By PETER TERLICK
Long may they gather dust
THERE’S a motorcycle collector who lives in Western Australia who infuriates many of the people who know him.
His lifelong passion of accumulating motorbikes has resulted in a breath-taking collection of more than 400 machines, some of them long-forgotten, some of them now highly-sought-after classics that would be worth a pretty penny.
But if your idea of a bike collection involves temperature-controlled accommodation, pristine or concourse restored machinery and buckets of polish and tyre gloss, we suggest you look away now — or perhaps prepare yourself to become one of the infuriated.
We have visited Tom (“everyone calls me Toad”) and his bikes before, of course. Long-time readers will have seen our article and photos from several years ago and, to save us all time and energy, others are invited to read the fascinating back-story here.
We recently found ourselves at Toad’s property again, this time joining the Ducati Owners Club of Western Australia for a visit.
Not much had changed since we last visited. There were quite a few bikes we hadn’t seen before — an Alron 400 caught our attention, there was a just-purchased Mondial arriving the day we visited, and we know a 1970s Rokon has rolled in recently — but the display was mostly just as we remembered.
Once again, we overheard some folks expressing dismay at the fact that Toad’s bikes are unrestored and that there are no plans to restore them. They are “as found”. Many are beyond salvation. If it looks like some of them have just been dragged from a rubbish tip, well, you’d best read that backstory we mentioned. Because, yes — quite a few of them really were dragged from a rubbish tip, albeit not recently.
Toad makes no secret of the fact that he is a collector, not a restorer, and that his collection will remain precisely as it is until he’s pushing up daisies. And when that day comes, there will be one memorable auction as hundreds of dusty old bikes go under the hammer.
But while some people might look forward to that day (that’s the auction, not Toad pushing up daisies!) it occurred to us it will be a very sad day indeed.
Because there is no other collection like this. There will almost certainly never be another. And spending a couple of hours walking around Toad’s property, spotting long-forgotten and/or long-desired bikes showing their age in all their dusty and rusty splendour, is truly one of our greatest motorcycle memories.
Long may they gather dust.