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Vintage Choppers at The Quail and the National Motorcycle Museum

Honda Chopper 

Photo by Phillip Tooth: Period choppers are finally getting recognized as collectible.

Long overlooked by collectors and historically snubbed for their outlaw 1-percenter aspirations, vintage choppers are finally getting their due.

This year’s The Quail Motorcycle Gathering will single out choppers (along with military motorcycles and Formula 750 race bikes) when it hosts its seventh annual event at the Quail Lodge & Golf Club in Carmel, California, on Saturday, May 16, 2015. A month later, on Saturday, June 20, 2015, the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM) in Anamosa, Iowa, will celebrate the history of the American chopper when it opens the Allstate Motorcycle Chopper Story, its latest exhibit. The opening kicks off the NMM’s annual Vintage Rally, which this year includes a special category for choppers.

The new exhibit explores the evolution of choppers and customs in the American biking scene. Focusing on cut-downs, bobbers, show bikes and choppers from the 1920s to the mid-1970s, the bikes in the exhibit are all authentic, period-built machines. “We put the word out to try and locate period builds, and the results have been good,” says guest curator Paul d’Orleans. The museum asked d’Orleans, author of the recently released book The Chopper: The Real Story, and of the popular vintage motorcycle blog The Vintagent to create the exhibit. “Many original-paint machines, some pretty outrageous, built in the ‘60s and ‘70s were saved ‘as is’ and are still out there. They will be part of the show,” he says.

The exhibit, which will also feature period artwork, film posters, photos and contemporary artwork commissioned for the show, runs until May 2016. Find more information at the National Motorcycle Museum website. MC