One of the motorbikes used in the 1969 cult classic Easy Rider is being sold at auction.
Auctioneers for the Dan Kruse Classics sale in Midland, Texas on June 5 have put up a guide price of $300,000 (£213,643) to $500,000 (£356,072) despite there being no reserve bid set.
However, as This Is Money reports, the authenticity of the available vehicle has been called in to question in a debate stretching back more than seven years.
Another Captain America Harley-Davidson motorbike, the owner of which had claimed it was an Easy Rider original, sold at a Californian auction in 2014 for a record $1.35million. It remains the biggest-ever fee paid for a motorcycle at auction.
Two iconic Captain America bikes were made for the 1969 film, ridden by actor Peter Fonda who played Wyatt in the Dennis Hopper-directed movie, and also Jack Nicholson. Different models were ridden by Fonda’s co-star Hopper in the US road movie.
Dan Haggerty, who also starred in the film, previously confirmed that the bike sold at the 2014 auction was authentic, claiming that he’d personally rebuilt the vehicle after it was wrecked while filming the movie’s explosive closing scene [via E3 Spark Plugs]. The movie’s other three bikes, as outlined above, had been stolen and sold for their parts after filming had wrapped, Haggerty claimed.
But ahead of the 2014 auction, Haggerty was then reported to have retracted his statements. Despite confirming that he had signed official documentation confirming the validity of the bike for the auction, he then said he was wrong: “That was my mistake. It’s not the real bike” [via This Is Money].
Fonda also dismissed the bike from the 2014 auction, telling reporters at the time: “There’s a big rat stinking someplace in this.”
But Dan Kruse, owner of the auction house that bears his name, said the bike being sold at the upcoming auction is valid. “This motorcycle is part of both American film history and automotive history too. It is a legend and is one of the iconic symbols of the 1960s.
“It represents a longing for a simpler life, one of adventure and the open road. It would grace any automotive collection be it private or in a museum.”
A spokesperson for the sale told This Is Money: “We are satisfied that this bike is the one rebuilt after its crash and thus the only surviving bike of the four originally purchased for the film.”