Warren, Ohio, Jan. 9—For 15 years, antique motorcycles have spent winters at the Packard Museum. This year the exhibit’s theme is “Seldom Seen Cycles,” featuring 30 unusual bikes, tastefully displayed by the museum staff and the exhibit committee led by exhibit curator Bruce Williams. Williams and many of the exhibitors and committee are Antique Motorcycle Club of America members. The exhibit was sponsored by the Lake Erie Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, Trumbull County Tourism Bureau, Little Wing Café, Buena Vista Café and Dreve’s Insurance.
Longtime committee member Kevin Hillyard has been restoring the ’23 Douglas he displayed at this year’s exhibit for over 20 years. Kevin explained the restoration didn’t take a full 20 years. “I just took my time,” said Hillyard. The time was well spent. From paint to plating, this bike is a real showstopper. Hillyard is also a veteran competitor of the Lake Erie Loop and has plans of participating in The Loop again.
Nearby was Bruce Linsday’s 1905 Harley-Davidson. The bike carries the undisputed title of “World’s Oldest Running Harley.” Linsday actually rode the bike to Milwaukee from the Cleveland area for The Motor Company’s 100th anniversary. The single-cylinder, belt-driven Harley reminds me of how simple things were in the early days. Your eye can follow the levers, linkage and pulleys to see exactly how things work.
Amherst, Ohio, native John Penton is an American Motorcyclist Association Hall of Famer. Penton’s prowess with off-road motorcycling and endurance riding is legendary. In fact, it is the stuff movies are made of. A silver medal in the International Six Days Trails of 1962 landed him on the cover of Cycle World magazine. You can see that BMW R-27 at the exhibit along with several other bikes having roles in the new movie The John Penton Story. The museum will feature a screening of the movie on April 18 at 7:00 p.m., and it’s free with your paid admission to the museum.
The Bahle family has three bikes in this year’s Packard exhibit. Jack Bahle’s 1912 Silent Gray Fellow commands your attention and appears to be watching over the other bikes owned by the Bahles. Jack is also displaying his 1930 Harley-Davidson VL and son Eddie Bahle’s ’47 WL. Eddie built the ’47 by himself, starting the project at age 15. He honed the cylinders, lapped the valves and most impressively wired the bike without the benefit of a schematic! Eddie then rode the bike to school regularly. His father explained that doing the wiring the hard way helped to teach Eddie how things worked and it was easy to see his pride beaming. Eddie knows how a lot of things work. He’s an Eagle Scout and now at the ripe old age of 19 he has ridden all three of the family’s displayed bikes in the movie The John Penton Story! Eddie’s school bike proudly sports John Penton’s autograph as a finishing touch.
The cast of characters known as Two Wheel Power Hour was on hand for the exhibit opening as well. Roy Dyckman, Larry Ward and Bob Wentzel know what’s going on and where and they help keep others informed and entertained about all things motorcycling on 570 AM WKBN with their radio show on Tuesday nights at 6:00 p.m. Ward is a veteran competitor (although he prefers the title of past champion) of the Lake Erie Loop as well.
Canfield, Ohio’s Norm Anderson had two bikes on display. Anderson’s ’67 Triumph dragster was a “tribute bike.” In other words, it was never actually a 60’s-era drag bike, but was built to represent a 60’s-era drag bike. Anderson explained that a trip to Honest Charlie’s inspired the build when he came across a 4” M&H slick. Features include a T120TT engine, bumped by Tri-Cor race cams and fired by a Joe Hunt magneto. Anderson’s workmanship is also impeccable and the bike has “the look.”
A Jackson-Rotrax-framed, alcohol-fueled, JAP-powered speedway bike, also owned by Anderson, keeps his Trumpet company and helps keep the exhibit diverse. Where else are you going to find a speedway bike to show your kid?
Terry Schaller displayed what he calls “Glen’s Bike.” Glen’s Bike is a 1972 Triumph Hurricane X75. The X75 was designed by Craig Vetter and was the commercial success that allowed Vetter to become the legendary manufacture of Windjammer fairings in the 70’s. Schaller explained that the bike’s original owner, Glen, lost his life early due to hard living. But the bike will always be Glen’s bike. Panhead Pat handled the repainting of Glen’s bike.
That should whet your appetite for the exhibit and as a bonus, you’ll also get to enjoy the museum’s display of classic Packard automobiles. In addition to the John Penton movie screening on April 18, three seminars are featured during this year’s exhibit. On February 28 at 11:00 a.m. Dave Byowksi of Mahoning Auto will speak about appraising your motorcycle. March 28 John Bova of Johnnie’s Vintage Motorcycle Shop will speak on importing and exporting motorcycles and parts and on May 16 there will be a vintage group ride.
The museum is located at 1899 Mahoning Avenue in Warren, Ohio, and is open from noon to 5:00 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and 1:00 p.m.–5:00 p.m. on Sundays. Adult admission is $8, seniors are $5, Children 7–12 are $5, and children under 6 are free with paid adult admission. The Seldom Seen Cycles exhibit will show through May 30. For more information call 330.394.7796 or visit them on the web www.Packardmuseum.org.