Captain America up for Auction

Courtesy Harley-Davidson

The Captain America chromed Harley-Davidson chopper used in "Easy Rider" is for sale.

Auctioneers are estimating that one of the most iconic motorcycles of all time being auctioned next month in California will fetch something north of $1 million.

There are plenty of copies of Captain America around, but this is one of two of the originals used in the 1969 cult film classic “Easy Rider.”

The one up for sale was the version wrecked at the end of the movie. The second machine was stolen prior to the film’s release and has vanished, probably broken down for parts and sold.

easy rider

The machine’s provenance has been established by three signed letters of authenticity: one from the National Motorcycle Museum; a letter from Peter Fonda, and a signed letter of authenticity from Dan Haggerty.

Dan Haggerty took care of the machines during filming. You may recognize the name; he was the guy who played Grizzly Adams in the movie of the same name.

The stars-and-stripes-themed Panhead chopper with chromed hard-tail frame was designed and built by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy. They built two identical versions of the bike so that filming wouldn’t be interrupted by break-downs.

Cliff Vaughs

Vaughs was a civil rights activist, a filmmaker and a biker who built his machines in his back yard. He rode in the Chosen Few Motorcycle Club, a racially integrated club since 1960.

It was in his back yard with Fonda and Dennis Hopper that Vaughs suggested the title of the film, “Easy Rider,” from a line in a film by Mae West.

If you look Vaughs up online you’ll find a few photos of him, one of them of him getting thrown around pretty seriously by police.

Vaughs designed and built both bikes. The one ridden by Dennis Hopper in the film is simply referred to as Billy’s Bike.

Ben Hardy

Ben Hardy, the other builder, took care of the motors, rescued from a Los Angeles Police Department junk yard. Hardy also fabricated custom parts on each machine.

When filming was finished, Fonda gave the motorcycle to fellow actor Dan Haggerty. He restored the machine and it sat for 12 years in the National Motorcycle Museum of Anamosa, CA.

The auction house handling the sale is Profiles in History, which specializes in selling off Hollywood memorabilia.

Auction details:

Date: October 17-20 at 11:00 a.m. PST

Location: Profiles in History Offices, 26662 Agoura Road, Calabasas, CA, 91302

Phone: (310) 859-7701

You can get the auction catalog in PDF format from here.