Wheels Through Time: 30 Days, 30 Bikes

Vintage Motorcycles

The following is from Wheels Through Time’s Matt Walksler blog…

This August and September, the crew at Wheels Through Time will be holding special demonstrations of 30 of the museum’s very rarest machines, several of which have never been started before the public eye.

The museum currently houses over 320 of America’s rarest motorcycles and autos, and is nicknamed “The Museum That Runs”, as each machine in the collection is preserved in running and operating condition. Unlike most museums, the staff at WTT runs several rare and unique machines for visitors on a daily basis, to give a glimpse into their usefulness, purpose, and capabilities. However, with so many motorcycles on display (many of which are so rare that few others, if any, exist today), a majority of machines are unable to be a part of the regular daily demonstration schedule.

“We’ve put together quite a list of machines for demonstrations over the next month, including several prototypes and experimentals, various one-of-a-kind specials and factory racing machines, and motorcycles with particularly interesting pasts and great stories,” says museum curator Dale Walksler.

Beginning August 11th, WTT will fire its first of 30 bikes in 30 days — Dale’s beautifully original 1911 Electric-model Indian Single. The machine is virtually a “brand new bike”, that has remained untouched for 100 years. It still bears the 1912 Chicago Vehicle Tax license plate. Walksler plans to ride the machine in October at the Barber Vintage Festival in the “Race of the Century”, which is open only to machines 100-years or older.

The 1916 Big Valve Excelsior Factory Racer — 1st Machine to average 100mph in a 5 mile race!Also on the list for the first week are several notable racing machines, including Babe Tancrede’s 1940 Harley-Davidson WLDR Daytona Winner, WTT’s 1917 Henderson Prototype 24-hour racer, the 1923 ACE Land Speed Racer, and the 1930 Harley DL 750 “Maxton Miler” on which Dale broke a land speed record in 2009.

“If ever there was a time to plan a visit to WTT, this is it! Never before have we run so many rare machines in such a short period,” said Walksler. “These are some of the world’s rarest motorcycles, and hearing and seeing them run may be a once in a lifetime experience you won’t want to miss!”

During the 30-day motorcycle run-a-thon you’ll have the opportunity to get up close and hear the sounds of competition machines like Carroll Reseweber’s famous 4-time National Championship Harley KR “Duck Bike” (1958-61) and Brad Andres 3-Time Daytona Winning Harley KR (1955,’59 & ’60), and Joe Herb’s one-off 1932 80-inch factory Harley hillclimber. You’ll get a chance to see Serial #1 machines dating back to the 1920s crank for the first time in years, and over a dozen machines of which not another example exists.

Brad Andres 3-time Daytona winning Harley-Davidson KRThroughout the month, WTT staff will also be holding daily demonstrations of the museum’s 9th Annual Raffle Bike — a beautifully restored 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber. Each year, Dale and team take on a rare restoration to be raffled off on Veteran’s Day weekend every year, and document the entire build on video for visitors to enjoy. Funds from each year’s raffle have played a huge role in making the museum what it is today, creating revenue for new exhibits, videos, and other museum programs. This year’s machine is undoubtedly their sleekest one yet, and for 30 days, visitors will have a chance to make sure it running tip-top before the winner is drawn.

For additional information that includes a calendar of events, click here.