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Clark Gables Knucklehead

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  • Clark Gables Knucklehead

    I heard this story about Clark Gable's Knuck many years ago and I'm curious if it's true, and if anyone can verify it. I was acquainted with Joe Hassett but never heard the story from him. The story is; Joe Hassett was in Jacksonville, Florida and went to an auction of un-claimed lots at a storage warehouse. The lots were briefly described and he chose to bid on a lot that listed a motorcycle. He won that lot for a good price and figured if it was anything from junk to Whizzer, it was a good deal. Needless to say he was delighted with his purchase, and shocked to find out it was Clark Gable's motorcycle. . . . Great story if it's true, however, it is true that Joe Hassett owned Clark Gable's Knucklehead so how much of that story is true?

    https://www.speedville.com/clark-gab...y-knucklehead/
    Eric Smith
    AMCA #886

  • #2
    Interesting Eric! But that write-up doesn't say what happened to the 1942 after it was wrecked, I would imagine that even in 2002 a bike with that provenance would have been repaired by Joe Hassett or his family, or sold to someone for repair and restoration?
    Pisten Bulley is Harry Roberts in Vermont.

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    • #3
      Joe Was A Member Of the Lake Erie Chapter& the Last Time I Saw The Bike Was In Display We Used To Have At The Packard Auto Museum I Warren,Ohio,Which I Believe Was After The Accident. The last Time I talked To Him Before He Passed, He Told Me He Had Sold His Entire Collection, Which Included A "Cold" 36 Indian Four & A (?) Chief To A Fella In Canada

      Rick Stambaugh # 2472

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      • #4
        I remember Joe's Indian 4 which he brought to the Florida meet at Howard Johnson's on Lee Rd., Winter Park. That is where I met him in a group with Charlie Carter (past editor of the magazine), and Bud Cox (past treasurer). It was one of those 2 guys that probably told me the storage auction story. Thanks for the update, Rick. Rest, and ride in Peace, Joe.

        Harry, I was thinking the same thing. Regardless of condition, that bike would have knocked the socks of 'Old Greenie' in Vegas I have to believe it is in some very wealthy guy's private collection; and I mean private, and wealthy !
        Eric Smith
        AMCA #886

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        • #5
          At one time it was in a collection at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas (or at least a really good copy of it was!). I saw it there around the late '80s. After the wreck repairs I purchased some bits that had been replaced from a seller in a Hemming's ad. Hadn't thought about it in years. It was around the time I had acquired my 42FL.
          Robbie Knight Amca #2736

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          • #6
            Howdy chaps,

            For some of the newer folks who didn’t know him he typified what you might call the typical more involved antique enthusiast in the 70s through the 90’s before they began to age out of the riding segment of their involvement. A tall large strapping soft spoken gent, a retired roofer with a hand shake grip that would bring you to your knees, I rode around with him at Daytona Bike Week for for a number of years. His favorite was riding his very shiny 36 Four (more in a moment) sporting a huge Indian headdress, a picture of him can be seen on the net riding just south of Main on the beach.

            Besides swooping up that Knuckle he bought a perfect OP 41 4 with its original spark plugs from new very inexpensively and then…….as was popular at the time, totally “restored” it which was meant to be lots of chrome for curb appeal. That black white walled machine was featured in Buzz’s Indian Illustrated from the Indian Day he used to host at the Klassix museum. He also had an equally shiny 348 which the last time I saw him was sitting next to it at the Four meet in Tiffin, now no longer able to ride.

            The 36-4. Harley use to take over the downtown auditorium for entire week of Bike Week. Maybe the late 90’s, stroll in there and an m/c art collection is on display with the artist fresh over from France for the first time and being introduced with much fanfare. Francois Breure Over his shoulder I see a newly completed featured piece, it is the first print of a run off of the painting and the color very sharp in contrast to the posters of same on hand. Had to have it, but he said you’ll have to wait until next Saturday to get it as I’ll need it for display. This was in the era when all 600,000 attendees were still clustered on the island rather that spread out to nearby towns. No chance of riding downtown to get it, instead ride my bicycle 11 miles round trip in soft sand on the beach to get it. Asked how he came up with that theme he said he had seen pictures of Joe riding it and never having been to the US but knowing it was very large he picked a location from the cowboy movies he watched as a child for this desert scene. It’s 19 by 29 and excuse the shadowing caused by the sky lights in my shop.

            Cheerio,
            Peter
            #6510
            1950 Vincent - A Red Rapide Experience

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Rubone View Post
              At one time it was in a collection at the Imperial Palace in Las Vegas (or at least a really good copy of it was!). I saw it there around the late '80s. After the wreck repairs I purchased some bits that had been replaced from a seller in a Hemming's ad. Hadn't thought about it in years. It was around the time I had acquired my 42FL.
              I also remember seeing one at that museum.

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              • #8
                Clark had several homes and kept bikes at each of them.
                Be sure to visit;
                http://www.vintageamericanmotorcycles.com/main.php
                Be sure to register at the site so you can see large images.
                Also be sure to visit http://www.caimag.com/forum/

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