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2018 - AMCA Meeting 2018, Raalte, NL

2018 - AMCA Meeting 2018, Raalte, NL

Clearly we’re not talking about the endless green pastures where tasty wheels of cheese are being produced, we’re talking about the annual meeting of the „European Chapter of the AMCA“. AMCA as in Antique Motorcycle Club of America. This year’s motto “Export Green” was referring to the typical green paint job on Harley-Davidson’s export models in the 20s and 30s.

But what the AMCA members rounded up at the American Motorcycle Museum in Raalte/NL for this year’s show was far more than just a breathtaking exercise in Harley-Davidson paint history:

The place was crammed with the finest examples

of historic bikes, many of them sporting the original paint from way back when. O-ri-gee-naall! On machines with almost 100 years on the log. Even the most hard boiled enthusiasts had to breathe slowly in and out for a minute with all those gems lined up. It’s not often that you can scrutinize a ’36 or ’37 Knucklehead from close up, in a condition that maybe can be found in the H-D museum, if at all. Not to mention the singles, IOEs from the 10s and 20s, V-models, 45s, the whole gamut of a company’s proud manufacturing history. The wet dream of Harley aficionados.

On the same outstanding quality level,

and quite possibly even rarer: all the other makes from both sides of the pond, as is the custom with AMCA: Indians, Emblem, Excelsior, Henderson etc. The parking lot around the museum was at capacity even on Friday morning.

To round things off, friends of vintage metal could browse the days away on the amazing swapmeet, as usual brimming with hard to find hardware for American motorcycles. Having a look round is true fun, much better choice here than at Germany‘s biggest market for vintage vehicles, Veterama, where the really good finds are rarer than a speedo needle in a haystack. Even better yet, when, after having been looking for it for a long time, just the right side half of a tank is sitting there in its original paint and glorious remnants of pinstriping. Collector‘s bliss, but that‘s Raalte for you,

High point of the proceedings for the painstaking

restorer of legends: the Judging. The well-founded judges aren’t likely to overlook the smallest detail, even a not-quite-period-correct washer can lead to a lost point, which really hurts. Most of the entries had been prepared to imaculate conditions though. The judgings caused much joy (and raised vehicle values). Perfection starts at 95 (from possible 100) points, resale values soar or drop accordingly. The numerous high scores set the mood for the party, the summer temperatures helping along brisk sales of beer, and the many conversations centering around the old machinery were well oiled. The weekend barreled along into Sunday, when it was time to say good-bye again. Quite a few members rode their old steeds under their own steam, homeward bound. In the rear view mirrors they had a meeting that was way bigger than it seemed. Well done, AMCA.

Next year, same spot, new motto: „Four Cylinder Bikes“. See y’all in 2019, last weekend in May.