April 2, 2010

Dean Lanza “The Dean” of custom bike painters.

Most of you have never heard of Dean Lanza. Back in the ’60’s and ’70’s he was known as “The Dean” of custom bike painting in Los Angeles. If you had a bike you wanted to stand out it went to Dean for painting. He was masterful at metal work. Axing Mustang tanks was his specialty. Here is Droopy and his Knuck that he has been riding since 1965. Dean axed the tank for him.droopy
In his day Dean lived in the old Echo Park area of Los Angeles at Allesandro and Whitmore streets. His shop was in the garage of his home.
I first met Dean on the set of  the biker flick The Naked Angels. He was supplying most of the bikes being used in the show. I had a minor part in the show and was finished during the first 10 minutes of the flick. Dean had his hands full trying to get the actors, who had lied to the casting directors that they could ride Harleys, on the bikes are rolling down the road. Sadly none of the bikes in the show showed Deans paint jobs. The bikes were supposed to be from a bunch of losers who didn’t much care what their bikes looked like. Perhaps that is why the star, Michael Green, first sat on my bike then decided to steal the rat sitting next to it. 😀
Dean has left us but some of his work lives on today. If not his actual work but close copies of it. You see it was Dean who painted the Captain America and Billy bikes for the movie Easy Rider.captain-america

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Comments on Dean Lanza “The Dean” of custom bike painters.

April 2, 2010

Mr. Big @ 10:55 pm

Good story, Chris. Since I was the one that ragged on ya about writing more of these, I should be the first to say, “Thank you”. So, did you play a naked angel?

June 24, 2010

Chris Haynes @ 9:40 am

No, I was one of the guys chasin’ the bike thief. Got into the fight at the clubhouse.

[…] them to Hardy and Vaughs.  Jim Buchanan fabricated the frames,  The engines were built by Hardy, Dean Lanza did the paint (his son is adamant he built the entire bikes).       2 bikes were for filming, 2 […]