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.

Last of the Rigids

Here at Wheels Through Time, the collection contains over 100 original paint machines, dating back to 1903.  The bike vary in condition. Some are weathered survivors, showing the extent of their heavy use throughout the decades.  Others are pristine examples appearing as if they only have a few short hours of use.

Swims Shop

Dale has owned this 1957 Harley-Davidson FLH Panhead for over 30 years.  The machine is remarkably preserved in original blue and white paint, with high-performance FLH engine.  1957 was the last year that H-D built their Big Twin machines on a rigid frame, opting for the swing-arm “Duo-Glide” frame for the 1958 model year.

This machine bears less than 15000 miles on the odometer, and is one of the prized pieces in the museum’s collection of post-WWII machines.

 

Judging at the Amelia Island Concours

This year was my first visit to the Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance, and what a show it was.  Over 325 of the rarest, most luxurious, and most exotic vehicle were on hand for the invite only show, including 10 rare early American motorcycles.

This year’s theme for the motorcycle class was “Orphan American Motorcycles”, which gave the opportunity for owners to show some of the country’s lesser known machines.  No Harleys or Indians were part of the show.

judgingatamelia

The field included Buzz Kanter’s 1901 Steffey, Paul Ousey’s 1905 Erie, a 1905 Yale California, WTT’s 1908 Apache, 1910 Yale, Wayne Carini’s 1910 Reading Standard, a 1912 Thor Board Track Racer, and a 1913 Dixie Flyer.  The 1913 Elk and 1914 Flescher Flyer from WTT were also on display.

I was fortunate to be able to share the unique history of the Thor Boardtrack Racer with the judges, and like all of us at WTT, they were very impressed with the originality and provenance of the machine.  The bike was original raced out of Lima, Ohio by D.L. Tullis.  It is still accompanied by its original shipping crate, which bares the motor specifications, F.A.M. (Federation of American Motorcyclists) registration number, and riders original F.A.M. Membership card.

When the awards were given, the award for most historically significant machine went to the 1912 Thor.  Paul Ousey’s 1905 Erie won best in class, and honorable mentions were given to the 1910 Reading Standard and ’13 Dixie Flyer.

Fall Flatty

From 1937-41, Harley-Davidson produced the Model ULH — an 80 cubic inch flathead with four-speed transmission and the styling of the newly debuted Model EL.  While the “Big Flatty” didn’t produce the horsepower that the Knucklehead offered, it was known as the workhorse in H-D’s line-up.  It provided plenty torque, and was among the most reliable machines the company had ever offered.

MattsFlatty

This 1941 ULH was rebuilt by Dale and myself in the Wheels Through Time restoration shop in 2008.  From the beginning, we chose to take the “period-modified” approach.  Starting with a stock frame and front end, we went with the standard 16″ wheel in the rear, and an 18″ up front.  Bobbed rear fender by John Dills, and a shortened military fender up front.  Flander’s risers and bars, and a Hanson Sportshield windshield by Gary Gardener provide for a nicely accessorized look, while giving as much comfort as any brand new machine on the road.

My lady and I have put many a miles on this machine, including countless day trips in the mountains, a few Kickstart Classic rides, and various road runs and swap meets.

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.

WTT 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.    READ MORE……..

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.