- Written by webmin
The initial report from KVUE in Austin, Texas and Jalopnik earlier this week was that Gordon Granger, who owns one of the two Captain America bikes from the Easy Rider movie, had a fire at his storage facility on Monday. The bike was one of eight stored in the warehouse, along with 22 classic and unique cars. Although fire crews responded quickly, and some of the cars were saved, Captain America was thought to be toast. The KVUE news report also states the bike was one of four.
We have since learned that this was not the case. Another local TV station, KXAN, reported in a follow-up story that the bike was, in fact, still in pretty good shape, sustaining only smoke and soot damage.
According to Basem Wasef, author of Legendary Motorcycles, in which he researches the story of the iconic panhead chopper, only two Captain America motorcycles were known to exist, with the other one now in the private collection of J&P Cycles owner John Parham. Wasef learned of the two bikes by interviewing Dan Haggerty, who was in charge of the bikes during the original movie shoot. You may remember Dan as Grizzly Adams, but I just can’t get the image out of my head of him in the schlocky movie, Pink Angels, about makeup-wearing, not-your-average-biker-type gang, that wasted 80 minutes of my time at a drive-in in the Seventies (still available on DVD by itself or as part of the Savage Cinema collection and Drive-In Cult Classics Vol. 3 box set ).
No word yet about the Twenties Rolls-Royce custom-built for Tallulah Bankhead and many other cars that were in the Granger collection; however, some survived, with similar damage to the Captain America bike. Others will be totaled and shipped off to the salvage yard. Although the fire caused extensive damage to the structure, the loss of those vehicles could reach into the millions. Arson is suspected in the pending investigation.
We might think this whole Easy Rider thing has pretty much played out its glitz, since the passing of Dennis Hopper last May, and the fact that Peter Fonda is now 70 years old, but the bike showed many moviegoers some tricks about early Harley-Davidson customization and is certainly partially responsible for appeal of Harley’s Dyna Wide Glide, Bad Boy and Springer Softail of the Eighties and some of the bobber mania of today. There are certainly thousands of look-alikes that have been created, including the one on display at the Harley-Davidson Museum, but, like many motorcycles, provenance is everything.