What would you do if you came across this?
Tucked away in Lockport, New York is a building housing a huge collection of abandoned motorcycles. It’s like every enthusiast’s dream come true, to stumble across a collection of vintage bikes which have sat undisturbed for a long time. There is floor after floor of complete motorcycles, engines, gas tanks, and many other parts scattered throughout the rooms like bodies strewn across a battlefield. Some of the bikes left behind could be worth small fortunes, yet they’ve just sat alone, gathering dust and rust.
Watch a biker eat it hard while trying to outrun a Porsche here.
Discovered by YouTuber Chris Luckhardt before YouTube was a big thing, the man explored this treasure trove without taking or disturbing anything. It’s almost like he’s an archeologist carefully documenting a situation born out of motorcycle culture, something which none of us might ever experience firsthand.
Being careful while exploring the collection was necessary. As you’ll see in the video, the building which is an old warehouse has literally fallen into disrepair. Holes have opened up int the floors, spilling motorcycles and parts below. Sections of the walls have also collapsed. It’s not only a tomb for bikes but could easily become the final resting spot for humans if they aren’t careful.
The natural thing to wonder every time you com across any barn find motorcycle situation like this is how did so many bikes get gathered into one location? And why would anyone just leave these iron steeds to rot after making the considerable effort to bring them together under one roof?
Sometimes the answer is a case of hoarding mentality, a very real psychological condition which compels people to gather stuff and just keep it, whether it’s old newspapers and glass bottles or vintage motorcycles. However, this is a completely different story.
Luckhardt describes the situation in greater detail in the video, which I recommend you watch because it’s fascinating, but basically this is a situation of the unintended consequences of heavy government regulation. This warehouse was purchased by a man who ran a successful motorcycle repair business. He would keep non-working bikes and parts in storage in the facility since he didn’t have room in his shop. Eventually, he sold the collection to another man who intended to keep the successful business running.
What the local government saw was an opportunity. The new business owner felt the taxes being levied against him were unfair, so he simply refused to pay and abandoned the building. Realizing they were getting stiffed, city officials seized control, condemning the rotting edifice. The bureaucrats didn’t care one whit about the motorcycles inside, so everything just sat.
That’s not where the story ends. The owner successfully sued the city and was given a window of time to remove what he could from the building. Now, if you’ve ever had to load a bike which hasn’t moved in a long time onto trailer, or even worse into a pickup bed, you know that can be a difficult task. Sure, some of these motorcycles probably don’t weigh much, but others look pretty hefty. Plus, there are hundreds of them. The logistics of transporting all of this stuff would be difficult to take on.
The video was taken during that window of opportunity for the owner to get his stuff out of the building, so we don’t know how much he was able to cart away. Luckhardt does mention the owner arranged to sell some of the items, so people were showing up to remove those legally.