Fonzie’s 1952 Triumph TR5 motorcycle is still cool and has been brought back to life and runs like it never stopped working AMERiders has your story.
That iconic eeeyyy! catchphrase, most everyone knows it.
Most everyone knows the iconic Eeeyyy, catchphrase, whether you know who the Fonz is or whether you have seen the show Happy Days or not, You’ve still more than likely heard it. Arthur Fonzarelli, also known as Fonzie, or The Fonz, was the ultimate in safe-for-TV cool back in the 70’s and early 80’s on the ABC sitcom, “Happy Days.” It’s possible the iconic character, played by Henry Winkler, inspired an entire generation of riders to buy black leather jackets and motorcycles.
Over the course of the show, Fonzie rode several different bikes. One of which, a 1949 Triumph Trophy TR500. Wait a sec—didn’t Fonzie’s Triumph sell for $179,200 at Julien’s Hollywood Legends auction last year? Yes and no. Yes, a bike that Fonzie rode in the show sold, but not the bike Fonzie rode.
Mick Lynch the owner that bought this particular Fonzie bike says that motorcycle, a 1949 Triumph TR5, did indeed appear on Happy Days, but the ’52 is the primary bike that was used during the show’s 11-season run. “It’s the one in the opening credits, the one in 90 percent of the still shots,” he says. “It’s the bike on the posters, lunchboxes, and Thermoses.” (seen in the above video) and was Fonzie’s ride of choice. It even still sports a dent on the tank from when Winkler, admittedly not a great rider, crashed it.
Lynch, says he stumbled upon this iconic piece of Americana at an auction purely by chance. He was at an auction with his wife but didn’t find anything that he wanted to bid on, so he wandered over to the automotive auction. He knew what he was looking at as soon as he saw it.
Lynch won’t say what he paid for the bike, but only started bidding after another person who had done extensive research on the bike had dropped out. It wasn’t about the money for him.
“I’m a big fan of America and history, and this bike holds a significant place in American pop culture. I don’t buy things as an investment; I buy things because I want to preserve them.” Lynch says.
Lynch left the bike just as he found it, putting it in storage as he began doing research. It wasn’t long before he realized he couldn’t keep something so beloved to himself. Lynch loaned it to the Gilmore museum in 2014. In 2019, he and the Gilmore loaned it to Hagerty. Hagerty displayed it in the company’s headquarters.
In the video Davin, one of Hagerty’s mechanics attempts to get the long-neglected bike running again. First, he dismantles the carburetor. After discovering that some key parts are missing, he orders them and proceeds to work on the rest of the bike while he waits for them to arrive. After extensive work, he finally gets the bike put back together.
Now for the moment of truth. He kicks it twice with no result. On the third kick, something starts to happen. Finally, on the fourth kick, the old Triumph fires right up as if it hadn’t been sitting for decades.
Davin celebrates with a victory lap around the parking lot. Who can blame him? He’s probably the first person to get to ride it since Fonzie himself.
Henry Winkler wasn’t a good rider
Lynch said that he tucked the bike away in storage and dove into learning everything he could about it. He knows, for example, that Fonzie didn’t start out with the Triumph. He had a Harley-Davidson, but Henry Winkler, who played the Fonz, struggled to keep it upright, so the show’s producers switched to a lighter bike (one that Elkins, a respected stuntman who made that epic jump in The Great Escape, helped to procure). Even the Triumph was a bit much for Winkler to handle, however. He crashed it at least once because the gas tanks shows signs of damage.
Below some of the cast and Fonzie (Winkler) talk about Him, the bike, and the Crash,
~And as always…
~Live Free Ride Hard~
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