1939 Crocker Special V-Twin Engine no. 39-61-106

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Lot 836
1939 Crocker Special V-Twin
Engine no. 39-61-106

US$ 140,000 - 170,000
£ 120,000 - 140,000
1939 Crocker Special V-Twin
Engine no. 39-61-106
A legend among American motorcycles, the Crocker has assumed almost mythic status since the last one left the Los Angeles factory sixty-five years ago. Only 60-or-so twin-cylinder Crocker street bikes were ever made, each one unique, and today these hand-built masterpieces are among the most collectible motorcycles of all time.

Known as ‘The Red Bike’, this amazing Crocker ‘special’ was unearthed by a noted American collector. The machine had formed part of an elderly gentleman’s private collection in Ft Collins, Colorado, where it resided in his basement alongside a Harley-Davidson XA and an Ariel Square Four among others.

Numbered consecutively immediately preceding the other Crocker in this Sale, this machine – engine number ‘106’ – was revealed as a ‘missing’ machine, unknown to the Crocker Registry. The story goes that the original owner had several Crockers back in their day, but acquired this one’s engine in California in the early 1950s, perhaps after the original bike had been crashed. This machine consists of a 1939 61ci Big Twin mounted in a 1940s Triumph hard-tail frame. The front end, wheels and four-speed gearbox likewise are Triumph, while the gas tank is from an Ariel Square Four. To get the Crocker motor to fit in the Triumph frame, the lower loop was cut out, three engine mounting plates fabricated, the down-tube cut and the frame ‘keystoned’.

“It was quite a neat design idea and something I had not seen before,” notes our vendor. “He built it apparently to go racing. I fired it up and rode it. It smokes like a banshee probably because it’s been sitting forever. Maybe dropped a ring. But it felt like it had all the power in the world and since it’s set up in a shorter frame, it handled really well.”

It’s intriguing to speculate that had Al Crocker’s company survived another few years, its motorcycles might have looked very similar to this one, which represents an exciting opportunity to own a truly unique machine that has to be one of the most unusual ‘specials’ ever built.
1939 Crocker Special V-Twin Engine no. 39-61-106
1939 Crocker Special V-Twin Engine no. 39-61-106
1939 Crocker Special V-Twin Engine no. 39-61-106
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