~Since 2004~
A site about memories, thoughts, photos, and unrepentant opinions about motorcycles and motorcycling after four decades of twisting the throttle.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

30th Annual Vintage Bike Show in Phoenix

This year was the 30th annual, more or less, and I've been going to them since they were a "vintage picnic" at a local park. It's been interesting to see the event grow, get too big and attract the wrong crowd, get small, then start to grow again only to be hit by the downturn in the economy. This year was interesting, there seemed to be fewer vintage bikes than ever but the biggest crowd I've seen in several years. The swap meet was well populated also. I'm not sure why the turn out of vintage bikes is getting worse, there's lots of them around Arizona, but it was mostly the usual suspects that turned up again this year. I suspect it's a case of a club drifting and not really trying real hard to promote the event. I sent them three e-mails with a question about getting in early to shoot pictures will the light was good but never got a single reply.

There were some interesting bikes though, like the Simson. I'd never even heard of the brand before, it was another German brand that had been taken away from it's Jewish founders by the Nazis and then re-emerged in East Germany under communist control after the war. I spoke with the owner, he spotted it sitting in someone apartment as a decor piece and managed to buy it. He said it's taken a bit of fiddling and some parts but it's working again and he rode it to the event on Sunday. He said he's in it about twice what it's worth now and isn't sure how much further he'll go in refurbishing it but it's fun to play with.

The club apparently decided branch out this year offering special classes for cafe racers and bobbers but to no great success. There were a handful of interesting bikes between the two groups, the CB750 below being one of the nicest.

Photo cropped to protect cosplay guilty.
The above Sporty based bike was out in the parking lot, ridden in and out by someone who believes in go, not just show. The parking lot had it's share of Craig's List bobbers and flannel shirt/low top tennis shoe/metal flake helmet wearing motorsicklists.  If the $60k butt jewelry chopper fad is over (hooray!) the bobber craze driven by people with a hack saw and a rattle can of flat black paint is going strong.  The bike above is a bit extreme but actually well executed unlike some of the bastard step children bikes elsewhere in the parking lot.

A Hercules showed up, first one I've ever seen in person. I kept imagining some engineers and designers stepping back from the prototype thinking "Ja! Zis vill change de verld!"

Oddly enough there were almost no dirt bikes this year and not a single Bultaco. Booo...hiss! There was a Ariel 500cc raced with some success back in the late forties and now kept by the rider's son.

One lone Ducati 250, included here for the Italian bike fans out there:

And while we're thinking Italian, a very nice Benelli 650 Tornado. I think this is the first one of these I've seen in person too. Pretty bike, almost more German looking that Italian but for the red paint.

And finally, a 1926 Indian Prince, unrestored:

I spoke with the lady who owns the Indian, the bike is for sale. Her husband's father bought it new in '26 and lost interest after a while so the bike was put away in a barn on their 500 acre cherry orchard in Michigan. There it sat for the next 80+ years. She said her husband knew about it but wasn't interested. He's passed now so the bike is hers and she has no need of it and recognizes both it's value and need for a proper home to preserve it.

More pics from the day here.


Trobairitz said...

Great pictures, and thanks for the link to the extra ones too. I'd never heard of the Hurricane or the Simson before so it was neat to see them.

A beautiful day for a show. It is a shame there weren't as many bikes in the show, but with more people showing up, maybe more will bring bikes next year.

Our Oregon Vintage Motorcycle show is May 18th and we'll be attending again since it is located a mere 3 blocks or so away from our house.

Now I am wondering how many bikes will show.

Jim L said...

Damn, I forgot all about it.

Unknown said...


For the first time in many years, our Motorcycle swap meet, which included hundreds of classic bikes on display, has been cancelled.


Rumour is that the City of Delta wanted $2,500. to police the event, whereas before they just did it. Imagine all the money that this would have brought into the community. Bikes would come from all over the province

It was supposed to be next Sunday

A weekend photographer or Riding the Wet Coast

The City Mouse in the Country said...

Man, there are some lovely bikes. Somehow I don't think we will have the same love for today's models 30 or 40 years from now.

Jac Brown said...

All cool. Much better variety than we see around here.

I especially enjoy the Benelli as it brings back memories. In high school, my friend worked for a gas station that also sold Benelli motorcycles. These Tornado's were low and sweet and drove my teenage imagination, even though I never had a chance to ride one.

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