I headed off Sunday to the 23rd Annual Antique & Classic Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet in Phoenix and met up with the redoubtable AngryBob from MotorcycleBloggers.com.
Held these days at the new Shrine Auditorium in Phoenix, the vintage event is clean tidy, and very friendly. Although a relatively small show and by appearances a bit smaller this year than last, the quality of many of many of the bikes present was superb, as good as you will find short of a major concours event.
As with last year, some really interesting bikes were ridden to the event by their owners and walking through the parking lot turned up some great bikes of all years and persuasions, and even a couple of crazy Lambretta scooters decked out as only scooter guys are able to do. Showing that bike people love anything on two wheels with an engine, I saw three scooters, including the crazy Labretta's with "parking lot award" ribbons hanging on them.
Below are a few pictures from the event and some comments. There is a link at the bottom of the entry to the rest of my pictures from the event. I have not taken the time to annotate each of the pictures in the linked page; it was late when I put it together and my supply of brain power was kaput.
Bob Kimm, accompanied by his grandson Tyler, brought out two nice Indian examples. Way back in the early '50s Bob raced flat track in the Midwest and told me one of his finest days back then was racing against Bill Tuman of the "Indian Wrecking Crew." Bob said he was pleased that he was able to stay on the same lap with Tuman and not be lapped.
Bob was also kind enough to let me sit on his Indian and even offered to sell it to me. Sadly, my motorcycle mad money has already been spent elsewhere and my dream of someday owning an Indian will have to wait a bit longer but the picture snapped of me on the bike will be cherished.
I know there are lots of great old bikes hidden away around Arizona so it would be really nice to see people bring them out and help make this annual event a knock out and perhaps the best event in Arizona for the real motorcycle enthusiast.
I'm told that Jim Boomer bought this 1939 Indian Four used when he was about 15 years old. What a bike for a kid! Jim's well past 15 now but kept the Indian all these years and now it's returned to it's full glory.
I have a very nice model of the '39 Four at home. My dad told me once when he say it that as a young man (in '39) that he thought the greatest thing in the world would be to buy a 1939 Indian Four, some high lace up boots, and go calling on his best girl (who later became his wife and my mom).
Vintage Japanese bikes are starting to come on strong and some amazing examples of low mileage bikes are beginning to turn up. Long ago people hoped to find an old Indian motorcycle in a barn and sometimes did. These days people are beginning to turn up some amazing examples of low mileage Japanese bikes in near pristine condition.
Left is a Kawasaki 900, a superb rocket ship of a bike in it's day and a bike that still has tons of presence 30+ years later. As my dear ol' dad used to say "I wish I had that one and he had a better one."
One of the best examples of low mileage treasure was a 1979 Suzuki 1000S Wes Cooley edition, one of just 650 made for the US, with just 2 miles on the odometer. This wonderful jewel was brought out by Kent Meyers and is part of his great collection of vintage Japanese bikes. If you don't know who Wes Cooley was (is…Wes is still around), do a bit of research and you'll find that in the late '70s and early '80s he was one of the best American road races to be found, maybe the equal of "Fast Freddie" Spencer, before an untimely racing crash effectively ended Wes's racing career. You'll find the blue and white Wes Cooley bike at the top of the photo page here, second bike from the left, top row.