Brando’s Harley Sells For $256,000
The late Marlon Brando didn’t just portray and influence the biker lifestyle in The Wild One, he actually was an avid motorcycle enthusiast in his personal life long before the 1953 hit movie. One of his rides just fetched over a quarter-million dollars at a Julien’s Hollywood Legends auction. The 1970 Harley-Davidson FLH Electra-Glide, with black sheet metal and “gangster whitewall” tires, had only 13,859 miles on the odometer when it was purchased by a lucky, and apparently well-heeled, enthusiast for a staggering $256,000.
Mr. Brando bought this sled on April 8, 1970, and was the original owner, leaving it pretty much stock and keeping it in very good condition. The engine is what the old boys called a “Shovel-Pan.” It had the Shovelhead top end with the old Panhead bottom end, evidenced by the peanut-hull shaped gearcase cover on the right side that accommodated the generator drive gear that ran off the cam gear, as opposed to the nosecone-style cover used on the later Shovelheads that replaced the generator with an internal alternator housed within the primary-drive cover.
This detail adds a bit of rarity to the bike, in addition to the star power bestowed upon it by its original owner, especially since the 1970 FLH model is listed as having the nosecone/alternator setup. This makes me believe that either this is not the original engine, or perhaps it is actually a 1969 ½ (maybe?) sold as a 1970 model. Whatever the case, the new owner must be tickled pink to score such an interesting and iconic sled. I only hope that said owner actually rides it (carefully) and doesn’t relegate it to a museum display.
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Why It Matters:
There was a time when Alfa-Romeo and Harley-Davidson were the only two vehicles that actually appreciated in value when they were bought; everything else depreciated in value the instant you drove it off the dealer’s lot. Granted, this was mainly because of the much-maligned “waiting list” used by Harley dealerships in the 1990s, but the end result was the same, a Harley in hand was worth more than one in the bush, as it were. Having said that, the price on this ride far surpasses this artificial price boost, and shows the lengths collectors will go to in order to own their own little slice of history.
I wonder if the "Brando" tag came with it.