*Still Down But Not Out

*Le Scooter

*Motor Auction

*Tired of Riding Alone?



by Victor Wanchena 

Still Down But Not Out
Most of you are probably rather tired of hearing about Excelsior-Henderson. But the saga is far from over and E-H is far from dead. For those of you who have forgotten the events of the past year here’s a quick recap. In September of 1999, E-H laid-off half of its work force in attempt to save cash. The Super X was in production but the company wasn’t turning a profit. Not too long after that the rest of the work force was let go. E-H had spent close to 100 million to bring their bike to market and was now out of money. In December E-H filed for bankruptcy and began an attempt to reorganize. E-H founders Dave, Dan and Jeanie have been shopping around for someone to infuse cash into E-H. The rumors have been flying like moths around a light bulb. The more credible ones included Artic Cat and Harley-Davidson both eyeing E-H. In late March E-H announce that they had entered into a tentative agreement with a party only identified as E-H Partners. The details of the agreement were kept rather sketchy but the deal was reportedly for 12.5 million with all of E-H’s creditors getting in line for a piece of what ever money is left. Now a recently filed reorganization proposes a board of directors to include three Floridians. Deborah Dentry, Fred Cohen and Norman Taplin along with Dave and Dan Hanlon are the proposed members of the board. The three Floridians continue only to identify themselves as E-H Partners. In the deal Dan and David Hanlon would also receive five-year employment contracts for 150K per year. The bad news is the deal would liquidate any interests stockholders have in E-H. The stock, which sold for as much as 10.75 only a year ago, is currently listed at roughly 70 cents.

Le Scooter
This past month automaker Renault, best known in the U.S. for it’s luxury coupe the “Le Car” and Benelli, not really know for much other than being a great marquee form long ago, have joined forces to create a new line of scooters. The Benelli name was relaunched in 1997 by Italian concerns and currently holds 6% of the European scooter market in the 50cc to 250cc range. The scooters will be branded with the Renault name but will incorporate technology and designs from both firms. The first models are expected to be available in 2001 and are to be marketed worldwide. Look for exotic designs stemming from Renault’s Formula One experience, like electro-magnetically operated valves or pneumatic shifting.

Motor Auction
On Saturday, April 14, MMM attended the 12th Annual Mid-America Motorcycle Auction at Aldrich Arena in St. Paul. If you’ve never been to an auction, they are quite the spectacle. Throw in approximately 160 “vintage, classic and special interest” bikes, and you have the fixin’s for quite an event.

Even if you weren’t buying, it was well worth the $5.00 admission. No matter what your taste or interest, there were interesting cycles to see (or buy.)

Like old British iron? Highlights included a ’35 BSA 500cc, museum quality restoration; two interesting Nortons, a’51 Model 7 (sold for $5,000) and a ’51 Manx (bid up to $19,500, no sale;) as well as three ’50’s Velocettes..

If the gentleman prefers things Italian, you could have bid on a ’48 Gilera Saturno, (sold for $7,000;) a ’75 Laverda SF, (sold for $3,100;) or your choice of three recent Ducati’s.

For those looking for modern, reliable transportation, several bargains were available. How about a non-butchered stock ’82 Kawasaki GPz 550, sold for $1,050? Or, for the cruiser fan, a nice ’84 Honda Magna, sold for $1,000.

Also present were examples of “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.” $750 for a ’70 Arctic (Cat) Prowler mini-bike?!? Or no sale @ $17,000 for an Excelsior Henderson?

These and other bargains were yours for the bidding. Mid-America’s cycle auction is a great kick-start to the Spring riding season. They can be reached at 651.633.9655

Tired of riding alone?
Make God your co-pilot, or at least hedge the bet on your insurance, by attending the 7th annual Blessing of the Bikes, Sunday, May 21, in Lakeville. Presented by Cross of Christ Community Church of Eagan, event highlights include a service that features bikes and riders, a free picnic lunch, parking lot security, live music and motorcycle rides for kids. The event benefits Special Olympics, and a $10 donation is suggested. Location is Kenwood Trails Jr. High, 2 miles east of I-35 on County Road 50, in Lakeville. For more information or directions, call 651.454.5773


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