I turned 16 in 1963. The Japanese motorbike invasion had hit Sioux Falls. Several dealers were renting out bikes for $5 for 4 hours. My buddies and I would rent them on a regular basis. I ran across a 40’s 500cc Triumph with no title, no license, and little compression for $20. I went down to the “five & dime” & bought a stencil kit. Presto - a paper plate was made and I was riding. This bike had more oil on the outside than on the inside. I rode this bike for a few weeks and had a rear blowout. I nursed it over to Roy Lodes Harley shop on Marion Rd. (Sx.Flls.) and sold it to him for the same amount I paid for it - $20.
I was without a bike until 1966 when I bought a used 250 Ducati Diana from Tom Haight (a British bike dealer in Sx.Flls). I couldn't get it running so I traded it in on a used TR6 650 Triumph. I “played in the dirt” with it until I sold it when I moved to San Francisco at the end of ‘66.
I bought a 305 Honda chopper in 1967. It looked good but needed a little “souping up”. I bought a 415cc kit, twin Amal carbs, and a Harmon Collins roller cam. This “livened” it up enough to take to the drags in Hayward, CA. In 1968 I moved back to SD and had Tom Haight put in bigger valves , port it, etc. I raced Jerry Chaney several times at Thunder Valley. This bike was a real sleeper.
Several bikes were bought and sold from 1968 to 1972 - a couple 65 Triumphs, a BSA 441 "hill climber", Hondas of various sizes. I moved to Denver in 1972 and kept only the Honda chopper. A close call on the Valley Freeway in ’73 convinced me to sell the chopper. No more bikes until 1976 when I traded a snowmobile for a 550 Honda.
In ‘77 I bought my first true antique bike, a 1946 Simplex Servicycle with 48 miles on it. I also met a collector of Indians and my dream to one day own one of for those “skirted fender” Chiefs, or earlier 4 cylinder models, or “teen” Indians began.
In 1990 I started working with Preston Evans, a wealthy auctioneer. We partnered up on buying slot machines, juke boxes, music boxes, and anything coin operated. I traveled America in search of these items for Preston but was always on the lookout for vintage bikes for myself. I bought the bikes and sold them on Preston’s auctions. I bought my first BMW, a R27. It was a little under powered for my liking and I sold it. My next BMW was a R69S purchased along with an Indian branded Royal Enfield Constellation. One of my many regrets is selling both of these. They were great bikes, but I always had to sell in order to buy the next bike. I think I bought my first Chief, a 46 model, with those proceeds.
Preston then asked me to team with him on bikes, also. For 18 years I used Preston’s money to buy any and all the bikes that I thought would make money. I would buy 30 to 50 bikes a year. We would hold an auction of antiques with the bikes mixed in. We did auctions at Alcester, SD; LeMars, IA; Eureka Springs, AR; and Atlanta among a few. When the recession came on in 2007, we shut the auctions down. Preston bought several buildings in Warm Springs, GA, and started a motorcycle museum called Art in Motion (www.prestonopportunities.com). He has approximately 140 American, British, European & racing bikes. The oldest is a 1902 Marsh.
I had a red R65 BMW when I met Jerry Zeeb. He brought me along on a ride with Autobahners Bob Vagstad, Woody Waagmeester, Dennis Erickson, and Jim Pentico. I had a lot of fun and was next invited to Dareo’s Breakfast Group. Next was an invitation to join the Autobahn Club. I went on several of the rides to Colorado; Petosi, Missouri; and Money Creek. Those are some of my best motorcycle memories. I’ve also owned a 1983 R80 BMW that I bought from former Autobahner Carl Edeburn (Brookings) along with his two 1975 Nortons and a R90RT that I bought from Lee Hendrix. I have been buying and selling bikes for 48 years but I have never owned a new bike!!
Currently I own 8 Indians in different stages of completion. Three I am building for Bonnevile, 1 for flattrack, and 1 for hill climbing. Two will be riders. I have Tom Haight’s 1956 500cc Matchless G80 CS single. There are 2 Kawasaki Drifters my wife, Pat, and I ride when we want to actually arrive at a destination. My daughter at Laguna Niguel, CA, thinks I’ve turned her mother into a Hell’s Angel. She has no interest in motorcycles.
Marty Dickerson, old-time Bonneville Salt Flats racer. CBX Honda at Thunder Valley Raceway Sep.’10. Gary purchased this 1947 HD Servicycle used
The World’s Fastest Indian movie based on his life. by Hutton-Tufty a Chrysler Dealer in Sx.Flls.
Hint from Gary: If you want to get past your spouse when purchasing motorcycles, take her out to the garage and announce, “Honey, look what I bought you”. It has worked for me every time!
by Gary Landeen