Lowest numbered Crocker Ever To Be Auctioned At January’s Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction

This 1937 Crocker Small Tank – serial number 36-61-8 – comes from the renowned collection of Dale Walksler’s Wheels Through Time Museum. Called as the “Duesenberg of motorcycles,” Crocker is the definitive American motorcycle – handmade, powerful and fast. What makes Crocker #8 even more special is the fact that this is one of the believed seven surviving Crockers constructed with the famous hemispherical heads. Furthermore, this is the earliest made Crocker to ever be offered at public sale. Estimate is $500,000-$600,000. Bonhams’ seventh annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction will take place Thursday, January 26th at the Rio Hotel & Casino

Very much a Hollywood “hot rod” bike, Crocker was created in and shaped by the culture of pre-WWII Los Angeles, California, by former Indian distributor Al Crocker. When it debuted in 1936, the upstart founder brazenly challenged world dominators Harley-Davidson, boasting of superior technology, performance, handling and raw power. As the story goes, Al Crocker famously advertised that if any of his bikes were ever beaten by a stock Harley, he would refund the owner’s money. No refunds were ever requested.
As a bespoke machine, each Crocker was made to the specifications of its buyer. This expensive and time-intensive approach meant that quality remained high but production output low. Total Crocker numbers never exceeded more than 125 units before World War II and forced the firm’s closure. Today only around 50 of those units are accounted for, making Crocker motorcycles extremely rare.

After fading into relative obscurity for half a century, two major events transpired that vaulted Crocker to the consciousness of collectors worldwide. First, the Guggenheim Museum’s groundbreaking 1998 exhibit The Art of the Motorcycle prominently featured a Crocker (owned by famed auto collector Otis Chandler). Then, the seminal 2006 Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d’Elegance presented Crocker as a featured marque with a record-breaking 20 examples on display. 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.

Also from the Wheels Through Time Museum are a further five pre-war American motorcycles: 1910 Harley-Davidson Model 6A. 1914 Excelsior Model 7C. 1915 Harley-Davidson 11F. 1936 Harley-Davidson EL Knucklehead. 1938 Harley-Davidson WLDR. For more information about the consignments from the Wheels Through Time Museum, or any of the other exceptional vintage and classic motorcycles to be offered, visit Bonhams Las Vegas.

12 Responses to “Lowest numbered Crocker Ever To Be Auctioned At January’s Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction”

  1. 1 Iron Horse Dec 23rd, 2016 at 9:38 am

    Very cool machine.

    Hopefully, the new owner won’t hide it away from the public viewing.

  2. 2 JohnnySpeed Dec 23rd, 2016 at 10:16 am

    I love everything about this bike. Crockers are amazingly cool bikes with an interesting history and this is a beautiful example. I agree with Iron Horse though, hopefully this doesn’t get hidden away and many people get enjoy it!

  3. 3 Sam Dec 23rd, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Do any of you know why Wheels Through Time decided against the original give away on this bike?

  4. 4 seymour Dec 23rd, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    If you own a Crocker and an Ace Four, well that’s all you really need to cover the ultimate American motorcycles.

  5. 5 James just another crazy kiwi Dec 23rd, 2016 at 7:21 pm

    If this is number 8 , I wonder what the lowest number in existance is ?
    Any one know ?

    Harley Davidson was not a world dominator in 1936, the production numbers were down and they were in deep trouble. Probably a much greater reason to be worried about the Crocker. They appearantly bought one trying to find a Patent infringment only to find that the Engine was more like the British JAP.
    Then apperantly they put pressure on the only USA rim manufacturer not to supply. An Indian Dealer bought and forwarded them on.Guess they were worried about direct competition to their Saviour the Knuckle Head.Which never sold that well in the ealry days really.

    They were tough times, wiped out many MotorCycle companies world wide.

    The Crocker, apart from performing incredibly well must be one of the most beautiful production MotorCycles ever manufactured

  6. 6 Roberto Dec 24th, 2016 at 2:47 am

    Kojak’s favorite…..

  7. 7 mike switzer Dec 24th, 2016 at 10:58 am

    David Uhl is a great artist does a lot of bike art, he has one print called “celluloid selfie” which has this bike in it. In the background is a Duesenberg i I have 4 of his works and this is my favorite I have #7 of 36 made

  8. 8 MSP Dan Dec 24th, 2016 at 11:01 am

    Dale Walksler used to (and maybe still does) big, long, rolling burnouts inside the museum on a ’26 Crocker. If you haven’t been to Wheels Through Time, you owe it to yourself to go at least once. I’ve been 3 times and I’d go back tomorrow if I could. There is that much to see and Dale, Matt, and the entire staff are just great to talk with.

  9. 9 Hillbilly Jim Dec 24th, 2016 at 11:52 am

    Matt Walksles did a burnout on this very machine for yours truly and then fired up the black Ace 4 cylinder in the museum. That alone was worth the price of admission but I spent another 6 hours there. Most of the day personally guided by Matt Dale or Rusty. If you are a motorcycle enthusiast and have not been to Wheels Through Time, your life is not complete!

  10. 10 BuzzD Dec 24th, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    WTT is such a great place—well at least it was when we saw it in Southern Illinois before Dale W sold the dealership and moved it east

  11. 11 Brian Bell Dec 24th, 2016 at 1:51 pm

    As our shop evolved from Carrikers’ Indian and Crocker Distributorship in Orange County, California, (continuous operation since 1910/1911 with only 3 owners, two names, 5 locations), we would like it to be known we will still honor Al Crockers’ stated warranty. We will reimburse the full, origina, newl sales price for any Crocker beaten in fair race by a stock , production motorcycle. We will further extend this offer to any subsequent owners and not limit the competitive bike to the production date of the Crocker.

  12. 12 hacksaws garage Dec 28th, 2016 at 2:53 am

    so the guy on top of my reply wants to buy crockers at their original price. how generous.

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Cyril Huze