Facts and Trivia – July 2016

BoThe Family’s Attic Is Full of Motorcycles

NEWBURGH, N.Y. — When it comes to assessing the motivations of a motorcycle collector, it is never clear exactly where to draw the line between a hobby and an obsession, but it seems quite likely that Gerald A. Doering has crossed it.

Evidence to support that conclusion is spread over the 85,000 square feet of Motorcyclepedia, an expansive museum that Mr. Doering, opened with his son, Ted. The eclectic collection, assembled over several decades and comprising more than 400 motorcycles, occupies two floors of a former lumber warehouse and showroom 65 miles north of Manhattan.

Mr. Doering’s interest in two-wheel vehicles took off with his first motorcycle, a 1929 Indian Scout that he bought locally in 1947. After that, he was loyal to the Indian brand, buying several more. Mr. Doering just kept adding to his collection. “I started buying 10 years apart, and then five years apart, and then filling in,” he said.

He has Indians from every year but the first, when the company built just three motorcycles. (The display at Motorcyclepedia will eventually include a replica of a 1901 model). But there’s more for visitors to marvel over: board-track racers from the 1910s and ’20s, custom cruisers bedazzled with lights and motocross machines from the ’60s and ’70s. One room is filled with a jaw-dropping array of bikes on loan from the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.

ted cycles

Downstairs are dozens of police and military motorcycles, including a 1964 Harley-Davidson that Ted Doering said was in the motorcade in Dallas when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The bike was later used in the 1991 Oliver Stone film “JFK,” he added.

The interests shared by the father and son reach beyond collecting. In 1971, they started a wholesale parts business, V-Twin Manufacturing. The success of the company, which focuses mainly on older Harley-Davidson models, helped make it possible for them to expand their motorcycle acquisitions.

There is far more to be appreciated in the collection. Motorcycle enthusiasts could spend an entire day before visual overload sets in; among the most fascinating items are motorcycles from long-forgotten American makers: a 4-cylinder Pierce from 1910, a Cleveland motorcycle adapted for military use and bikes from Monarch, Pope, Ace and Thor.

The collection also includes machines radically restyled by the legendary customizer Ed Roth, known as Big Daddy — rolling fiberglass sculptures of artistic significance. There is a smattering of European and Japanese bikes, mostly serving as the basis for customs, and a couple of the bikes on display are built entirely from replacement parts that the Doerings’ V-Twin company manufactured.

Gerald Doering said, “If you go in the museum at night, I wonder if you can hear some ghost saying, ‘I want my bike back.’ ”

The breadth of the collection, the rarity of much of what’s there and the sheer improbability of finding such a place full of wonders on a side street in Newburgh, NY make it worth the trip.

 

Trivia Question of the Month:

QUESTION:

What year did all of these things happen:

The first time a U.S. president visits the Harley-Davidson plant.

H-D is approved for listing on the New York stock exchange, issue price is $11 dollars per share.

H-D initiates the “buy-back” program, you can trade in a 2 year old Sportster for full retail value if you upgrade to an FL or FX.

H-D exports 1,300 motorcycles to Japan.

First year the Heritage Softail is offered with full windshield, passing lamps, leather saddlebags and 2 piece seat to create the first FLSTC.

Answer to last month’s trivia question:

QUESTION:

We are all familiar with Harley model designations, like: FLH, FXD or XL, some of us get a little confused by them. What year did Harley release the new “R” Model and what special features did it have?

ANSWER:

The “R” model does not denote Roadking, it actually goes all the way back to its release in1932. The “R” model replaced the Harley 45ci “D” model, with several modern upgrades such as: Gas strainer on the Carburetor, newer replaceable oil pump, heavier front fork forging and much more. The “R” model ran through 1936 until it too was replaced.

Bo’s Monthly Words of Wisdom:

If you don’t have bugs in your teeth, you haven’t been grinning enough!

UNTIL NEXT MONTH
“Live to Ride or Step Aside”

Written by Bo
“The Hog Shoppe”