WTT 2014 Season Opening Weekend March 27th!

openingdayhpThis coming Thursday, March 27, Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC is celebrating its first official opening of the 2014 season.

After a record-breaking year in 2013, WTT is eager kick off the season with fans and friends in style.  From Thursday-Monday, museum staff will be holding demonstrations and exhibitions of over a dozen rare and historic machines dating back to the beginnings of America’s motorcycling past.

Since the museum closed for the winter last December, staff and volunteers have been hard at work, focusing on improving visitors’ museum experience from start to finish.

“For 2014, we’ve enhanced countless exhibits, expanded interpretive and informational signage, and of course, added new machines to the assortment of American motorized history on display,” said museum curator Dale Walksler. “We’ve even developed a series of Smartphone apps to give visitors access to complete information about many of the machines and exhibits on display.”

wrexhibitOver the past several months, Walksler himself has been scouring the country from Florida to California, chasing down several rare machines to add to the vast collection.  In fact, over a dozen new machines will be on display, many of which have never been seen by the public eye.  Highlights include the world’s oldest running Excelsior Twin, a 1937 Indian Four Cylinder found in a barn, a 100% original 1912 Harley-Davidson, and a stunning 1932 Ford OHV Dirt Track race car, to name a few.

The crew at WTT has also been busy shooting for season two of Velocity TV’s new hit series “Whats In The Barn?”, which gives viewers in depth coverage of one of America’s foremost motorcycle treasure hunters in action.  Many of the new finds from season two will be on display throughout the year in the museum’s featured exhibit, along with the stories of who rode them, raced them, bought them, and sold them.

Wheels Through Time opens its doors at 9a.m. on March 27.  Throughout the season, regular hours are 9a.m.-5p.m., Thursday-Monday (Closed Tues & Wed). For more information, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call (828) 926-6266.

Thor Take Honors at Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.

This past weekend the 1912 Thor Board Track Racer took top honors at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance in Amelia Island, FL.  Held each year at the Ritz-Carlton Resort and Hotel, the concours brings hundreds of the worlds rarest and most significant automobiles and motorcycles together for tens of thousands of spectators.

This year, the Wheels Through Time helped arrange the motorcycle class.  The theme for the class was “Orphan American Motorcycles”, giving the opportunity for America’s lesser known brands to be seen by the world.  10 rare machines were displayed, ranging from a 1904 Yale to a 1914 Flescher Flyer.  All machines were at least 100 years of age.

thor at amelia1

When it came time to present the awards, 1st place in the class went to Paul Ousey’s beautifully restored 1905 Erie.  The award for preservation and provenance, going to the original machine with best documented history, presented by Concours Board Member John Duss, went to the stunning 1912 Thor Board Track Racer owned by the Allen County Museum in Lima, Ohio.

The 1912 Thor is among the most original early racing motorcycles in the world.  It is preserved in original paint, with original racing saddle, “Blue-Streak” racing tires, chains, and number plate. The bike is still displayed with its original racing crate, in which is was shipped from the factory to its owner and from race to race.  Original F.A.M. specifications sheet, and the rider’s F.A.M. racing license is still attached to the inside of the crate.

Congratulations, to the Allen County Museum, and thank you from Wheels Through Time for letting us share your machine with the world.

Wheels Through Time Partners with The Home Depot Foundation to help Veterans.

Wheels Through Time is proud to announce that it will be partnering with The Home Depot Foundation this spring in a fundraising effort to help improve the homes and lives of United States veterans.

CREW AND WLAOur nation’s veterans made great sacrifices for the freedom we enjoy today.  But they can face major challenges, from housing and unemployment to disabilities.  The Home Depot Foundation’s mission is to ensure every veteran has a place to call a home, and now Wheels Through Time has joined the cause.

On April 17, 2014 Wheels Through Time Museum Founder and Curator, Dale Walksler will attend a Community Building Invitational hosted by The Home Depot Foundation. During this event, more than 250 volunteers from The Home Depot® and their vendor partners will collaborate to transform a permanent supportive housing facility for Atlanta area veterans.

While Dale will be on hand volunteering his time and skills, his largest contribution to the event comes in the form of a vintage military motorcycle specially restored by Walksler in the museum’s restoration shop, to be raffled off as a fundraiser. After obtaining two of the earliest motorcycles used by the United States Air Force, Dale spent months restoring a genuine 1942 Harley-Davidson Military Model in identical trim to the two former Air Force Machines found just months earlier.  The machine will be unveiled during The Home Depot Foundation’s Community Building Invitational on April 17.

“We were more than excited to get involved with The Home Depot Foundation and their efforts to support veterans,” said Walksler.  “During World War II this motorcycle was built to serve our country , and I’m so happy that 70 years later it’s still here to help give back to those who have given so much.”

The discovery and restoration of the 1942 Harley-Davidson WLA being raffled by The Home Depot Foundation, and its unveiling at the April 17 Community Building Invitational will be featured during season two of Wheels Through Time’s hit television series “What’s In The Barn?” on Velocity TV.

