Dennis Gage on Two Wheels

1 / 8
Ride British, drink stout: Gage is a fan of new Triumphs, counting a 1998 Trophy as part of his growing collection.
2 / 8
Gage on his 1973 BMW R75/5: “For bombing to work, this has been my dream bike. It’s light, nimble and loads of fun.”
3 / 8
And he can wrench, too! Gage makes some roadside adjustments on his 1981 BMW R100RS.
4 / 8
Gage and his R100RS, the bike that rekindled his love affair with classic motorcycles.
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Gage and his son, Sam. An avid motorcyclist, Sam’s increasingly joining his dad on the road.
6 / 8
Gage found his 1967 Moto Guzzi V-7 on eBay.
7 / 8
Classic cars gave him his start, but My Classic Car host Dennis Gage’s love affair with classic motorcycles is heating up fast.
8 / 8
Gage found his 1969 BMW R60US in the local classifieds.

Standing five foot ten and weighing 150 pounds dripping wet, Dennis Gage, the handlebar- mustachioed host of Speed TV’s My Classic Car, is probably the most unlikely television star you’ll ever meet. Yet for the past 10 years, he’s been lighting the old car world on fire with his passionate discourse on classic cars and the classic car scene. But these days, classic bikes are what really “move” Gage.

Bikes first
Gage’s first motorized interests centered on motorcycles, not cars. He got his first bike, a step-through 50cc Honda Cub, at age 12. He paid all of 90 bucks for it, and put it through hell, bounding through the fields surrounding the family farm in Illinois. “It was a clutchless three-speed, but I found that if you revved the engine holding the shift lever down, it wouldn’t engage until you let back up, and you could pop a hell of a wheelie,” Gage says. “Eventually it stopped shifting. I don’t know why.”

The hapless Cub was followed at age 14 by a Montessa 250 dirt bike (“what a piece of crap that thing was,” Gage says), after which Gage left bikes behind for cars. At 15 he bought his first car, a 1959 Ford Thunderbird. He paid $100 for it, and, he says, learned a valuable lesson: “Never buy a car at dusk. I woke up in the morning and there was this pink car out there. Flamingo Pink. So I’m 15, a farm boy, with a pink T-Bird.”

That pink T-Bird set off a love affair with cars, and it would be another 15 years before Gage would reunite himself with motorcycles. In the interim he went to college, worked as a handyman, played pedal-steel guitar with a successful country-rock band (Mad Foot), got his Ph.D. in chemistry, worked for Procter & Gamble in research and product development, and, in 1992, moved on to head up product development for nutrition giant Mead Johnson in Evansville, Ind.

It was at Mead Johnson that two important things happened: First, Gage rekindled his interest in bikes, buying a 1981 BMW R100RS (which he still has, see sidebar, next page), and second, he met Brad Kimmel, who, although Gage didn’t know it at the time, was his partner-to-be in My Classic Car.

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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