By Jim Babchak / Photos by Buzz Kanter
The future of old bikes belongs to young bucks
There’s growing concern among today’s aging vintage motorcycle enthusiasts regarding the next generation of owners of old bikes. The circle of life has put the baby boomer generation next in line for that big flea market in the sky, and so the question many of those boomers ask today is: will the Millennial Generation (18-35-year-olds) step up to serve as stewards of the aging bikes that are, regardless of what generation we’re talking about, irreplaceable?
Time and again, I’ve walked the aisles and fields at our Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA) meets only to observe that practically everyone I encounter joined the club during the late 1960s or the ’70s or ’80s, an outgrowth of his biker days marked by the maturing of tastes and aided by newfound disposable income. Consequently, there’s a generational cliff starting at about 1990 that we need to backfill and infuse with the love of old machines. We have to do a better job of getting more 20 somethings involved in the old bike scene or many of our most treasured machines will be exported overseas to fuel the growing demand for vintage Americana elsewhere in the world.
Thankfully, Buck (short for Buckley) Carson of Livingston, Texas, is one of the young guns in the club who, at 23 years old, is not only a vintage motorcycle enthusiast, but a leader in the field, making a difference with his energy and efforts among members of his generation. You see, Buck has a weekly Internet-based radio blog show called Classic Chrome on The Road Hawgs Radio Network. He’s heard by 98,000 listeners during his 7 p.m. (Central Standard Time) worldwide broadcast. Each show, he and guests explore topics like old motorcycles and the culture surrounding them, tech-related stories, book reviews, etc. Whatever strikes his fancy regarding the vintage bike scene.
His love for old machines is steeped in his family’s involvement in the sport. His grandfather and dad, Mike (a diehard trials and enduro competitor), were collectors and enthusiasts themselves, and they took Buck under their wings, tutoring him about old iron. First up was a cosmetic restoration of his granddad’s 1982 FLT about eight years ago. That experience fully baked the love for old bikes into Buck’s DNA. Currently, the Carsons’ combined private collection includes about 90 motorcycles, a mix of American, English, and European machines. The assemblage goes by the name Carson Classic Motors and is housed in a 3,600-sq-ft. steel building that’s been expanded many times. I suspect the business will continue to grow exponentially well into the future if Buck has final say in company matters.
The 1931 V model featured here is part of the Carson collection and represents the classic bobber style. The bike came about after a conversation that Mike and Buck had with John Cullere, a noted VL expert and restorer with an extensive collection of VL parts. John had restored a VL for their mutual friend Scott Byrd, and the Carsons loved his work, commissioning him to build this VL bobber. They wanted it built to a 1930s-’40s bobber theme, to be period correct, and bulletproof in terms of ridability.
Read more about the restoration in American Iron Magazine Issue 340!
Also available in digital format CLICK HERE American Iron Digital