Crocker Motorcycle

1940 Crocker Is Expected To Sell For $500,000 At The Barber Vintage Motorcycle Festival

by Andrew Wendler from Forbes Staff Though the name “Crocker” may not resonate among the non-initiated as readily as Harley Davidson or Indian, enthusiasts recognize Crocker motorcycles as some of the most desirable and powerful bikes of the pre-war era. Founded by engineer and former Indian dealer/distributor Al Crocker, the brand saw its first success with the Speedway, a single-cylinder bike that quickly became a favorite of west-coast racers. Encouraged by his success, Crocker sold his Indian dealership in the mid 1930s and established the the motorcycle company at 1461 Venice Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles . Leading off with the “Small-Tank” Crocker in 1936, Crocker followed up with the “Big Tank” model in 1939. Frequently built to customer specifications, several examples came equipped with a 91 cubic-inch v-twin engine (1491 cc) that helped the Big Tank earn its reputation as the fastest bike of the era. According to folklore, Crocker reportedly advertised that if a customer’s Big Tank v-twin was beaten by a stock Harley Davidson, he would refund the owner’s money. No record exists of a refund being issued. Often referred to as the Duesenberg of Motorcycles, the Crocker Big Tank is undeniably American. Large and brash, the bike incorporates numerous aesthetic and functional design disciplines of the era, displaying both aviation and marine overtones in its design and construction. No attempt is made to hide the mechanical bits; from the bicycle pedal kick-starter to floorboard-style footrests and from the exposed fuel and oil lines to the tank-mounted shifter, functionality and elegance exist in harmony. Often, it’s this tangible and endearing characteristic that separates merely rare motorcycles from the truly desirable and significant ones. That said, most experts agree that fewer than 30 Crocker Big tanks were built. This 1940 Crocker Big Tank on the block at […]

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1937 Crocker Small Tank Model To Hit Auction Block In Las Vegas In January

Bonhams is thrilled to announce the addition of another rare motorcycle to be offered alongside the already impressive list of rarities at its annual Las Vegas auction. The 1937 Crocker Small Tank – serial number 36-61-8 – comes from the renowned collection of Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Museum. Called as the “Duesenberg of motorcycles,” Crocker is the definitive American motorcycle – handmade, powerful and fast. Very much a Hollywood “hot rod” bike, Crocker was created in and shaped by the culture of pre-WWII Los Angeles, California, by former Indian distributor Al Crocker. When it debuted in 1936, the upstart founder brazenly challenged world dominators Harley-Davidson, boasting of superior technology, performance, handling and raw power. As the story goes, Al Crocker famously advertised that if any of his bikes were ever beaten by a stock Harley, he would refund the owner’s money. No refunds were ever requested. As a bespoke machine, each Crocker was made to the specifications of its buyer. This expensive and time-intensive approach meant that quality remained high but production output low. Total Crocker numbers never exceeded more than 125 units before World War II forced the firm’s closure, and today only around 50 of those units are accounted for, making Crocker motorcycles extremely rare. After fading into relative obscurity for half a century, two major events transpired that vaulted Crocker to the consciousness of collectors worldwide. First, the Guggenheim Museum’s groundbreaking 1998 exhibit The Art of the Motorcycle prominently featured a Crocker (owned by famed auto collector Otis Chandler). Then, the seminal 2006 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance presented Crocker as a featured marque with a record-breaking 20 examples on display. The attention provided by these two events – highlighting the marque’s unique history, success and rarity – suddenly made Crocker one of the most

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