Fans of ’70s TV will remember the hit show Happy Days. Everyone’s favorite cool biker was known for his leather jacket, “aaayyy” catchphrase, signature thumbs-up, and motorcycle. Arthur Herbert Fonzarelli — aka Fonzie or the Fonz — was one of the most merchandised characters of the time.
Recently, Fonzie’s 1949 Happy Days motorcycle sold at auction for $230,000. We’ve got all the details on the bike and the buyer.
The Fonz became a pop culture icon
The ’50s-era sitcom Happy Days aired from 1974 to 1984. Arguably the most popular figure on the show was Fonzie. He started as a minor character in the first season. When ratings sagged in Season 2, showrunners added more comedy and placed more emphasis on the cool biker guy.
The changes paid off because Happy Days became the top TV series by 1976. And Henry Winkler, who played the character, became a Hollywood celebrity. The show also spawned the successful spinoffs Laverne & Shirley and Mork & Mindy.
The Fonz’s motorcycle was one of the most anticipated items in the Winkler-themed auction that took place earlier in December.
Fonzie’s 1949 Triumph Trophy 500 motorcycle
Experts anticipated that the famous motorcycle, a 1949 Triumph Trophy 500, would sell for around $120,000 at the auction. It actually went for $231,562 to celebrity entrepreneur Richard Rawlings, TMZ reported.
The star of Discovery’s Fast N’ Loud explained that winning the bike was a tribute to his father, who has Alzheimer’s. As a kid, Rawlings and his dad watched Happy Days together. He said his father used to wear a jacket that looked like Fonzie’s and rode a bike too.
And like the Fonz, his father had swagger.
Rawlings recalled that his father once rode up to his school’s carnival on his motorcycle. Dressed in his leather jacket, his father set up a kissing booth among the bake sales tables and games. It was a big hit with the PTA moms.
Though Rawlings didn’t score the original outfit Fonzie wore on the show (it sold at the auction for $75,312), he has the motorcycle. He said he plans to ride it a few times before placing it in his new “Monkey Trap,” which will feature many cool memorabilia items and cars from his various shows.
The bike’s final destination is in the front window of Richard’s home because it’s an important connection to his father.
Interestingly, the motorcycle went missing after the show ended in 1984. It was first auctioned at Bonhams in 2011. It sold for an impressive $179,200 at Julien’s Auctions Hollywood Legends in Las Vegas in 2018 before returning to the market in 2021.
Other famous vehicles up for auction
Remember K.I.T.T. (Knight Industries Two Thousand) from the ’80s show Knight Rider? The famous automotive co-star to David Hasselhoff’s Michael Knight talked, self-drove, and executed jumps in turbo-boost mode. It also boasted an impressive array of weaponry.
For several years, the actor had his own K.I.T.T. tucked away in his personal collection. Recently, Hasselhoff put it up for auction, according to Car and Driver.
He had the 1982 Pontiac Firebird Trans Am converted into a K.I.T.T. car. It doesn’t have weapons and doesn’t talk. But all the special lighting is there on the dash. It sold for $300,000 in January.
In August, the Academy Award-winning actor Tom Hanks sold four vehicles from his personal collection, according to The New York Times. The most anticipated item was a 34-foot Airstream travel trailer produced in 1992. It sold for $235,000, which is impressive considering it wasn’t as well equipped as a new model.