Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Musée Mécanique's Steam Motorcycle.

Via: musee mecanique sf

Built in 1912 by Mr. Niles Gillenwaters in Sacramento, California. He built only one, and it never went into production. Lovingly restored by Mr.David Sarlyn of Berkeley, California, it is part of the Daniel Zelinsky Collection at the Musee Mecanique in San Francisco.

Here's how the Musee got hold of the Gillenwaters steam motorcycle:

I seldom sell, but I love to trade. I did a lot of trading with George Whitney, Sr.; we traded music boxes and pianos back and forth. I made one trade with George Whitney that I will never forget. I had lunch with him every third Thursday and Mr. Whitney sat at the same table that he sat at for 20 years. I remember he had a scotch over ice, shrimp cocktail and a minute steak. I tried to copy him, but I couldn't keep up with him on the drinks. Well, one time I had quite a few drinks, and I was feeling no pain and George said, "Ed, you have a 1904 Franklin, do you want to trade it?" And I said, "George, what will you give me for it?" Well, I don't really remember the conversation, but I do remember shaking hands with him and Mr. Whitney telling me, "Ed, you are the proud owner of a steam motorcycle."

Later, we had dinner again and he asked me who got the best deal in the trade. I said, "I don't know, George, you tell me." He said, "Ed, I got the best deal. I got a Franklin that's running and you got a motorcycle that isn't, and needs repair." I told him, "That's funny, George. I thought I got the best of the deal because I got the only steam motorcycle, perhaps, in the whole world." He called me up a few weeks later and asked if I wanted to trade back again. That's when I knew I had a good deal because recently, I received an unsolicited offer of $250,000 for the motorcycle"

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