1937 Crocker Small Tank to Bonhams

1937 Crocker Small Tank Motorcycle

Last week we reported that a rare Indian-Vincent prototype will go on the block at Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction.

Also heading to the January show is a bike that’s just as rare: a 1937 Crocker Small Tank with the lowest serial number recorded: 36-61-8. The bike arrives from Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Museum in North Carolina, one of the world’s top classic motorcycle museums.

Crocker, the “Duesenberg of Motorcycles,” were handmade, and quickly became the Hollywood “hot rode” bike of the 1930s. The brand, built by former Indian distributor Al Crocker, helped define a unique motorcycle era before World War II, one that was dominated by Harley-Davidson.

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Al made some bold statements in his time, saying that if any of his bikes were ever beaten by a stock Harley, he would refund the owner’s money. No refunds were ever requested.

But when the Second World War began, Crocker ceased production, and only about 125 motorcycles were produced. Only 50 Crockers are accounted for, including the #8 edition heading to Bonhams.

The 1937 Small Tank also has some additional rarity to it; it’s believed to be only one of seven surviving Crockers with hemispherical heads. Bonhams’s pre-show estimate? How’s $500,000 – $600,000.

Bonhams says “After fading into relative obscurity for half a century, two major events transpired that vaulted Crocker to the consciousness of collectors worldwide. First, the Guggenheim Museum’s groundbreaking 1998 exhibit The Art of the Motorcycle prominently featured a Crocker (owned by famed auto collector Otis Chandler). Then, the seminal 2006 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance presented Crocker as a featured marque with a record-breaking 20 examples on display. The attention provided by these two events – highlighting the marque’s unique history, success and rarity – suddenly made the brand one of the most desirable and expensive motorcycles in the world.”

Also from the Wheels Through Time Museum are a further five pre-war American motorcycles:

  • 1910 Harley-Davidson Model 6A
  • 1914 Excelsior Model 7C
  • 1915 Harley-Davidson 11F
  • 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead
  • 1938 Harley-Davidson WLDR

For additional information, visit Bonhams Vegas Motorcycle Auction.