ONE MAN’S JUNK, ANOTHER MAN’S FORTUNE
E.J. Cole purchased many of these bikes for one or two percent of what he will sell them for. He’s a shrewd investor whose entire considerable fortune has been built upon the premise that one man’s junk is another man’s treasure. He has been collecting bikes since long before it was fashionable or exhibited conventional wisdom.
There are no British bikes in his collection because they were always highly regarded. His wisdom in investing almost exclusively in American bikes will be proven on March 20 and 21.
One of the bikes that stood out in E.J. Cole’s collection was the 1975 Chang Jiang KL750 Yangtze, a bike which was produced in China for the Red Army and has a family tree that runs back through the Soviet Union’s Dnepr M-72 all the way back to BMW’s pre-WW2 R71. There’s some interesting history represented by this motorcycle.
Scoff if you will at the motorcycle, but E.J. Cole got ridiculously wealthy playing the long game. His motorcycle collection will likely bring somewhere between $15 million and $20 million.
Right now, Japanese motorcycles are just becoming fashionable for collectors and prices are beginning to rise past that magical point where they are worth more than their original price plus inflation. The most valuable Japanese motorcycles, like Ferraris, Brough Superiors and other collectibles, are those which are available in very limited quantities.
The Japanese motorcycle industry has been dominant globally for half a century and the Chinese motorcycle industry’s time is yet to come. It’s time will come however, and when it does, bikes such as this early and original Chang Jiang KL750 will become valuable, not just to eccentric American collectors but to the many wealthy Chinese collectors who will emerge when that country becomes much, much wealthier than it is now.
If you have the time and resources, there are many motorcycles and cars of today which will become collectible if you have the foresight and patience. Think about it.
Mecum will be net-casting the auction of the E.J. Cole Collection. It’s an auction the motorcycle world will still be talking about a century from now.