No one truly knows from where the Fonz drew his mystical powers of coolness. Was it the hair? The jacket? What gave Fonz the ability to pound jukeboxes into functioning? To literally jump sharks on water skis?
It’s a decent bet that Fonz’ 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 motorcycle may have had something to do with it. And now, the vehicle that Henry Winkler made famous in the opening credits of “Happy Days” can be yours; the bike will be auctioned on Nov. 12 at the Petersen Automative Museum in Los Angeles.
Now for the reality check. The motorcycle has a smashed speedometer, it’s rusted, the seat is sagging and it hasn’t actually run since the 1970s. Also, Henry Winkler once famously told Cycle World that he is “scared to death of motorcycles. That’s how good an actor I am.”
So why would anyone want this disappointing bike? It turns the coolest person associated with the ride is not the Fonz, but rather Bud Ekins. Ekins was a famed motocross rider of the 50s and 60s; Ekins performed the legendary barbed-wire fence jump in “The Great Escape,” doubling for his friend Steve McQueen. And also, he was friends with Steve McQueen, which is a resume pont in and of itself.
Ekins provided “Happy Days” with the TR5; he initially lent producers a Harley-Davidson, but since Winkler wasn’t riding (he was literally pushed by crew members), the producers opted for a smaller ride.
So Ekins pedigree along with the Fonz’s popularity sprinkled with a dash of rarity makes this bike a collectors item. The pre-auction estimate is $60-80,000. Not bad for a junker that hasn’t run in 40 years.