American Pickers returns for a whole new season tonight on History — as Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz’s most expensive ever pick brings them face-to-face with a rare Ace motorcycle.
The premiere episode sees the team head to the Pacific Northwest to what can only be described as gearhead guy heaven, following a tip phoned in to their co-star Danielle Colby.
The episode is called The $90,000 Question — and the title pretty much spells it out, with the guys uncovering one of the rarest motorcycles in the world.
But the pair need to raise the roof money-wise to seal the deal.
In the episode Mike gives us the crib notes on the Ace Motor Corporation, which first went into production in 1919 and was based out of Philadelphia.
Tragically, the upstart bike company’s main engineer and owner William Henderson died while test-riding one of the firm’s bikes, the Ace Sporting Solo, in 1922 when he was hit by a motor vehicle.
The company then wrapped production two years later in 1924, before the Indian Motorcycle Company bought the firm in 1927.
When Frank and Mike get to the location in Oregon, we meet Zane and his mom Linda.
Through b-roll and lots of grainy pictures of Zane’s late hot rod-loving dad Larry, we see a man who loved cars and unusual and arcane models of motorcycles, with his vast collection potentially up for sale.
It’s an emotional episode as Zane explains to Frank and Mike the whole history of his collection. This is the perfect pick for our guys who love hard-to-find cars and bikes.
Admiring a hot rod truck, which Larry hand-painted with a skull, Mike says: “I can truly appreciate your father’s passion with his art,” adding, “It was scary cool!”
The first barn building we go into with the guys and Zane is filled to the rafters with all kinds of bikes and cars.
A rare Frazer Vagabond car bought for $99 and a shot of whiskey is shown first. Zane recalls a family trip to Idaho in the vehicle, which was considered the gold standard for American luxury made affordable for the middle-classes.
In complete awe, Mike says: “Everything in this barn is visually stimulating to me.”
Fans of this series know that anything pre-WWII in motorbikes lights up Mike’s brain. He spies an Indian! Zane says he is willing to sell. The guys begin to dance. Mike adds: “This would be such a great bike to do!”
Then things quickly go from great to holy Toledo amazeballs!
The guys hit another barn on Zane’s property filled with old Indian motorcycles and Mike spots a rare Ace four-cylinder bike.
It’s considered the Holy Grail of antique motorcycles. Frank knows Mike wants this bike.
“We’ve never spent this kind of money on a pick,” says Mike, as Frank lays it out on all the things they want to buy.
Frank says: “We’re talking $85,000-90,ooo!”
They would hope to later find a buyer and recoup their cash, but these guys know each pick is an educated gamble.
Zane’s dad Larry picked the Ace up in the early 1960s, when it was being stored under somebody’s porch in Portland.
Thankfully, the highly collectible bike was spared being junked during the World War II years when metal drives destroyed a lot of unused motorcycles.
Mike and Frank have been burned by large purchases before, and this would be their biggest yet.
But will they buy it? There’s only one way to find out…
American Pickers returns tonight, Monday, April 10, at 9/8c on History.