WORDS: Aaron Frank
PHOTO: Doug Magill
Like many other American motorcycle pioneers, Albert Crocker is almost completely obscured by the ink-dark shadow of Harley-Davidson. At one time, however, Crocker was The Motor Company’s biggest threat—at least in the performance arena. Crocker’s proprietary 61-cubic-inch, overhead-valve V-twin delivered speed and power the Milwaukee Mafia could only dream of, achieving an honest 110 mph when Harley’s similar Knucklehead topped out at just 85 mph.
Crocker’s small shop on Venice Boulevard in Los Angeles turned out fewer than 100 motorcycles between 1936 and 1942, before wartime scarcity forced the end of production. Each was individually built to order, with customers specifying everything from color to gearing to engine displacement. The few Crockers remaining today are remarkably desirable. The last two sold at auction, a 1939 model and a 1941 model, went for a staggering $233,200 and $243,800, respectively.
Crocker expert Michael Schacht has been painstakingly reverse-engineering Crocker parts for the better part of the last decade, combining traditional pattern making with cutting-edge manufacturing techniques to produce technologically superior reproduction parts. Now, after 10 years of near-constant labor, he’s preparing to offer complete Crocker reproduction motorcycles for sale. These won’t be cheap—anticipate prices in excess of $135,000—but combining the iconic Crocker style with even better performance, they’re a bargain compared to an original. Find out more at www.crockermotorcycles.com.