Indians headline inaugural California Classic Motorcycle Auction

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Indian motorcycle restoration expert Bob Stark built this 1953 Indian Chief almost entirely from new-old-stock parts; it’s never been started.

More than 25 motorcycles owned by legendary Indian restoration expert Bob Stark will cross the block at Bator Auction’s inaugural California Classic Motorcycle Auction this coming June 4-5, 2010, at the Pasadena Convention Center. Included in the bikes to be auctioned is a 1953 Indian Chief that Stark constructed almost entirely from new-old-stock parts, a build that took him 37 years to fulfill.

We say “almost” entirely from NOS parts because Stark, owner of Starklite Cycle in Perris, Calif., used original engine cases and an original frame. The rest he sourced as NOS, pieces never installed on any bike previous to this build. The finished bike is, predictably enough, quite spectacular, and whoever walks away with it will have a unique piece of the Indian legacy. The bike’s never been started, and it’s unquestionably one of a kind.

Also in the auction are three 1968 Sammy Pierce Indians, among a handful of bikes Pierce made when he was trying to revive the Indian name in the 1960s. Pierce, by the way, helped Stark start his operation in the early 1970s. The bill also includes a 1917 Indian B-17 (a Hedstrom-engined machine made after Indian switched to the Powerplus engine in 1916, it’s one of three known to exist), a 1939 Brough Superior SS100 (unrestored and original, and supposedly the very last one ever built), and a 1971 Munch Mammut.

This Sammy Pierce Indian Scout is one of three on the auction bill. This is the only known survivor with this unique fiberglass bodywork.

Bator has lined up over 150 machines for this auction, which he plans to make an annual affair. Bator, whose credits include the classic bike auction held during the annual Barber Vintage Festival and the Daytona Classic during Daytona Bike, says, “It’s about time California had an annual vintage motorcycle auction worthy of the bike enthusiasts and devotees that define West Coast road culture.”

Looking at the current line up of bikes, it should be a pretty interesting auction. Even if you’re not in the buying mood, there will be plenty of unique and interesting machines to view. Check out the full auction bill at the Bator Auction website. – Richard Backus

Motorcycle Classics Magazine
Motorcycle Classics Magazine
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