Making of the Windjammer Part 2: 1971

Mold-making, fitup and test riding

March 1971: The "Great Brown Hope" went to the fiberglass shop

Separating the mold

There I am with wooden wedges, trying to separate the fiberglass from the brown designer's clay inside.

Scraping out the clay

You can see that even tho we used parting film and wax, the clay was still stuck to the mold. The clay went back into the heater to be used again. It became the Liberator fairing next.

I knew I was not likely to make more than 2 or 3 fairings from this mold. Too many things are likely to be needed to be changed. Rather than spend a lot of time making the clay perfect, it is much easier to sand down the mold. Think about it... the low spots in the clay stick up in the fiberglass mold. This mold will be trash in a week. Therefore there it is not worth fussing over.

The "Bullet" shape was to contain the bike's stock headlight. I had not yet realized that if this new fairing came with its own headlight, it could fit anything.

Smoothing imperfections

The mold went back to the fiberglass folks to make the first Windjammer Fairings.

One Windjammer part was used to check fit up on different bikes.

What would I have to change to make it fit all bikes?

The first Windjammer went onto my Kawasaki 500

From the beginning, I had planned to design an additional shell to bond into the inside which would give the new fairing great integrity.

In the meantime, temporary bulkheads of Masonite made it strong enough to ride. Riding something new is the best part of being a motorcycle designer.

Making a fairing fit such extremely different motorcycles was a real challenge. Motorcycles had so many engine configurations. Each model had a different sized headlight.
Why the Windjammer fit everything

The Delco-Guide H-18, 7" headlight assembly

In 1970, there was no standard motorcycle headlight. Just like today. This made it very hard to mount fairings. What if I put my own headlight in the Windjammer? I could pre-wire it into its own wiring harness with a quick-disconnect plug. Mounting and removing the fairing would be a snap. This Delco unit had been used since the 1950s in GM cars and had now found its way onto trucks. Delco made up a special version for us with a motorcycle certified bulb and sold it to us for about $9.00 each.

A similar Guide H-18 was also used on Harley-Davidson Big Twins between 1960-83. Perhaps parts from the H-D Guide unit can be used in Windjammers of 1972-7.

The built-in headlight was going to make it easy to put a Windjammer on any motorcycle.

This was revolutionary.

I made three "prototype" Windjammers from this mold

One of the Windjammer parts got turned into a "Master Pattern." All my changes were made to it. I painted it orange. I painted all "Master" parts orange. Even each master mounting bracket got painted orange. When I can find a red or orange wallet, I buy it. You can't loose them this way.

Turn signals were becoming became standard on motorcycles, so I had to deal with them. In the upper left pic, I am grinding in the requisite Turn Signal mounting flats. If you look carefully, you can see that the headlight area is now changed to accept the new Guide Headlight. The blue color is body putty used to get the shape more accurate and smooth.

Making the inside

I used another Windjammer shell to figure out what to do in the inside. Trusty CAD (Cardboard Aided Design) helped me determine where the interior walls should be. It would be very important that the opening for the pockets be big enough to accept a quart can of oil.

Eventually, the inside took shape. Gail Moser, a design student from the U of I - above right - worked at my shop as a summer job. Having my pick of design students was an unexpected perk for being close to the University.

I made sure that the storage openings were big enough for a can of FullBore oil. For you youngsters, FullBore oil was the choice of two stroke lovers. It was a pretty purple color so you could see it in the sight window. And, well, we just knew it was the best stuff for our bikes.

The second mold was now made from the Orange "Master Part."
It was from this mold that the first really rideable Windjammer was made.

This was the first Windjammer with the Guide headlight mounted in the fairing which meant it would fit onto any bike. You can also see how the outside edges of the windshield are supported by the fairing. This guaranteed that the windshield would not fold back at the higher speeds motorcycles were capable of.

The step for Lowers is there but the lower 3" of the fairing were not yet resolved.

I really liked that Kawasaki 500.

Making motorcycle history March 1971
I was designing something nobody else in the world was designing. I was riding something nobody else in the world could ride. It gave me a sense of making motorcycle history.

The Windjammer was a lot quieter than previous fairings because the wall between me and the engine blocked much of the reflected noise. Terminating the fairing at the bottom of the tank allowed the Windjammer to fit every motorcycle made. It also meant it could be shipped in a smaller box. But it also meant less leg protection. My legs were not as warm as with my previous full fairings. Optional Lowers, designed for the various engine configurations would solve that problem in the future.

Every Windjammer ever made had a "mounting step" molded into the bottom, ready for Lowers. Designing the Lowers would be a story in itself. It took years. We'll get to it later.

Page posted May 31, 2009

Updated Dec 30, 2012

Designing the Windjammer Fairing
Chapter 1: Winter 1970-71 Beginning design
Chapter 2: 1971 Mold making, fit up and riding
Chapter 3: 1971 Finalizing the design
Chapter 4: 1972 New factory and real production