• Oct 9, 2011
Classic television fanatics and motorcycle aficionados alike can rejoice in the news that the Triumph Trophy TR5 ridden by one Arthur Fonzarelli in "Happy Days" has been found lurking in a motorcycle shop. The bike effectively vanished after the sitcom wrapped up in 1984, leaving collectors to assume that the machine met an unpleasant end at a scrap yard. The Fonz's motorcycle was originally owned by stuntman Bud Ekins, who kept the Triumph after filming shut down. You may remember Elkins as the man behind many of Steve McQueen's stunts, including the famous barbed-wire fence jump in The Great Escape.

Ekins held onto the bike until 1995, when he sold it to friend Marshall Ehlers. Ehlers purchased the old Triumph on the notion that the machine was simply a fairly well-preserved example and didn't know that it had any ties to one of America's most iconic TV shows. Now that the bike's origins have been established, it's headed to auction in Los Angeles on November 12, where it's expected to bring in north of $90,000. Hit the jump for the full press release.
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Fonzie's Motorcycle From Happy Days to be Auctioned

"Famous double-headline bike was owned by legend Bud Ekins."

The 1949 Triumph Trophy TR5 Scrambler Custom ridden by The Fonz in the television hit series Happy Days will be one of the highlights at Bonhams' upcoming Classic California Sale in Los Angeles.

Happy Days, the beloved American sitcom that aired for ten years from 1974 to 1984 and attracted millions of viewers each week, helped launched the career of such actors as Ron Howard, Scott Baio and Henry Winkler. Winkler's character, Arthur Fonzarelli – known famously as The Fonz and Fonzie – was initially just a secondary character that became so popular with fans he was soon made the central figure of the show. As the epitome of cool, the motorcycle-loving Fonzie, dressed in the stereotypical garb of The Wild Ones, spawned countless wannabes among the youth of America and became a cultural icon that still resonates today. And Fonzie's motorcycle, a customized Triumph, was owned off-screen by another cultural icon, Bud Ekins.

The late Bud Ekins was famous as a motocross racer, Hollywood stuntman (he's the one that made that legendary motorcycle jump over the barbed wire fence in The Great Escape), and as Steve McQueen's best friend. With his warehouse of hundreds of motorbikes, Ekins was the go-to man in Hollywood when producers needed two wheels. So when the people from Happy Days called, it was Ekins who determined what the coolest guy on TV should be riding. Taking an old Triumph in his collection, he simply removed the front fender, replaced the handle bars and spray painted the tank silver and, violá, the Fonzie bike was born. Of course, no one had any idea of just how popular the show would become or the magnitude of fame Winkler's character would achieve.

This now iconic emblem of American pop culture will be offered by Bonhams at their annual Classic California Sale, held November 12th, at the Petersen Automotive Museum in Los Angeles. Renowned for offering property from famous actors each year – Steve McQueen, Charles Bronson, Clark Gable and Bruce Willis, to name just a few – this autumn auction is not to be missed by aficionados of pop and custom culture and entertainment and automotive history.


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  • 95 Comments
      throwback
      • 3 Years Ago
      Besides the TV tie in, these bikes in original form are pretty rare these days.
      tojohnmiller
      • 3 Years Ago
      Here's a fun fact: the ABC cencors hated Fonzies leather jacket because it made him look like a hood. If you see early episodes of Happy Days, he wore a tan windbreaker. Gary Marshal and the other show producers knew Fonzie had to wear a leather jacket to look cool. They convinced the network that the leather jacket was essential in keeping motorcycle riders safe, so most of Fonzies scene's were around his motorcycle. When the show became popular, the network eased off on the leather jacket, letting Fonzie wear it all the time - even when water-skiing over a shark.
      droptheredpill
      • 3 Years Ago
      BTW, that bike got more air time than Chuck Cunningham! LMAO!
      Pam Miller
      • 3 Years Ago
      I'd like to see Henry Winkler buy that bike, and keep it. It's "Fonzie's" bike, no one elses.
        droptheredpill
        • 3 Years Ago
        @Pam Miller
        Hate to say it Pam, but, I'm SURE Winkler wouldn't want anything to do with it! He'll have nightmares! lol
      tykwondoka
      • 3 Years Ago
      If some Guido rode around Milwaukee on a Triumph in the '50's someone would have gave him a whoopin' for shure.
      P
      • 3 Years Ago
      It's Bud EKINS. Well known stuntman. Bud "Elkins" was probably Bullwinkle's stunt double...
      Commander
      • 3 Years Ago
      650cc...shifter on right, foot brake on left..opposite of Harleys and a few other obsolete American bikes..had a 650 Triumph..great bike..out ran a cop car back in '60.
      JR
      • 3 Years Ago
      Would be worth a lot more if he would have used this to "jump the shark".
      Phillip
      • 3 Years Ago
      Rode the bike once and last time. Accidently gunned it and slid it down beneath a truck. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K6om6cg8HN8
      budwsr25
      • 3 Years Ago
      I always thought he drove a beater bike. I quess I never really noticed what the motorcycle really was.
      julaugsept0ctnov
      • 3 Years Ago
      I love my Triumph.
      1040advocate
      • 3 Years Ago
      so...wheres the proof that was the bike?..or is someone making a so called claim...?
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