Annual vintage motorcycle show hosted at ECC over the weekend

Faces gleamed all around as people walked across the vast parking lot with their phones in hand, taking pictures of every vintage motorcycle that caught their eye.

“Look at this one,” they’d exclaim.

Each motorcycle, with a personality of its own, told a unique story through the colors and designs.

The 42nd annual Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet was hosted at El Camino College by automative show company Topping Events, in association with Classic Cycle Events, Saturday, Oct.12 in Parking Lot F.

Due to construction that has been occurring at ECC, the vintage motorcycle show was moved to Irwindale, CA for about six years until the upper level of ECC’s Parking Lot F became available to rent in 2018.

“It’s been a real pleasure working with El Camino,” Topping Events co-founder Marshall Topping said.”They’re just great to work with, and we hope that they appreciate our contribution.”

These motorcycle shows first started through The Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA), which was founded in 1952, chapters within the club and individuals that were motorcycle enthusiasts, Topping said.

David Vonflue gets ready to leave the Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet on his Harley Davidson motorcycle as the show comes to an end on the upper level of Parking Lot F at El Camino College on Saturday, Oct.12. Vonflue has been attending the show for about 20 years. Viridiana Flores/The Union

But during a time where the show slowly died down for a few years and good vintage motorcycle shows in Southern California were scarce, Topping Events helped establish a monthly bike show and swap meet.

However, these monthly events featured new motorcycles and parts, in addition to the vintage bikes.

Topping said thats when he was approached by other people in the industry to put on a show that could give motorcycle enthusiasts a place to go and “bring out the really good, really rare motorcycle that don’t come out every month or all the time; a place for other people that are into this kind of these thing can come and see what everybody else has got and see what there building, and restoring.”

Some motorcycles categories included: Antique/Vintage American, 1940 and Older, Japanese Motorcycle, 1983 and Older, Power Bikes and Scooters, 1983 and Older and Barn Find- Complete/Original/Unrestored all 1983 models.

But just like their motorcycles, each owner had a unique background story as to how their interest began.

“It’s really a love affair with vintage motorcycles, most of the people out here, 95 percent of them aren’t making money doing this,” Topping said “It’s not a business to them, it’s a real passion; vintage motorcycle are like art, you know, it’s what they are.”

A 1937 Indian Sport Scout is displayed near the entrance of the Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet at the upper level of Parking Lot F on Saturday, Oct.12. The motorcycle belongs to the co-owner of Topping Events Marshall Topping. Viridiana Flores/The Union

Topping himself owns a 1937 Indian Sport Scout and a rare 1950 Vincent Comet, with only 11,000 of these bikes produced by Vincent Motorcycles over an eight year period.

Bob Mitchell, an attendee displaying his four-cylinder 1929 Indian motorcycle, said he has been attending the show for about 18 years.

Mitchell said he spent about seven years looking for the pieces to put his bike together, taking him three years to restore it once he did.

At one point in his life, Mitchell was even offered $130,000 for his motorcycle.

“I couldn’t take it,” he said.

Scott Wirth, who brought his 1954 Ariel Square Four won “Best in Show” and “People’s Choice,” in the Bobbers and Choppers class.

His father first bought the motorcycle in 1963 and began working on it on 1969 but after his mother became pregnant, the project was put to a halt, boxing up the bike pieces for almost 50 years, he said.

Wirth later inherited the bike from his father and finished restoring it just in time for the show.

Scott Wirth’s father sits beside his son’s 1954 Ariel Square Four which won “Best in Show during the 42nd El Camino Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet on the upper level of Parking Lot F on Saturday, Oct.12. This was their first time coming to the show. Viridiana Flores/ The Union

The event came together through a collaboration of motorcycle lovers, enthusiast and Topping Events’ effort of going to shows to share information about their event beforehand.

“They’re just a bunch of other clubs and groups of people that love vintage motorcycles,” Topping said. “Without their support and help getting the word out, you know, it wouldn’t work. We couldn’t do it without them, so it’s a big plus having the other people that in the industry supporting the event.”

As the event came to a close after the contest, some owners worked together to pack up their motorcycles in trucks while others simply jumped on and rode off, the roar of the engines decreasing ever so slightly.

“Today was great, we [had] a great representation of bikes, all different types of bikes, different eras of vintage bikes, racing bikes,” Topping said. “A lot of people came out and most of the people were smiling and telling us thank you on their way out.”