Each year, The Home Depot Foundation and Team Depot completes hundreds of volunteer projects and pledge millions of dollars to improve homes and lives for veterans in local communities, as part of its five-year, $80 million commitment to ensure every veteran has a safe place to call home.

To learn more about The Home Depot Foundation and to see Team Depot in action visit HomeDepotFoundation.org. For information about Wheels Through Time Museum, visit WheelsThroughTime.com.

WTT Headed to 2014 Las Vegas Auction!

lasvegasauctionfbComing up this January 9-11, 2014, Wheels Through Time Museum is headed to back to the annual Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction.  Over the past 23 years, the Las Vegas Auction has seen millions worth of the world’s most historic vintage motorcycles bought and sold.  Put on by MidAmerica Auctions, the sale is held at the South Point Casino on the Las Vegas Strip, and annually includes over 500 bikes ranging from rare and primitive early relics to newer, more conventional road-ready classics.

Museum Curator Dale Walksler heads to the sale looking for rare finds, but also makes the trip each year to help find new homes for a few select motorcycles.  Last year, on an episode of “What’s In the Barn?”, Dale assisted in the sale of 3 spectacular original bikes — a 1905 Reading Standard, a 1912 Pierce Single, and a 1913 Harley Single — each of which had been owned by the same family for 100 years.  Each of the machines brought record prices, and both buyer and seller walked away happy.

DSC_0647For 2014, Dale has upped the ante.  This year, he’s got six auction slots to fill and will be bringing several rare early American motorcycles from the barn to the bidder.  Bikes include a rare 1914 Jefferson Racer, an original 1912 Pope, one of only a handful of 1913 Arrows, a 1926 Super X, and a hot-rod 1928 Harley-Davidson 2-cam Cutdown! That leaves one spot out of six left, and Dale’s promised to keep this one a surprise.

Each of these bikes has a great story to tell.  The 1914 Jefferson, ’12 Pope, and 1914 Jefferson are from the Dave Leitner Collection, with all work performed by 2-time Motorcycle Cannonball Winner, Brad Wilmarth. The 1926 Super X was featured on a 1st season episode of “Whats In the Barn?”, and was once owned by Jim Gallager, who played a part in keeping the rare Crocker marque of motorcycle on the road.  And lastly, the 1928 Harley-Davidson Cutdown, which was built by 90-year-old antique motorcycle guru, Glenn Harding.  Glenn built the bike from the ground up, and will be donating all of the proceeds from the sale to his church!

Its going to be quite a weekend, with over 600 bikes in the sale and the world of old motorcycles waiting to bid.

For more information on the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction, visit MidAmericaAuctions.com.

And the WTT Motorcycle Raffle Winner Is……..

DSC_0401After a full year of anticipation, the Annual Wheels Through Time Museum Motorcycle Raffle Giveaway is in the books, and another lucky winner has been chosen to take home a piece of genuine motorcycle history.

On Saturday, November 18th, over 2500 visitors from near and far descended on Wheels Through Time to witness the museum’s 11th Annual Raffle in as many years. Dry weather and warm November temperatures made for a perfect day for the event, which draws one of the biggest museum crowds of the year.  A TV production crew at Wheels Through Time was also on hand to film the event for an upcoming episode of “What’s in the Barn?”, Velocity’s new hit series, which stars museum curator, Dale Walksler.

DSC_0275The raffle is WTT’s largest fundraiser, and helps keep the museum up and running.  Each year, proceeds go directly to creating new exhibits, enhancing current displays, expanding interpretation, and improving general operations. This year’s Grand Prize was a stunner — a beautiful 1939 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber brought back to life in the Wheels Through Time Restoration Shop.

Many of the visitors took part in the Annual Haywood County Toy Run, which began in Canton, NC and made its way to WTT in Maggie Valley.  Now in its 22nd year, the Haywood County Toy Run brings thousands of motorcyclists together to raise funds for underprivileged youth in Haywood County.  Put on by Blue Ridge Thunder Motorcycle Club, the run has raised approximately $150,000 since it began in 1992.  This year, almost 1000 bikes signed up from the run, from as far away as New York and Texas.  When it came DSC_0341time for the drawing, one little girl from the crowd was chosen to pick the winning ticket.

The Grand Prize winner was Mr. Randy Horn from Chester, South Carolina.  Randy visited the museum with friends in June 2013, during the museum’s “What’s In the Barn?” Season Premier Party.  While touring the museum, Randy took a chance on the ’39 Knucklehead Bobber and purchased 14 tickets for the drawing.  Little did he know, that less than six month later, he would be chosen as the lucky winner of a WTT-built classic.

It didn’t take long for Randy to decide that he’s taking the bike instead of the cash prize. “I was working…having one of the worst ay’s I’d had in a while,” he said. “Ther couldn’t have been a better thing to brighten my day!”  It’ll make a great addition to the garage.

