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By Kelsey Peters
Special to the Herald Times
RANGELY | Ken Gross has been the guest curator of fine cars in fine art museums for 12 exhibitions across the country. He has attracted more than a million automobile and motorcycle enthusiasts—many who are “observing such automobiles in a different light.”
Gross looks for historic machines with iconic owners, designers or drivers such as the Crocker motorcycle. Albert Crocker was born in 1882 and was behind the design and construction of the Crocker motorcycle. He received his engineering degree from Northwestern University’s Armour Institute—an engineering school.
These machines were designed to be durable and powerful as well as nimble and fast. A parallel valve engine was recorded to hit a speed of 136.87 mph on June 19, 1940. Though there were only 31 Crocker Speedways and 72 Crocker V-Twins that ever built (during a six year period), by 1942 war work constrictions meant that Crocker could no longer produce motorcycles. Crocker did not resume production post war.
Where in the world would an exceedingly rare Crocker motorcycle be found? In our small town of Rangely, Colo., of course. Rangely isn’t the middle of nowhere, but we can see it from here.
Local resident Bud Striegel, owner of the Rangely Automotive Museum, has been contacted and asked to lend his 1938 Crocker Small Tank motorcycle to one of Gross’s exhibitions. Striegel’s rare and valuable motorcycle will surely roar past other vehicles at the 2018/2019 “DRIVE! Iconic American Cars and Motorcycles” event, where, according to the press release, “guests can fall in love again with cars and motorcycles that defined the first half of the 20th century.”
Striegel’s Crocker will be on display for the exhibition at the Taubman Museum, a respected fine arts institution in Roanoake, Va., from Sept. 8, 2018–Feb. 3, 2019, among many other iconic and classic machines.