The motorcycles hanging from the ceiling as adornments in the famous San Francisco bar and grill Eddie Rickenbacker’s will be auctioned by the world’s leading auctioneer of motorcycles, Bonhams, this August.
Named after the Great World War flying ace and Congressional Medal of Honor recipient Eddie Rickenbacker, the watering hole and eatery was established by the eccentric and colorful Norman Hobday, a.k.a. Henry Africa, himself either an army veteran, former merchant marine, or escaped Legionnaire, depending upon which version is believed.
Hobday was renowned for his creation of the fern bar concept and invention of the Lemon Drop Martini. He wasn’t a motorcycle aficionado but after acquiring an old Indian during a search for antiques and then displaying in it his bar, he realized it brought lots of attention and subsequently acquired others. Soon Eddie Rickenbacker’s became known more for its décor than its fare. Over the years, Hobday’s collection grew to 30 vintage machines of various years, makes and models, each displayed either in the venue’s windows or dangled from its ceiling.
With the passing of Hobday last year, the collection of motorcycles from his San Francisco landmark has been entrusted to Bonhams, who will represent it at auction during the Pebble Beach Automotive Week in August.
Most of the motorcycles are American marques—Cleveland, Excelsior, Harley-Davidson, Henderson, Indian, Reading—however there are many British and European makes as well—Ariel, Monark, Moto Guzzi, Motosacoche, New Imperial, Nimbus, Peugeot and Triumph, among others.
The famous collection of motorcycles joins the extraordinary group of American motorcycles from a private European collection that includes the much anticipated and talked about three Crocker road models. This impressive assembly of nearly 60 two-wheeled machines will be offered Thursday, August 16, 2012, at Quail Lodge in Carmel, California on the first day of the two-day automotive auction.
The second day (Aug. 17) will be dedicated to motorcars including the 1997 McLaren F1 GTR racer.
To register to bid, order a catalog, and to learn more about these motorcycles and/or motorcars, visit www.bonhams.com/quail.