DSC_0391Luckily, Randy has a bit of experience when it comes to old motorcycles.  He owns a few himself, including a 1947 Knucklehead that he’s been riding for over 30 years!  He has been a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America for 12 years, and is the current president of the club’s Catawba Chapter, which is based near his home in South Carolina. He has visited the museum on several occasions since it relocated to Maggie Valley, the first time being in 2002 before the museum was officially open.  He’s been buying tickets for the annual motorcycle raffle since his first few visits, each time assuring himself that “This year, this bike is gonna be mine!”

This makes the second year in a row that a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America has won the Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Raffle Grand Prize.  Last year’s winner was James Eldridge from High Ridge, Missouri.  James has been spotted at various AMCA meets and ride-ins on the museum’s previous raffle machine — a 1932 Harley-Davidson VL Hot Rod Bobber.

And in case you were wondering how Wheels Through Time is going to up the ante for the 2014 Motorcycle Giveaway, Dale and crew have decided to offer not one, but two Grand Prize machines for next years raffle — a pair of hot-rod Harley-Davidson VL Flathead Bobbers.  The pair will be raffled off next November to two lucky winners.  For more information on the 2014 Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Raffle, visit  www.WheelsThroughTime.com/2014raffle.

Dale Wins The 2013 “Race of the Century” @ the Barber Vintage Festival!

startinglineup

The Line-up is set for the 2013 Century Race

This past Saturday, October 12th, several of the world’s most ancient motorcycles took to the track at the 9th annual Barber Vintage Festival, in hopes of becoming the newest champion of the race for America’s oldest bikes.  For just under a decade, the Barber “Race of the Century” has been one of the most anticipated vintage motorcycle events of the fall, pitting 100+ year old machines against each other on the world-class 2.3 mile road course at the Barber Motorsports Park.

Race-Track-Barber-Motorsports-Park

The Barber Road Course is 2.3 miles and features 18 turns and 85 feet of elevation change — quite a test for 100 year old bikes!

The race annually takes place during the Barber Vintage Festival, America’s largest and fastest growing antique motorcycle event.  This year, over 75,000 attendees were on hand for the three-day event, which is regarded as the most comprehensive celebration of vintage motorcycles on the planet. The event boasts a full schedule of road-racing, motocross, and trials events, as well as swapmeet, numerous bike shows, a motorcycle auction and more.

This year’s “Race of the Century” fielded almost a dozen rare machines dating back to the earliest days of motorcycling.  Machines had to be at least 100 years old to compete, and this year many new entries were brought out to take advantage of the eligibility of the 1913 model year.  WTT’s Dale Walksler was aboard one of the oldest machines in the race — a 1912 Indian Twin — aboard which he claimed victory in 2012.  Matt Walksler also represented WTT on a 1913 Harley Twin, and rival Joe Gardella came prepared with another 1913 Harley.  John Manifee rounded out the Twin Class with his 1912 Indian Twin

Dalebeforerace

Dale poses for a picture with his 1912 Indian Twin. He captured victory on this machine in 2012.

When asked about whether he was nervous about the “newer” competition in the race, Dale offered only a smile, as if he had a trick or two up his sleeve for the Indian.

At the drop of the green flag, the twins roared ahead, leaving the much slower Single cylinder machines behind.  Dale’s son Matt took an early lead, but failed to complete the first of two laps with fuel delivery problems.

Joe Gardella aboard the 1913 Harley and Dale aboard the 1912 Indian battled for the lead much of the race, until Gardella’s machine began to develop a misfire.  Rider John Manifee was able to gain ground during the battle for first, eventually overtaking Dale on the backstretch.

As Manifee and Walksler emerged from the final turn onto the finish line straight away, the race was neck and neck.   The finish came down to the wire, with Dale pulling ahead in the nick of time, winning by less than a bike-length in a photo finish and certainly the closest “Race of the Century” to date. “When racing one of these 100-year old bikes, literally anything can happen,” said Dale.  “Luckily, my machine had a little extra speed in store for the finish.”

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Dale and John Manifee cross the finish line in a photo finish. Dale edged out Manifee by a nose for his 2nd straight victory in the Barber Race of the Century.

The victory makes two in a row for Walksler and the 1912 Indian, and his 4th victory in total. Look for him to pilot the same machine in 2014 in hopes of bringing home three straight victories.

New Cable-TV Series featuring WTT Taking Off This Summer!

"Whats In The Barn" Begins
Airing June 18th on Velocity TV!!!

Check your local listings for Velocity TV

Beginning this summer, Wheels Through Time Museum will be coming to a television near you.  On Tuesday, June 18th, the first episode of "What’s In The Barn" starring Dale Walksler will debut at 10:30 p.m. on Velocity TV.

"What’s In the Barn" brings the world of America’s rarest motorcycles and autos to your living room, focusing on the hunt for hidden treasure tucked away in America’s barns.   Dale Walksler has spent his life searching high and low for these long since forgotten gems, uncovering history in some of the most unusual and extraordinary  places.  As his passion grew, so did his collection, eventually evolving into the motorcycle Mecca that is Wheels Through Time Museum.   With over 350 machines on display inside the 38,000 square foot state-of-the-art facility, one would think he’d be running out of room.  But the search for history continues, and "What’s in the Barn" is your ticket inside the unique life led by one of America’s foremost treasure hunters.

