Most Mysterious Vintage Motorcycle

Is it the rarest vintage motorcycle? At least, I will say it’s the most mysterious. It’s the Traub 1917, and at this day, nobody knows exactly its origin and no documentation has ever surfaced. It was discovered in 1967 by bicycle shop owner Torillo Tacchi during the renovation of a Chicago apartment building, the motorcycle hidden behind a brick wall.

Actor and Hollywood stunt double Bud Ekins, purchased this motorcycle in the late 70’s while on the set for the Blues Brothers Movie.  Then it was sold again to collector and restorer Richard Morris, who then sold it in 1990 to the Wheels Through Time Museum curator Dale Walksler. It’s where the Traub is now displayed. The motorcycle is in very good  condition, very refined, much more than the motorcycles of the 1910’s and features a side valve engine, a 3-speed transmission and a one-off dual piston rear brake. It’s now 43 years that The Traub has baffled its owners and all vintage motorcycle experts unable to find out its origin. Any reader with a lead? Wheels Through Time Museum.

9 Responses to “Most Mysterious Vintage Motorcycle”

  1. 1 Dale Apr 8th, 2010 at 9:21 am

    The Wheels Through Time Museum is a two-wheel heaven on earth. Dale, Matt and their crew do a great job. A must see for any motorcycle enthusiast.

  2. 2 Tattooeddmike Apr 8th, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Dale Walksler is one CLASS ACT,… while visiting the museum a couple of years ago, I introduced myself and later he more or less stepped in with one of his people giving a tour to a group we were following… Dale was answering questions, posing for pictures and of course starting some of the museum quality motorcycles! And if that wasn’t enoungh, he invited anyone from the group to meet him outside of the museum to ride an old 1942 XA Harley that he was starting and riding outside. I was hesitant at first as the couple my wife and I rode with their younger son were anxious to get on the road, but insisted on waiting for me to have a turn on the XA…. More than likey it’s the only one I’ll ever ride, and for that I Thank You Mr. Dale Walksler! You and your staff are Class People and we hope to visit again soon! Very well put together Museum! And not to forget, It’s the Museum That Runs!

  3. 3 Smitty Apr 8th, 2010 at 12:41 pm

    One century later it looks almost like a bike that a custom builder would like to build now.

  4. 4 Michael Schacht, Crocker Motorcycle Co Apr 8th, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    Hi Cyril, hope all is well with you. After seeing the Traub story on your blog this morning I called Richard Morris over to my office, as I knew he would get a kick out of seeing his old bike on the internet. As he does not have a computer, I got him over to my office to check it out. We have talked about the Traub, as well as Richards good friend Bud Ekins often. Richard always said Bud sold it to him because he (Bud) could never get it started. I asked Richard to put a few words down on paper about the Traub so I could post it on your blog. Here it is.

    “I bought the Traub i n 1982 from Bud for $10,000. He couldn’t get it started. I took it to my friend Dewey Bunkrud’s and we took off the cam cover,…. NO TAPPETS! We made tappets out of bronze because there are no cam followers. The valve springs are soft to slow down the wear on the cam.
    Wouldn’t start again. No wonder, magneto was dead. Charged the magnet and Boom! Started 2nd kick!
    Note: Compression release lever on right hand grip has to be engaged because compression is too great otherwise. Also note, grips are brass plated instead of rubber. Top speed 60 mph.”

  5. 5 maroco Apr 9th, 2010 at 8:18 am

    Very interesting bike,”hidden behind a brick wall” maybe belongs to one famous “gangster” at the time.

  6. 6 jatinder pal Apr 10th, 2010 at 12:44 am

    Right said maroco,it is very unusual to find a bike like this behind a brick wall.Anyway now the bike is in good hands,thanks michael on the insight of this bike.

  7. 7 TRACEY STRAIN Apr 12th, 2010 at 11:10 am

    this bike is were is belongs,dale is a great guy and truley loves motorcycles , he is the luckies guy around. going to his museum is like dieing and going to heaven!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! we go evey year dale took all five of the kids and i to the shop one time and showed us the cool stuff he was working on. it was great. if you ever get to MAGGIE VALLY NC . MAKE IT ONE OF YOUR STOPS GREAT PLACE….

  8. 8 JP@MyEvilTwinChoppers Apr 12th, 2010 at 11:27 am

    So much more climactic than waiting an hour for Geraldo to reveil nothing! Wow, am I still sore over that? What a great story and a great looking bike!

  9. 9 Michael Schacht, Crocker Motorcycle Co Apr 13th, 2010 at 9:14 am

    Thanks guys!
    Many of the rarest vintage american motorcycles you see today in photos and museums were owned and restored by Richard Morris. Dale’s two favorite bikes are his Traub and Small Tank Hemi Crocker, also purchased from Richard. Richs collection of almost 100 vintage American motorcycles included Aces, Hendersons, Pierce, Super X, Sears, Militaire, Militor, Reading Standard, Pope, Indian, Harley, Iver Johnson, Thors, Crocker’s.

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Cyril Huze