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‘American Pickers’ VonDutch XAVW Hits Museum!

The National Motorcycle Museum has become quite a cross roads for all sorts of antique and vintage motorcycling. John Parham, long time collector and president of the Museum practically lives there and welcomes in almost daily collectors of motorcycles, toys, artwork, photos and more, even old oil cans and great porcelain signs.

John knew Mike Wolfe for about 20 years before he became a celebrity through the television hit, American Pickers. So Mike makes it a point to stop by and see John when he’s in the neighborhood, or has some super new find he wants John to see, maybe even own. But then sometimes, Mike keeps the coolest things he finds, like many of us do. Such was the case recently.
What is a picker? In case you don’t already know it a picker is the first guy to lay eyes on a neglected, hidden, forgotten interesting object from our past. Pickers knock on doors out in the country if their sixth sense says the barn holds an old motorcycle or car or just a fine nickel plated kerosene lamp from the late 19th Century. Pickers know what’s good, dig it out, dust it off and for the first time in maybe 50 years identify it, price it and try and sell it for what it’s really worth. Mike Wolfe is a real picker, has been for most of his life. And Mike likes to share his finds with John Parham, and the National Motorcycle Museum. Case in point, the Von Dutch XAVW motorcycle Mike Wolfe recently scored.
 
Mike got a call one day from a friend telling him about a Von Dutch motorcycle. Two things probably popped into Mike’s mind. First; BOGUS!, because Von Dutch stuff is so rare. Second; I’d better get there quick before someone else does. And he did. What he found was the bike Von Dutch had built around 1966 along with paperwork that had Ed “Big Daddy” Roth as a past owner. He made a deal on the spot and took the motorcycle home with him. Real pickers don’t fool around when they find something great.
What’s so special about the XAVW? Most people know Von Dutch for his artistic classic pin-striping and some know he has painted a few bikes, written some strange prose, made some knives and pretty whacky sculptures. But working with a Harley-Davidson XA, a World War II shaft drive machine that’s relatively rare now, some Moto Guzzi components and a 36 horsepower flat four Volkswagen engine he joined some cool components and built a completemotorcycle. A complete Von Dutch motorcycle. That’s rare.
After showing the bike at TorqueFest in Iowa this summer Mike made a deal with John Parham to lend the bike to the Museum for display. The museum has lots of bikes and memorabilia on loan which keeps things there changing, always new. You can head over to Anamosa, Iowa any day and sit down right beside the bike, study it and consider all the thought and the work Von Dutch put into it. It appears he had to stretch the frame, make it wider to get the VW engine to drop in. Amazingly a lot of other pieces lined up well as he mated the engine to the XA clutch and trans. He even made the kickstarter work. Forks are early 50′s Moto Guzzi and the seat may be as well. Visually the components all fit together really well, even the form of the Guzzi fenders connects well with the mid-sixties Honda CB450 gas tank, especially with Von Dutch’s two tone paint and striping. Even the VW badge fits well artistically. But anyone who has done work like this knows the challenges. Looks easy, maybe, but this was a lot of work and the outcome must have made Von Dutch grin.
At the Museum the XAVW is parked next to a Triumph Von Dutch painted and some other great Von Dutch creations and paint work. It’s one of over 400 motorcycles at the NMM, and one of about 30 custom bikes, and in a sense one of the most radical, even if it doesn’t gleam with a ton of chrome. It’s another marker of the accomplishments of one of the most revered artists in the motorcycle and custom car world. Pickers, creatives and visionaries like John Parham come together so you can get side by side with some great Von Dutch creations any day of the week at the National Motorcycle Museum.

76 comments

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  1. ric ealy

    i just watched the episode last night where mike bought the von dutch motorcycle, how cool is that, and just wanted to google it and see what he did with it, now i know, what value could be placed on this excellent ride, i have a 1970s italian motorcycle that i have to get off my butt and restore, it was my dad’s, he had a biker gang back in the day, but not with this bike, i have a picture of him and his boys and their gals sitting on their indians/harleys, its my favorite picture of him, thanks…

  2. kumar srinivas

    hai mike. congrats. u really got a great bike. von dutch motorcycle was really amazing one. its only one in the entire world.

    1. Richard John Holden

      I have a spare VW engine, I remember the program how much was it? I forgot, Anyway im a Brit living in SE Asia, planning or thinking of planning to make an exact copy of this great bike, I made a working bike of Steve Macqueens’ bike from The Great Escape movie

      Regards

  3. donston

    Did this bike got a drive shaft or a chain shaft?