Whats In The Barn Starring Dale Walksler of Wheels Through Time Museum begins airing on June 18th!Walksler relocated Wheels Through Time from Mt. Vernon, IL  to Maggie Valley, North Carolina in 2002, and hasn’t looked back since.   Since its reopening, the museum has hosted over a half-million visitors, and the collection continues to grow due to Walksler’s undying passion for the rare and antique. 

Velocity TV a cable- and satellite-television channel owned by Discovery Communications.  Officially launched on October 4, 2011 Velocity focuses on automotive, motorcycle, and sports programming.  "Whats in the Barn" is produced by Chet Burks Productions, who has a long track of producing quality programming for both Velocity and SpeedTV.  

The premier of the first episode of "Whats in the Barn" will air on Tuesday,  June 18 at 10:30 after the season finale of "Chasing Classic Cars".  The following week, the new show moves to the 10:00 slot for the duration of the 8-episode season.  Velocity TV is distributed through Charter (Channel 778), DirectTV (Channel 281) and Dish Network (Channel 364), among other service providers.

For more information on Wheels Through Time and "What’s In The Barn", visit the museum’s website at www.WheelsThroughTime.com.

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Click on the photo to the right for a behind the scenes slideshow with Sneak Peaks of WTT’s new series "Whats In The Barn" on Velocity TV!!!

And don’t forget to tune in on Tuesday June 18th @ 10:30 p.m. for the first episode of "Whats In The Barn"!!!


- Find Velocity Channel on your TV, here -

 

WTT 1949 Veritas Places 2nd at Amelia Island Concours

On Sunday, March 10th, thousands from around the world gathered for the
east coast’s premier gathering of rare automobiles and motorcycles —
The Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance.   The invite-only show annually
attracts many of the worlds rarest and most significant two- and
four-wheeled machines.

This
year, Wheels Through Time Founder and Curator, Dale Walksler was
invited to enter his 1949 Veritas in a new class called the "What Were
They Thinking?" Class.  The class consisted of several automotive
oddities, ranging from pre-production prototypes to concept cars to
one-of-a-kind autos.   Dale’s Veritas would be right at home in the
class, with its unorthodox styling and and unique history.

Simply referred to as "The Veritas", this fantastic machine was purchased from a gas station by the late Lee Hartung
in the early 1960s.  Lee retired the car to his 4-acre museum
in Glenview, IL, having never heard the car run or seen drive under its
own power.  The 1949 example is one of approximately 70 cars
built.  Powered by a 328c.i. BMW Inline 6-cylinder OHV factory racing
engine, the car features all tubular chassis, racing "knock-off" wheels,
and racing suspension — it is essentially a racecar, with road model
coach work and styling.  The unusual body was specially designed in East
Germany by the Spohn Company, constructed of both steel and aluminum,
and was likely what sparked the cars inclusion in the new "What Were
They Thinking" Class.

Hartung
owned the machine for almost 50 years. After Hartungs passing, Walksler
purchased it at the Auctions America hosted estate sale, where it was
considered the highlight of the auction. 

Upon relocating the car
to Wheels Through Time, Walksler and friend Eugene Smyers promptly got
to work in an effort to bring the back to running order.  Every attempt
was made to preserve the look and appearance of the 64 year old original
survivor, while taking all necessary steps to return the car to
mechanical perfection.  After six months and near 1000 hours of labor,
the powerful BMW racing engine roared to life for the first time since
even before Hartung found it.  And boy, what a sound. 

Its
appearance at the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance marked the first
time the car had been publicly shown outside of Wheels Through Time or
Hartungs own museum — and as expected, it wowed the judges and
spectators alike, taking home the award for 2nd Place in its class. 

Learn more about The Veritas, here.

 

WTT on “Small Town Big Deal” — Airing March 14th!

This coming Thursday , March 14th, at 9:30 p.m., RFD-TVs newest hit show "Small Town Big Deal" will bring its viewers to the little town of Maggie Valley to visit the Wheels Through Time Museum, highlighting one of America’s most famous motorcycling destinations and how it came to be in the small town Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

The crew spent the better part of an entire day filming at the museum last October, highlighting not only the great stories of countless machines housed within the 38,000 square foot facility, but the story of how the museum came into being and the path traveled to develop it into what it is today — the country’s premier collection of rare and significant American motorcycles and autos.

Host Rodney Miller was more than impressed with the museum, and called it the "most amazing collection of rare motorcycles [he'd] ever seen, and the best venue to learn the history of these rare motorbikes."

"Small Town Big Deal" began airing in September 2012. The show is hosted by Rodney Miller, who grew up in the small town of Benton, Illinois, not far from the original location of Wheels Through Time and Dale’s Harley-Davidson in Mt. Vernon, IL. Miller made his mark in the agricultural industry, serving as CEO of McCormick International and Montana Tractors, and was instrumental in establishing US operations for Valtra Tractors, and territory management for Long and Mahindra Tractors. You could say that enthusiasm for cultivating the land has been in his blood from the very start.

