Friday, July 31, 2015

Dave Hardin - Empire Motorcycles

1953 Triumph Pre-Unit T100 Tiger 500cc National Champion - I'm posting this one primarily for the Pacific Northwest tie in. I hadn't even heard of Empire before. There's a lot of history to know up here.
"I was told... when I heard a Triumph scream like nothing I had ever heard before, that would be Dave Hardin." - Excerpt from Dale Richardson, letter included in memorabilia.

 This machine was built, ridden, and previously owned by National Champion Dave Hardin. Hardin is respected as one of the best Triumph motorcycle race engine builders of the era. In the 1950s and 60s, he owned Empire Motorcycles in Spokane, WA., a Triumph dealer. Dave Hardin and his bikes are legendary in the Pacific Northwest. He built serious competition bikes for hill climbing, quarter mile flat track and cross country racing. The pre-unit T100 seems to be set up for hill climb, but it could also be set up for other types of competition. This is a motorbike that Dave raced and put into storage over 50 years ago. This competition motorcycle has not been changed or modified from the way it was left by Dave.

The T100 sports the rare close-finned alloy head and barrel as well as many custom modifications by Hardin. The Tiger Cub has a very rare oil cooler, alloy front rim, removable swing arm extension and many other modifications. It has not been run since the 1960's but the engine and transmission moves freely. 

This sale also includes memorabilia - A copy of a poster made by Triumph motorcycles celebrating 1st & 2nd place wins on Hardin's machines; a photo of Dave Hardin and Dale Richardson with one of his Triumphs; a letter written by Dale Richardson, Dave's friend and Triumph racer; a 1966 news article about one of Hardin's many victories; a photo given to us by AMA National Champion Joe Kopp, of his father Bob Kopp, competing on one of Hardin's Triumphs; and additional information about him.


Unknown said...

Dave Hardin was a good friend. He converted an old Milwaukee Railroad Station into a cabin at Sales Montana, and we went up there regularly to ride our Yamaha 175's all over the mountains. Never saw him fall once, even when he was in his 70's. He was an excellent machinist, and after he closed up Empire Cycles, he bored cylinders, rebuilt crankshafts, and did valve jobs for motorcycle shops all over the Northwest. Hud Winslow, Silverton Idaho

BitMonkey said...

Great stuff Hudson. Thanks so much for taking the time to share.

triumphken said...

I ran across this article on Dave Hardin and was pleasently surprised when I saw the color photo of me with my 1961 TR-6 Triumph. Dave built the engine on this bike up for me and it ran very well. I raced with and counted as friends the likes of Gary Hite, Dick Ascol, Buddy Stoltz, and Darrel Triber from the Spokane area as well as racers like Rolly Hall and Jack Cameron from the Tri-Cities. Those were good days and I think about them quite often. I always admired Dave and his expertise as a rider and engine builder. He was truly a neat guy.

Kern Phipps
Yakima, WA

Anonymous said...

Sorry. I misspelled my name. It is Ken, not Kern.

BitMonkey said...

Thanks for taking the time to comment Ken. Super cool stuff.

Ken Phipps said...

Does anyone know the whereabouts of Buddy Stultz? I would love to make contact.