learned how to go FAST.

In the midst of WWII he and his mother moved to Berkeley, California to live with his oldest brother Gerald…

This was where he got his first taste of motorcycles – from his brother.

Gerald – the oldest of his three brothers, and one sister – had a full-dress Harley that Stan loved to sit on and loved the smell of – it was while sitting on his brother’s bike that he first dreamed of going fast… really fast – but not on a horse!

Stan realized motorcycles were much faster than horses, and – to him – they seemed much easier to control!

Stan spent hours with Gerald every day, watching and talking about motorcycles.

As soon as he turned 16 years old Stan bought his first Harley Davidson – a 1938 Knucklehead.

His first ride…

The first time Stan rode the Knucklehead he tried to catch up to his brothers, grabbed too much throttle and hit the curb, crashing at the entrance of a grocery store.

The way he told it, he knocked himself “kinda goofy.”

From that first day, despite his bruised body – and ego – Stan was hooked on Harley’s – and later – hooked on Indian’s.

Unfortunately, because of the war rationing – which included motorcycle parts – he couldn’t repair the knucklehead for more than three months.

Needless to say, he was not happy and was very impatient to his Harley back on the road.

Once it was repaired, and for the next 60 years, Stan was never again without a Harley Davidson.

After he got the Knucklehead back on the road, he started competing in flat track.

He was winning races before his 18th birthday.

… An Obsession…

Eventually motorcycles would become an obsession for Stan.  By the end of the 1940′s, he was building his own engines and testing them at every flat track, hill climb, time-trials, drag strip and dry lake in the western United States.  Every weekend Stan trailered his bikes behind his car and headed for ‘Speed’ USA, wherever that happened to be.

In 1950 Stan moved to Vallejo, California and got serious about building bikes. His initial stable included the 1938 Knucklehead – modified for the dry lakes

A 1938 Indian Scout built for flat tracks

and a 1937 Scout built for drag strips.

He started in a garage behind his house on Rice Street (later renamed Dishong St) and began building history with his bare hands. The buzz spread.  Soon, people came from everywhere to see what Stan was up to next.

200+

Trophies Won

155 mph

on the “salt”

33

Rare Classic American Motorcycles restored

16 years old

when he bought his first motorcycle

Setting Records…On the Salt

It was while Stan was running the Knucklehead at Rosamond – in 1950 – that he met Bus Schaller, who was testing and adjusting the Harley that Joe Petrali had set the world record on in 1938.  Bus was representing the Harley factory, where the Petrali engine had been replaced with a special 80 cubic inch racing model, and was at Rosamond to prepare to make a run for the record later that year at the Bonneville Salt Flats.  The record at that time was 150 mph – set by Rollie Free (famous for stripping down to his underwear, with his legs sticking off the back of the bike, during the current record run) – and Bus believed he had the best rider he could find on the Petrali Harley at Rosamond that day.

While Stan was watching the Petrali bike running the dry lake, he hollered to a friend, “that guy’s scared… he’s shutting down in the clocks!”  Bus overheard and hollered back, “you think you can do better?” and – of course – Stan said, “Hell yeah I can!”

Without hesitation Stan got on that Petrali record setter and hit 160 mph!

Bus was no fool and hired Stan on the spot.  As a result, Stan became one of the original ten riders ever invited by the Southern California Timing Association (SCTA) to participate in Speed Week at Bonneville.

1951 was the first year that motorcycles were invited to Bonneville by the SCTA.

Stan’s first day at Bonneville – on the “salt” – was very exciting…a wrist pin failed at 150 mph, blowing the rear barrel off the motor. The engine was rebuilt overnight at the local Harley shop, with Stuart Hilborn himself flying in with replacement fuel injectors.  Unlike that rider Bus had had at Rosamond, Stan was not afraid – he was back out on the salt the next day.  He went on to have runs of 129, 134, 147 and 155 mph (not as fast as Rosamond – which was at sea level) and, because his last two runs averaged 151 mph – Stan beat Rollie Free’s record – and kept his clothes on while he did it!!

80 ci Harley - Stan_@_Bonneville_on_Petrali's_record_setting_Harley.__SCTA_Timing_plaque_for_fastest_run_-_155.__WR_at_time_was_150.

Stan on the 80 ci Harley, special racing engine produced by the Harley factory specifically for Bonneville. Southern California Timing Association plaque documenting Stan’s 155 mph run.

The Undefeated Indian…

After Bonneville, Stan’s reputation as an engine builder continued to grow.  People started lining up to see what he was doing to make his bikes so fast.

Stan was attracting so much attention that he soon opened Stan’s Cycle Shop – starting off in the garage behind his house in Vallejo, California, and later – as demand for his expertise grew – he built a new building to house his hotbed of innovation.  He also sold BSA motorcycles – because he was not able to get a Harley dealership.

Stan’s Cycle Shop opened it’s new location in 1966, up until then Stan had run his shop out of his garage.

The period following Bonneville marked the beginning of Stan’s two-decade-long reign as a master innovator, focused on building the fastest two-wheeled machines on the west coast.

During the first decade, spanning the 1950’s, Stan transformed a 62-cubic-inch Indian Scout into a 74-cubic-inch dragster that he raced on the earliest drag strips, many of which were converted from abandoned WWII air fields.

Stan was never defeated on the Scout, which consistently ran 108 – 118 mph…this was at a time when the Harley’s and Vincent’s of the day were running 95 – 98 mph.

