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Mecum

4 Major Motorcycle Trends Sir Hagerty Witnessed at the Mecum Auction

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by James Hewitt from Hagerty.com

Values have skyrocketed of late in the motorcycle world but there were still deals to be had.

The spending frenzy at Scottsdale’s January auto auctions may have garnered the headlines, but just a short road trip away in Las Vegas, Mecum’s motorcycle auction put on a similarly spectacular show for the two-wheeled crowd.

We reported last year that millennials prefer classic & vintage Harleys over Indians.

Knuckleheads are benefitting from broader, multi-generational appeal, and demand is increasing because younger buyers continue to move into the market while older ones aren’t leaving.

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Harley-Davidson 9 hp Scooter up for Auction

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from https://www.financialexpress.com

The Harley-Davidson scooter was considered ‘highly maneuverable and well balanced’ and definitely looks nice with its identifiable aesthetic from the early 1960s. Now, more than a vehicle, it is a piece of art.

Imagine you’re minding your business selling V-twin motorcycles from Milwaukee and then you see a manufacturer from Japan selling nippy compact imported bikes and little scooters in a market you’d been very popular in. What do you do? Simple, build a scooter yourself. And so Harley-Davidson did when in the late 1950s, Honda surfaced as a competitor.

Harley’s answer was called the Topper.

The Topper remained in production for only five years with production estimates in a four-digit figure, Jalopnik writes in a report. Barring the electric concepts Harley now has, the Topper was the only scooter the manufacturer ever built and also mass-produced. One of these has been found and is now heading for auction at Mecum’s Las Vegas Motorcycles 2022 auction.

Unlike the big V-twin that power H-D motorcycles, the Harley-Davison Topper was powered by a two-stroke single-cylinder that delivered between 5 to 9 hp. It came in three models. It is not known which one of them is heading to Mecum.

All that power was sent to its wheels through a continuously variable transmission. American Motorcyclist magazine from November 1959 mentions a pull start cord hidden in the chrome instrument cluster.

The Topper was considered ‘highly maneuverable and well balanced’ by the same magazine and definitely looks nice with its identifiable aesthetic from the early 1960s. Now, more than a vehicle, it is a piece of art.

Imagine being able to say you own a Harley-Davidson scooter today. And if you want to, you could. Mecum’s auction is set to begin on 25 January 2022 until the 29th of the month. Interested? Look for the Harley-Davidson Heritage Collection.

Kirk Taylor’s 2018 Strider Custom is back

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by Marilyn Stemp

Kirk Taylor’s L’il Cha Cha was among the very first class of Tiny Strider Customs, a program of the Flying Piston Benefit that supports All Kids Bike – an organization that’s on a mission to teach every kid how to ride a bike as part of kindergarten PE class.

Custom creations are unveiled at the Flying Piston breakfast in August at the Sturgis Buffalo Chip then auctioned at the Mecum motorcycle event in Las Vegas the following January. Proceeds fund bike-riding programs for elementary schools.

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Auction of Triumph Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Edition

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Steve McQueen was an alumni of non-profit organisation Boys Republic and this motorcycle has the unique serial number matching from his bike.

Triumph Scrambler 1200 Steve McQueen Selling for Charity with Unique Perks

In April 2021, British bike maker Triumph announced the launch of the “highest specification Scrambler 1200 produced to date.” We’re talking about the limited edition Steve McQueen version, scheduled to hit the market this month.

One of them is being auctioned off by Triumph, via the Mecum sale in Monterey in August, to benefit a non-profit dedicated to troubled youngsters. The California-based organization is called Boys Republic, and Steve McQueen himself was a 1946 alumnus of the group.

The bike to be sold is serial number 0278, a number that matches the number plate McQueen used on his bike in the 1964 International Six Days Trial. Moreover, it is being sold with a unique certificate of authenticity with the signatures of Steve’s son, Chad, and Triumph CEO Nick Bloor.

As an extra perk, the buyer of the motorcycle will also receive an invitation to the annual dinner of the Steve McQueen Car and Motorcycle Show.

Other than that, the bike is just like the other 999 slotted for production. It was designed to be reminiscent of the Triumph TR used in the 1963 movie The Great Escape, and comes powered by a 1200cc Bonneville twin engine.

