Otis Chandler motorcycle
collection merits review

March 03, 2000
Santa Paula News
A show of shows will be roaring into Santa Paula when the California Oil Museum and Santa Clara Valley Bank co-host a Chamber of Commerce mixer introducing “Rare Motorcycles from the Otis Chandler Collection” on March 8th. This special preview reception for chamber members and local residents will offer the first glimpse at this spectacular new exhibit, and be held from 5:30 to 7 p.m.The opening reception for the general public - also sponsored by Santa Clara Valley Bank - for “Rare Motorcycles from the Otis Chandler Collection” will be March 12th, starting at 2 p.m.Otis Chandler, former publisher of the Los Angeles Times and President of the Vintage Museum of Transportation & Wildlife, has lent the California Oil Museum (the former Santa Paula Union Oil Museum) some of his most dazzling and historically interesting motorcycles, said curator John Nichols of the Sespe Group.“You’ll see Steve McQueen’s [the late actor was a Santa Paula resident] favorite motorcycle, a gorgeous, carmine red, 1942 Indian Scout,” said Nichols. “You’ll be amazed to see a 1902 California motorcycle that completed the first motorized trip across the United States.”And that’s just two of the exhibits in this unique look at the world of the rare motorcycle: a 1919 Harley-Davidson proved its metal by mapping Death Valley for rail routes and hotel sites before Death Valley had roads. “This rugged Harley was also the first vehicle to climb Mt. Baldy,” said Nichols.If you’re a fan of customizing, you’ll enjoy the Orient motorcycle restored and customized by the father of pinstriping and flames, the legendary Von Dutch. The late artist was also a Santa Paula resident.Whether a hot-shoe or history buff, a 1929 Harley and 1929 Indian motorcycle, similar to the two bikes ridden to warn Santa Paula residents of the St. Francis Dam collapse, will be sure to fascinate.
Rare motorcycle photos, artwork and memorabilia from the Brucker collection and other private collections complete the exhibit.“Rare Motorcycles from the Otis Chandler Collection” continues at the California Oil Museum - located on the corner of Main and 10th streets in historic downtown Santa Paula - through May 21.The museum is open Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is free, but donations - $2 adults, $1 children - are requested and appreciated.For more information, call the museum at 933-0076.

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