Monday, February 06, 2012

STOLEN CYCLONE, RACING HONDA

A 1914 Cyclone, similar to this one, was stolen from the Bel Air home of a collector.  A Cyclone currently holds the #1 spot on the global 'Top 20' of auction sales, and is a highly visible emblem of antique motorcycle value.
 Feb 5, 2012:
"BEL AIR, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Police are searching for a pair of thieves who broke into a Bel Air home in the middle of the night, tied up the home owner and made off with two valuable motorcycles. That home invasion robbery took place about 4:30 a.m. in the 900 block of Linda Flora Drive. Police said the suspects kicked in the front door and tied up the man, a longtime collector of vintage cars and motorcycles. The man's wife was able to get away and went to a neighbor's house to call police. Police said the suspects knew exactly what they were after. They went straight for the two vintage motorcycles valued at more than $1.5 million.
The Cyclone engine is heart of its value; a single-overhead-camshaft design, driven by shafts and bevels, using all roller bearings, the Joerns Engine Co. created a masterpiece.  Materials and lubrication technology weren't quite up to the task, and more reliable side valve engines often won long distance races over the super-advanced Cyclone.

One of the motorcycles was a rare 1914 yellow Cyclone. The other was a 1952 gray and red Kawasaki.
[Ed note; the TV spot shows a Honda CR93 factory production racer/roadster - which is correct?] The wife said the thieves loaded the motorcycles onto a white van, possibly a rental. "It's a quiet, residential neighborhood, but we don't think it was a random break-in," said neighbor Charles Lesser. "It looks as if whoever did it knew exactly what they were looking for and took it and left."




Anyone with information is asked to call the Los Angeles Police Department at (877) 527-3247. (Copyright ©2012 KABC-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)"

My sympathies go out to the collector and his wife for their trauma.

The implications are serious for all collectors with very valuable machines...but the truth is, few of us are willing to live inside a fortress. While it may have been the case that thieves simply saw a pair of expensive-looking bikes in a Bel Air garage, and now have a red-hot Rembrandt they can't possibly unload, its also possible this was a contract job for a discerning underworld client.  The imaginable scenarios are endless - Russia, Japan, South America - but until such a deal comes to light, it's all speculation.  We may find the Cyclone in a storage locker, but keep on the alert for the future appearance of 'recently discovered' machines...

10 comments:

Hairy Larry said...

Hopefully they were amateurs, and the bikes are recovered intact.

GuitarSlinger said...

My guess is these Cretins were pros all the way - knew just what they were after ( paid no doubt to steal them ) and the bikes are now sitting in some obscenely wealthy , less than legitimate ' underground ' collectors stash ... for his viewing pleasure only

Crap ! I thought this behavior was limited to the Fine Art World , but up go the prices and here it is in motorcycling

Uncle Tod said...

I smell mendacity.

Andrew Macpherson said...

What a terrible story, my sympathies go to both husband and wife, and I hope they get their bikes back very quickly.

Charles said...

they used to hang horse thieves,.... just sayin...

The Vintagent said...

@Uncle Tod: if the owner wanted to raise cash from insurance, he could have sold that Cyclone and that Honda for well over $1M any time - buyers are waiting for the next Cyclone to become available, but no current owners are tempted by mere cash. They know what they have, and aren't interested in the money...its all about the machine, the history, the beauty...

Anonymous said...

im getting really conflicting and hazy reports on what was actually stolen... how am i supposed to keep my eyes open for a 1952 kawasaki or maybe a honda and a cyclone similar to the one pictured???

Anonymous said...

given that the first Kawasaki wasn't produced until 1961.. I suspect the Honda is the correct bike (that and the fact that the Honda is more valuable than any Kawasaki of any vintage...)
Sad for the owners...

Don O'Reilly said...

WHAT a drag....

such priceless machinery, soon to be within the domain of shit for brains scum...

unfortunately, the nature of human existence; the assholes win much more than they loose.

ugh!

Keith Retzler said...

Why didnt the wife or neighbors check for the van and flatten the tires or get the tag numbers at least while they were inside or loading the bikes?