Last night’s episode of “American Pickers” was titled “California Kustom.” Frank Fritz and Mike Wolfe, are the professional hunters who travel across the country picking through rusty gold; those hidden treasures covered with rust from age. That rusty gold is what keeps them in business, buying low and selling high, but even they find things that they do not want to part with.
In the last episode, they bought a Lambretta scooter and are visiting an expert in scooters. Barry is the expert in the area and knows his stuff. He told them the Lambretta was made between 1952 and 1955 as a utility vehicle. Never marketed in the U.S., this one was worth from $4,000 to $4,500 and they only paid $2,250 for it.
As Danielle struggles to find leads for Mike and Frank, a friend comes in the shop and has some leads in California. Dave calls the guys and gives them the name of Dan Haggerty, who played Grizzly Adams in the late 70s. Dan’s son builds motorcycles and right in front of his house were two awesome bikes. Dan actually worked on the bikes for the movie “Easy Rider,” that changed the world’s conception of the motorcycle forever. Dan carved a driftwood table about twenty-six years ago with an image that resembled him. Dan puts high prices on his items, and it seems like it will be difficult to make a deal with him. They found the painting that Dave wants, with Dan sitting on the shovel head motorcycle that Dave owns. Dan agrees to sell the painting for $3,000 and an old Bavarian door for $1,000. Dave agreed to buy the painting for $4,000 leaving the “American Pickers” with a $1,000 profit.
Dan Haggerty also gave them the name of his friend, George Barris, the King of Kustom, who designed the Batmobile. They nearly fell over when Dan offered to call George for them. George was not available right then, so they called Dave to see if he had any other leads. He hooked them up with Sean, who had motorcycles and old bikes, a bit of a trip, but hopefully worth it. Sean has been happily stockpiling stuff, but selling very little of it. A pedal car is the first sale, although smashed in the front, a sale for $125. Sean wanted too much money for some of his stuff, but they are willing to persevere. They found a coin-operated camel ride they just had to have and got it for $1,000. Frank got a 1985 Kawasaki Police motorcycle for $1,500 and a Speedway bike for $1,800. Sean was happy and so were the guys.
They finally got to meet with George Barris and his daughter at their shop. George was an illegal street drag racer who rolled through the streets with the cops chasing him. George did the original Porsche for James Dean and had designed the Munster’s car, with ten carburetors, and all four models of the Batmobile. Mike asked if he could sit in the original car and felt like a kid all over again. Kapow! Bam! Wow!
George used a Lincoln Futura concept car as his model and when Ford got tired of the car, sold it to George for a dollar. When they heard the reproduction of the Munster’s car start up, the ten carburetors were deafening. If they can walk away with a piece of George’s collection, their trip will be worthwhile. George agrees to sell an artist’s depiction of an early Batmobile concept from his collection for $1,000. Frank found more artwork of the Munster’s and got it for $2,000. Then the absolute piece de resistance; a car that George and his son built for Eddie Munster. Made from a 1923 T-bucket, built to look like a coffin, with a spider web grill and chain link steering wheel. They bought it for $5,000.
They drove back to Iowa to give Dave his painting. It hung directly over the bike, and Dave was thrilled and appreciated Dan’s generosity allowing this to work of art to hang over another work of art; with a little help from his friends, the “American Pickers.”
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