3 Hollywood-famous bikes that you can add to your motorcycle collection
What do Henry Winkler, Paul Newman, and Peter Fonda have in common—besides the fact that they’re all entertainment icons? Here’s a not-so-obvious answer: motorcycles.
Although the three weren’t all motorcycle enthusiasts—Winkler couldn’t even ride when he scored the part of Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli in Happy Days—they each portrayed a motorcycle-riding character in the movies or on TV. And three of those Hollywood bikes are up for grabs through Heritage Auctions’ Automobilia, Transport History, and Mechanical Models online auction, which ends May 25.
This Triumph Trophy TR5 500 (frame TC11198T / engine TR59016133) is one of three that were used by “The Fonz.” Although Arthur Fonzarelli was originally scripted as a bit player, TV watchers just couldn’t get enough of the loveable greaser with a knack for catchphrases and a way with the ladies. And we can thank his jacket for giving the Triumph more screen time. No kidding.
Winkler originally wore a tan windbreaker in early episodes of Happy Days, but the writers wanted to make him more edgy, so they swapped the windbreaker for a black leather jacket. TV censors balked—hey, it was the 1970s—as they determined the jacket made Fonzie look like a hoodlum. So ABC cleverly circumvented the issue by including the motorcycle in as many scenes as possible so the leather jacket would be deemed necessary safety equipment.
This Triumph is one of three (including a 1952 model we wrote about earlier) that were used in filming the show. Originally owned by Hollywood stuntman and racer Bud Ekins of Great Escape fame, the ’49 was customized so Winkler could handle it easier, and the 500cc classic became synonymous with the Fonz.
Presale estimate is $80,000–$120,000. Don’t be surprised if the new owner celebrates by saying “Ayyyyyyyyyy.”
This Škoda was given to Newman specifically for his role as Hank Stamper in the 1971 movie Sometimes a Great Notion, a film adaption of Ken Kesey’s novel that Newman directed himself.
CZ, a branch of the Czech car company that previously manufactured weapons, began building street motorcycles in 1932. Known for its powerful two-stroke bikes, it had a run of six consecutive Grand Prix World Championships from 1964–69. But CZ couldn’t fend off the rise in popularity of Japanese motorcycles and ultimately sold itself to Cagiva, which went bankrupt four years later in 1997.
This bike, which carries a pre-auction estimate of $30,000–$50,000, comes with a signed letter from J.N. Roberts, Newman’s stunt rider, as well as a letter from CZ importer American Jawa Ltd. to Universal Studios, both of which confirm its authenticity. Although this CZ 250cc may not be considered a Hollywood legend, Newman was, and he also became an accomplished racer. That makes this bike special.
Peter Fonda is the third-most famous actor in his family, behind father Henry and sister Jane, but there’s no doubt that he rode one of the most famous bikes in Hollywood history. This bike, however, isn’t the iconic red, white, and blue chopper from 1969’s Easy Rider; it’s the 1968 Bultaco Pursang 250 MKII that Fonda (as “Wyatt”) rode in the movie’s first scene.
One of two used in filming, this 250 MKII (frame 48-00510 / engine 48-00510) is a powerful 250cc, air-cooled, two-stroke competition model that Heritage calls “a winner in virtually any type of high-speed-based, off-road event.” The boattail 250 MKII generated 34 horsepower and was thought to be the fastest 250 in 1968.
With a pre-auction estimate of $50,000–$70,000, the bike includes the original Bultaco Western delivery invoice to Pando Company/Peter Fonda, dated April 4, 1968. Maybe you can’t have the most famous bike that was on screen in Easy Rider, an iconic anti-establishment film that became the voice of a generation, but this one is a solid (and less expensive) alternative.