If you love antique motorcycles and you have the where-with-all (cash) to purchase them then you will probably want to be at Bonhams 3rd annual Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction on Thursday January, 10th at Bally’s Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas. Not only will they have an original 1902 Rambler Model B from the Indian Motorcycle Museum, but what might be the sole surviving example of a 1905 Leo Two-Cycle. The 107 year-old Leo sat hidden and forgotten for decades and is in extraordinary condition, with a freely-turning motor, strong compression and original components, such as spokes and rims, Thor pedals and Troxel leather saddle.
The 1905 Leo Two-Cycle was made by the L.A. Mitchell Motor Company of Oakland, California and that marque was thought to have been lost to time until this one was recently discovered, complete and original, in the warehouse of a New England museum. This machine is historically significant for several reasons beyond its extreme rarity. 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 2-cycle motorcycle.
Unlike many manufacturers of the day, the Leo was a purpose-built motorcycle utilizing a motorcycle, not bicycle, frame. Its lightweight, compact motor demonstrates the brand’s progressive vision as 2-cycle engines were not 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.
For more information on this internationally attended auction, including how to purchase a catalog and register to bid, please visit: Bonhams.com/Vegas.
Source and image: Bonhams
Posted by Sam Kanish