Captain America, Billy Bike
Two replicas of the most iconic motorcycles in pop culture will be going on the block at Bonhams Auction in May: "Captain America" and "Billy Bike" from the counter-culture film Easy Rider.
In the 1969 movie, Peter Fonda rides the Captain America chopper, which dons the American flag on its gas tank, and the late Dennis Hopper rides the Billy Bike. Both are Harley-Davidson motorcycles; the original Captain America and Billy Bike were built from early 1950s police-edition Harley Hydra-Glides.
Fonda designed the choppers with the legendary custom builder Tex Hall and fellow actor Dan Haggert; the Harleys were purchased from a LA Police auction…Harley wouldn’t supply the machines because of the movie’s content, which ironically helped build the Harley brand, and also helped launch Jack Nicholson’s career.
The replica Captain America, which was created in 1993, is based on a 1963 Harley-Davidson Pan head, and is estimated at $20,000 to $30,000 without reserve.
The Captain America chopper has also been exhibited in Born to Ride: America’s Two Wheeled Culture at the Saratoga Automobile Museum, Saratoga Springs, NY (2007), The Art of the Motorcycle traveling exhibition to The Memphis International Culture Series and the Orlando Museum of Art (2005-06), and Heroes of Harley-Davidson at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Columbus, OH (2003-04).
The Billy Bike was also created in 1993, and built from a 1962 Harley-Davidson. It is estimated ] at $15,000-20,000 without reserve. The Billy Bike replica has been displayed at: Born to Ride: America’s Two Wheeled Culture, Wheelz at the Columbus College of Art & Design, OH (2005), and Heroes of Harley-Davidson at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Columbus, OH (2003-04).
These two machines were built for Otis Chandler, and are owned by the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation since the historic 1998 exhibition The Art of the Motorcycle,
The sale of these two Easy Rider replicas will benefit the Solomon R. Guggenheim Foundation.
The auction will be held on May 14, 2011 at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California.
Easy Rider Recreation Bonhams Viewings:
580 Madison Avenue, NY 10022:
Friday March 11 – Wednesday March 30, 2011
Quail Lodge, 8205 Valley Greens Drive, Carmel Valley, CA 93923:
Friday May 13 – Saturday May 14, 2011
In 1998 the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York held its historic exhibition The Art of the Motorcycle, an extensive and educational display of the progression of the design of the motorcycle. Naturally, these two icons were part of that legend and they were acquired directly from Mr. Chandler to be part of this famed show. The Art of the Motorcycle exhibition traveled to the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and the Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, Spain, on both occasions these machines were displayed.