People say you can’t judge a book by its cover, but that’s also true of buildings. From the outside, maybe they have some cool paint or architectural details that make them stand out. A lot of the time, though, they’re just kind of part of the background. They’re pieces of your neighborhood, and you might walk/drive/ride past them every day, but you don’t really give them much thought unless you know whoever lives there.
While there could be completely normal people having a completely normal breakfast inside, there could also be untold motorcycle treasures—and you’d never know. That’s what the latest episode of Hagerty’s Barn Find Hunter dug up at a completely unassuming house in Staten Island, New York.
It’s the home of a couple of avid motorcycle and car enthusiasts who were married and who did everything together. In this case, ‘everything’ includes collecting and housing over 40 historic bikes all throughout the house. Unfortunately, one half of the duo—Walter—recently passed away, leaving his wife behind with all the bikes. His ashes now reside inside an Indian fuel tank, proudly mounted as a focal point in the living room—just the way he wanted it.
Hot rodder Rob Ida grew up with this couple and knew them all his life, and he’s the one who introduced Tom to Kathy, the surviving half of this seemingly unstoppable duo. Their enthusiasm for the incredible collection that they amassed over the decades was (and is) very much shared, so she was able to give a great overview of all the vehicles in the house. (Speaking from experience, that’s the key to happiness—find a partner who shares your passions, not one you fight against.)
If You’re Cold, They’re Cold—Bring Your Bikes Inside
What kinds of bikes are we talking about? While they’re mostly Harleys and Indians, there’s also an absolutely stunning Vincent Black Shadow just sitting in the living room. There are a few cars, too, including a 1959 Cadillac and a 1951 LS-swapped Mercury coupe.
You're here for the bikes, though, and there are plenty. Among the two-wheeled treasures, you'll see a 1911 Harley-Davidson LAPD bike with a leather belt drive, a 1926 Harley board tracker, a 1910 Harley, at least two Indian four-cylinders (including one that was Walter’s baby and that Kathy says will never be sold), an XR1000, two Super Glides (one kick- and one electric start), a Silent Grey Fellow, and so much more.
We’ve talked about Harley-Davidson service vehicles before, especially the Servi-Car. You won’t find one of those in this collection, but you will find a 1940 Indian Dispatch-Tow, which is a very similar idea.
You’ll also find a Harley-Davidson Pacer, which is a two-stroke machine that Harley made from 1962 to 1965. It’s one of a series of bikes made by Allied motorcycle manufacturers, based on 125cc designs from DKW that were supplied as war reparations. Fascinatingly, this same DKW design also gave rise to the much-loved BSA Bantam, as well as the MMZ M-1A (also called the Minsk).
The bikes are all throughout the home, and the humans have just spent their lives living among them. Bikes in the dining room, bikes in the living room, bikes in the garage—and the garage was built after the house, so the bikes there came after the ones in the house. Naturally, there are also bikes in the basement. That, my friends, is motolove.