Oley, Pennsylvania Antique Motorcycle Meet April 23-25, 2009

By Dick Shappy

I look forward to attending the Oley Penn­syl­vania antique motorcycle meet each year, and I find it to be the best source on the east coast for acquiring those hard-to-find pieces that are needed to finish a difficult vintage motorcycle restoration. Of course, we all agree that the Davenport, Iowa meet is, by far, the best. But we love Oley.

Oley is a little town in middle eastern Penn­syl­vania with a population of 3,500 located right next to the town of Fleetwood where the Fleetwood Body Company produced custom automobile bodies from 1909 to 1931 for makes such as Bentley, Cadillac, Duesen­berg, Fiat, Lincoln, Mercedes, Packard, Pierce Arrow, Reading, Rolls Royce, and Stutz. Fisher bought the company in 1925 and moved it to Detroit in 1931. It was later integrated into General Motors.

According to people who have been attending for many years, this year's meet was exceptionally full of those extremely hard-to-find parts. It seems that the bad economic times are forcing collectors to dig into their cellars and attics and home display cases, and bring out their treasures to offer them for sale.

Dave Minerva's diamond frame Indian
Dave Minerva's diamond frame Indian

Many rare vintage motorcycles are also brought out with "display only" status, but there are always some very rare and exceptional pieces available for sale. I usually don't come home empty-handed, and this year was no different as I was happy to purchase two very rare motorcycles. Thanks go to guys like Vince Martenico and Mike Wolfe who scour the countryside every day 24/7 looking for these prizes to make them available for sale to guys like me. Others who are experts in locating these rare items are (in alphabetical order) Dale Axlerod, Billy Campbell, Lonnie Isom Jr. and Sr., Dave Lightner, Dave Minerva, and Andy, Dick Ollhoff, John Szalay, and Mike Terry just to name a few.

Mike Wolfe brought an all original 1912 Flying Merkel which had to be bought (we have ten now), and Vince Martenico sold me his 1912 Emblem twin. Photos of these two bikes are attached. I'm happy to have taken a few snap shots to capture at least a small part of this year's activities. See you at Rhinebeck and of course Davenport.