    1. Kibu

      It’s got a shaft. That’s part of what makes it unique, in that the time that Von Dutch built the thing, it was extremely ahead of its time.

  4. Bakir moral

    awesome bike i like it………….

  5. Gaurav

    Hi,

    Same with me………I watched the episode and googled it. This all reminds me off about my dad’s bike, that was 1962 Rajdoot bike(indian brand). 10 Years back we sold it.

  6. sandman

    Of all the so called custom bike builders Von Dutch stands alone. Most builders develope a style that defines them, Von Dutch seem;s to cover every style.He has streamliners, choppers,bobbers,dirt bikes,sport bikes, stretched bikes ,shortened bikes,high and low bikes and he used Harley’s, Honda’s, Italian and English bikes.
    Most builders you see on tv just keep doing mostly the same thing with Harleys
    Just amazing talent and vision and courage to do his own thing .

  7. Tim Henrich

    This really puts into perspective what is still out there in some people’s barns and shops.
    Definitely the best pick I have seen on either one of the picker shows American or Canadian.
    Should he not have paid double ; To the couple he bought it from that wour be my only negative
    Input to this whole epic find. I think he stole it for $21,000 could only imagine what
    Some would have paid for this jem a must have for a motorcycle collector.
    Kindest Regards,
    Tim Henrich

    1. econobiker

      Yes, he stole it for $21,000 when you consider that Von Dutch’s tool box sold for over $300,000.

      But when people don’t have a clue of the value of something right infront of them and get offered money they take it even if a little research would show how much it is worth.

      Then people also don’t know how to sell something at an auction or even contact an auction house about this.

  8. Ettore

    Chissà se sono vere queste puntate, o sono messe in scene per finta?

  9. bukhorree

    I like that!!

  10. Jay Barrington

    Mike,
    I’ve watched your show now what seems like forever with my boys. Though Im not a bike collector I still remember my little 75 RD 100. The thing is it was neat to see that somthing that we see on your face that is really special. It makes me and probably a lot of us want to know more about it. I have a tremendous thirst for knowledge and you always peak my intrest. Thanx Mike

  11. Veno

    The show only went to air in Australia on the 11 april .
    great to see mike has left the bike as it was found and
    is now letting every one enjoy his rewards.
    This website helps dot the pieces together.
    cheers
    Ian

  12. Steven

    Mike Wolf could not sleep the night before because of this bike, he knew how rare this was. I watch this show all the time, and know that what he paid to this couple for the bike (21,000.00 US) is pennies for what it is really worth. I dont think this couple knew what they really had after all. Remember mike said he could not sleep the night before. For example at auction a painted tin sign from Dutch’s shop in Tempe Arizona shop 48 x 48 inches sold for 18,720.00 US. This couple looked like they really needed the money, and said they appreciated it. I remember when these guys bought some old carnival canvas signs $600.00 for both and got them appraised and sold them for 10,000.00 US. These guys then went back and give the guy ( previous owner) $5000.00 US to get his park up and running again. Funny this bike was not appraised on the show as they always like to let you know what they will profit. If he does sell this in the future, do you think he would let this go for 40,000.00 US which would still be a steel, I don’t think so. Dutch is a originator of the Custom Kulture not just a brand that Paris Hilton wore. But it would nice to see him give that couple a slice of the pie if he does, the GFC hurt a lot of people and happy endings are always good too

    Thanks Steven

    1. Pete Peterson

      I have a 1956 Von Dutch watch that he painted on the face of and signed. Do you know anyone who might want to buy it? I also have a bunch of Von Dutch stories I could tell.The Motorized skate……the 300SL Mercedes that he “Flamed”.
      How I got to ride his bike for four days to break in the new rings.I was 21 and just out of the Army and I was broke and I did not have a car Would I break in his bike for him? Is a pig shitting in the woods?. It was a 250 Zundapp (sp?)two-stroke but Dutch called it his Moto Guzzi. He had a skate that he put an .029 engine on and a transaxle so the skate would work. He had a little gas tank on the heel plate and in tiny letters that I could barely see he wrote NITRO.The wheels and the transaxle were chromed and the footplate was a metallic blue with white pin striping He strapped it on the buddy seat with a bungee. He said that if I broke down on the road I would have a way home

      1. Church

        Hey Pete. Would love more info on the watch. Info@carsnotculture.com

    2. SuperC

      He stated on the show it was priceless. As in he could not put a value on the Bike itself. Now instead of the bike being in the barn its in a museum where it belongs. I’m sure this bike would be really really hard to appraise.

