Friday, November 8, 2013

1953 Triumph Tiger Recovery Continued

Nebraska owner’s bike located in Los Angeles was bound for Japan

Donald DeVault shows a photo of his stolen motorcycle. The 73-year-old Omaha man learned last week that California authorities had recovered his 1953 Triumph Tiger 100.
OMAHA, Neb. — Donald DeVault wonders what kind of memories his Triumph motorcycle helped make in the 46 years since it was stolen, and he’s looking forward to making more of his own when it’s returned.

The 73-year-old Omaha man learned last week that California authorities had recovered his 1953 Triumph Tiger 100 at the Port of Los Angeles. The bike was about to be shipped to Japan when U.S. Customs and Border Protection agents who checked the vehicle identification number discovered the motorcycle had been reported stolen in February 1967.

DeVault said he is eager to get the bike back, but he thinks investigators may be even more excited than him about the motorcycle’s recovery. DeVault had had the bike for only a year or two when it was taken from his fenced backyard.

“I really want to protect it this time,” DeVault said. “I’m sure there’s people out there that would want to take it away.”

The bike was valued at $300 in 1967. The shipping documents listed its value today at $9,000.
DeVault already has a Harley-Davidson and a Kawasaki motorcycle in his garage, so he plans to reserve the Triumph for special ride

The bike was built/restored by Big D Cycles in Dallas, a very well know vintage Triumph shop. I posted pictures of of the bike as the restoration was completed too.

It had a clear bonded title in Texas. Apparently US Customs does a much more intensive search when a bike is going to be exported.

I have hugely mixed feelings about this story . Obviously it's great the owner is getting the bike back after, well, my lifetime. I'm super pleased to hear he still rides. Big D assuredly put thousands of $$$ into a bike they thought was vetted. I hope they came out OK with the title bond. I think when I last did a bonded title I was forced to do one for something like $10,000. Now I know why. I guess the original owner is just ahead free and clear several thousand dollars for the bikes refurbishment which in some ways doesn't seem quite fair. Yet it again it sort of does given that it is HIS BIKE. I feel for the buyer in Japan. I'm sure he was excited and has probably already been waiting months for it to ship. 

It bugs me just a little that so many bikes like this (period style customs) are being exported to Japan. They are a non-renewable resource and a part of America's history. It was American hot rod ingenuity and racing culture that invented these bikes. Japan as a whole seems to have a much better understanding and appreciation for American hot rod culture than most American's do. It's great that the Japanese are preserving a style and seem to really ride the bikes that are imported. Both the Japanese and Americans are guilty of cutting up survivor bikes I really wish were preserved. I guess I should just be thankful they are being appreciated and ridden one way or another.


Vorhese said...

it bugs me a lot

Vorhese said...

let me add it bugs me quite a bit. The yen has more buying force than the dollar and many of us are just being priced out of anything old bike. We can't compete with the Japanese (and others) buyer. And it IS just a trend with them too. there was a time when early 60's Impalas were being shipped to japan like crazy. Now they are making their way back I hear.