Vintagent, a website that keeps track of vintage motorcycle sales, says that a very rare 1908 Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was sold at auction in January is now the most expensive bike ever sold at auction.
After fees, the Strap Tank Harley-Davidson sold at the Mecum Auction in Las Vegas on January 28 for $935,000. The auction posted on Facebook that the sale took place. The name “Strap Tank” came from the fact that the fuel and oil tanks were held on the bike’s frame by nickel-plated steel bands.
“We marketed the bike well, and Harley is by far the most famous American motorcycle brand, so we had a feeling it would do well in auction, but obviously you are surprised anytime you sell the most expensive bike ever,” said Greg Arnold, Motorcycle Division Manager at Mecum Auctions.
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Arnold said that the record-breaking bike had been fixed up, but it still had many of its original parts, like the tank, wheels, engine belt pulley, seat cover, and muffler sleeve.
David Uihlein found the bike in its entirety in a barn in Wisconsin in 1941. It was then put up for auction in Las Vegas. For the next 66 years, Uihlein held on to it. Then, Paul Freehill of Fort Wayne, Indiana, did a great job of fixing up the Strap Tank.
Less than 12 of the 450 motorcycles the company made in 1908 are thought to still be on the road and even fewer are still mostly in their original condition.
On the website for the auction, the Strap Tank was called one of Harley-rarest Davidson’s models that are still around because it was the first of its kind. It is also the oldest model that can be found since prototypes from before have been lost.
People say that the most sought-after models are the most legendary because they set the standard for future bikes. They had clean, conservative designs, dark colors, heavy-duty parts, and engines that were a little bigger and stronger than the rest. After fees, a 1907 Strap Tank that had not been fixed up sold for $715,000.