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Ventura County

Owners Rev Up Vintage Cycles

Hobbies: Collectors show off their classic motorcycles for judging at a two-day show in Ventura.

July 02, 2001|TIMOTHY HUGHES | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Bob Boyd loves his old motorcycles so much he sleeps with them parked on the carpet at the foot of his bed.

It may sound strange to the uninitiated, but to Boyd and hundreds of others who displayed their vintage motorcycles at Seaside Park in Ventura on Sunday, these vehicles are their lives.

Vintage-motorcycle lovers lined up their bikes at the Antique Classic Motorcycle Show and Exchange for judging in one of 20 categories. Among them: best vintage, best unrestored and best sidecar.

Some of the old bikes gleamed as though they had just rolled off the showroom floor, despite being more than 70 years old in some cases.

Others, heavy with rust and chipped paint, looked like they'd emerged from deep inside a long-untouched garage.

In all, 200 classic bikes were judged at the two-day show, which included nearly 200 booths hawking everything from Harley-Davidson knives and scarves to the services of a Santa Ana man who billed himself "the motorcycle attorney."

Show organizers estimated that the event, which featured a short-track vintage motorcycle race Saturday night, drew nearly 7,000 people.

Boyd, 48, a Camarillo contractor, said he spends his days off chasing down hard-to-find parts for his collection of antique bikes. He protects his 1948 Whizzer and rickety 1919 Indian like they're his children.

The two bikes are worth nearly $40,000 between them, Boyd said.

"But they're worth more than money to me," he said. "They're worth happiness."

He fired up the two-seat maroon Whizzer, which was only made for four years after World War II. As the engine came to life, Boyd smiled and revved it.

He and others at the show were sweating the details in hopes of winning a prize.

Judges Larry Ramos and Dave Carleton said historical purity is key to bringing home a trophy.

"We're looking for motorcycles that work, not works of art," Carleton said, crouching to examine an entry.

While judges walked the grounds with pens and clipboards, participants browsed for rare engine parts or chatted with old friends.

It's all part of the enduring motorcycle culture, said David Hansen, owner of The Shop, a cycle business in Ventura and the sponsor of the event.

"Old motorcycles are part of our history, and it shows people where we have been and where we have progressed," Hansen said.

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