The two-wheeler comes painted in Competition Green, like all others of its breed, but also boasts gold lining and heritage Triumph logos. Engine protection dresser bars, pressed aluminum radiator guard with laser etched Triumph branding, and a brown bench seat with stitched ribbing are also part of the deal.

Unlike the bike it is inspired by though, this one comes with a few modern-day appointments, including LED lighting, the My Triumph connectivity system, keyless ignition, and single-button cruise control.

There is no estimate on how much the motorcycle is expected to fetch during the auction, but it will probably be more than the $16,400 the bike maker is asking for the rest of the bikes in the series.

Harley-Davidson FL 1946 Sells for 473 Times Its Original MSRP

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Born at a time when World War II was raging all across the world, the FL line of motorcycles turned out to be a hit in the Harley-Davidson portfolio. Little did the bike maker know however that many decades after its introduction, this line of Knuckleheads will be worth many times over their original money.

The FL you’re looking at, sporting a bit more chrome than what the bike maker offered back then, comes from the year immediately after the end of the war. It looks so shiny and new thanks to a restoration process it went through about a quarter of a century ago. A restoration process that also helped significantly increase its value.

You see, back when it was made alongside close to 4,000 others of its kind, the two-wheeler had an MSRP of just $465. Adjusted for inflation, that would be around $6,200 in today’s money. Still a very, very long way from the sum it just sold for last week.

The bike was listed on the massive lot that went under the hammer during the huge Mecum motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. This particular FL shares the second position on the podium for most expensive bikes sold there with an E model from 1943, behind the champion of the event, the $297,000 Strap Tank.

$220,000 is how much someone paid for the FL, which would be 473 times more than its original price back in 1946, or 35 times more if we do the math with the inflation-adjusted amount.

Although we’re not specifically informed of this, we reckon the 74 cubic inch engine linked to a four speed transmission is still in working order, but do not expect this motorcycle to take to the roads anytime soon. That’s because there are only two reasons people generally pay this much for a bike this old: included it in a collection, or waiting for its value to increase some more so it could be sold for a profit.

Indian Motorcycle from 1903 sold for $143K

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

It’s been a hell of a ride for those taking part last weekend in the massive motorcycle auction in Las Vegas. The top highest-selling two-wheelers, for instance, were responsible for getting close to two million dollars combined, in a bidding frenzy that seemed to have had no limit.

Out of this select team of ten motorcycles, eight of them were Harley-Davidsons, including the champion when it comes to money earned, the $297,000 Strap Tank. The other two were a Vincent Black Shadow from 1953 (sold for $165,000), and this here 1903 Indian that went for $143,000.

For all intents and purposes, the Indian is the oldest in this select lot. What’s more important is that for the first 62 years of its life, from 1903 to 1965, it was owned by the same guy, a California motorcycle racer by the name Gus Cheleini.

Looking probably just as good as it did 118 years ago when it was made, the motorcycle comes in a dark shade of blue and it is equipped with a tiny 13ci engine and an atmospheric valve that is still working, hinting according to auction house Mecum, which handled the sale of the two-wheeler, that the bike could be “started and ridden.”

Part of a select and limited number of bikes made under the Indian name that year, it still wears the first name of the company, Hendee Manufacturing, and features the large gas tank on the rear fender that earned it and its breed the nickname Camelback.

Since the death of its first owner, the Indian changed hands a few more times, and was featured in The Classic MotorCycle in 1988, but mostly spent its time out of sight. It’s unclear what the future holds for it, as we are not told who purchased it, but chances are we’ll get to see it again at a similar auction in the not-so-distant future.

Harley-Davidson 1907 Strap Tank Nets Close to $300K in Las Vegas auction

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

It’s been a very hot weekend for motorcycle enthusiasts. On one hand, we had the MotoAmerica series of events over in Atlanta, and on the other the mammoth motorcycle auction conducted by Mecum over in Las Vegas.

As far as the Road Atlanta event goes, we’ve already seen how Indian once again crowned itself King of the Baggers by barely outrunning Harley-Davidson. But the Nevada auction had a champion of its own, and its name is 1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank.

Described by fans as the most desirable of all Harley-Davidsons, the Strap Tank family managed to score a number of records when it comes to the sums they went for over the past few years. Back in 2015, for instance, one of them sold for $650k, making it the most expensive Harley ever sold at auction until that time.

