Wednesday, June 29, 2011


AU member, Chuck Myles, gave us this wonderful look into the past.  He shared information and photographs of a vintage motorcycle + pigeon carrier used in World War I.  An article published in the American Iron Magazine in December 2005 provided background on this historically significant machine.

This 1917 Harley Davidson with pigeon carrier is reported to be the only one in existence, and housed at the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

According to the museum, vintage bikes housed there are started and driven daily.  This one is no exception.

Apparently Steve McQueen, at one time, obtained the bike from one of the movie studios.  The gentlemen that owned the bike had all the documentation, including McQueen's auction paperwork.

The left side of the tank was the original 1917 olive drab military paint and decal work.  The right side of the tank was repainted and marked with what appears to be WWII detail.  It is supposed that the marking allowed for "double duty" of the bike in WWI and WWII movies, depending on which side of the bike faced the cameras.  The bike had a few brackets that were at first unidentifiable.  A few years later at a motorcycle meet, it was discovered that a rare messenger pigeon carrier was available.  It is the only Cygnet (Cygnet Car Carrier Company) pigeon carrier known to exist.  When matched up with the motorcycle, they were found to be a perfect match.  It seems the bike and carrier were actually a unit that had become separated over time.

For pigeon fanciers and wartime history buffs, this is a must see if you are ever in that area of North Carolina.