Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NEW CROCKER DOWN UNDER


This just in from Sydney; confirmation of many months of rumors that a'1346Venice' will produce a new Crocker in Australia, with 'a maximum of 24' reproduction Big Twins per year. No prices so far, and I'll relate the story as I learn it. Are there enough paying customers for so many new Crockers? It's an interesting question, and certainly depends on the final sale price.

Michael Schacht of the LA-based Crocker Motorcycle Co. has intentions to build an additional 10 machines (beyond the one I test rode last year). Looks like Crocker fans will soon be spoiled for choice, if the choices aren't spoiled by litigation...

Below is the press release from 1346Venice:


"Beasts of a Bygone Era - The 1930s Crocker Motorcycle

Icons of 1930s Los Angeles have found a new home in a small Waterloo cul-de-sac nestled in the midst of what is fast becoming Sydney's arts precinct. A little- known restored warehouse, named 1346 Building, bearing a red neon sign and wooden doors, is harboring treasures seen by few in the world - the largest private collection of original Crocker motorcycles. The owner of these exquisite motorcycles, Chilli (as he's affectionately known), sets out to preserve a rare piece of automotive history by offering the same bespoke experience as back in Crocker's prime at 1346 Venice Boulevard, Los Angeles. 


Known as the 'Deusenberg of motorcycles,' the Crocker is the definitive American motorcycle - hand-built, powerful, and fast. Very much a Hollywood "hot rod", the Crocker was created in and shaped by the culture of pre-WWII California, by former Indian motorcycle engineers Al Crocker and Paul Bigsby.

When the road-going V-twin debuted I. 1936, the upstart founder brazenly challenged world dominators Harley Davidson, boasting superior technology, performance, handling, and raw power. In fact, Al Crocker famously advertised that if any of his bikes were ever beaten by a standard production Harley or Indian, he would refund the owner's money.

No refunds were ever requested.



Before World War II forced the original firm's closure, it's rumored that only 125 Crockers were ever built, including the early speedway bike. Today, approximately 66 V Twins are accounted for, making Crocker motorcycles extremely rare. After fading into relative obscurity for half a century, two major auction events transpired, vaulting Crocker into the sights of collectors worldwide. The attention provided by these two events - highlighting the marque's unique history, success and rarity - suddenly made Crocker one of the most desirable and expensive motorcycles in the world.

As Chilli rebuilds the Crocker Motorcycles in all their powerful, roadworthy glory; he offers his clients tailored specifications to maintain the value and uniqueness of these immaculate machines. This costly and time-intensive approach means that quality remains high and production output low. A maximum 24 Crocker Motorcycles per year will ever be built by Chilli's company, 1346 Engineered.


Chilli's parent company, 1346Venice, is also documenting the amazing story of these incredible steel stallions. Many who know and have experienced the full history of Crocker have sadly passed away, this it is important for Chilli and his team to collect and compile stories from those who are still around, most residing in Los Angeles. Chilli's team comprises of photographers, engineers, marketers, designers, artists, filmmakers and a restaurateur, all exhibiting the same passion and persistence to create and document the rebirth of this revered Hollywood Hot Rod. "

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15 comments:

Anonymous said...

Beating a Hardley is no boast.

Anonymous said...

It was at the time.

Anonymous said...

Paul,

A chat with Rotten R. might be in order and provide a wider perspective..

Melon,

Matt said...

color me skeptical of this venture.

Brian Bell said...

As the last known surviving Crocker dealer,(our stationary from the '30's proclaimed us as the "Orange Co. Indian and Crocker distributors" I would like to let it be known we will still honor Crockers' original warrantee. I would not even be a stickler about the age of the bike to beat the Crocker... Our shop history is under the "about us" on our web site www.IrvSeaverBMW.com

William said...

It's all bullshit..
Modern replicas' peddled on the back of clouded mythical events and machines from decades ago. And charging what $$..?
Is there any difference between this carry-on and what Godet or JMC do with Vincent/Egli Replica's.
This smacks of the "New Crowd" that's invaded staid old motorcycling in recent years.. the hip dudes/new wave set travelling on the back of the likes of BikeEXIF amongst other silly buggers. Steam punk and suchlike..WHAT.??
Get a berluddy grip.. this Comrades, is the "Emperors New Clothes" writ large.! Again..
Gawd help us.
WF
Pd'O.. stand back son.. don't get drawn in.
I do trust you are well.? Regards.
WF

thefrenchowl said...

William, 100 % with you on that one... Pd'O, wake up before it's too late...

