A Harley-Davidson bike in-built 1908 has grow to be the costliest bike ever bought, experiences the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel’s Beck Andrew Salgado.
The bike is a Strap Tank mannequin, named for the nickel-plated metal bands used to connect the oil and gas tanks to the body. It garnered $935,000 at an public sale in Las Vegas late final month.
Harley-Davidson made solely 450 bikes in 1908—and solely a handful nonetheless exist at this time, in line with Mecum Auctions. The record-breaking bike nonetheless has lots of its authentic components, together with the muffler sleeve, engine belt pulley, wheels, tank and seat cowl.
In 1941, businessman David Uihlein found the bike in a barn positioned roughly 70 miles from Milwaukee, per the public sale home. He held onto the discover for 66 years, then labored with Indiana-based collector Paul Freehill to revive it to its former glory. At the moment, the bike is generally grey with purple accent striping and a vibrant orange Harley-Davidson brand.
The restoration is one cause why the bike commanded such a excessive value, however even the public sale home’s consultants have been shocked by how a lot it bought for.
“We marketed the bike properly, and Harley is by far probably the most well-known American bike model so we had a sense it will do properly in public sale, however clearly you’re stunned anytime you promote the costliest bike ever,” says Greg Arnold, Mecum’s bike division supervisor, to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Strap Tank is the oldest Harley-Davidson bike collectors can personal, as earlier fashions have been misplaced to historical past, per the public sale home. Crews constructed the Strap Tank mannequin within the firm’s single-story manufacturing facility on Chestnut Road, now Juneau Avenue, in Milwaukee.
“These earliest Harley-Davidson Strap Tanks are probably the most coveted of all Milwaukee equipment,” writes Mecum Auctions. “They established the sample for all future manufacturing, combining a clear but conservative styling, a somber shade scheme, heavy-duty cycle components and an engine somewhat greater and stronger than the remainder.”
Milwaukee-based associates William Harley and Arthur Davidson, together with Davidson’s brothers William and Walter, based the corporate in 1903. They began small, constructing prototypes in a shed. Finally, the corporate grew to grow to be one of many best-known bike manufacturers on the planet.
When the corporate turned 100 in 2003, Robert F. Howe wrote for Smithsonian journal that the Harley-Davidson bike has “developed into an American touchstone.”
Even the sound of its engine is well known. “Not solely are you able to hear it, you possibly can really feel it,” Tom Bolfert, who was head of the corporate’s archives, informed Smithsonian. “It has a primal sound, like a heartbeat.”