Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Tucked away in a barn

So the other day I'm poking around Craigslist looking for potential projects. Aside from the Piaggio mentioned yesterday, I'm not finding anything really interesting, but then I see this:

Rarely have I seen something so lovely and in such good condition for its age. No no no, not the Harley Bagger! Who on earth would want that? Look behind it.

That's more like it; an unobstructed view. It's a 1951 Indian Warrior flat track racer. According to the current owner, the rider was B.B. Smith, though I can't find any information about him on the Internet. Unfortunately, while the bike is for sale, the price is a bit more than I'd be able to pay.

It is a lovely bike though, and the engine design was apparently only used for a few years. If you'll observe, the pushrods for the exhaust are on the front of the engine, while the corresponding pushrods for the intake can be found on the back. "Joe", the owner, told me that the engine itself is a 500cc twin. From what I understand, the Warrior didn't last very long in production due to mechanical issues, and some say it contributed to the eventual downfall of Indian. The design is pretty cool, even if it wasn't the greatest success.

After ogling the Indian, Joe told me there were more bikes up in the loft. On our way, we passed the above example of a WWII Harley. I believe he told me it isn't running at the moment, but as one can see, it's living up to the Harley tradition of soaking the floor with oil.

Up the stairs, I could hear the sound of rain pelting the roof, and then I turned my head to the side as it came level with the floor.

I'll be honest, choppers aren't really my thing, but the forks on this were enough to raise my eyebrows. And then Joe showed me what I'd gone to Reinholds to see.

It's a 1970's  125cc Harley Rapido mini enduro. I can't really find that much information about the bike, but I know I want it. All in all, it seems to be in good condition and Joe had it running a few years ago. It would certainly be something to clean up and take to shows and I could honestly tell people I owned a Harley...a two stroke Harley at that.

This barn was full of wonderful things. A Cosmo Colt moped of all things, in mostly intact condition, graced the floor of the loft. I'm not really big on mopeds, but this thing was made in Pennsylvania and that's something special.

But that's not the end of it. Joe has a 1919 Harley Model J. Yeah. That's very special. Modern Harleys don't thrill me. To my mind, they are overpriced shiny hunks of metal with little more purpose than to decorate the backsides of bar pirates. On the other hand, a piece of history like the model J, that's something you don't get to see every day.

Certainly there were other bikes, including a Triumph Thunderbird and a venerable old Indian Chief (engine pictured above), and I could have spent hours just looking and savoring the history, but time was rushing past and there were places I needed to go. I will go back again, and I have Joe's invitation to come back with money.

That little Harley is too tempting to pass up.

1 comment:

kz1000st said...

I owned a Harley Baja 100cc at one time that was eventually stolen. It rocked pretty good for an Italian two stroke and was a good alternative to the Japanese dirt bikes of the day.