Ride of the Week… The Long Lost VON DUTCH BIKE FOUND!

I’m always amazed at how the universe manages to pull things together based on people’s passions. And this story exemplifies that in many ways.

A longtime friend of mine, Bob Clark, and his co-conspirator, Greg Weier, were minding their own business back in 1971 when Weier spotted a used motorcycle on the side of a trailer park in the Valley. He consulted Clark and they went to look at the bike together.

It was a classic Velocette owned by a guy who live in the park itself. After looking the bike over, Weier (with some prodding from Clark), bought it for $350. The seller was none other than infamous pinstriper Kenny Howard, also known as Von Dutch. Yes, that Von Dutch.

“He didn’t call himself Von Dutch at the time,” Weier said. “But he was known as a really great pinstriper.”

Clark and Weier took the bike home and immediately began to pull it apart, re-chroming and painting with the idea of turning it into a chopper. But over the next several years, Weier basically rode the bike around town and it eventually went into storage in the early ’80s. And there it sat for almost 30 years, in Weier’s garage collecting dust and getting covered with a variety of garage material.

In 2012, Clark and Weier began to get the bug again and started tinkering. Over the next seven years, they off and on fixed the bike up. But, now knowing that it was a Von Dutch original, the idea of a chopper waned in light of a full, original restoration. And that’s exactly what they did.

Then, about two months ago, Clark came to me and mentioned that the bike was nearly finished but needed to get pinstriped. And that’s when I called my buddy, master pinstriper Johnny Martinez from Ventura. 

“Hey, Johnny, wanna stripe something truly unique?” I asked.

If he wasn’t wearing his black glasses, I’m pretty sure his eyes would have popped out of his head. (I’m glad I didn’t see that.)

And that’s where we came up with the idea for Martinez to stripe the tanks and fender at last weekend’s Wheels and Waves here in Malibu. Martinez did his job with about 30 people watching, blasting music and, yes, with his black specs on. It was a sight to behold.

This week, the final stripes will be placed and full assembly of the bike will begin. According to Clark and Weier, with their schedules — Clark is a sculptor in the film industry and Weier is a contractor — the bike should come together over the next few months. And if it turns out half as good as I expect, it should command a pretty penny at auction. How many original Von Dutch bikes are out there? Who knows, but this one is spectacular.

The goal is to tour the bike through the museums and shows to get the word out, let people see it and maybe let a few select people ride it. But one thing is for sure. We can thank Clark and Weier for securing a piece of motorcycle history — a memory we can all appreciate and one that may get us looking through our garages to see what we might have missed.

Good on ya, boys!

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LOST VON DUTCH BIKE STRIPED AT MALIBU WHEELS & WAVES – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 891

LOST VON DUTCH BIKE STRIPED AT MALIBU WHEELS AND WAVES – FIREBALL MALIBU VLOG 891 – At Fireball Tim’s Wheels and Waves for January, Master Pinstriper Johnny Martinez stripes an original LOST Von Dutch Bike.

Plus, the Von Dutch Story, cool cars, Tony Dow and The Murphy Museum’s 1963 Studebaker Avanti!

February 1st!!!!