If you ask your average person, especially someone from the United States, what they think of when they hear the name Harley-Davidson, chances are you’ll get pretty similar answers. Most imagine some big, bad hog like the Harley-Davidson Low Rider rumbling down the street in style, or a posse of Fat Boys burning up the wide-open highway toward the sunset. But Harley-Davidson has a long history of sport and racing success, too. The Milwaukee Harley-Davidson Museum will remind folks of that with a couple of all-new exhibits that just opened up this month.
One man’s trash may be another man’s treasure, but time-worn gold is still gold. Never has that been truer than it was on Monday, September 21, 2015, according to a Sydney Morning Herald report. At an auction house in Melbourne, Australia, a rusty Harley-Davidson sold for an astonishing $600,000, even with damaged wheels, chipped paint and flat tires. This is the most money ever spent at auction for a motorbike in Australian history!
Motorcycles have always had strong emotional ties to the hearts of their riders. Choppers have served as gifts to celebrate life milestones, instruments of relief for the overworked and overstressed, therapeutic tools for soldiers with PTSD and more. In this case, however, a motorcycle served as a last link between a loving wife and her late husband.
Goodness gracious, great balls of fire! At a recent auction held in Florida, the motorcycle formerly owned by Jerry Lee Lewis sold for a whopping $385,000, attesting to the love the musician’s fans still have for the rock icon. Lewis personally attended the auction, graciously sending off the vehicle to its new owners.
Jerry Lee Lewis, known to his fans as “The Killer,” made his presence known with a series of major songs in the 50’s and 60’s, including “Breathless,” “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Going On” and arguably his greatest hit, “Great Balls of Fire.” Later in his life, the singer switched genres reaching success in country music with a string of chart-topping hits. He’s won multiple Grammy awards, was inducted into the Rock and Hall of Fame in 1986 and had his life chronicled in a major motion picture starring Dennis Quaid.
Harley-Davidson gifted the rock star with the bike in 1959 and went on to give Elvis Presley an identical one. Despite its 55 years of ownership, the chopper had only 2,257 miles on its odometer. The expected value of the bike was estimated to be somewhere between $100,000 – $200,000 by collector Bob Golfen of Classiccars.com, but this is by no means the first time a vehicle has earned a higher auction price based on the power of celebrity. It’s also yet another testament to the deep and time-tested love of Harley-Davidson motorcycles that fans have had for decades. At the end of the day, everyone loves a good Harley (especially a famous one!)
No one knows the value of a great hog like the men and women at our Manchester, NH Harley-Davidson dealership. If you’d like to get a Harley of your own for a great price, visit us today!
At our Harley-Davidson dealership in Manchester, one of our favorite parts about what we do is seeing how families bond over the beautiful bikes that Harley makes, and how Harley models are often passed down from generation to generation.
North Carolina resident Edgar Johnson Jr. was deprived of that opportunity when his father’s Harley-Davidson bike was stolen 42 years ago. But last week, Johnson was reunited with his father’s bike after the 1954 Harley-Davidson Hydra-Glide was found at the L.A./Long Beach seaport on Thursday, October 2.
According to a report from ABC7 News in Los Angeles, the classic bike was found by U.S Customs and Border Protection, working with the California Highway Patrol (CHP) and the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB), while ticketed for a trip to Australia. Johnson says the theft took place in 1972, the bike stolen from his father, a police officer, while in his family’s backyard in North Carolina.
“My dad would be tickled to get it back if he was still alive. I miss my dad so much. This is like a piece of him is coming back home,” Johnson said. “Words can’t describe how I’m feeling today. It’s wonderful.”
“You know, this is part of their history and when they get this stuff back, it’s like reliving their youth, so it’s amazing to us,” said special agent Lou Koven of the NICB.
Johnson says he plans to put the bike on display at auto shows and reaffirmed how happy his father would be to know the bike has come back home. He thanked members of U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the CHP and the NCIB for their work.
“I thank every, each one of them, from the bottom of my heart, and I know my father does too,” said Johnson.
To learn more about the story and witness Johnson’s reaction, watch a clip of his interview here!
At our Harley-Davidson dealership in Manchester, we’ve fallen in love with the new Harley models on our lot. The motorcycles that Harley-Davidson makes today are sleeker, faster and more durable than ever, yet they retain Harley’s classic all-American, independent soul.
But we have to admit that there’s nothing quite like the look, sound and feel of a vintage motorcycle, whether you’re a diehard bike enthusiast or simply appreciate the history behind each chopper. That’s why we’re so interested in this mini-documentary about Keating Wheel Company, a bike company in Plainfield that dates all the way back to 1890! Owned by Brian Keating, the Keating Wheel Company specializes in rare, vintage motorcycles of all kinds.
Brian’s passion for such bikes is evident in this mini-documentary by Lucent Productions, which is beautifully shot and which truly shows the devotion to motorcycles that is shared by many of the riders we know.
“When you get on a new motorcycle, you just get on it and go, 60, 70, 80 miles an hour, no issues, no problems,” Keating says. “If you get on an old bike, life slows down a little bit. It’s a whole different frame of mind.”
Check out the video below: