SALE OF THE CENTURY
Earl Harrington is shaping up to auction off two generations of hoarded motorcycles
This is what happens when 40-years-worth of bikeshop trade-ins are left in the backyard instead of put up for sale. Prepare to get lost in wonder at a 2000 bike timewarp
Think you’ve got an issue with hoarding? What is believed to be the largest haul of motorbikes and spares ever offered for sale by an individual went up for auction just days before this issue of PS went on sale. Approximately 2000 bikes, ranging in condition from rust on wheels to runners and minters, were amassed over a 40-year period by former Florida-based Honda, BSA, Triumph and Norton dealer Earl Harrington Jr. and his late father Earl Snr. Many of the bikes were trade-ins that Earl Jr simply didn’t want to sell on, despite his father’s well-meaning advice of: “You can’t keep ’em all.” Luckily Jr. realised he could, and did, but now he and his wife have decided to downsize and finally let the collection go.
It’s not just the sheer number of bikes on offer that boggles the mind, it’s the variety of machines that Earl has amassed. Kawasaki Zeds (Z1s and Z1-RS) are numerous among the lots, as are varying sizes and models of Kwak two-stroke triples. Honda CB1100FS were also clearly a popular trade-in with Earl’s customer base, with lines of them peppering his property. So were CB750S – a number of very tidy examples having escaped the outdoor life that has left its unmistakable mark on much of the collection.
“We’re finding more bikes and parts all the time,” auctioneer Jerry Wood told PS. Our original estimate was around 1800 bikes, but now we’ve started the inventory it’s nearer 2000, and rising. In the last few days we’ve found a 1969 Honda CB750 Sandcast project with a ton of the right special parts, plus a ’60s Triumph pre-unit double-engined dragster and more. With 2000 or so motorcycles, we really don’t have a solid estimate, but we are shooting for $500,000 US.”
There are also Gpzs, XJ650 Turbos (known as the Seca in the States), GB500S, Bandit 400s, FJ1100S, T500s, GS1000SS, Kettles, and even a turbocharged CB750 Four with a rockin’ King ’n’ Queen seat and mismatched Polaris-style fairing. Bonkers. An ultra-rare and immaculate 500-miles-from-new Triumph Hurricane X75 arguably being the pick of the bunch.
And then there are the dirt bikes. Kids’ bikes, quads, ’crossers, trail bikes, enduro, flattrackers – Earl’s got the lot, all in varying states of (dis)repair. MG got all excited at the sight of a scruffy CR125 Elsinore; quite right, too.
And did we mention the spares? Oh yes. Lines of Z1 frames plus racks and racks of NOS parts, all looking for new homes. In fact the collection is so big, auctioneers J. Wood & Company put three days aside to get through all the lots (13-15 March). We’ll let you know in the next issue what sold and what was left. Meanwhile, here are a few of the highlights over the page.
“OUR ORIGINAL ESTIMATE WAS AROUND 1800 BIKES, BUT NOW WE’VE STARTED THE INVENTORY IT’S NEARER 2000, AND RISING”
Some people find it hard to let go. Earl HarringtonJr. being one of them
It’s less a collection, more a mass of part exchange