An used and valuable icon
When I was about 18, I used to drive occasionally for a local man that had a bit of a drink problem. He had a Mazda which everyone called his electric light bulb (I think Japanese and Mazda cars were still quite novel at the time !).
More importantly, in his garage, he had a Bristol which was a real Gentleman's car but sadly one that I never got to drive. At the back of the garage, on a wooden stand he also had a Crocker motorbike. This had belonged to his brother who had died shortly after the war and, to my knowledge, never moved off its wooden stand.
For those in the know, Crocker was an iconic brand from an American company building single-cylinder speedway bikes from about 1932 and moving up to V-twins some years later until war demands caused production to cease in 1942.
The V-twin was very fast and probably could out-perform anything on the road at the time. The 1,000cc hemi-head produced 55-60hp, far more than the 40hp of the then Harley. Al Crocker was a perfectionist who would make to order and there are known to be examples of an 1,490cc engine that he produced. About 100 V-twins were produced and, it is rumoured, that about half still survive today.
Because of their build quality and rarity, Crockers are strongly in demand by specialist collectors. A 1941 model sold at auction a couple of years ago for $230,000 quickly followed by a 1937 Hemi-head at $275,000.
To think that I was driving this gentleman around in his 'electric light bulb' and there, on its wooded stand, was a icon of motorcycing history. I dread to think how much it was worth.
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David Schiller, Germany
26 August 2011, 09:10PM
There is a new Crocker company set up by Michael Schacht in about 2000. I think he was a Crocker fan and he started buying up parts and designs. He makes the old-style components using the latest technologies.
Peter Knowles, France
29 August 2011, 09:13PM
I know about the new company and they have a very good reputation. They use some clever computer coordinate measuring to replicate the parts for which they do not have design dimensions.
31 August 2011, 09:17PM
A friend in California sent me a copy of one of the old Crocker brochures that have been reproduced by the new company. They are obviously puting a lot of time and money into generating memorabilia, which is great for the brand.
1 September 2011, 11:14PM
These bikes are the Ferraris of motorcycles. If you buy a Crocker, you do not take it out in the rain. The wooden block is the right place.
8 September 2011, 12:25PM
I showed this article to my father who knew all about the Crocker motorbikes.
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