Before Mitch Johnson, our resident Fabricator, Engineer, Machinist, and overall Swiss Army Knife was even born, his dad was scootin’ around town on a knucklehead chopper. Before that, his grandparents owned a Suzuki dealership. So, it’s not hard to figure out where Mitch got it from. “There was always something with a motor nearby,” Mitch explained.
If it was mechanical, it garnered his attention. That same fascination drew him to all aspects of cars and motorcycles. Not only riding and driving, but he also learned how to work on the machines too.
His focus in high school was on cars, but 12 years ago when he moved to North Carolina, he bought an old Honda motorcycle basket case. New to the city, he spent his time building the bike back to its former glory… in his apartment.
But, like everyone else, Mitch didn’t have serious tools in his living room. So, you’d assume that he paid a shop when it came to the heavy lifting. Well, you’d be wrong. “If I needed something welded, I got a welder and learned how to weld... it snowballed from there,” he described.
When you build motorcycles in your house, you tend to spend time around others who think like you. The Charlotte motorcycle scene isn’t huge, so you’re bound to meet just about everyone at some point or another. As a result, he eventually bumped shoulders with our crew. We liked him and his work immediately and all of a sudden, he was on our radar.
Not long after that, projects started building up at the garage we started in. We were expanding fast and had to start thinking about more space. Along with that, we needed more hands on deck to help tackle our projects. But, because our brand built a reputation for quality work at every stage, we had to be picky about who we brought on board.
The search didn’t last long and, fortunately, the timing worked out so we could bring him on right as we moved into our current shop at Camp North End. “It’s all gone up from there,” Mitch said as he gave us the cliff notes of his story.
From our perspective, he’s built some of our most influential motorcycles. From the cover of DicE Magazine to Harley-Davidson collaborations, Mitch’s builds are everywhere and sure to be remembered. We’re just grateful that we get to put our name on them.
Here are a few shots of Mitch and his Shovelhead: