Propstore, one of the world’s leading film and TV memorabilia companies, has announced its first Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction of 2024 will be held this March with the items on offer expected to fetch over $8 million.

Captain America chopperCaptain America chopper – Photo courtesy Propstore

“Captain America” Wyatt’s (Peter Fonda) Panhead chopper motorcycle from Dennis Hopper’s Easy Rider is part of the over 1,700 rare and iconic lots due to be sold during Propstore’s Entertainment Memorabilia Live Auction over three days from Tuesday 12th to Thursday 14th March 2024 from 9 AM PDT each day. Registration and bidding are now open on the website. In-room bidding will be open to the public at The Petersen Automotive Museum, Los Angeles, on March 12th, 2024. Online and telephone bids can be placed across the whole event.

Ridden by Peter Fonda’s character, Wyatt, in the counterculture movie classic “Easy Rider,” the signature motorcycle from the film features the iconic “Captain America” Stars-and-Stripes emblem painted on the gas tank, which is also autographed by Fonda. The chopper is based on a Harley-Davidson Panhead overhead-valve engine and includes the sissy bar Jack Nicholson’s character George Hanson leaned against while riding with Fonda.

Easy Rider - Peter Fonda, Jack Nicholson, and Dennis HopperPeter Fonda, wearing a Stars-and-Stripes helmet and with Jack Nicholson on the back
of his chopper, rides next to Dennis Hopper in a publicity still for 1969’s Easy Rider. 
Photo courtesy Silver Screen/Getty Images

In the climactic finale scene, shotgun-wielding yokels attacked Wyatt and Billy (Hopper), crashing Wyatt’s signature American flag-patterned motorcycle and ending their freewheelin’ ride to New Orleans. This is the crashed motorcycle used for the scene. After the filming of the scene, it was restored to its current state.

Considered the iconic counterculture film of the 1960s, Easy Rider was nominated for two Academy Awards®, won a Cannes Film Festival award for Best First Work, and was inducted into the Library of Congress’s National Film Registry for its impact on global culture. The motorcycle’s destruction was considered a groundbreaking, transgressive representation of widening political fissures between the popular hippie movement of the time and repressive mainstream American culture and remains one of the most acclaimed sequences ever put to celluloid.

Wyatt’s motorcycle was originally designed by Cliff Vaughs and Ben Hardy of Watts, CA, with design input from Fonda. Two bikes were customized with the “Captain America” (Wyatt’s nickname in the film) stars and stripes for the production to prevent filming delays. Following production, one of these motorcycles (along with Hopper’s motorcycles) was stolen from stuntman Tex Hall’s home. Hall gifted the other Captain America chopper – this bike, with VIN “53FL5070” – to Grizzly Adams star Dan Haggerty, who helped maintain the bikes during production following its destruction in the crash sequence.

Close up of Captain America chopper gas tank - Easy RiderClose up of Captain America chopper gas tank. Photo courtesy Propstore

Under Haggerty, the motorcycle underwent sympathetic frame-up restoration and was later signed by Fonda to demonstrate its authenticity. David Ohrt also performed additional restoration work after Haggerty sold the motorcycle to a private collector circa 2002. It was then displayed at the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa, Iowa, from 2002 to 2013.

Prior to the sale of this original “Captain America” chopper, Haggerty constructed a replica Captain America bike for a vehicle enthusiast. That bike was exhibited as a replica at a public exhibition in the late 1990s; it was not a film-used bike, though Haggerty did install some original film components onto the replica during its build.

In order to resolve any confusion as to whether Haggerty’s 1994 replica bike was an original, the offered “Captain America” motorcycle has undergone extensive archival review to confirm its stated authenticity. In addition to including a raft of documentation, vintage motorcycle expert Glenn Bator states that the modifications made to this motorcycle are consistent with modifications seen on the motorcycles in the final cut, in particular, the repair welds on the frame’s down tube between the engine and transmission that reflect damage from impact. Bator also notes that the 1994 example’s construction details are not consistent with the motorcycle frames seen onscreen.

Peter Fonda signed the chopper's gas tank in 2003.

Peter Fonda signed the chopper’s gas tank in 2003
Photo courtesy Propstore

Therefore, this motorcycle is understood to be the sole remaining Captain America from Easy Rider. It features a Harley-Davidson Panhead overhead-valve engine, a chrome hard-tail frame, VIN “53FL5070,” and a sissy bar with the iconic “Captain America” Stars and Stripes emblem painted on the body. The gas tank is autographed and dated “2003” by Fonda in black ink.


Registration and online bidding are now open on the Propstore website.

Article courtesy of Old Cars Weekly.

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