The Witness - Wheels - - MOTORING -

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.

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