Earlier this week, the infamous Easy Rider chopper, affectionately called the Captain America bike, sold for an astonishing $1.35 million. According to Hemmings, that makes it the most expensive bike ever sold.
“It is both the most expensive motorcycle ever sold at auction (beating a 1910 Winchester, sold last October for $580,000) and the most expensive motorcycle sold (beating a private transaction that saw Rollie Free’s 1948 Vincent Black Lightning acquired for $1 million in 2011).”
Much of the appeal of this bike is that it is the only surviving chopper from the film. Originally, according to lore, there were four Easy Rider choppers– two for Peter Fonda and two for Dennis Hopper. However, two were stolen prior to the filming of the movie and the other was totaled in the final climactic scene of the movie.
In the days leading up to the auction, some questions were raised about the only surviving bike’s authenticity, though. The seller of the chopper, Michael Eisenberg, had a letter from the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, stating that his bike was the only surviving “Captain America” bike.
This authentication was originally signed by “Grizzly Adams” actor Dan Haggerty, who had a bit part in the movie and was the one to take possession of the only bike after filming. Earlier this week, however, Haggerty admitted to the Los Angeles Times that he authenticated and sold TWO Captain America bikes years ago, stating that one was a false.
Unfortunately, no one is quite sure who owns the real bike.
The other “surviving” bike is currently owned by Gordon Granger of Texas. He says, “They know damn well they don’t have the real bike. I own the original remaining Captain America bike. The one auctioned was a replica.”
Now, there’s no way to know for sure who’s telling the truth, but I think Peter Fonda summed it up best by saying, “There’s a big rat stinking someplace in this.”