Crocker Motorcycles

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search

The Crocker Motorcycle Company was an American manufacturer, based in Los Angeles, California, of single-cylinder speedway racing motorcycles from 1932, powerful V-twin road motorcycles from 1936, and the "Scootabout," one of the first modern styled motor scooters, in the late 1930s. Production ceased in 1942. In 1999 a new corporation was formed to manufacture replica parts, and now produces complete Crockers in kit form, following the original specifications.

Original Crocker company[edit]

This 1941 Crocker sold for $230,000 at auction in 2007.
Crocker engine

Over 30 speedway motorcycles were produced before Al Crocker began work on creating a V-twin motorcycle. The first V-twin entry for Crocker had a 61 in³ (1,000 cc) "Hemi Head" producing 55-60 hp, exceeding the horsepower produced of both the Indian and Harley of the day (38-40 hp). Many Crockers were manufactured to order, with the 91+ cubic inch (about 1,491 cc)being the largest capacity production motorcycle of the time. When production ceased in 1942, approximately 100 of the V-twins had been produced in all. The remaining inventory of parts were sold in 1947 to Elmo Looper. Many of these parts went into restorations of the surviving examples, of which at least 68 exist today, according to a registry started by Charles "Chuck" Vernon and Johnny Eagles, two members of a group of original Crocker owners in Southern California. Although total production of all models is not known, it is thought by some to be around 200 units (about 40–50 speedway, 40–50 "Scootabout" scooters, and 100+ V-Twins). Al Crocker also produced an overhead valve conversion kit in the late 1920s for the Indian 101 "Scout".

The proprietor and founder of the company, Albert Crocker, ceased motorcycle production in 1942 when the war effort put a shortage on critical materials. Indian and Harley received contracts with the US Army for military motorcycle production and Crocker got a contract with Douglas Aircraft making aircraft parts. That became a more lucrative business than Al Crocker ever enjoyed with motorcycle manufacturing, and in 1942 Crocker Motorcycle became Crocker Manufacturing. Crocker later sold out to a company named Borg Warner. Al Crocker died in 1961. Designer of many of the components, Paul Bigsby, went on to fame as a designer of guitars and particularly of the Bigsby vibrato tailpiece.

Because of their rarity and quality, Crockers are among the most expensive motorcycles an enthusiast can acquire.[1] At the MidAmerica Auctions motorcycle auction in January 2007 in Las Vegas, a 1941 Crocker big tank motorcycle sold for $230,000. At the Gooding & Co. auction in 2006 in Chandler, a 1931 Crocker 61 sold for $236,500. At the Bonhams & Butterfield 2006 auction in New York, a 1937 Crocker "Hemi-head" V-Twin brought $276,500. At the 2006 auction of Bator International in California, a 1939 Crocker 61 cubic-inch side valve model sold for $200,000.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Paul Garson (May–June 2008). "The Crocker Special". Motorcycle Classics. Retrieved 2009-08-07. 

External links[edit]