Miller also has a deep-rooted love for small town life, and out of this passion arose his idea to shine the spotlight on the wonderful stories from the small rural communities across America.
The new episode featuring Wheels Through Time Museum will air at 9:30 p.m. on Thursday, March 14th on RFD-TV.

RFD-TV is a channel that is devoted to rural issues, concerns, and interests. The networks name is a reference to Rural Free Delivery, the proper name given to the U.S. Postal Service’s system of delivering mail directly to rural patrons.

For more information, visit the Small Town Big Deal website, at www.smalltownbigdeal.com, or visit the Wheels Through Time website at www.WheelsThroughTime.com.

 

WTT Heading To 2013 Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction!

Each year in Janaury, the bright lights of Las Vegas, Nevada play host to vintage motorcycle enthusiasts and collectors from around the world when the Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction comes to town. Put on by Mid-America Auctions, this three-day event brings literally hundreds of machines to the auction block, including many exceptionally rare American-made motorcycles dating back to the early 1900s, and sometimes even earlier. This year’s auction is slated for January 10th-12th, and has garnered the attention of the motorcycle world even more-so than in years past, as over 600 machines spanning over a century have been consigned for sale.

For twenty-two years now, the Las Vegas Auction has helped determine the marketplace for vintage and antique collector motorcycles. Over more than two decades, the auction has become the largest single motorcycle sale on the planet, breaking its own record numerous times. But the auction serves as more than just a venue for buying and selling motorcycles. Fittingly, it has become one of the premier social events for the unique and diverse breed of vintage motorcycle collectors. Where else can one mingle with thousands of like minded enthusiasts, while watching millions of dollars in machines roll across the auction block, and maybe even throw in a bid here and there too. 

As in years past, Wheels Through Time Museum curator Dale Walksler will be heading out west for the event, but this time he’s going for more than just fun! Early this winter, Dale was contact by three individuals who were interested in finding their machines new homes, and agreed to represent each seller and their respective machines at the auction. And these aren’t your ordinary motorcycles either!

Each of the three machines are exceptionally rare, early American motorcycles, preserved in remarkable original condition. First, a 1905 Reading Standard "Pocket-Valve Special" — a machine that hadn’t seen the light of day in more than 100 years. The bike still retains the original seat and tires. Second, a beautiful 1913 Harley Model 9-B, which remained in the Cincinnati area since it was sold new. Dale and crew managed to get this one running in a half-hour after it sat idle in a shed for 80 years.   

1912 Pierce Belt-Drive Two-Speed Single Lastly, perhaps what will be the most unique machine at the auction — the Belle of the Ball — a 1912 Belt-Driven Pierce Two-Speed. This motorcycle remains in fantastic original condition, and shows virtually no signs of wear. Preserved in its original maroon paint with gold striping, the bike still retains the tandem seat, original V-belt, and original white tires. After only a few minutes of work on the machine, Dale had it up and running as if it was new. Look for this one to be a highlight of the sale, as it is one of the most unique and original Pierces in existence.

And the provenance doesn’t stop there — all three bikes have been in their respective families for over a century. This January 10th-12th, each will find a new owner for the first time in 100 years. 

Dale will also be taking a few of his own machines to the block, including a nicely restored 1958 Harley-Davidson Duo-Glide, and a very rare 1948 Norton Manx TT Racer with Southern California racing history!

During the auction, Dale and the Wheels Through Time crew will be continuing to shoot for their upcoming Discovery Channel series, which is slated to air in early February. 

For more information on Mid-America’s Las Vegas Antique Motorcycle Auction and to watch the auction online Thursday-Saturday, visit www.MidAmericaAuctions.com.


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Click on the Photo
for a slideshow of
the bikes!

Velocity Channel Shoots at Wheels Through Time!!!

This past Tuesday, July 31, Velocity Channel star Wayne Carini, from the hit television show "Chasing Classic Cars", and his production crew spent two full days filming for an upcoming segment at Wheels Through Time.  Now in its fifth season, the show gives the viewer instant membership to the exclusive club of elite car restorers and millionaire collectors, following Carini on his personal mission to uncover, restore, and sell some of the world’s rarest collector cars.

The recently filmed segment could be considered a "follow-up" to one of the largest and most significant automotive auctions to take place in the last few decades — the famed Lee Hartung Estate Auction — a November 2012 sale featuring nearly 100 rare collector cars and over two dozen extremely rare motorcycles dating back to even before the 1910s.  At the Auction, the Chasing Classic Cars crew was on hand catching many of the memorable moments and gathering commentary from countless collectors.  Both Carini and Wheels Through Time Museum Curator, Dale Walksler were on hand early to identify and  prepare several of the machines for the auction, gaining a rare insiders look at what made the Hartung Estate so special.   During the airing of the episode, we also learned that each of the two collectors managed to take home a few rare pieces — machines so rare, they warranted a special "follow-up" episode highlighting the unique history associated with each. 

