This is a motorcycle show? There are no club patches…in fact the few patches I see are from touring companies. A few tats, but I think those all belong to the guys in the Austin Handbuilt Motorcycle tent. It’s outside…no convention hall, fluorescent light mash-up of bikes, babes, and badly made leather vests. And it’s held on a golf course in one of the most beautiful parts of California, if not the country – Carmel Valley, about 10 miles from the infamous Pebble Beach.
Definitely not your “Dad’s-81 supporter-(fill in the blank)-motorcycle” show. This is the more refined, if you will, Quail Motorcycle Gathering – an extravaganza of older bikes from nearly every era and make. Including, the recognizable – Harley, Indian, Triumph, Yamaha and Honda – the long gone – Pope, AJS and Sunbeam – and the cult – Norton anyone? In other words, if you’re a fan of motorcycles period, and can appreciate their history and the workmanship, you won’t be disappointed.
While dealers can bring in their new bikes – Yamaha and Indian were showing off a few – the bikes that are actually shown and judged later have to fit certain age and related requirements. There’s also usually a theme, and year it was military. So there was an entire section set up specifically to show old WWI and WWII motorcycles from both sides of those wars. That included old Indians, Harleys and Beemers…and old Harleys that had their own version of a boxer engine used only in WWII.
When you go through the entrance, you are met with a field of bikes – it’s like old bike porn! Where to go first? Right away, you’re looking at some old Buells. (Poor Eric. There was some talk later among a couple of industry types how they’d like to see him end up at Polaris. But Eric may still have a bad taste of corporate America left from his days with Harley.)
From there it was a literal feast of old and classic two-wheeled wonders. Most of which were restored to their original luster, others were customized versions based off of older bikes, and in a new development there was even a classic chopper category.
You don’t have to be a professional restorer to appreciate the level of detail that goes into the restoration of many of these bikes. Some of which have been out of production for decades and weren’t made in large numbers to begin with. Like the French Fabrique National…
The collector motorcycle market has taken off in the last few years due in large part to the collector car market now being out of reach for the guys who could afford a few grand for an old Chevy. But with those cars now fetching tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars, old bikes are a deal.
What makes this show also different is the price of admission — $75. At least triple what you’d pay at a more traditional bike show. But you get all of the gourmet lunch you can eat, plus the opportunity to see a lot of old restored and interesting bikes you’d never typically see together, all in one incredible setting. If this is the only bike show you go to in a year, it’s worth it.
Our only beef is that in years past, the coffee was free. And after a two-hour ride in 55 degree weather, we could have used a cup.
Here’s a full list of the category winners from this year’s show:
Best of Show 1951 Mondial 125 Bialbero Gran Prix, Museo Moto Italia, LLC – California
Spirit of The Quail Award 1965 BMW R69S, Robert Talbott – California
Formula 750 Group 1976 Yamaha TZ750, Jeff Palhegyi – California
A Tribute to Military Motorcycles 1942 BMW R75 Wehrmachtsgespann, Ziggy & Lisa Dee – California
Chopper 1966 Harley-Davidson FLH, Dave Shaw – California
Industry Award 1997 Revival Ducati Revival Full Custom “J63”, Revival Cycles – Texas
Innovation Award 2005 Molnar G2, Dezso Molnar – California
Design and Style Award 1936 Harley-Davidson, William Buckingham – California
FIVA Preservation 1912 Pope H, George & Annabelle Pope – California 2
The Cycle World Tour Award 1980 Honda CBX, Dean F. Ruston – Toronto
Significance in Racing Award 1979 Yamaha TZ750, Jeff Palhegyi – California
Why We Ride Award 1971 Honda SL-70 Street, Paul Sampognaro – California
Scooter Award 1958 Lambretta TV175, Eric Lussier – Arizona
Antique 1st Place 1912 Pope H, George & Annabelle Pope – California
Antique 2nd Place 1929 Henderson KJ-4 Cylinder, Chris Carter – California
American 1st Place 1936 Harley-Davidson EL, Dr. J. Craig Venter – California
American 2nd Place 1949 Indian Arrow, Jason Hartje – California
British 1st Place 1950 Vincent Black Shadow, Danny Sullivan – California
British 2nd Place 1936 BSA Q7, Brent Lenehan – California
German 1st Place 1969 Munch Mammoth TTS, Mitch Talcove – California 3
German 2nd Place 1968 BMW R69 US, Eugene Garcin & Mary Wong – California
Italian 1st Place 1947 Gilera Saturno San Remo, Jeff Palhegyi – California
Italian 2nd Place 1962 Demm Sport, Vincent Schardt – California
Japanese 1st Place 1972 Honda CB500 K1, Herb Meyer – Illinois
Japanese 2nd Place 1975 Honda Gold Wing GL1000, Mike Kuykendall – California
Other European 1st Place 1975 Bultaco Frontera 250, Chris Miller – California
Other European 2nd Place 1974 Bultaco Metralla MK2 250cc, Robbie Cadwallader – California
Custom/Modified 1st Place 1949 Indian Scout, Tony Prust Analog Motorcycles – Illinois
Custom/Modified 2nd Place 1950 Norton Dominator, The Gasbox – California
Competition Off Road 1st Place 1968 Suzuki RH67/TM 250, Chris Carter – California
Competition On Road 1st Place 1951 Mondial 125 Bialbero Gran Prix, Museo Moto Italia, LLC – California