HUNTINGTON, W.Va. -- Dave McGee is all smiles when he sits on his built-from-scratch motorcycle.
That's because the bike is a nearly exact replica of the motorcycle driven by Daryl Dixon on McGee's favorite show, AMC's "The Walking Dead."
McGee, 63, considers himself a "Walking Dead" fanatic. He utilized his mechanic skills to build the bike from scratch. It was a $10,000 project that took McGee nearly six months to complete.
McGee's auto shop in Huntington is full of old rusted automobiles — projects he hopes he can finish in the coming years.
"I have a 1947 Spartan Camper I hope to restore, as well as a '66 Chevelle and a '55 Chevy Station Wagon I hope to get running some day," McGee said. "I'm never going to get all my projects finished but it doesn't matter. I'm having fun."
Despite having a shop full of projects, he has kept busy the past several months by building a fan tribute motorcycle that resembles the one driven by Daryl in "The Walking Dead."
McGee said he paid attention to every detail. He acquired images of the bike used in the television series and made sure he mimicked every part.
He bought the motorcycle frame from a seller in Maryland. The front tire was shipped from England and cost $200. Honda manufactured the front and rear ends. There are several parts on the bike manufactured by Kawasaki. The seat was an after-market unit manufactured by Harley Davidson.
"There were not many pictures of the actual bike on the Internet," McGee said. "In some cases, I only had fuzzy images to look at so I had to study them and determine the exact parts that were used.
"I was able to find a lot of parts on eBay. I have more than $1,000 in extra parts lying around in my shop because I had ordered parts that were not what I was looking for. It was very important to me that I got it right."
The bike's motor is a Triumph, which is the largest UK motorcycle manufacturer.
"When I was in high school in the '60s, I had four Hondas but always wanted a Triumph bike," McGee said. "I could never afford one at the time. The bike on the show is a Triumph so I was ecstatic when I could get one."
McGee said he gets a lot of questions about the "SS" insignia located on the side of the bike. In the show, the original owner of the motorcycle was Merle. His brother, Daryl, began riding the motorcycle in Season 2. The character of Merle is a Georgia redneck with a racist attitude, explaining the insignia.
The bike, which he calls the Zombie Killer Bike, looks simplistic. However, building the bike with a hodgepodge of different parts that are difficult to find costs a significant amount of money.
"Sometimes I look at it and wonder where my $10,000 went to," McGee laughed.
He spent a month working with a machinist at the Cabell County Vo-Tech Center to make some adjustments to the rear end. He welded together the exhaust pipes and had to get several parts custom made.
"I've had several people tell me that my welding job was rough but like everything else on the bike, I wanted it to be the same as it is on the show," he said. "I did a bubble gum weld and that's how it was done.
The gearbox is on the wrong side of the engine and the saddlebag had to be custom made.