1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8

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Lot 223
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'
Engine no. 36 61 8

US$ 500,000 - 600,000€ 450,000 - 540,000
Amended
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'

Engine no. 36 61 8

• Offered from the Wheels Through Time Museum
• 1 of only 7 known survivors
• Believed to be the earliest example offered at public auction

In the motorcycle world, certain machines have a mystique surrounding the mere mention of their name. In Europe, the Brough Superior conjures up the images of a long sleek black motorcycle with a beautiful chromed petrol tank, and a gorgeous J.A.P. V-twin engine nestled in the frame while twin exhausts run along the side of the bike. In the United States, one mention of the Crocker and one thinks of a motorcycle street fighter. The pugilistic nature of the Crocker is well founded as America's original superbike. Regretfully there were less than 75 Crockers ever made, making them one of the most highly regarded and sought after motorcycles made in this country. They are considered the Holy Grail of American motorcycles.

Albert Crocker, formerly worked at both Aurora Automatic Machinery Company designing Thor motorcycles and then later for Indian in their engineering department. Moving out to California in the late 1920's, Crocker owned a business catering to Indian, manufacturing parts for the factory. Teaming up with Paul Bigsby, he began work on a high performance V-twin motorcycle in 1935 and produced his first prototype the following year. One used to hear rumors that he especially wanted to embarrass any Harley rider cocky enough to challenge his Crocker. The Crocker used a cradle frame that incorporated transmission side plates into the frame, with a girder fork while the 45° V-twin engine was over-built to provide performance protection, while also allowing for numerous upgrades. The Crocker was the original Bobber in California, long before the Bobber craze hit the riders following the end of World War II.

Early Crockers featured hemispherical combustion heads and a nearly square bore and stroke ratio, contrary to most American motorcycles of the time. The engine could produce 60 horsepower and attain speeds of 110 mph. The gearbox was made bullet proof in cast steel and was secured into the frame via the attached side plates. It has been said they were designed to withstand the force from a 200 horsepower motor. Crockers were essentially hand built motorcycles, built to order for the customer. Financially they were a losing proposition on each machine. When World War II started, motorcycle production was necessarily shut down, never to start up again.

Crocker #8, being released from the collection from the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina has an interesting history. It started with an unknown collection of rare original Crocker parts and a motor located in 2014. Motor #8 was restored by well-known engine builder, Mike Lange. Shortly afterwards, Dale Walksler from the Wheels Through Time Museum acquired Crocker #22 from Jim Gallagher to add to his Crocker collection where he already owned the late Ernie Skelton's Crocker #113. Years ago, Skelton and Gallagher swapped top ends. Mending the history of these two motorcycles and the new engine began to take place. Walksler, an expert antique motorcycle restorer, undid the top end swap by returning the highly desirable, and original, hemi-heads back onto the lower end of the Gallagher #22 engine. This also left the Skelton #113 engine correct again but was mated to an early chassis. The resolution was to mate the newly found #8 engine to the Skelton chassis, correcting as much as possible, the error in history created by the old mismatch of engines. Now there was an early Crocker engine in an early chassis.

Only the first 23 Crockers ever constructed had the famous hemispherical heads. This #8 engine was part of this special group, and to this date, only 7 have survived. It exudes the styling of period California motorcycling. The Crocker features the correct cast aluminum "small tank" gas tank and uses Flanders western style handlebars. The fenders are abbreviated in the Bobber style that was Crocker. The bike uses battery & coil ignition which will assist owners not adept in starting a performance magneto motorcycle while adding some very exclusive original parts to the motorcycle. The motorcycle wears a NOS Cycle Ray headlight and has had the paint freshened and the aluminum polished. It has been rewired and Harley-Davidson control components added. Paint and pin striping is perfect. Walksler stated the motorcycle starts and idles easily. This is the lowest numbered Crocker to ever be offered at public sale. Crockers do not come along often for sale and this very ride-able Crocker deserves an enthusiastic and appreciative motorcyclist to become the next owner.

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  • The Title is in transit.
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1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
1936 Crocker 'Hemi Head'  Engine no. 36 61 8
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