Vintagent, a website that tracks vintage motorcycle sales, says a very rare 1908 Harley-Davidson motorcycle sold at auction in January is now the most expensive motorcycle 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 has taken place. The name “Strap Tank” came from the fact that the fuel and oil tanks were held onto the bike’s frame by nickel-plated steel straps.
“We marketed the bike well and Harley is by far the most famous American motorcycle brand, so we felt it would do well at auction, but obviously you are surprised when you sell the most expensive bike ever” said Greg Arnold, Division Manager Motorcycles at Mecum Auctions.
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Arnold said the record-breaking bike had been refurbished but still had many of its original parts, such as the tank, wheels, engine pulley, seat cover and muffler.
David Uihlein found the bike in its entirety in a barn in Wisconsin in 1941. It was then auctioned in Las Vegas. For the next 66 years, Uihlein held onto it. Then Paul Freehill of Fort Wayne, Indiana did a great job refurbishing the Strap Tank.
It is believed that fewer than 12 of the 450 motorcycles the company made in 1908 are still on the road and even fewer are largely in their original condition.
The website for the auction called the Strap Tank one of the rarest Davidson models still in existence, as it was the first of its kind. It is also the oldest model to be found as earlier prototypes have been lost.
People say the most desirable 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 slightly bigger and stronger than the rest. After fees, a 1907 Strap Tank that had not been refurbished sold for $715,000.