(posted May 25, 2012)
The Antique Automobile Club of America Museum is proud to announce the April 3rd opening of its next major motorcycle exhibit, "Dusty Jewels: Off-Road Motorcycles of the 1970s." This exhibit features more than 20 motorcycles that tell the story of off-road motorcycles of the 1970's.
The 1970s were the "high water mark" of interest in motorcycling in the United States, and a unique variety of manufacturers world-wide supplied America with motorcycles. Prior to the decline in motorcycle sales in the 1980s and 1990s, many diverse factories produced models that were both functionally cutting-edge and aesthetically very different from one another. Prior to the modern decades of motorcycles being essentially identical, with differing paintwork, designers and factories in the 1970s were still "figuring it out." This decade was marked by the invention of long-travel suspension, classic frame geometry, and the development of the lightweight two-stroke engine. These factors together contributed to the creation of the first modern off-road motorcycles — the basic design of which is utilized today. 1970s motorcycles also reflected design trends from the various countries of manufacture. Machines of the 1970s were truly varied in their execution, and most of this innate character could be traced to aspects of the cultures that made them.
"Dusty Jewels" explores the off-road aspect of the 1970s motorcycle boom in America, and particularly highlights the aesthetics of these bikes . Among the many exquisite machines on display will be: BSA, Rickman, and Sprite (England); Maico and DKW (Germany); Ossa, Montesa, and Bultaco (Spain); Puch (Austria); Harley-Davidson, Penton, Yankee, and Rupp (USA); CZ (Czechoslovakia); Yamaha (Japan); and Husqvarna and Monark (Sweden). The exhibit will feature examples of the most beautiful off-road motorcycles ever made, as well as commenting on the transformative events of the 1970s, both within motorcycling and in the culture at large.