Historic 110 Year-Old Rambler To Be Auctioned By Bonhams In Las Vegas

An singular and historic 1902 Rambler Model B is going to leave the Indian Motorcycle Museum to be auctioned In January 2013 by Bonhams in Las Vegas. Manufactured by Colonel Albert Pope’s American Cycle Manufacturing Company of New York, the pioneering Rambler motorcycle is in extremely rare and original, unrestored condition. (this motorcycle wears its original paint from 110 years ago, with the exception of an old touch-up on the gas tank, the entire machine is in a complete time-capsule state.)

By 1901, Mr. Pope consolidated the Cleveland, Columbia, Crescent, Imperial, Rambler and Tribune brands all under the umbrella of American Cycle. While Indian has the distinction of being America’s first production motorcycle, Rambler debuted just a few months after Indian’s introductory 1901 Camelback model and was offered for sale the very same year, 1902 – a full year before Harley-Davidson’s first commercial motorcycle.

Very refined and of advanced design, the Rambler was one of the first motorcycles to have a long wheelbase for stability. It was a high-quality machine that did not rely on many off-the-shelf components and its engine was designed and produced in-house while the frame was also purpose-made and not simply a bicycle frame.  These manufacturing standards demonstrated Pope’s faith and anticipation of the nascent motorcycle market and the company’s engineering prowess.

This particular machine has been a part of the Manthos Collection of the Indian Motorcycle Museum exhibit for decades and has benefitted from years of unmolested and protected preservation. As one of the world’s first commercial motorcycles, it vividly illustrates the metamorphosis of bicycle into motorcycle and is a rare, physical representation of American heritage. Moreover, it is one of the oldest and most original American production machines anywhere in existence.

The 110 year-old Rambler will be offered alongside the recently announced collection of Rennsport BMWs – including the very rare 1939 Kompressor – at the third annual Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Sale on Thursday, January 10th at Bally’s Hotel & Casino on The Strip.

Owners interested in consigning special motorcycles to this anticipated sale may contact: • Nick Smith, West Coast: 323-436-5470 / Nick.Smith@Bonhams.com • Evan Ide, East Coast: 917-340-4657 / Evan.Ide@Bonhams.com. More information about the Las Vegas auction will be posted in the coming weeks at Bonhams Vegas Auction. Bonhams.com/Vegas.

4 Responses to “Historic 110 Year-Old Rambler To Be Auctioned By Bonhams In Las Vegas”

  1. 1 Lyle Landstrom Oct 30th, 2012 at 10:05 am

    Nice looking bike, but was that engine really produced in house? It looks similar to a Dedeon which was widely copied by other manufactures at that time, including Indian. By the way Indian was not the first production Motorcycle in the USA. There were other brands preceeding it by several years.

  2. 2 KD Oct 31st, 2012 at 7:14 am

    That is one very cool bike and to be in original condition, WOW!

    There may have been others for sale in the US that were manufactured elsewhere but from what I can find there was only one brand produced and sold in the US that preceded Indian, the Orient-Aster. It preceded Indian by 3 or 4 years according to what I’ve seen. But, just because someone printed it doesn’t make it factual. I have a feeling this will be cussed and discussed ad-infinitem and those that are more in the know will chime in with facts.

  3. 3 Rodent Oct 31st, 2012 at 8:00 am

    It’s too bad that Bonhams moved their auction from the Imperial Palace to the former MGM Grand now rebranded as Bally’s after the 80 plus people were killed in a disastrous fire some years ago. The hotel is not worthy of a Bonhams event. A jump from the great Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley to Bally’s in Vegas is a super down grade.

  4. 4 Lyle Landstrom Oct 31st, 2012 at 8:57 am

    KD, that’;s my point. Just because it’s in print, doesn’t make it so. By 1901 a few other brands had been in production for several years. And Indian didn’t start real production until 1902 (according to their own literature at the time) But for some reason nowdays, the Indian comapny say’s they were America’s first motorcycle.

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Cyril Huze