Ohio Motorcycle Takes Another Spin in History

thor-motorcycle-allen-musExcerpt from a past edition of OhioTraveler

Several years ago, Dean Edward, a local motorcycle enthusiast, was amazed to discover that the Allen County Historical Society owned a vintage Thor motorcycle. Excited by the rare bike’s discovery, Edward contacted Dale Walksler, CEO of the Wheels Through Time motorcycle museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina.

The 1912 Thor motorcycle belonged to Ralph Marshall, former Allen County Sheriff, board track racer, 1936 Olympian, and Marshall Sporting Goods store owner.  As a young man, Marshall raced the bike locally and in surrounding counties.  His donation to the Historical Society included the original bill of sale and the bike’s travel case.

Later, Walksler contacted Allen County Museum director Pat Smith to request permission to enter the Thor into the highly prestigious, world-class Amelia Island Concours d’Elegance car and motorcycle show in Florida. The theme for the class was “Orphan American Motorcycles,” allowing the world to see America’s lesser-known brands. Ten rare machines, ranging from a 1904 Yale to a 1914 Flescher Flyer, were then displayed. All machines were at least 100 years of age.

The award for preservation and provenance, going to the original machine with the best-documented history, presented by Concours Board Member John Duss, went to the stunning 1912 Thor Board Track Racer.  Walksler stated that “the 1912 Thor is among the world’s most original early racing motorcycles.  It is preserved in original paint, with original racing saddle, “Blue-Streak” racing tires, chains, and number plate.”

The bike soon returned to the Allen County Museum with its original racing crate, shipped from the factory to its owner and from race to race.

The Thor was also featured in an episode of “What’s in the Barn.”  The television series can be seen on the Velocity Channel and on the Discovery Channel.

Click here to learn more about the Allen County Museum’s many unique relics.

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