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Swap meet offers hard-to-find motorcycle treasures

July 11, 2014

By Jim Witters
Photos by Halley Miller

Dick and Eric Hilderbrant traveled from the Chicago area to see what they could find at the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Swap Meet, presented by Federal Motorcycle Transport, agent for STI.

It didn’t take them long to dive in and start exchanging cash for fuel tanks, brakes, cables, jackets, pegs and other parts.

“We build old bikes,” Dick says. “We’ve been to six meets already this year. And this is by far the best.”

Eric chimes in: “We were told this is the best swap meeting in the country, and they were right. We’ve found everything we were looking for here.”

Eric Hilderbrant digs for gold in the swap meet.

The Hilderbrants operate E&D Vintage Motorcycles, specializing in 1968-1983 Japanese brands.

Their prize finds before midday Friday: a $60 jacket that would sell for $100 or more in Chicago and a Yamaha fuel tank with dual petcocks and gas cap that was only made for two years.

“You can’t find these anywhere any more,” Eric says of the tank. “And it’s relatively clean. I’ve never seen one in this good of shape.”

While the Hilderbrants came to buy whatever they could find, AMA Life Member John Bratschun drove from Batavia, Ill., with a list in hand.

“I need parts for a 1966 Honda S65 Sport, a ’72 CB 175 and a ’75 CR250 Elsinore,” he says. “Last year was my first year here, and I found a lot of good stuff.”

Bratschun was traipsing through the swap meet with a motorcycle tire around his neck and a backpack stuffed with “miscellaneous Harley parts.”

“You never know what you are going to find at these things,” he says. “And you never know what parts you’re going to need.”

Early on Friday, one swap meet visitor found his new toy, a 600cc 1957 Norton Dominator 99.

He kick-started the engine, clamped the paperwork between his teeth and roared off trough the sparse crowds before 9 a.m.

The bike’s seller, Don Blitz of Blitz Motorsports in Middletown, Ohio, says the Norton was “very original and complete.”

“It’s not a show bike,” he says. “But it’s a good bike to ride or restore. I think that guy just rode off on his new plaything.”

The AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Swap Meet is part of AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, featuring Indian Motorcycle, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Complex near Lexington, Ohio.

Don Blitz

If you want it, it's probably in the AMA Vintage Motorcycle days swap meet.

From bikes to boots, it's here.

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