A Jerry Garcia owned Harley Davidson
Former property of Jerry Garcia
1984 Harley-Davidson FXST Softail
VIN no. 1HO18HL31E4018534
Engine no. BHLEO158534
Harley-Davidson and rock music have been synonymous with American rebellious sub-culture since time began. So it is no wonder, the Grateful Dead were fans of the marque.
With hidden rear suspension for a more comfortable ride, but retaining the image of early rigids, the FXST Softail became a hugely popular model in the Harley line-up, powered by the smooth and powerful Evolution engine. This 1984 example, previously owned by Jerry Garcia, is accompanied by a documentation file including material tying it to the Grateful Dead - specifically the original Registration Billing Notice. Framed and with a copy of the Grateful Dead book featuring the bike on the cover.
According to Rock Scully: "Some time late in 1982 or early '83 I heard a rumor that a devoted fan of the Jerry Garcia Band had approached Jerry about wanting to gift him a brand new Harley Davidson. I don't think he took the guy seriously because Jerry could only say '... far out and thanks, man!' Jerry, you see had only recently been sighted riding all over San Rafael on an Italian motor scooter. The Independent Journal, Marin County's daily paper, gave this story a lot of ink. The story caught the eye of our insurance agent who called our office to warn us about the dangers of riding on two wheels and how very much more this was going to cost. The story also caused many more people to be on the look out for Garcia on two wheels. Jerry at this point felt like he had a target on his back. As it turned out the guy who had promised the bike wasn't kidding. Ram Rod called Jerry and told him to come over to Club Front for a big surprise. When Jerry got there he was amazed to find a brand new, pristine, and black 1983 Harley Davidson Soft Tail. Garcia didn't know how to do any more than be his gracious self in accepting this gift. He rode it around Front Street but was not willing to ride it down town. This bike was well cared for and well maintained and eventually the Dead's piano player, Brent Mydland, got the title on it. Unfortunately Brent's driving privileges had been suspended and he was unable to ride it. The bike, however, did enjoy co-star billing on the cover of David Gans' book, Playin' In The Band."
- Please note that the correct frame number for this motorcycle is IHD1BHL31EY018534, and that the title for this motorcycle is in transit.