Von Dutch Motorcycles are customized rides with his partner Bud Eakins. he specialized in restoring antique bikes and these are some of the most desirable vintage bikes for collectors. Mike Wolfe of “American Pickers” is beside himself when he comes across a barn find or other Von Dutch bike. Here are the five best Von Dutch motorcycles of all-time for your enjoyment and appreciation.
5. The Von Dutch Falcone
The Von Dutch Falcone is a customization of a 1959 Moto Guzzi Falcone. Kenny Howard, aka, Von Dutch was commissioned by Mr. Richard H. Cormany. The owner of the bike had purchased the bike in 1961 when it was just 2 years old. He wanted to have something that was personalized. The year was ridden for a year before Mr. Cormany made the decision to hire Howard to work his magic. In all, the project consumed 5,000 hours for completion. The Falcone came out of the process with a brand new look. The front fender and headlight nacelle were altered to future two small headlights with the individual on and off switches with adjustable elevation and the shifts could be made while the bike was in motion. Von dutch painted the coachwork gloss black and applied his fine gold pinstripe throughout the custom bodywork.
4. 1954 BMW R51/3 Von Dutch
A 1954 BMW R51/3 Von Dutch went up on the block at Bonham’s auction. This unique customization has a rich history. The bike was first restored by Kenneth Howard in 1966. The new design endowed this bike with two gas tanks with one Hoske unsigned by Dutch and the other which is believed to be a Ducati that is signed. This bike was registered some time between 1979 and 1984. The front fender is modified with a non-stock version and a variety of components are chromed for a smart aesthetic. The engine is a 500CC. The current owner acquired this motorcycle in 1997. The history of the bike is documented with old bills of sale as well as a California Certificate of Ownership. This Von Dutch sold on November 10, 2007, for an auction price of 32,760.
3. Von Dutch 1970 Kawasaki Centurian
This bike is the famous Ringadingdoo and it says so on the fuel tank. The bike was owned by Steve McQueen who asked his friend Von Dutch to customize the old bike that would otherwise have a value of around $500. The bike was auctioned at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles at a Bonhams & Butterfields auction. The paint job and pinstriping that Von Dutch adorned the 100cc dirtbike drove it up in value to a final bid of around $47,000. There is also an inscription painted on the bike that reads “Done Up for Steve McQueen by Von Dutch.”After the fees for the auction were totaled the price came out to a little over $55,000.
2. 1929 Super Squirrel Von Dutch
The 1929 Super Squirrel Von Dutch may be one of Von Dutch’s most iconic works. This bike has a fascinating history. It’s not only a highly collectible vintage bike, it’s also the former property of actor Steve McQueen. Von Dutch performed the restoration at the behest of his friend. The story has a humorous twist as Von Dutch painted the number of the year on the front plate, but he got it wrong. He pained a ’26, but the bike is really 1929. The current owner of this highly collectible motorcycle is Tonny Sorenson. It had been sold to numerous owners before making the rounds and being returned to Von Dutch by Steve McQueen not long before his passing. Sorensen bought it at the Scott auction that took place in 2007.
1. 1959 VonDutch Triumph 650CC T120R Bonneville
This is yet another iconic bike that was painted and customized by Von Dutch. The bike was sold t a Bonhams auction on November 10, 2007, for a price tag of $28,080. This highly collectible motorcycle first appeared at the 1958 Earls Court Show. It was a bike that was well-received by the younger riders upon its release more than 60 years ago. The Bonneville was customized by Von Dutch with a Tangerine and Pearl Grey two-tone finish. Various components were painted in matching colors to make this one of the sharpest looking bikes from 1959. Although the Bonneville didn’t fetch the high price that some of the other bikes at the auction brought, it is a real eye-catcher.
Kenneth Howard, aka, Von Dutch was perhaps one of the most famous American motorcycle mechanics. He was also lauded as an artist and one of the most uniquely stilled pinstripers and metal fabricators of his time. He has customized dozens of motorcycles at the behest of his friends and clientele. According to Wikipedia, he was born on September 7, 1929, and he passed away on September 19, 1992. Although he was already famous for his artistry and customization skills, Mr. Howard’s works became even more popular, rare, and collectible after his death. The name Von Dutch creates a sense of excitement in collectors who await each auction that features his work.
Kenneth Howard has customized dozens of motorcycles in his lifetime. His skilled customization skills were sought out by some of the most famous people of his time, most notably his personal friend actress Steve McQueen. The two had collaborated on more than one restoration and customization projects. These remaining motorcycles are now valued in the tens of thousands. They’re highly desired among collectors of vintage bikes. There will only be one Kenneth Howard and his works seem to just increase in value with the passage of time.