The world’s most iconic motorcycle is going on the auction block in Midland, Texas on June 5th… Captain America from the counterculture classic film, Easy Rider, part of the Gordon Granger Collection, is being offered without reserve by Dan Kruse Classics. It is estimated by the auction house to sell for $300,000 to $500,000. The “Captain America” bike was named for its distinctive American flag colour scheme and known for its sharply-angled long front end.
Easy Rider showcased the hippie movement and gave America an insight into the lives of those individuals who wander the highways on the back of a motorcycle and hence the motorcycles themselves became characters in the 1969 film. Designed and built by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy, four former police Harley-Davidson motorcycles were purchased at auction for $500 and rebuilt into two Captain Americas and two Billy Bikes.
Easy Rider is a 1969 American road drama film written by Peter Fonda, Dennis Hopper and Terry Southern, produced by Fonda, and directed by Hopper. Fonda and Hopper play two bikers who travel through the American South West carrying the proceeds of a drugs deal. The success of Easy Rider helped to spark a new Hollywood era of filmmaking during the early 1970s.
In 1996 the former owner of this bike, renowned celebrity vehicle collector, Gary Graham, sold the Captain American motorcycle at the Dan Kruse Classic Car Productions auction to Gordon Granger. Dan Haggerty was on site with Graham, his partner in the rebuild and restoration of the motorcycle, to authenticate, as it was, he that received the crashed pieces from Fonda and Hopper after the wrap of the film. Since then the motorcycle has resided in Austin, Texas where it survived a fire in December 2010.
Dan Kruse, owner of the auction house that bears his name, says: “This motorcycle is part of both American film history and automotive history too. It is a legend and is one of the iconic symbols of the 1960s. It represents a longing for a simpler life, one of adventure and the open road. It would grace any automotive collection be it private or in a museum.”
Along with Captain America, 23 other vehicles from the Gordon Granger Collection will be offered at auction on June 5th, all without reserve including: a 1927 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Springfield Limousine formally owned by Tallulah Bankhead. There are also a 1929 Rolls-Royce Phantom 1 Springfield Brewster Dual Cowl Phaeton, a 1930 Rolls-Royce Phantom Springfield Brewster Limousine, a 1929 Packard Model 626 Convertible, a 1954 Jaguar XK120 Roadster, a 1974 Jaguar E-Type Roadster and a 1964.5 Ford Mustang Convertible. Other notable vehicles being offered for sale will be two vehicles from the Gene Kennedy Collection, both perfect replicas of those featured in the Dukes of Hazzard: a 1969 Dodge Charger R/T 440 aka General Lee and a 1977 Dodge Monaco, driven by Sheriff Roscoe P Coltrane; four Corvettes from the Gene Plunk Collection including a first generation 1961 Convertible, a 1963 Split Window Coupe, and a 1964 Sting Ray Fastback; plus, from the Ken Dougherty Collection: a very rare restored 1966 Ford Bronco, a 1965 A-Code Ford Mustang Convertible, an E model 1957 Ford Thunderbird Convertible and a 1973 Volkswagen Super Beetle Convertible.
Over 150 vehicles are expected to cross the auction block in Midland on June 5th at the Horseshoe Pavilion.
Easy Rider was released by Columbia Pictures on July 14, 1969, grossing $60 million worldwide from a filming budget of no more than $400,000. Critics praised the performances, directing, writing, soundtrack, and visuals. Hopper, Fonda and Southern were nominated for an Academy Award for Best Original Screenplay.