  13. Coop's

    I can’t see Mike Wolf giving a cent to that couple, he was well aware that he had struck gold and pulled out all stops to get that bike, and good on him, but there is something I don’t like about that man. Anyway sad that the couple had to let it go, and many a fortune has been made off the back of a recession. It is great to see the old Dutch Banger in the public eye again, due to it being hidden for so long. Another mystery solved hey.

    Cheers from Down Under,,

    1. Stefcat

      I think Mike did very well on his word.
      He’s contributing to displaying the existence of such a rare work of art.
      Mike made the first offer to a person that knew more about the bike history than most of us. His offer was declined, and a counter offer was presented by the couple, and Mike closed the deal!
      This motorcycle is priceless, and it is in the hands of a fair man.
      A fire, a theft, a building collapse could have taken this bike’s life!
      Mike saved and shared it!
      Thanks to all!
      Another great mechanical story to tell!

      1. pide

        Precisely! You nailed it Stefcat…and Not so much on the price but how Mike is sharing it to the World to be appreciated by people like us…And this is the same thing the owner wanted..It’s the greatest thing!

        Cheers!

  14. Gilberto F. DHS

    Same here. Just watched the episode, googled it, found this. On the dark side of the story he stole it from that couple. On the bright side, me and everybody that is posting about it didn’t even knew it existed. Good for Mike even though some times he sounds rare…..

  15. Pedro

    I saw the bike on last night show, and was amazed by the fact that in Brazil, they have mated vw engines to bike frames to make the Amazona bike, for some time. On the show Mike decides to keep the XAVW, so there is no profit for him there; so it is more of a loss of $21,000 dollars. The beauty is that for Mike the XAVW has greater value then what he paid, and he is sharing that with us.

  16. joe walsh

    Looks like a piece of shit it is a piece of shit its rusted doesnt run and lokks like a bitsa
    get over it
    junk

    1. dave

      that thing is a science project !!!! no wonder theres only 1 nobody is STUPID enough to build another. being a vw nut that motor BELONGS in a BUG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

      1. SuperC

        Lol wow, what are you doing on this site? Evidently you have no clue how historical this piece is. Go troll somewhere else.

  17. Andrea

    I am from Brazil and I saw the episode last night and I was facinated by this motorcycle! Awesome!

  18. Jadson

    I am Brazilian, today was seeing the program on channel Hystory, I was impressed by the story and by bike.
    Congratulations to all.

  19. Andy

    What an absolutely fantastic find. . . im an aussie, and know Ken’s work well. its a crying shame that alot of americans have no clue, even in this day , as to who he is. cherish your find mike. . keep his memory alive ! #Von dutch was a f**king legend. . not just a clothing label ! !

  20. Chris

    I think that a policy of additional compensation for some of these old timers who are clearly in financial stress and rich in hard won memorabilia would be the right thing to do. I notice that on the same American Pickers show, seen in Australia last night, the team decided to pay another $500 to an ancient Indian artefact collector once the appraisal was done. Good on them for doing that. Adds cared my friends! 100% profit is normal, more than that then lets consider the situation guys.

  21. Kibu

    My roomie’s dad was friends with Ed “Big Daddy” Roth. He’s got some of the original artwork that Roth did here with his dad, and an original draft of Rat Fink which his father drew. The story he was always told was that Roth thought it was “far out” and modified the drawing and used it on his work. Not sure what the artwork is worth, but I keep bugging my roomie to loan it to a museum.

  22. Larry L. Brown

    I have read some about the few shaft drive Harleys made as prototypes and that one was modified by Von Dutch and is now where it can be viewed is awesome. A ride to Iowa is on my Bucket List.

  23. Talus Knight

    Watching the Pickers marathon leading up to a new episode and there’s the Von Dutch XAVW motorcycle episode so I had to Google it to see what became of it afterwards…..Awesome !

  24. chris

    This is the first time ever leaving a comment on any topic. But I have to say, the owners could of just declined their offer. I think people judge mike and think that he’s on TV so he has enough money. So what the bike wasn’t valued on the show. THE SELLERS NAMED THEIR PRICE AND MIKE PAID $4,000 under that. Pehaps the sellers were about history of the bike and not about the money. And the comments of some people here sound like they are about the $$$$.

  25. victor p

    Hey..i saw the program….it was very nice..then i started diging in the web….so now i know more about this bike…congratulations mike….was a good buy…by the way i know you like v.w buses… i own 72 bus T1….hey mike when you will have something about vw buses in your show…well meybe some day…o.k

  26. wade

    Just saw the american pickers episode….amazing stuff!

