Fonzie’s Triumph TR5 Scrambler From TV Series Happy Days To Be Auctioned

The 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler Custom ridden by The Fonz in the television hit series Happy Days will be one of the highlights at Bonhams California Sale in Los Angeles held November 12th, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Happy Days, the beloved American sitcom that aired for ten years from 1974 to 1984 and attracted millions of viewers each week, helped launched the career of such actors as Ron Howard, Scott Baio and Henry Winkler.

Winkler’s character, Arthur Fonzarelli – known famously as The Fonz and Fonzie – was initially just a secondary character that became so popular with fans he was soon made the central figure of the show. As the epitome of cool, the motorcycle-loving Fonzie, dressed in the stereotypical garb of The Wild Ones, spawned countless wannabes among the youth of America and became a cultural icon that still resonates today.  And Fonzie’s motorcycle, a customized Triumph, was owned off-screen by another cultural icon, Bud Ekins.
 
The late Bud Ekins was famous as a motocross racer, Hollywood stuntman (he’s the one that made that legendary motorcycle jump over the barbed wire fence in The Great Escape), and as Steve McQueen’s best friend. With his warehouse of hundreds of motorbikes, Ekins was the go-to man in Hollywood when producers needed two wheels. So when the people from Happy Days called, it was Ekins who determined what the coolest guy on TV should be riding. Taking an old Triumph in his collection, he simply removed the front fender, replaced the handle bars and spray painted the tank silver and, violá, the Fonzie bike was born. Of course, no one had any idea of just how popular the show would become or the magnitude of fame Winkler’s character would achieve.
 
This now iconic emblem of American pop culture will be offered by Bonhams at their annual Classic California Sale, held November 12th, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Renowned for offering property from famous actors each year – Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Clark Gable and Bruce Willis, to name just a few – this autumn auction is not to be missed by aficionados of pop and custom culture and entertainment and automotive history. (ABC Photo Archives/ABC via Getty Images)

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19 Responses to “Fonzie’s Triumph TR5 Scrambler From TV Series Happy Days To Be Auctioned”


  1. 1 zyon Oct 1st, 2011 at 9:08 am

    For some reason I hope Henry Winkler buys this motorcycle. I was born in 77 so I grew up on the reruns bit the Fonz was and is still one of my all time favs… I’d love to have this bike in my collection.

  2. 2 m switzer Oct 1st, 2011 at 9:14 am

    wish it was the knuckle that he drove in the beginning of the series

  3. 3 Jg hardtail choppers forever Oct 1st, 2011 at 9:21 am

    Steve didn’t jump the fence ? Say it ain’t so .

  4. 4 mcfreeak Oct 1st, 2011 at 9:25 am

    For the first three shows fonzie rode a Harley.

  5. 5 Richard Oct 1st, 2011 at 10:07 am

    I’m an old man and still believe I’m “The Fonz” at times. Makes me fell “younger”.

  6. 6 Kirk Perry Oct 1st, 2011 at 10:11 am

    Bud Ekins engineered his life (always semi-retired) so that he wound-up surrounded by motorcycles in a huge Quonset hut(s) and tons of antique parts – and I don’t think it gets any better than that.

  7. 7 bigalyts Oct 1st, 2011 at 11:34 am

    Fonzie was Cool, Tits, Slick, the Bomb, whatever your generation calls Henry Winkler. I watch him on Royal Pains and, he’s a great Actor. I have never seen him in another part that was like the “Fonz”. He doesn’t need that Old Triumph, and he probably doesn’t want it for free.

  8. 8 Irish Rose Oct 1st, 2011 at 11:58 am

    Does it come with the leather jacket? *wink*

  9. 9 winterman Oct 1st, 2011 at 3:20 pm

    What about the knuckelhead he had in the first season?

  10. 10 Dave Blevins Oct 1st, 2011 at 4:57 pm

    I saw an interview of Winkler a few years ago and when asked about the motorcycle riding, he admitted he was uncomfortable on any motorcycle and quite simply was terrified when riding one… he mentioned being paticularly awkward on the “huge” Harley Davidson. Perhaps that was one reason for the switch to a Triumph… good thinking from the props department, as Triumphs were quite popular in film and on the street for the period Happy Days portrayed.
    Fonzie’s bike was featured in detail in some episodes, and now that I think about it, he was never riding it, but was sitting on or standing near it… the only time I remember him (not a stunt rider) actually riding it is in the opening credits of the show.
    He must be a good actor, he looks very natural while on it. Any-hoo, a nice bike and certainly a TV icon.
    Sorry Irish Rose, Fonzie’s jacket is actually in the Smithsonian.

  11. 11 Rob Scotia Oct 1st, 2011 at 5:27 pm

    Hi,

    Cannot beleive Henry Winkler does not own that bike already.

    Also on another usless note, I believe Henry Winkler donated the original “Fonzie” leather jacket to the Smithsonian Institute in Wahington

  12. 12 Woody Oct 1st, 2011 at 9:29 pm

    Like Dave mentioned, Winkler never denied he wasn’t a rider, and the show did a great job of making sure the Fonz character was believeable (well, except for jumping the shark).

  13. 13 ValueTeck Enterprises Oct 2nd, 2011 at 8:01 am

    Great Show, Great Memories…….

  14. 14 Dave Oct 2nd, 2011 at 10:51 am

    Fonzie dumped the Harley because it was leaking oil all over the set.

  15. 15 live2rideaglide Oct 3rd, 2011 at 4:03 pm

    I thought he totaled it when he did that jump in the diners’ parking lot.

  16. 16 pRINCE mOORE Oct 3rd, 2011 at 9:22 pm

    The bike would be worth 5 or 6 grand now,.

    The fonz bike may go for over $100,000.

    He never rode it. If it was moving it was because they pushed it.

    This is why you only saw him stopping never leaving.

    I don’t remember the Harley but he did have a BSA for a while.

  17. 17 Khalilah Oct 6th, 2011 at 8:49 am

    Came to your blog through Yahoo. You know I am subscribing to your rss.

  18. 18 TriumphTiger1050 Oct 10th, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    Yes Henry was afriad to ride motorcycles. He did not feel comfortable with them and yes; HD; Triumph; and maybe an Enfield was even used. The Triumph was a 1949 TR5 Trophy. It was the most recognized by me for sure. So to answer why he does not have it…………..not his cup of tea!

    And yes, only time I recall him riding it was on the opening credits as well!

  19. 19 jeff decker Oct 11th, 2011 at 9:32 am

    Either set dressers and bike/car wranglers are lazy or think their viewing audience is not paying attention. Clearly Fonzie wasn’t using his mirrors to check out his hair or his passenger.
    My dad would point every ridiculous nuance of film treatment of bike & car culture, from the obvious trailer that the CHiPs bikes were mounted to, the oversteering of actors driving a car supposedly in a strait line, and the body panels rippling as a car lands from a jump, and then the next scene the car as perfect as it was before it launched.
    Even today they expect us to believe a bike is built from scratch in two weeks.

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