The exciting discovery in New England brings to light an obscure California-made motorcycle once thought extinct. Thought to be the sole surviving example of a marque lost to time is a recently discovered, complete and original, 1905 Leo Two-Cycle made by the L.A. Mitchell Manufacturing Company of Oakland, California.It will be another headliner at the third Bonhams Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on Thursday, January 10th at the Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
This machine is historically significant for several reasons. Vehicles of California manufacture are exceedingly uncommon. Leo is thought to have been produced for just one year, 1905, and this now represents perhaps the earliest surviving example of an American two-stroke motorcycle. Unlike many manufacturers of the day, the Leo was a purpose-built motorcycle utilizing a motorcycle – not a bicycle – frame. It’s lightweight and compact motor demonstrates the brand’s progressive vision as two-cycle engines weren’t commonly used in American motorcycles until after World War I. Nor was this machine, simply a prototype as close examination shows evidence of many miles of use, suggesting an explicit, well-sorted product.
Discovered in the warehouse of a New England museum where it sat hidden and forgotten for decades, the 107 year-old Leo is in extraordinary condition, offering a freely-turning motor, strong compression, and original components, such as spokes and rims, Thor pedals and Troxel leather saddle. This singular Leo will join other highly newsworthy motorcycles – such as the rare 1939 BMW Rennsport Kompressor and Steve McQueen’s 1970 Husqvarna 400 – at Bonhams’ third annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction. For more information including how to purchase a catalog and register to bid, please visit go to Bonhams Las Vegas