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Crocker Motorcycle roars out of the past with custom replicas

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BY: Susan Carpenter

. - It was 70 years ago that a tiny shop on Venice Boulevard in downtown Los Angeles produced its last motorcycle.

At the time, Crocker Motorcycle Co. made the most powerful race bikes of any American manufacturer. But like other small companies facing supply shortages during World War II, it was forced to close, leaving only a few dozen bikes that have become a favorite of collectors and enthusiasts. Steve McQueen owned one before it was sold in auction for more than $276,000.

Now the Crocker is back, with a modern, limited-production version of the Big Tank V-twin. It will make its Los Angeles-area debut at this Sunday's Calendar show in Calabasas.

Priced at $150,000, the new Crocker isn't cheap, but neither is an original, presuming one can even be found. Only 100 or so Crockers were made, and the few that have come up for auction in recent years have sold for more than $350,000 apiece.

The new Crockers are likely to be just as rare. Only 15 of the handmade Big Tanks will be built at the Crocker shop in Torrance over the next year, according to Michael Schacht, the longtime motorcycle collector who spent 11 years working out the many legal and manufacturing issues involved with reviving the brand.

"Visually, the bike is 100% identical to the original," with about 100 sandcast parts and a monstrous 80-cubic-inch V-twin engine that can power the bike well past 100 mph, said Schacht, who has combined the original styling with modern metallurgy and improved performance engineering with the help of the Southern California aerospace industry.


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Posted on 7/20/2012 9:33 PM | General News

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