A non-sale; ‘Captain America’ is withdrawn from my list of the World’s Most Expensive Motorcycles

The auction world is abuzz over the recent ‘sale’ of the ‘Captain America’ chopper at the Profiles in History auction house last October, claimed at $1.62M, making it the most expensive motorcycle ever to sell at auction, and likely the most expensive motorcycle of all (regardless of rumors of the $1.1M sale of the ex-Rollie Free ‘bathing suit’ Vincent).

Another much-touted ‘sale’ which wasn’t – Buddy Holly’s Ariel Cyclone was NOT, contrary to their press releases, sold for $470k.

Weeks later, it turns out there was no sale; the anonymous ‘buyer’ backed out after Peter Fonda, who had previously endorsed the machine, sent Tweets the day of the auction casting doubts on the bike’s authenticity. The seller, Michael Eisenberg, went to great lengths to bolster the authenticity of ‘Captain America’, hiring a forensic investigator and even subjecting Dan Haggerty, who restored the bike, to 3 polygraph tests (which he passed). Of course, what was certified by Haggerty as genuine would be the frame, used in the ‘B’ (or stunt) ‘Captain America’ built by Larry Marcus and Ben Hardy, as documented in my book ‘The Chopper; the Real Story’. The rest of Haggerty’s restoration was a reproduction of the ‘A’ (or hero) bike, long ago stolen and dispersed.

Another non-auction sale; this Winchester was claimed in the press to have sold at auction for $580k, but it wasn’t.

Another significant false sale report was Buddy Holly’s Ariel Cyclone, widely reported as sold for $470k, but since ‘re-designated’ as a no-sale. Such behavior from auction houses flabberghasts me – what on earth do they think they’re up to? The upshot of all this: ‘Captain America’ is NOT #1; it’s off my list of the ‘World’s Most Expensive Motorcycles’. Activity like this Profiles in History sale, and earlier this year, the sham ‘sale’ of a 1910 Winchester at Worldwide Auctioneers, cast doubt on the reliability of auction houses and their press releases, or at least, releases from THESE auction houses.  Caveat Emptor, baby.


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