SALE OF THE CEN­TURY

Practical Sportsbikes (UK) - - Contents - Words: Jim Moore Pic­tures: Ian Camp­bell, J.wood & Com­pamy

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

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