Watch the Lee Hartung Estate Videos, here!!

Tuesday’s filming marked the first time Carini had visited the musuem, and after parusing the isles of history inside the 38,000 square foot facility, he remarked that he’d need much more than a few days to absorb a collection of such magnitude.  It was also the first time Wayne had seen his token purchase from the Hartung Estate Auction — a 1912 Thor motorcycle, equipped with a sidecar and resting in its original condition –, which Walksler offered to bring back to perfect running order.   During the filming, the two also highlight one of the newest additions to Wheels Through Time — a 1949 Veritas, powered by a BMW 328" Racing engine and bodied by the famous Spohn Body Company of Germany  .Both machines are currently on display at Wheels Through Time.

Keep an eye out for the episode on Velocity Channel in the coming months. It’ll be one that you don’t want to miss. For more information, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call the museum at (828) 926-6266.

See Chasing Classic Cars coverage at the Lee Hartung Estate here, and watch the 1949 Veritas move for the first time in over 50 years.

 

Cast Your Vote for WTT’s 2013 Raffle Bike!!!

Great News from "The Museum That Runs".  Dale and the WTT staff have already begun the restoration of the 2013 Wheels Through Time Raffle Bike!  2013 marks the 11th year that the museum has held their annual raffle, and this year, we want you to weigh in on just what type of bike we should build.

The bike chosen to be raffled off next year is a 1939 Harley-Davidson 61 cubic inch Knucklehead.  Our curator, Dale Walksler, has already freshly rebuilt both the engine and transmission for the bike, and our painter John Dills has the frame and front end already painted up in classic Harley gloss black. 

Now the rest is up to you.  We’re counting on everyone to spread the word about next years bike, and cast a vote as to what style the finished bike should be.   The three options for next year’s machine are:

1) a Period-Bobber — cut fenders, hot-rod paint job, solo seat
2) a "Showroom Restoration" — a restoration resembling the machines original appearance off the Showroom floor
3) a Knucklehead Bagger — spotlights, saddlebags, windshield and maybe even a buddy seat!

Don’t waste any time casting your vote……Dale and the gang are ready to get to work!

Cast your vote in the menu on the right side of this page
or – Click here to vote on Facebook –

** Keep in mind that proceeds from the 2013 Wheels Through Time Annual Raffle will go toward air-conditioning the 38,000 square foot museum facility.  We thank you all for your support…..and GOOD LUCK!!!

WTT 10th Anniversary Celebration — July 5-9, 2012!

This coming July 5-9, 2012 the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC will be celebrating it’s 10-year Anniversary here in the Great Smoky Mountains of Western North Carolina. Since opening its doors on July 4th of 2002, the museum has welcomed over a half-million visitors through its doors who’ve come to get a taste of American transportation history at its best.

The museum houses over 320 of America’s rarest and most significant motorcycles and automobiles, and is renowned for its "non-traditional" approach to preserving a vast collection of two- and four-wheeled machines that spans over 100 years. While most automotive and motorcycle related museums in North America house near static collections of shiny, restored machines kept in glass cases or behind velvet ropes, at Wheels Through Time each and every machine inside the museum walls is kept in running and operating condition, many of which are fired up and run regularly for visitors. Over 75 percent of the collection stands in original condition — untouched survivors tracing back to the roots of motorized transporation — indicating the museum’s emphasis on originality.   

This very approach has been an integral part of the museum’s success in Western NC. And as it continues to grow in both size and scope, visitors from far and wide are more than willing to share their unique experiences with friends and strangers alike, giving the museum even more momentum as it looks toward the future.

So far this summer, the museum has experienced record visitation, and things only look to be getting busier.   

"Over the past 10 years, Wheels Through Time has enjoyed enormous success here in Maggie Valley, NC" says museum curator Dale Walksler. "We owe a vast part of that success to our visitors, and for our 10th Anniversary, we’d like to recognize and pay tribute to all those who have helped us become the museum that we are today."

From Thursday-Monday, July 5-9, in celebration of its 10th year in Maggie Valley, museum staff will be giving special tours and demonstrations of many of the rare machines at WTT, including nearly a dozen early American racing motorcycles, several significant automobiles dating back to the 1920s, and one of the newest additions to the museum collection — the "Belly Tanker" race car seen on numerous episodes of "American Pickers".     

For more information , please visit the Wheels Through Time Museum website, located at www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call the museum at (828) 926-6266.

 

WTT Partners with Biltmore for Exhibit at America’s Largest Home

This spring and summer, the Wheels Through Time Museum is partnering with Biltmore Estate for a new exhibit telling the story of what life was like at America’s largest home during the early 20th century.  Titled "The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad", the new exhibit is located in the Biltmore Legacy Exhibit Hall in the estates Antler Hill Village, and is slated to open April 7th, with a special preview for season passholders on Thursday, March 29th.