The one we have here sold for less, but for an impressive amount nonetheless. $297k is how much someone paid for it, making the model the most expensive one to sell at this year’s event.

Coming from a private collection, the motorcycle is somewhat related to the record-setting one from 2015. It was put together by its owner, Ronald Moreschini, and with the backing of the guy who purchased the $650k Strap Tank, Lonnie Isam.

Seeing how desirable these bikes were, Moreschini set out a few years back to come up with 13 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank replica motors. While doing this, he stumbled upon an original 1907 engine that still had the original carburetor, but also on the native gas and oil tank, forks, and belt tensioning gate.

The motorcycle we have here came to be around these original parts, and was further gifted with original seat and wheel hubs. The result is so exciting, that the two-wheeler was even shown at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum for a while.

Now it is probably heading over to another private collection, where it will most likely spend some time before it will most definitely show up for sale once more.

Highlights

  • Color Grey
  • Not for highway or public road use
  • Engine # 1877
  • Original factory engine
  • Original carburetor
  • Original gas tank and oil tank
  • Original belt tensioner
  • Original front forks
  • Original wheel hubs
  • Original seat

Creating a 1916 Harley-Davidson from only an original engine

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

Recreating a historic Harley-Davidson racing model without the original parts except the original engine.

Believe it or not, it’s been 118 years since the foundations of the company we now know as Harley-Davidson were laid. Somehow, the company managed to get through two hot world wars, a cold, long one, and more near-death experiences that we care count.

Such a long history means there are more models in the company’s past than in its present (and some, might argue, more than in the future). Some are so old it’s literally impossible to come across one, and people have to turn to all sorts of gimmicks to get their hands on a historic model.

Like the guys behind this build did. Trying to bring back one of Harley’s historic racing models, a Swedish museum by the name of MC Collection got their hands on an original motorcycle engine from 1916 and built a bike around it, trying to capture the essence of what was once the Model 11K racer.

The engine belonged to a Model F, and was slapped inside a full loop frame constructed (together with the forks) by former German road racing cyclist Christian Henn. The frame presents itself just like it did on the original Harley of more than a century ago, in the so-called keystone configuration, with stressed members and steel engine plates.

This way of building racers gave them better handling but, perhaps equally as important, allowed for the cylinder to be removed with the powerplant still fitted on the bike, allowing for quick intervention during races, if they were required.

This 1916 Harley was put together in Sweden more than a decade ago, and in the meantime it made it to the U.S. It was listed as for sale during the Mecum motorcycle auction this weekend, and it got sold for $57,750. As a side note though, whoever bought it will only be using it as a museum piece, because it is not street legal.

Rare unused CZ Motorcycle at Mecum auction

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by Daniel Patrascu from https://www.autoevolution.com

This CZ Motorcycle Arrived in New York Decades Ago, Was Left Untouched

Say you read these two words: Ceska zbrojovka. For an English speaker, they are tongue-twisting, and they probably don’t mean that much either. Except, perhaps, if you’re into firearms. Or motocross machines. That’s because the Czech company by that name makes products for both these worlds.

As far as motorcycles go, people know the company best as CZ. Present mostly on the European market, the moniker reached American shores in the 1970s, forever changing how motocross racing was done. For instance, a racer by the name John DeSoto won the 1970 Elsinore GP on a CZ bike.

That is just one of CZ’s achievements; the nameplate holds six Motocross Grand Prix World Championship titles (consecutive ones, won between 1964 and 1969), but is also responsible for impressive wins in enduro.

Presently, finding a new CZ motorcycle is almost impossible, as they don’t make them anymore. One has to look long and hard just to come across such a two-wheeler with a few miles on it. But what if we told you the one you see before your eyes, although almost half a century old, is literally brand new?

Over the years, we’ve come across machines that could have easily been described as virtually new, but this one is literally so. As in, the thing has never ever been ridden, and it still comes in the original factory crate it was shipped to the U.S. in. It is the complete package, with all the packing plastic and oiled paper, and even an original spare parts list.

We stumbled upon this incredible piece of motoring history on the lot of motorcycles that are going under the hammer this week in Las Vegas. Sadly, we don’t know why this bike was never used for the purpose it was brought to the U.S.

Mecum is trying to sell the bike as is, saying it can be assembled and used for racing or kept as a museum piece. There’s no indication as to how much it is expected to fetch.