Demonstrating his genius for innovation after innovation, Stan had a strip of live rubber vulcanized onto a bald tire, creating the first ‘slick’ ever used on a motorcycle.  He first went to Goodyear, Firestone and Dunlap – they all refused to manufacture a tire with no tread.  No tire manufacturer would do it, until Stan found Pope Tire in Tulare, California.  They agreed to build the slick he was asking for, but also told him he would probably kill himself using a tire with no tread on it.  Stan, unafraid once again, mounted his invention onto the back of his Indian dragster and, not only did he not kill himself, he immediately became the talk of the West Coast drag circuit.

Weekend after weekend, no one could defeat the Scout.  In addition to the slick, Stan added a water atomizer at the intake of his dual carburetors and then designed and installed foot pedals on the rear axle that simultaneously actuated the clutch and shifted hands-free.  The culmination of his innovations was recorded in July 1954 – when Stan and his legendary Scout won the National Championship at Winters Dragstrip in California.

1937 Indian Scout Late dragster - fueling @ Winters dragstrip in 1954 - won National Championship

The Scout, which had been named, “The Burp” since he first built it, ran until 1958 and was never defeated.  Stan often told the story of watching riders pack up and leave as he was unloading the Scout – it was that intimidating. 

The Hog – Stan’s Greatest Creation

As intimidating as the Scout was, Stan brought out his most famous creation during his second decade of drag strip domination – and cemented his reputation as the ‘HOG Legend.’  Stan’s new creation was named the ‘HOG’ – a 96 cubic inch monster dragster with barrels, flywheels and heads he cast and machined himself.  He machined the barrels out of a material known as Nitralloy – a super hard alloy invented during WWII.  Remembering the wrist pin failure at Bonneville, he fabricated the cylinders from Nitralloy to ensure what happened there would never happen again… and it never did.  Not only were the cylinders indestructible, they were impressive to look at – as you can see in the photographs on this site.

In 1958, Stan piloted the HOG to the West Coast Championship at Vacaville which, by the way, was the first dedicated drag strip built in the western United States. The later version of the HOG boasted the first 1/4-speed overhead cams ever used on a motorcycle, culminating in Top Eliminator honors in 1965  – including a run where Stan set the Lion’s Drag Strip, located in Los Angeles California, quarter and half-mile records of 127 and 147 mph – only 3 mph short of the world record, which was 150 mph at the time.

The Chopper Revolution

In the late 60′s, Stan shifted his attention from racing to manufacturing, putting himself right-smack in the middle of the Chopper Revolution.  He expanded Stan’s Cycle Shop to include Dishong Manufacturing and attracted the attention of the motorcycling world to Vallejo.

Stan’s Cycle Shop with Dishong Manf expansion

Stan manufactured a wide range of custom parts, including extended front ends, the most famous of which were his extended Springer front ends. His manufacturing slogan, “Dishong, in French, means Quality” was never truer than with his extended front ends – these gleaming, sleek and cleanly designed creations were truly chromed works of art.

During the 70′s and 80′s, Stan continued to be ‘the source’ for impossible-to-find Harley and Indian parts and kept his hand in racing by sponsoring speedway riders. Even Burt Munroe (World’s Fastest Indian) visited Vallejo, seeking Indian hand-outs.

During this period, Stan kept searching out and collecting old “basket-cases” – now, instead of racing every weekend, he was at motorcycle swap meets every weekend – eventually filling seven sheds with the pieces of some very rare bikes.

In 1988, Stan and his wife, Jackie, closed up the shop and retired to Port Orford, Oregon. Stan held his own Swap Meet’ to liquidate much of what he’d accumulated in his sheds.  He kept the best of what he’d gathered, shipped it to Oregon and spent the next 15 years rebuilding and restoring 33 of the rarest and most unique motorcycles in America.

Building a Legacy

Stan transformed those boxes and sheds filled with antique and rusted parts into gleaming, show-room quality restorations.  After 15 years of building and grooming and polishing these antique motorcycles, Stan focused his energy into putting his beloved antique restorations on display for America to enjoy, including a 1903 Indian (for many years the oldest Indian in existence – until a 1902 was found), an 1896 Marks (with engine serial #1), a 1934 Crocker Speedway racer (#16 of only 32 manufactured), a 1914 Indian 8-valve board-track racer, a 1929 Harley DL (owned by Steve McQueen) and many others, including Stan’s ‘HOG’ and Indian Scout ‘The Burp’ dragsters.

Riders outside of Stan’s museum


Left side of museum interior, with the HOG, 1937 Scout dragster and 1938 Scout flat tracker.


Center section of museum interior, with 1911 Pope (white), 1903 Indian (blue) and board track mural clearly visible

In 2006, Stan closed the museum and sold his collection to an auction house so he could move to Idaho with his daughter and grandchildren. Unfortunately, and unknown to him at the time, he already had prostate cancer. By the time the doctors discovered it, it had spread throughout his body. Stan passed away, surrounded by family, in January, 2008.  Before Stan passed away he knew that my sister and I had submitted him for induction into the American Motorcycle Association Hall of fame.  Sadly, he also knew that his nomination had not been accepted.  It is a primary goal of us at Hog Legend to resubmit Stan to the AMA Hall of Fame for a posthumous induction.

Stan was a simple and generous soul. He loved everything about American motorcycling and worked his entire life to share that love with many, many others.  For his entire life, Stan thought about motorcycles – constantly.  He acted on those thoughts.  His actions benefitted the entire American Motorcycling community.

We, at Hog Legend, believe Stan would have wanted us to build a community where we could all continue to share the love of motorcycles. We believe his contributions are worthy of his induction into the American Motorcycle Association Hall of Fame and a focus of this web site is to achieve that goal.  We hope you agree and we thank you for helping us get Stan inducted into the Hall of Fame!

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