Rare 1916 Traub Motorcycle on display in Maggie Valley, North Carolina. Photo credit: ride apart.
Wheels Through Time Museum Showcases Rare Motorcycles. Seventeen of the world’s rarest bikes will be on display for a limited time. Dale’s Wheels Through Time Museum will celebrate 17 years of operation in Maggie Valley with an exhibit of 17 of the rarest bikes in its collection.
The unique site is nicknamed “The Museum That Runs” because every motorcycle, auto or machine in the collection can fire up and run. In fact museum staff regularly cranks up to 20 different bikes for visitors each day it is open. Owner Dale Walksler, who opened the North Carolina site in 2002, dedicates the first week of July to celebrate the goal of educating visitors about the importance and history of American transportation. This year the museum plans a special exhibit of 17 vintage cycles including the museum’s crown jewel 1916 Traub, the “world’s rarest motorcycle.” This treasure was discovered inexplicably bricked up behind a wall in Chicago, Illinois in 1968. Hidden from view for more than 50 years, the Traub is truly a one-of-a-kind classic American motorcycle and the only example of its kind ever found. According to motorycycles.com the Traub was bought in 1972 by Bud Ekins, famous for his work as Steve McQueen’s stuntman. Ekins later sold the Traub to collector Richard Morris who then sold it to Walksler in the mid 1990s. Walksler, who has been riding, working on, and collecting classic American cycles for more than 40 years, is passionate about the unique machine (which is still ridden on a fairly regular basis) and is quoted as saying that “everything inside the engine is just magnificent.” The machine is shrouded in mystery. There are no photos or documentation, nor has anyone claimed knowledge of it’s origin. Unique in construction, the machine features hand-made pistons with ap-less cast iron rings. Dale is quoted as saying that the engineering and machining were “years ahead of their time.” Without any documentation, Dale was able to date the bike by many of the motorcycles off-the shelf parts that include a Schebler carburetor, a Bosch magneto, a troxen jumbo seat and unique wheel rims.
The museum’s collection also includes a 1917 Henderson four-cylinder motorcycle that was once ridden by Maldwin Jones in an attempt to set a 24-hour speed record in Ohio. Others on exhibit include an experimental 1941 Harley Davidson Shaft-Driven Knuckle-head Servi-Car, one of only 17 built for the United States Military. For 17 days prior to the Fourth of July, museum staff will fire up one of the rare bikes each day. The celebration continues with a special Saturday, July 6 when all 17 of the world’s best machines will all be started during the day-long festivities.
The 17th anniversary weekend runs July 4-8 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m… Admission is $15 for adults and $7 for children aged 6-14. Discount rates for senior citizens and military veterans are $12.