"The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad" explores the lives of George, Edith and Cornelia Vanderbilt at home and in their travels throughout Europe and the Far East.  The exhibit offers a close-up look at many of the exotic and rare treasures they collected throughout their lives, including a priceless chess set once owned by Napolean Bonaparte, a collection of Samurai amor acquired during their visit to Japan, clothing and costume worn by the family during some the estate’s most important events, among many other priceless relics. 

Also on display within the new exhibit, is a 1920 Harley-Davidson Model 20-J motorcycle, on loan from Wheels Through Time Museum.  Featured in 100% original condition, the machine has been called one of the highlights of the exhibit, as it helps to illustrate the Vanderbilts enthrallment with early motorized transportation. 

George Vanderbilt first fell in love with motorized travel after borrowing a friends Wynton Car during trip across Europe.  Shortly after, he purchased his own "updated" version and within a few years, he had developed a system of roads throughout the estate that gained a reputation as being some of the best in the country.  Friends and acquaintances from around the United States regularly wrote the family asking permission to come drive the roads of Biltmore.

With thousands of acres of land, motorized travel became a staple at Biltmore from a very early point.  Through the mid-1920s the Vanderbilts owned several automobiles, and to the surprise of many, a total of 5 motorcycles — two 1913 Harley-Davidsons, a 1915 Harley-Davidson, as well as 1917 and 1923 Harleys.  These machines played a vital role in transporation at the estate, becoming known for their good service and manuverability, and their ability to reach places where autmobiles could not. 

The 1920 Harley-Davidson Model 20-J on loan from Wheels Through Time is nearly identical to the last Harley-Davidson motorcycle purchased by Biltmore, and is displayed with several period photographs showing some of the estate’s earliest "two-wheeled visitors".

"We’re extremely excited to partner with Biltmore Estate for their new exhibit," says museum curator Dale Walksler.  "Their love affair with transporation played an important role in the development of the estate, and we’re proud to play a part in sharing that story."

For more information on Biltmore Estates new exhibit "The Vanderbilts at Home and Abroad", visit www.biltmore.com

Special WTT Museum Opening February 3-5, 2012!!!!

This coming February 3-5, the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC is celebrating its first special weekend opening of 2012. The museum will be open Friday-Sunday, from 10:00a.m.-5:00p.m, and will be holding demonstrations and exhibitions of various new machines on display throughout the weekend.

During the special weekend opening, the museum will be honoring the 2011 WTT Annual Motorcycle Raffle Winner, Chris Hemminger from Centreville, MD. Chris was the grand prize winner for the beautifully restored 1936 Harley-Davidson "Knucklehead" Bobber and will be returning to the museum for the first time since he bought the winning ticket in June of 2011 to pick up his new motorcycles. A special presentation will be held on Saturday for Mr. Hemminger, who was notified that he had won the motorcycle while attending his daughters first birthday party.

The museum closed for the 2011 season this past November, and since, it has been a busy few months at Maggie Valley’s anchor tourism attraction. Museum staff have been hard at work, taking on several initiatives to enhance the overall museum experience for their visitors. New displays have been created throughout the museum, and several current exhibitions have been expanded upon. New and enhanced lighting has also been installed throughout the museum providing a better visual experience for guests.

The museum’s interpretational signage has also been expanded, and in mid April, a new Smartphone component is being introduced, which features a QR (quick response) code that links visitors to the museums vast library of video content on hundreds of the rare and historic machines housed within the facility.

The museum, which officially opens for the 2012 season on March 29, has also announced several preliminary weekend openings prior to their season opener, including a special guest appearance and book signing on March 19th by renowned women’s author, Cristine Sommer-Simmons, who is best known for her recent book titled "The American Motorcycle Girls" which highlights over 50 years of women in motorcycling.

For more information on openings and upcoming museum events for 2012, visit www.WheelsThroughTime.com or call the museum at (828) 926-6266.

New Smartphone Technology at Wheels Through Time!

And the Winner of the 2011 Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Raffle Is………

Congrats To Chris Hemminger -- Winner of the 9th Annual WTT Raffle!!!Congratulations Chris Hemminger from Centreville, MD!!!!!

Chris is the Grand Prize Winner of the 9th Annual Wheels Through Time Motorcycle Raffle.   Its a big day for Chris — Not only did he win the 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber, he won it on his daughters very first birthday! 

Chris has already decided that he’ll be taking the bike instead of the cash prize, which makes us here at the museum proud.   He’ll also be taking home an extremely limited edition painting of the bike titled "Autumn Knuckle" by our good friend and renowned Harley-Davidson Artist, David Uhl.

Congrats Chris!  Now enjoy that motorcycle!!!!

Click on the video below to watch the 2011 Wheels Through Time Annual Raffle Drawing!!!


WTT Extends Season Thru November 12, 2011!

Open through November 12, 2011Great news from Maggie Valley… The Wheels Through Time Museum has announced that they’ll be extending their season by almost two weeks this year to end after the museum’s 9th Annual Antique Motorcycle Raffle on November 12, 2011.

