Manufactured by Colonel Albert Pope’s American Cycle Manufacturing Company of New York, the pioneering Rambler motorcycle is in extremely rare and original, unrestored condition. The motorcycle wears its original paint from 110 years ago. With the exception of a touch-up on the gas tank the entire machine is in a complete “time-capsule” state.
By 1901, Mr Pope had consolidated the Cleveland, Columbia, Crescent, Imperial, Rambler and Tribune brands under the umbrella of American Cycle. While Indian has the distinction of being America’s first production motorcycle, Rambler launched just a few months after Indian’s introductory 1901 Camelback model and was offered for sale the very same year – 1902 – a full year before Harley-Davidson’s first commercial motorcycle.
Very refined and of advanced design, Rambler was one of the first motorcycles to have a long wheelbase for stability. It was a high-quality machine that did not rely on many off-the-shelf components and its engine was designed and produced in-house while the frame was also purpose-made and not simply a bicycle frame. These manufacturing standards demonstrated Pope’s faith and anticipation of the emerging motorcycle market and the company’s engineering prowess.
This particular machine has been a part of the Manthos Collection of the Indian Motorcycle Museum exhibit for decades and has benefited from years of unmolested and protected preservation. As one of the world’s first commercial motorcycles, it vividly illustrates the metamorphosis of bicycle into motorcycle and is a rare, physical representation of American heritage. Moreover, it is one of the oldest and most original American production machines anywhere in existence.
As the world’s leading auctioneer of motorcycles, Bonhams has represented many of the rarest most important motorcycles ever built, and this Rambler is one of the finest, most original machines Bonhams has ever offered.
The 110 year-old Rambler (estimate $60,000 – $80,000) will be offered alongside the recently announced collection of Rennsport BMWs – including the very rare 1939 Kompressor – at the third annual Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale on Thursday 10th January at Bally’s Hotel & Casino on The Strip.