Acclaimed MC motorcycle collection crosses the auction block

0
767
Mecum moved its temporary museum-style display into the South Point arena to showcase the MC Collection that crosses the auction block January 25 | Larry Edsall photo

In 1957, Swedish teenager Christer Christensson bought his first motorcycle, a Husqvarna Silverpilen, or as he put it Thursday in Las Vegas, a “Husky Silver Arrow.”

“Of course,” he added, “I was hooked.”

Hooked is putting it mildly. After taking several years for “building up my life,” Christensson started collecting motorcycles. At first, he focused on British bikes “without knowing what I was going to do with them.” 

But he discovered what to do with them in 1997 when he was in New York City and attended the acclaimed “The Art of the Motorcycle” exhibit at the Guggenheim art museum. 

Christer Christensson is selling part of his collection | Mecum Auctions photo

Christensson went back to Sweden, built his own museum — inspired by the design of his beloved Silver Arrow — and started displaying his bikes as the pieces of art, mechanical sculptures, he believes them to be. He also started collecting more seriously, seeking “particular, special bikes” and of all brands “as long as they are beautiful,” he said. 

He also purchased some brand-new motorcycles to showcase while adding a restoration shop to refurbish the older bikes he was buying, often early (1920s and ’30s) American-made machines that originally had been purchased by people residing in Sweden and Norway; they were put way during the long winter season and thus had been well-preserved, and often handed down from generation to generation. 

And now, at age 78, Christensson has consigned nearly 240 motorcycles from his collection to cross the block Friday, January 25, at Mecum’s 28th annual motorcycle auction at the South Point hotel and casino in Las Vegas.

RELATED:  Barrett-Jackson readies second online collector car auction for July

Among Christensson’s collection are quite a few American machines, Harley-Davidsons and Indians, and he notes that Indian became successful when Oscar Hedstrom moved from Sweden to Massachusetts and joined George Hendee in producing his bikes.

Christensson still has many motorcycles back in Sweden, but is downsizing and moving what remains of his MC Collection of Stockholm to a new location. He said he chose Mecum for the sale because of the size of its Las Vegas motorcycle auction and for the way the auction company would market his collection. Mecum turned its Las Vegas storage facility into a temporary motorcycle museum in November to showcase the MC Collection.

“I am 78 and at least am trying to slow down,” he said, adding almost immediately that while he’s selling more than 200 bikes, he’s also buying a few.

Still buying, he added, “that’s a problem. It’s a sickness.”

A sickness, he hopes, that infects bidders Friday at the Mecum Auction.

 

Advertisement
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here