Anyone interested in the world of motorcycles knows that nothing can come close to the reputation of Harley-Davidson. It’s the manufacturer responsible for the American motorcycle, the one that tears up roads from underneath Hell’s Angels and Wall Street executives alike.
At the E.J. Cole Collection Auction, hosted by Mecum Auctions in Las Vegas March 20 and 21, you can now have a chance to own an iconic piece of an icon, if you have $1 million to spare. Among the 220 historic motorcycles collected over 50 years by Cole is a 1907 Harley-Davidson Strap Tank, one of 150 manufactured that year, and one of the first 207 Harley-Davidson bikes ever produced. Its estimated price reflects its rarity and vintage as well; Mecum has the estimated highest bid falling between $800,000 and $1 million.
For those who aren’t familiar with the background of Harley-Davidson, Mecum’s lot description details early days at the company, when it was created by William Harley and his childhood friends, the Davidson brothers. Their first motorized bike prototype was finished in 1903 after two years of development. They finished the second in time to begin racing in 1904, sold their first five from a Milwaukee shed in 1905, 50 in 1906, and in 1907, they produced 150.
“These first models are known as the ‘strap tank,’ for the nickel-plated steel bands suspending the fuel and oil tanks from the frame,” states the lot description. And this particular example, which carries the serial number #2037, is one of the finest examples in existence today. The serial number insinuates that it was the 37th example created in this second big-batch run, and today it is an unrestored historic relic in excellent condition for its immense age.
At 89 years old, E.J. Cole is ready to say a bittersweet goodbye to this and 219 other motorcycles from his collection. Ranging in age from 24 to 112 years old, this collection is arguably “the finest, most diverse single collection of American-made machines” in existence, as Mecum’s website states.
Check out the video above, uploaded to YouTube Feb. 17 by Mecum Auctions, to get a look at the other motorcycles that will be crossing the block from Cole’s collection, and in case you can’t make it to Las Vegas before the final gavel, take a look through our listings at the button below.
(Source: Mecum Auctions, Facebook, YouTube)