'Easy Rider' chopper sells at auction for $1.35 million. But is it the real one?
A motorcycle reportedly featured in the film 'Easy Rider' has been sold for what auctioneers say was $1.35 million. More than one version of the bike was built but according to the auction catalogue, the one that sold was the only one to survive.Updated: Oct 20, 2014 03:03 IST
A motorcycle reportedly featured in the film 'Easy Rider' has been sold for what auctioneers say was $1.35 million.
The Profiles in History auction house did not identify the buyer with Saturday night's winning bid for the "Captain America" red, white and blue, chromed-out chopper.
Spokeswoman Sabrina Propper said bidding was fierce for the Harley-Davidson that the house said was ridden by Peter Fonda in the 1969 counterculture cult movie.
More than one version of the bike was built but according to the auction catalog, the one that sold was the only one to survive.
According to the catalog, it was used in the climactic crash sequence at the end of the film and restored by Dan Haggerty, who had a bit part in the film and vouched for its authenticity. Fonda, who played Wyatt and rode the bike in the movie, also vouched for its authenticity, according to the auction house.
The seller, Michael Eisenberg, also has a letter from the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, which displayed the bike for 12 years, saying Eisenberg's is the only surviving "Captain America" bike.
But another collector, Gordon Granger of Texas, says he owns the authentic chopper and also has a certificate signed by Haggerty to prove it.
Haggerty acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times this week that he authenticated and sold two "Captain America" bikes.
Now Haggerty says just one of the bikes is legitimate, and it's Eisenberg's - the one sold by the auction house.
For his part, Fonda says he has no idea which bike is the real one.
"There's a big rat stinking someplace in this," the 74-year-old actor, who co-wrote "Easy Rider," told the Times.
Eisenberg, a Los Angeles real estate agent and collector of Hollywood memorabilia, bought his chopper earlier this year from John Parham, a Midwestern motorcycle parts magnate who had purchased the bike from Haggerty 12 years earlier.
Haggerty did not deny that he also signed Granger's authenticating documents. He now says he signed something that simply was not true.
"That was my mistake," Haggerty said. "It's not the real bike."
Granger, furious about the auction, insists he owns the genuine article.
"They know damn well they don't have the real bike," Granger said. "I own the original remaining "Captain America" bike. The one to be auctioned is a replica."
The chopper features a forward-angled front wheel and handlebars, fishtail exhaust pipes and a teardrop-shaped gas tank where the movie's protagonists stashed their cash. It was designed with input from Fonda who insisted on it being decorated with the American flag.
The catalog says the bike - which was sold by Michael Eisenberg - was restored by Dan Haggerty.
But Gordon Granger of Texas says he owns the authentic chopper and also has a certificate from Haggerty.
Haggerty has acknowledged that he authenticated and sold two "Captain America" bikes.
But he said before the sale that just one was legitimate - Eisenberg's.
First Published: Oct 19, 2014 21:28 IST