  27. JOHN WOODWARD

    What a wonderful creation this bike is! Anyone know how it was to ride?–performance/handling..,,Thanks

  28. lowbet

    i just see this the pickers episode tonight, and i go to googling this von dutch motor.. It is best mike and team invention.. Your the best mike and frank.. From indonesian fans..

  29. Ed Pinoy

    Just saw the episode today. Congratulations Frank and Mike!

  30. William Page

    Cool Bike, Neat history and adventure finding it. Good to see it is on display for all enthusiast’s to see. Hope fully one day I get to the musuem.

  31. Cesar B Miguel

    A motor é de mais!!!!!. Valei casadorer.

  32. ROGERIO

    Cara me amarrei na moto assisti o epsodio todo peeelo histori sou do brasil e assito sempre esses caras , admiro eles q legal conseguiram algum bem dificil , sorte a eles !!!

    Brasil = brazilian

  33. Nelson Loia (S.B.Campo)

    Twitted by @N_Loia:

    “@VonDutchLLC Here in Brazil we also had our beetle powered motorcycles (#Amazonas & #Kahena): http://bit.ly/16c91HI :D

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  35. gianfranco

    i just came from a trip in Europe and i saw a bike with a vw emblem on it looked allot like this one

  36. brian mcnee

    jonn would u take 100,000 for the bike it would go with my von sharker bike

    1. SuperC

      Lol don’t think you get the term Priceless:P

  37. Mike the Bike

    How awfully sad this episode was. There’s something about Mike Wolfe’s pure greed that really makes me furious- shame on him. He stole that bike from that poor couple, and had the balls to offer them $15K for it at first. Why would they sell it for less than one third of it’s true value to that greedy bastard? If they had simply put it an a reputable national auction, they might well have gotten $50K more for it, and I’ll bet they could have used the money more than Mike Wolfe could use the windfall.

    1. SuperC

      Lol Mike the Bike, these folks didn’t have to sell the bike, they didn’t even have to show him the bike. The fact is they did, and the fact is Mike spent quite alot of time looking for it. It was sitting in the barn, rusting away, and Mike rescued it and loaned it to a museum. I’m pretty sure thats more then what you would have done with it, and more then what that couple done with it. That bike was acquired fair and square, and mike never held a gun to them and forced them to buy it.

      Quit complaining and be happy that Bikes gonna live for a long long long long time now. Guarentee he’s added another 100 years to that bikes life at least.

    2. KKK-Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia)

      Even if the last thing if i ever would smell from Mike… is his “greed’. He is really fair and has a lot of compassionate thing in him. How could not you guy love this man. As he said ” this thing goes straight to my private collection and not sale at any co$t !.

      Well done bro to you , frank and to Daniele who got u the coordinate for this extreme rare pick!.

      Karamgit

  38. Gerry the mod

    Er…….. I think I detect a hint of jealousy there ! they were were happy with the price they called , and the 15k ! you have to start somewhere ! and it’s gone to some where its gonna be appreciated , I enjoyed the episode these old things haven’t got price tags on them , they worth what someone’s willing to pay, we only look after them till the next person comes along , sure some one may have payed 50k no one was cheated everyone was happy

  39. Marcel

    Just seen the Von Dutch episode on History… THAT thing is just a piece of beauty!! I think 21k was fair to the original owners. As one guy said above, you have got to start somewhere and 15k was imho a good opening bid…

    Congrats guys.

    Marcel
    The Netherlands

  40. Howard

    You ALL missed the fact that ED BIG DADDY ROTH was the last registered owner of the bike if I remember right, And that is (almost) as big as VON DUTCH being the builder!!!!!!!! That was one of the biggest finds ever. Two of the best Painters and pinstripers of all time. Mike did what anyone of us would have good for you Mike.

  41. Howard

    OH yea joe walsh your an A$$ and notice your name has no caps!!!!!
    One other thing I owned ED ROTHS girl friends 1976 Baby blue Monte Carlo. It had very simple pinstriping on it. and was signed by him. Wish I still had that car! Kinda Kool!!!!
    Howard
    SO. CALIFORNIA

  42. lorna howard

    thats my DAD!!!!!!

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  47. Mick

    I taped the show when it aired here in Aussie and, only got to watch last night.
    I was excited as Mike was….What great find.
    I cut my eye teeth on guys like Von Dutch, Ed ‘Big Daddy’ Roth, George Barris, Ray Fahrner, (yeah I know, the last two car guys but, still had a BIG influence in culture) reading about them all in magazines as a teen ager in New Zealand.
    Nice to see it on public display….wish I could attend, alas, I’m in Aussie.

