The name “Crocker” evokes feelings of hushed reverence in many a passionate motorcycle enthusiast. Long before the modern superbike era, these were the performance machines that looked as good as they went. As the story goes, Crocker offered a money-back guarantee to any owner who got beat in competition by a Harley or an Indian on their Crocker—and, not for nothing, but the legend says the company never paid a dime.
Nothing good lasts forever, though—and Crocker shuttered its doors in 1942. Of the 70 or so Crockers that were ever built, only around 40 or so are estimated to still be with us in 2022. So says Matt Walksler, the American iron engine whisperer and mastermind who helms Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. The 1940 hemi-head Crocker on display at WTT is a gorgeous example, though—and in this video, we get a rare glimpse inside the engine.
Yes, you read that correctly. While WTT prides itself on being the Museum That Runs, simply by virtue of the fact that they have so many pieces of American iron in their collection, not every bike (or car, or other vehicle) gets run all the time. Some things run more often than others—and some of the rarer things only get to run once in a while.
The Crocker is one of the rarest bikes around, and one of the rarest bikes in WTT’s collection—and as such, the team only fires it up on special occasions. Since the Fourth of July weekend marked WTT’s 20th anniversary, they wanted to get it ready to sound as good as it possibly could. After all, we’re talking about the bike that Dale Walksler laid about 150 feet of rubber on the floor of the museum with, doing burnouts for excited museum visitors. Only the best for this particular Crocker, please and thank you.
When the team last ran this Crocker in 2021, they noted a sound that made Matt suspect the breather timing was off. Since the grand master plan was to run 20 of the museum’s rarest bikes to celebrate its 20th anniversary, the Crocker clearly needed that issue addressed so it could be its best self for the big event.
Watching someone who’s truly enthusiastic talk about a thing they love is a gift—especially when they’re clearly so willing to share their enthusiasm and knowledge with anyone who wants to listen. If that’s one of the things you love best about watching WTT videos, you’re in for an extra treat here. Not only do we get to see what the inside of such a rare piece of motorcycling history is like, but we get a guided tour from one of the modern masters of the genre. This, friends—this is what the Internet is for.
Incidentally, WTT is currently fundraising for a new fire suppression system to help keep all the rare vehicles in its collection safe. If you’re interested in helping out and supporting their work, you can donate via the link on their YouTube page.