‘American Pickers’: The Epic Story Behind Mike Wolfe’s ‘Holy Grail’ VW-Powered Motorcycle Find

by Megan Molseed

“American Pickers” host and creator Mike Wolfe has a talent. The picker, collector, and television host can enter almost any home, attic, garage, junkyard, basement, or barn and quickly spot the most valuable piece in the room.

Sometimes, that valuable piece is a neat little find among scraps. A find that may be special to a certain someone or be worth just a little bit more than originally thought. Other times, the item turns out to be a priceless diamond in the rough. An item that is beyond valuable because of its origin, story, creator, or the item’s even former owners.

While Mike Wolfe finds any valued piece in his antiquing journeys, there are certain items on his list that intrigue the “Picker” more than others. At the top of the “American Pickers” list? Bikes. Classic bikes, motorbikes, racing bikes, or antiques…you name it, Mike wants to look at it.

So when the “American Pickers” host received a call from someone whose properties he had once “picked” through telling him of potential a one-of-a-kind VW-powered motorcycle built by the legendary Von Dutch sitting in a barn, he knew he had to check it out.

As soon as the antique expert arrived to look over the bike, he knew he had found something beyond anything he could even imagine.

Too Good To Be True?

At first, noted a recent article in Antique Archeology, the “American Pickers” star didn’t believe that this bike could possibly be fully powered. But, after some quick online research, Wolfe became convinced that he was about to find something extremely valuable. And, as soon as he arrived at the spot where the bike was stored, he had no doubt the find was as amazing as he had been told.

The collector made a deal on the spot. And, Mike Wolfe soon became the owner of the unique and practically priceless bike built by the legendary Von Dutch. In fact, the “American Pickers” star has called the bike his “holy grail” of finds.

Now, we know that Mike Wolfe doesn’t fool around when he finds something as great as this find. But, what is it about this particular bike that makes it so invaluable to the “American Pickers” collector?

‘American Pickers’ Fans Know the Famous Name

A lot of us have heard of Von Dutch in one way or another. Watchers of the hit History Channel show have learned over the years that anything with the name “Von Dutch” attached to it has enormous value.

History Channel buffs have heard the name many times over the years. A gunsmith, knifemaker, artist, motorcycle mechanic and so much more, Von Dutch’s items have been known to sell for a shocking amount in many collectors circles. Additionally, Von Dutch’s pinstriping art has added enormous value to motorbikes across the globe.

And this bike wasn’t any different.

It is said that this unique machine was built from scratch in 1966. Assembled by Von Dutch himself. Using discarded pieces he found in junkyards and pairing them with pieces he himself designed, the talented artist created one of the most unique pieces of motorcycle equipment collectors have found.

Since purchasing the bike, Wolfe has placed it on display in a variety of locations. Including the “American Pickers” Antique Archaeology stores; and the National Motorcycle Museum, located in Anamosa Iowa.