Iconic ‘Easy Rider’ motorcycle auction is caught up in controversy

The question remains whether it's the ‘real thing’ or not…

One of the classic Harley-Davidson choppers that appeared in Easy Rider, a true cinema icon of the late ’60s, is up for auction. As a number of sources report, auctioneers for the Dan Kruse Classics sale in Midland, Texas on June 5 have put up a guide price of $300,000 to $500,000 despite there being no reserve bid set.

But, at the same time, This Is Money says that, “the authenticity of the available vehicle has been called in to question, in a debate stretching back more than seven years.”

Two iconic “Captain America” bikes were made for the 1969 film, ridden by actor Peter Fonda who played Wyatt in the Dennis Hopper-directed movie, and also Jack Nicholson. Different models were ridden by Fonda’s co-star Hopper.

Another “Captain America” Harley-Davidson motorbike, the owner of which had claimed it was an Easy Rider original, sold at a Californian auction in 2014 for a record $1.35 million. It remains the biggest-ever fee paid for a motorcycle at auction.

Dan Haggerty, who assisted in building the motorcycles and had a small part in the movie, has claimed that the movie’s other three bikes had been stolen and sold for their parts after filming had wrapped.

However, This Is Money reports that ahead of the 2014 auction, Haggerty was then said to have retracted his statements. But, despite confirming that he had signed official documentation confirming the validity of the bike for the auction, he later went on to say that he was wrong: “That was my mistake. It’s not the real bike.”

Despite all the confusing back-and-forth, Dan Kruse (owner of the auction house that bears his name) said the bike being sold at the upcoming auction is valid. “This motorcycle is part of both American film history and automotive history too. It is a legend and is one of the iconic symbols of the 1960s.”

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