    1. Howard

      Mick do you come to calif and do you own a Willys truck

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  50. elnino

    Marvelous works by the last owner and the picker team.

    Salute to Mike, Frank, Danielle, and Jon to discover a hidden treasure.

    Well, it’s kinda late for me to comment. But I just saw the episode here in Indonesia. Hope to see this team in my country during their holiday…. Maybe

  51. Lethabo Noko Moleele

    Hi guys

    Clearly South Africa receives broadcasts after a long time, today I saw a bike I never knew
    Existed A Von Dutch XAVW. I am a biker of the current age, really nice guys keep it up.
    Hopefully one day I will make it to your meseum. I actually even neva knew nothing about Von Dutch.

    Take care now

  52. Richard Kantor

    I am really disappointed that the bike was purchased for such a small amount. I feel that the couple were ‘robbed’ in a sense by Mike and I don’t think I will watch this show anymore. Anyone saying that it is costing him money as it is in his private collection. It’s an investment which he will sell at some point in the future and I suspect for a value of at least $250,000. Compare with American Pawnstars when a client comes in with something really valuable to sell – they immediately advise them of what they are asking is way to low for the value of what they actually have – they don’t need to do this. And with the amount of free advertising Mike is getting in this show I’m sure he would have paid around $50K for this bike.

    Sad that the poor and elderly get taken advantage of.

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  54. Richard Adkins

    People, people, people use your brains and think for a second! American Pickers is a REALITY television show and is scripted! ALL the reality shows are scripted. Who do you think is doing all the filming when Mike and his side-kick travel from pick to pick? Who do you think is filming during all the picking and the interviews? Mike has a television and sound crew with him when he travels. It would really be interesting to know how Mike (really) found out about the Von Dutch bike. You can bet your a$$ he had all his bases covered and paid for the bike BEFORE that particular show was aired. Also, don’t feel sorry for the couple that sold him the bike, you can bet they were more than adequately compensated. It was nice of Mike to share his find with the common masses.

  55. Mike

    We are all the real winners. The XAVW would have still been sitting in a barn if Mike hadn’t purchased it. The couple that owned it have $21k more than they would have had.
    If you really feel sorry for them send them a check!

  56. Fardham Lee

    People are always better at presching about paying more when it’s other people’s money. Nice find…

  57. Pligrso

    Avid watcher of American Pickers…..I agree, Mke got a great deal on the Von Dutch bike, but there has been plenty of bad deals made too. The sellers were aware of the rarity and history; I think the idea Mike would care for the bke as it deserves and display it to show the next generation the amazing artwork of Van Dutch as FAR more important then the underpaid price of $21,000, (then again, noone checked if the bike engine was drained or it’s sat with gas & oil this whole time….that means majorly expensive work to unfreeze the engine…could mean another $20K+ to get it running again).

    As someone who has ridden for @ 30 years and is now handicapped after being knocked off and driven over by a hit & run driver fled the scene, I can tell everyone that, without a doubt, I would break my 2.5 year vow to not ride again for a chance to ride that bike. (Might wind up divorced afterwards, but what a way to go…lol)

    The bike should be traeted as a Warhol, an icon to the 1960′s way of life and freedom of expression. I’m thrilled this long-lost piece of history hasbeen found for the public to admire, finally after missing for the last 50 years.

    Thumbs way up to Mike Wolfe and Frank Fitz for finding, chasing down and acquiring this one of a kind piece of true Americana history

  58. carmelo

    Congrats Mike and Frank! The Von Dutch is a great find for future generations to enjoy. Thank you for bringing it to light after all these years. And a great thank you to the couple who kept this bike in their barn protecting this amazing piece of history.

  59. Andy M.

    Cool motorcycle as a piece of art. I just want to know one thing: does it run? Great to look at, but I want to see it move!

  60. Nancy

    I,ve watched this episode over and over. Not because of the bike, but because I knew the couple back in the seventies before Tom was injured and had to stop building some of the greatest bike ever. His name should be in the same hallowed memories as Von Dutch or Big Daddy.
    Ovida was his girlfriend, and a friend of mine for a while until we moved out of the state.
    I was Dyno Don,s girlfriend, he rode with the group and hung out at the shop.
    I hope Tom and Ouida are happy with the money they received. I guess it would have been better if they had gotten more, but it is what it is.
    For me, it was just great to see them again, and wonder how everyone else from those day s is.

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  1. Motorcycles with Car Engines - Good Spark Garage

    […] XAVW built by Von Dutch that was recently ‘picked’ by Mike Wolfe of American Pickers, is powered by a flat-four […]

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