The National Motorcycle Museum has become quite a cross roads for all sorts of antique and vintage motorcycling. John Parham, long time collector and president of the Museum practically lives there and welcomes in almost daily collectors of motorcycles, toys, artwork, photos and more, even old oil cans and great porcelain signs. John knew Mike Wolfe for about 20 years before he became a celebrity through the television hit, American Pickers.
So Mike makes it a point to stop by and see John when he’s in the neighborhood, or has some super new find he wants John to see, maybe even own. But then sometimes, Mike keeps the coolest things he finds, like many of us do. Such was the case recently. What is a picker? In case you don’t already know it a picker is the first guy to lay eyes on a neglected, hidden, forgotten interesting object from our past.
Pickers knock on doors out in the country if their sixth sense says the barn holds an old motorcycle or car or just a fine nickel plated kerosene lamp from the late 19th Century. Pickers know what’s good, dig it out, dust it off and for the first time in maybe 50 years identify it, price it and try and sell it for what it’s really worth. Mike Wolfe is a real picker, has been for most of his life.
And Mike likes to share his finds with John Parham, and the National Motorcycle Museum. Case in point, the Von Dutch XAVW motorcycle Mike Wolfe recently scored. Mike got a call one day from a friend telling him about a Von Dutch motorcycle. Two things probably popped into Mike’s mind. First; BOGUS!, because Von Dutch stuff is so rare. Second; I’d better get there quick before someone else does.
And he did. What he found was the bike Von Dutch had built around 1966 along with paperwork that had Ed “Big Daddy” Roth as a past owner. He made a 21 K$ deal on the spot and took the motorcycle home with him. Real pickers don’t fool around when they find something great. What’s so special about the XAVW? Most people know Von Dutch for his artistic classic pin-striping and some know he has painted a few bikes, written some strange prose, made some knives and pretty whacky sculptures.
But working with a Harley-Davidson XA, a World War II shaft drive machine that’s relatively rare now, some Moto Guzzi components and a 36 horsepower flat four Volkswagen engine he joined some cool components and built a complete motorcycle. A complete Von Dutch motorcycle. That’s rare. Story from the National Motorcycle MuseumSee Also: Dog Motorcycle Helmet
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