Patrick

David in Fort Lauderdale said...

My guess is that Paul is going to continue to report items he thinks are of interest to the community of his readers. While some news may be disgusting or alarming, it's still of interest. Witness the passion it evokes.

The Vintagent said...

I have a different take: I like motorcycles, period. I especially like older bikes. Replicas/reproductions are a fact of life these days, and I grapple with their cultural meaning and implications for the 'real' machines, but don't think anyone criminal for making them, unless of course they mis-represent them as 'originals'.

I find it fascinating when an arch-enthusiast spends his/her own time and Lots of money to build their motorcycle dream, which is to Rebuild someone else's dream. I know several other people who have followed this path (Mark Upham, Michael Schacht, George Beale, etc), and their motivations and goals vary widely.
In this case, Chilli (whom I've never met, but will speak with soon) is wading with eyes open into a morass of legal complication regarding trademark issues. I don't need to go into this further - it will play itself out with a lawsuit, or an agreement with Michael Schacht, who claims the Crocker trademark internationally.

From what I understand, Crockers were under-developed, and have some well-known issues. A replica Crocker will replicate these issues, but I doubt anyone would ride one across the USA... or would they? Schacht offered me the opportunity last year, and I said yes. That didn't happen, but if Chilli offered a ride around the Blue Mountains for a few days on a couple of new Crockers, I'd say yes again.


GuitarSlinger said...

Yo William & thefrenchfowl . Get a grip boys ! With this Crocker thing I've no opinion as the bike isn't on the road yet . But trying to call Godet/Egli/Vincent bikes BS ?!?! You haven't got a bloody goram clue ! Fact is everyone from the VOC on down looks upon Godets work as a ' continuation series; absolutely brilliant : better than the originals and until you've put a leg over one ... might I suggest you both shut yer bleedin cake holes on the subject of Godets ? Because to put it bluntly the only thing going down it at the moment is your foot ....... but if you insist I'll be the first to offer up a case of BBQ or Brown Sauce ( depending on which side o the pond your from ) to help make that size 11 go down a bit easier ;-)

Patrick Delli aka The French Owl said...

Hum, If Godet would call his bikes Godet, and Beale Beale, and Upham Upham, no problems with me...

But they chooses to call them otherwise...

If the bike has not been built, or at least assembled, in the maker's factory, it surely is not what it says on the tin...

Good business idea, get a 2CV and call it a Rolls Royce... Someone might get some mileage out of this...

Patrick

Anonymous said...

re French Owl. Sorry, disagree entirely. I think it is important that the original marque name is kept on these 'continuation' type bikes. You're far too serious....

Anonymous said...

I dunno, Royal enfield is turning our thousands of Bullets in Madras India, a world away from the original, defunct Redditch plant...and they have been doing so for 60 years. Nobody is going to say they aren't "Real" bullets.

If somebody has the rights to the name, they can put the name on any bike they want, either newly designed or newly produced old design. I have no issue with either.

It doesn't effect what I have in my garage and only gives my more options for fantasy.

Barry Brown said...

When legendary John "2 CAMeron went to Al Crocker to get yet another shifter fork and Al told him that was the last one, John shoehorned his 90 inch hemi into a JD chassis and told me it handled much better than before and he could slide it around the dirt tracks both feet up on the boards. Weak link in the JD was the seatpost tube cracking with all that extra grunt but an easier fix than a gearbox. Homer Wood( Crocker #4, first one sold to the public) told me Al regretted incorporating the trans housing into the frame. I told Markus Karalash this and when he re engineered the shifter forks he added gussets. This whole soap opera has been going on too long. I wish the Australian enterprise good luck and hope they do their homework!

Hooligan's Custom Motorcycles said...

Bravo Barry, I've been away from this Crocker business far too long and have recently been dragged back into the fray because of my historical insight into the Crocker Motorcycle company. I re-started Crocker in 1999 with the expressed purpose to make excellent parts for some very good friends, five years after I started, let me put this gently so I don't have a law suit threatened against me,I brought in schacht, to help me finance Crocker to make it a real company again. The reproduction bikes were to be a marketing ploy, a limit of 10 (then 100), to launch the company into the present where a new Crocker (the C4)was to be built. I whole-heartedly regret building the reproduction Crocker and didn't have the heart to keep throwing money at lawyers trying to win it back again. Reproduction parts, fine. Reproduction motorcycle no way! I have seen the ugly side of what happens when big money gets involved with these things and it makes me sick to see how some of the general public get suckered in. Caveat emptor!