When Danielle bought a 1935 Indian Chief motorcycle for $8,000 she didn’t have the guys there to help her evaluate it.
A disaster was declared. How to remedy it? Restore it and take it to Sturgis, a motorcycle Mecca.
The History Channel’s American Pickers is typically about Frank and Mike’s journey on the road, finding treasures to resell at their two stores.
In this special, entitled “Sturgis or Bust,” they were doing something way out of their comfort zone.
They were seeking help to get parts and restoration services for the Indian Chief classic bike.
Why? Because Danielle’s price was way above what it should have been for what amounted to a skeleton of a bike.
Frank is leery of the project. “Restoration? That’s normally not our thing, but in this case that could be our only hope.”
You know what else isn’t their normal “thing”? Being in the business of selling a piece of memorabilia as a finished product. They are buyers from others who restore and collect.
That became a huge issue as the bike started to take shape, but so was the compressed time frame. They were taking it to Sturgis to sell.
Will they get it done in time? With less than seven weeks to get the right people to do it for the right price, the Pickers were out of their minds with anxiety.
Danielle’s bad decision came about when the guys were on the road and the ’35 Indian classic was ready to go to another bidder.
Frank and Mike took her apart when they saw what they paid for.
Danielle had said it was missing the tanks and other items, but failed to say that the parts on the bike were not all authentic.
After she stormed out of the shop, the guys realized they had gone way over the top. Their apology was accepted and now they were back to a three-person team to accomplish their task.
Rick Dale, a friend of the Pickers who does high-end restorations was called on in an emergency, but he gave the guys heartburn, not help.
Telling them that including rebuilding the engine the total job would run them $25,000, Rick listened as they blew their tops.
Instead, Mike and Frank subbed out the engine job and told Rick he had a budget of $17,000 in total.
Off the engine went to a North Carolina pal of the Pickers who operates Wheels Through Time.
He’s a master restoration artist and they know he’ll come through for them. It will cost $3,000 for his work.
Then came the other bad news. Original parts were scarce on this accelerated time frame. Were reproduction parts good enough? No way Jose.
To get the right parts Mike and Frank had to out-fox professionals like them and the clock was ticking to Sturgis.
It took another $1,000 to get the right tanks. With expedited shipping costs of $2,000 the Pickers needed $30,000 just to break even.
It wouldn’t repay the stress and aggravation of the process but then again….they got to go to Sturgis.
The finished product was sweet, but until they knew what they could get for it, the guys were still having heart palpitations.
To the rescue came two execs from the Indian Motorcycle company, looking to design something that tied their modern product to their history. They haggled with the Pickers who settled on a final price of $35,000
As Frank said, “This is the first time I’ve been to Sturgis and not had a good time.”
Hard not to know that no other restoration projects are in the cards for them.