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Motorcycles at Monterey 2019

This huge Vincent poster greeted participants at the McCall Motorworks Revival.

Monterey Car Week has grown to a 10-day celebration of vintage machinery of all flavors. Naturally we find two-wheeled exotica interspersed with all of the glamorous four-wheel machinery. The auction companies also realize that there is a good market here for collectible motorcycles.

At McCall’s Motorworks Revival at the Monterey Jet Center, the gigantic welcoming poster was of a Vincent Black Shadow. The stage backdrop had a Norton Manx and a BSA Gold Star on display. This is the same Gordon McCall who promotes The Quail Motorcycle Gathering in May, as well as The Quail Motorsports Gathering in August, both held at The Quail Lodge and Golf Club. This year The Quail Motorsports Gathering had three Vincent Black Lightnings on display, including what some consider the most famous Vincent, the Rollie Free-John Edgar Black Lightning, aka “The Bathing Suit Bike.” Attendees were also treated to being able to hear it run! There was also an original paint Ducati 750SS, an electric motorcycle and an Ariel single to further round out the field.

BMW Birdcage at Motorworks Revival.

On Saturday, the Concorso Italiano is the go-to show for your Italian fix. They have always managed to have some tasty two-wheel entries. This year was no exception with a stunning MV 750S from Moto Talbott museum in Carmel Valley. The museum also brought a Laverda 750 SFC. An early Benelli 650 twin brought back memories. A 100CC Salt Flat bike was also on display as well as more contemporary Italian machines.

Several auction houses had some vintage bikes on offer. Gooding & Company had a 1912 Sears, as well as Steve McQueen’s 1936 Indian Chief.

The Rollie Free-John Edgar Black Lightning provided a visual and aural treat. It also won its class.

Another famous Vincent at The Quail Motorsports Gathering was the “Barn Job,” a famous Vincent HRD drag bike.

Meanwhile across town, Mecum had two small-tank Crockers on offer. One sold for $825,000 and the other for $715,000. Small tanks aren’t small change! They also featured some other interesting pieces such as Indians and some high-end board track racers. The early American bikes seemed to be the flavor of the day while British and European bikes slipped to the back burner in sales.

Monterey Car Week is a definite must do for gearheads. Whatever your passion, it is there.

This original paint Crocker small tank sold for $825,000 with buyer’s premium.

A restored one was runner-up at $715,000.

Steve McQueen’s 1936 Indian Chief at the Gooding Auction.

The Moto Talbott museum 750S was an award winner at Concorso Italiano.

Laverda SFC on the motorcycle hill at Concorso Italiano.

Published on Sep 12, 2019

Motorcycle Classics Magazine

Featuring the most brilliant, unusual and popular motorcycles ever made!