Thursday June 16, 2015 is a day that will forever be remembered as the Norton invasion.
Dale & Dave Aldana(Bones)
Over 275 of the beloved English brand graced the entire premisses at Wheels Through Time. Inside were the proud owners, outside waiting to come to life again were a bevy of British Norton Motorcycles larger than any assembled on American soil. EVER!
Bob White addresses the International Norton Owners Association.
The force responsible for this herculean effort was the International Norton Owners Association. The machines and owners have been camped on Asheville N.C. soil for 3 days with 7/16/15 being chosen for the invasion.
Dave Aldana, Dale Walksler, Brian Slark, and John Faville
There were Norton Commandos , Norton Manxs, Norton everything.Tales were told of the infamous Norton HOGSLAYER, the champion duel engine Norton that turned a 7.41 quarter mile in the 1980s. There were stories of the 1969 Commando. Box stock this bike was in the 11’s . Fastest bike on 2 wheels, they say. Also, of course, there was dirt track racing. Dave Aldana (BONES) was on hand and shared some history on his 4 grand national championships in the 70’s. Dave also joined Steve McQueen in the legendary film “On Any Sunday.”
Memorably, at precisely 1 pm the crowd was called to order in the parking lot and all, yes all of the 250 machines, started and ran in unison. A fitting tribute at the museum known as THE MUSEUM THAT RUNS
A hearty thank you to all that attended. A once in a lifetime experience for all.
Thirteen years ago today I woke up and wondered “will they come?” And you did! And came back -with friends! THANK YOU!
It was day one, Wheels Through Time in Maggie Valley North Carolina. The collection had moved from its previous in MT. Vernon Illinois location where the Wheels Through Time Museum was founded in 1992 by Dale Walksler. Nearly 300 people visited on day 1. Over a million visitors in 13 years!
The collection, however, was started in 1970 in suburban Chicago. The first bike I bought was a tired out Chicago police bike for 25 bucks. I borrowed that from my dad Bernie…and paid him back. That bike remains in the collection and most recently pal Jay Leno visited, sat on the bike, and cranked it up! It is always about the story, and all the machines have a story to tell!
The story of how I got from there to here is a long one. One interesting aspect of the collection is called “bike building 101,” start early and stay late!! I truly believe that in the past 46 years of collecting/building a large percentage of that time has been spent in the workshop. Endless hours, year after year.
The collection currently consists of over 350 rare American machines, many in their original condition. Of these, nearly 150 machines I have built or restored. Naturally they are all in running condition. Nothing has changed, I continue to put in many hours each week in the workshop at WTT. Over 15 machines are now in process, and there are dozens of project in various locations around the museum.
What this means for our museum visitors is a new experience every time, guaranteed.
Thank You! It Has Been A Great 13 Years!