There aren’t many famous movie cars or motorcycles more iconic than Fonzie’s Motorcycle. Arthur Fonzarelli, from the hit TV show, Happy Days, is the embodiment of cool (at least by 1950s standards, by way of the 1970s.) He snaps his fingers, bangs his fist on inanimate objects, and only utters “eeyyy,” and magic happens. Three totems act as the source of The Fonz’s powers; his perfectly quaffed hair, the leather jacket, and most importantly, Fonzie’s motorcycle, a custom Triumph Trophy TR5, which is currently listed on Bonham’s auction site.
What was Fonzie’s motorcycle in Happy Days?
At the risk of repeating myself, Fonzie’s Motorcycle in Happy Days is a custom 1949 Triumph Trophy 500, but there is more to it. The Fonz often spoke of his motorcycle as the thing that was the main source of his power of coolness. There is a good reason for this.
Fonzie’s motorcycle was not just a rad vintage Triumph; it was a rad vintage Triumph built by motorcycle legend Bud Ekins.
Bud Ekins was an acclaimed motorcycle racer, stuntman, and builder. According to Silodrome, Bud Ekins is the rider who jumps the fence in The Great Escape, and he did most of the stunt driving alongside his friend Steve McQueen in the cult classic Bullit. If that wasn’t enough, he also won dozens of gold medals at many of the most prestigious motorcycle racing events at the time.
Arthur Fonzareli needed the perfect motorcycle
Happy Days co-star, Henry Winkler, had to be the coolest version of 1950s cool ever to exist. To make the character complete, he had to have the perfect motorcycle. Ekins decided that the high school dropout would have to have something cheap but cool. The Triumph TR5 was perfect, but this was the time of hot rods and custom bikes.
The Fonz’s motorcycle couldn’t just be a stock bike. In all, three motorcycles were built to identical specs. Ekins’ creation featured higher “buckhorn” handlebars, a custom seat, a front fender delete, and a few other modifications to make sure they looked correct for the period and, most importantly, cooler than the other side of the pillow. The bike ended up looking like the desert sleds McQueen used to race.
Silodrome mentions that Bud Ekins retained ownership of all three of Fonzie’s motorcycles and rented them to the show. As with many picture vehicles, filming wrapped, and two of Fonzie’s motorcycles mysteriously disappeared and have never been seen again. The other bike went missing for years but was eventually tracked down by Cycle World writer Wendy F. Black.
The last remaining of Fonzie’s Motorcycles is going to auction
You better get your Jukebox hit dialed in because Arthur Fonzarelli’s motorcycle can actually be yours. According to Motor1, Fonzie’s motorcycle went for auction via Bonhams in 2011. It later went on to sell for an astonishing $179,200 at a Julien’s Auctions Hollywood Legends event in Las Vegas in 2018, and it’s now back on the market in 2021.
It’s worth mentioning that a few years ago, this same bike went unsold on eBay for the asking price of $100,000. However, the market for collectibles, in general, but collectible vehicles, specifically, has changed a great deal over the last few years. Bonhams has officially listed the bike and has given it an estimated value of $80,000-$120,000. Frankly, given the insane auction prices lately, the coolest motorcycle on Earth will likely go higher than that.
Considering the legendary status of the beloved Happy Days, the iconic-ness of The Fonz, and the origins tracing back to THE Bud Ekins, Fonzie’s motorcycle has to be, scientifically, the coolest motorcycle in the world.
I knew if it were me who ended up with this bike, I would never overcome the urge to snap, pop my collar, and proclaim, “eeeeyyyy.” Something tells me I wouldn’t be the only one to carry that cross.