Initially slated to close after Halloween weekend of this year, the museum has experienced one of its best fall seasons yet, and the visitors just keep on coming!

"This season marks our 9th year here in Maggie Valley and it has truly been one of our best yet," says museum curator Dale Walksler. "We had the pleasure of hosting tens of thousands of folks from around the world this 2011, and we wanted to extend the opportunity for those who haven’t had a chance to visit or wanted to come back for another taste of good old-fashioned American history.

The museum has continued to grow since its relocation to Maggie Valley in 2002, and currently houses over 330 of America’s rarest and most significant two- and four-wheeled vehicles. At the present, over 99% of the collection is in running and operating condition, and demonstrations are held regularly for any visitors who asks.

On the museum’s final day of operation this year, they’ll be raffling of a beautiful 1936 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead Bobber during the conclusion of the annual Haywood County Toy Run. Over 2500 visitors will be in attendance, and come rain or shine, someone will ride away the winner of a genuine piece of American motorcycle history.

For more information on WTT’s extended hours and the 9th Annual Antique Motorcycle Raffle, visit the museum’s website, at www.WheelsThroughTime.com.


The World Famous Lee Hartung Estate

America’s Ultimate Barn Find Auction!!!

Videos:

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Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7

Part 8

The Lee Hartung Collection!This November 3-5, 2011, Auctions America by RM in partnership with RM Auctions will be lifting the gavel on one of the Chicago area’s best known treasures — The Lee Hartung Collection.  Billed as the "Ultimate Barn Find Auction", the three-day sale will include over 2500 lots, and will put up for sale literally hundreds of America’s rarest and most unique two- and four-wheeled vehicles.

Lee Hartung was a collector’s collector.  Based in Glenview, IL, Hartungs collection rested on 4 acres in the middle of the North Chicago suburb, and was amassed over the 60 years since he purchased the property in the 1940s.  For those fortunate enough to get a glimpse of Lee’s collection over the past decades — they were among a select few to step into a time-warp that told a unique story of 20th century Chicago —- from Lee’s point of view.

Dale was one of those fortunate individuals, having stumbled across the collection in the mid-1980s during a trip through the Chicago area to visit a friend.  Immediately, Dale recognized the gravity of the collection, as well as the unique and passionate individual that had made it his life’s mission to preserve and amass the history housed within those walls.

The Lee Hartung Collection!!!"Upon walking on the property, one would have no idea what to expect," said Dale.  "Unless you had been there before, you might even thing that you’d ventured into the wrong place.  But after being greeted by Lee and dropping a few bucks for admission in the donation jar, you knew that you’d stumbled onto one of America’s most little known treasures".

"Lee collected everything Chicago." says Dale.  Resting just inside collections main building were over a hundred rare automobiles and motorcycles.  A collection of Ford Model-A and Model-T cars and trucks sat within inches of each other, covered no only in dust, but with various other collections Lee had amassed over his decades of accumulating history, including Early televisions, toys, radios, and hot-rod automotive parts many of which had never been used.  Motorcycles and bicycles lined the walls and sat on shelves twenty feet off the ground, put up by Lee as far back as the 1950s.  Gas pumps, piles hit and miss engines, childrens rides, and vintage outboard motors rested in every corner, having most likely sat since Lee had discovered them who knows how long ago.

The man, the myth, the legend......Mr. Lee Hartung!Lee had an eye for both rarity and originality.  Many of the machines in the collection had never been restored or modified, including the very rare 1948 One-of-a-kind Veritas and the 1951 Sterling Edwards Roadster, as well as a host of motorcycles including original, unrestored examples of a 1912 Harley, 1910 Pope, numerous four-cylinder Hendersons and Indians, a 1910 Excelsior, 1902 Wagner, and even a 1913 Flying Merkel. 

"Since the first day I met Lee Hartung, I knew right away that I was in the presence of one of the most passionate, yet eccentric people I’ve ever met," says Dale.  "From that day on, I made it a point to stop by at least once a year, to see the collection grow, sit and share stories, occasionally swap a few parts, and to hear Lee’s general outlooks on life.  I always left amazed, and with a new life lesson that only ‘The General’, as we called him, could teach."

As fate would have it, Lee Hartung passed away in May of 2011.  "It was a very sad day," says Dale, "as a good friend and one of the world’s most interesting and passionate collectors was gone forever."

While we may never see the likes of another Lee Hartung, nearly ever piece of his collection will have the opportunity to live on, as RM Auctions/Auctions America has announced a 3-day sale of the collection on November 3-5, 2011, with a total of over 2500 lots, and a special two-day preview for those interested in attending.

Since RM’s announcement, Dale has been hard at work helping to uncover, identify and value many of the machines that will be up for bid, as well as lending his particular expertise in breathing a little life back into several of the motorcycles and autos for the first time in ages.

Watch a few of the videos to see first-hand the magnitude of the Lee Hartung Collection, and even catch Dale and crew get a few of the bikes running for the first time in decades.

For more information on the Lee Hartung Estate Auction, visit RM Auctions Website!



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