Sunday, 28 October 2012

A Harley in the Barn - More Great Tales of Motorcycle Archaeology

It’s every motorcyclist dream: the classic bike abandoned and forgotten, waiting to be re-discovered and turned loose on the road again.

Author Tom Cotter has chased down more than 40 incredible tales of lost, old bikes; hidden Honda’s, lost Nortons, dormant Indians, and busted BSAs, all squirreled away but found by lucky collectors.

Such as the discovery of a derelict 1905 motorised bicycle found in a maple tree, and a BSA Gold Star that was used for years as a fencepost, to the lengths that dedicated, often eccentric collectors have gone to unearth them. One man explains how he took to sleeping in a strangers freezing cold shed, with a pistol, surrounded by grizzly bears to get the owner to sell him a 1936 Harley-Davidson E model, another who met a known gun dealer at the end of a long dirt road to purchase a Stenhouse Triumph T-120.

However the find by Mark Johnson’s is probably every classic biker’s dream. Johnson heard of an old man in town who had World War II Harley Davidsons still in their original crates, after tracking him down, it took 9 months of patience to finally win the old fella over just to see in his basement. The old man was a motorcycle messenger during the war that had lost both his legs. Johnson goes on to say that the owner hadn’t been down in his basement for literally decades, and what he saw that day blew his mind, nine WLAs, all 42s except for one 41, five civilian WLs ranging from 1938 to 1949 along with shelves and shelves of parts.

There are also famous finds too, what about the keeper of one of the most famous motorcycle in the world. Read about Tom Hensley, his family has owned Burt Munro’s Indian Streamliner way before it became famous by Anthony Hopkins in the movie The World’s Fastest Indian.

If you can’t pass an old padlocked garage without wondering if there’s a hidden gem stashed inside, this book is for you.

Author Tom Cotter’s business card reads “Certified Car Geek”. He is a passionate historian, collector, racer and restorer of all vintage vehicles. He is not only a barn-find master, he’s also master of discovering the collectors with the best stories and the most outlandish finds.

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