Happy Days: Fonzie’s Triumph on the Block

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Bonhams Motorcycle Auction

One look at the iconic greaser Fonzie in Happy Days, and one most likely hears the famed “ayyy,” an expression that became synonymous with the term “cool.”

Sure, this made the Fonz cool on Happy Days, but there was also the motorcycle factor. Arthur Fonzarelli (Henry Winkler) rode a 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler Customer in the hit television series, the bike the perfect match for Fonzi’s garb, which was spawned from The Wild Ones (Marlon Brando), the iconic cult motorcycle film.

And now, that Triumph Scrambler which was owned off-screen by Bud Ekins, is on the block; the TR5 Scrambler Custom will be auctioned off at Bonhams Classic California Sales at the Peterson Automotive Museum in Los Angeles Nov. 12.

Ekins, a famed motorcycle racer and stuntman whose credits include the famed motorcycle jump over the wire fence in The Great Escape starring his best friend Steve McQueen, owns hundreds of motorcycles.

And back in the day, when Happy Days approached Ekins to find out what Fonzie should ride, he found the old Triumph in his collection and decided upon that.

Bonhams says: “Taking an old Triumph in his collection, (Ekins) simply removed the front fender, replaced the handle bars and spray painted the tank silver and, violá, the Fonzie bike was born. Of course, no one had any idea of just how popular the show would become or the magnitude of fame Winkler’s character would achieve.”

And now that bike will be auctioned off. Renowned for offering property from famous actors each year – Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Clark Gable and Bruce Willis, to name just a few – this autumn Bonham’s auction in LA is not to be missed by aficionados of pop and custom culture and entertainment and automotive history.

For sellers interested in consigning a unique automobile to this prominent sale, please call 415-391-4000 or contact one of the following Bonhams specialists:

  • Nick Smith, Los Angeles: nick.smith@bonhams.com
  • Mark Osborne, San Francisco: mark.osborne@bonhams.com
  • Rupert Banner, New York: rupert.banner@bonhams.com

For updated information on the Classic California Sale, to register to bid and to order a catalog, log onto bonhams.com/petersen.

Photoo Credit: ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images