Friday, November 24, 2023

RonnieAdventure #0594 - Legends Motorcycle Museum, Springville, Utah

E.J. Potter's "Bloody Mary" and "Widowmaker" Motorcycles

I set my GPS unit for Legends Motorcycle Museum in Springdale, Utah, so I was surprised when I ended up at a retail center made from shipping containers. The center had apparently just opened and not all of the units were rented. Some of the rented units were only open in the evenings. I toured an antique shop that was open and then realized that the Legends Motorcycle Museum was located behind the shipping containers, with no street frontage. It appeared that the retail center and motorcycle museum were under a common ownership.

Rick Salisbury has been collecting motorcycles for years and has one of the most unique collections of motorcycles in the United States. His collection includes over 200 antique motorcycles, choppers, sidecars, drag racers, hill climb bikes, street bikes. Bonneville Salt Flat speed racers, military bikes, special one-of-a-kind hand built units, and more. 

Two of  E.J. Potter's motorcycles are also on display - a "Bloody Mary"  and a "Widowmaker." Ed built three "Bloody Marys" and four  "Widowmakers," The "Widowmaker 7" is known as "The World's Fastest Motorcycle." The bikes have modified Chevrolet V8 engines mounted transversely on Harley frames. 

At the drag strip, Ed had the bike on a stand with the rear wheel off of the ground and when given the signal he would rev the engine up to 6000 rpm and then rock the bike off of the stand. The bike would "burn rubber" for the entire 1/4 mile run. A car tire was used as the motorcycle's rear wheel and would last for three runs. 

Drag strip owners would pay Ed to perform at their strips because large crowds would come just to see Ed race. When the bike's rear tire hit the ground there was a large cloud of smoke and then Ed's bike would emerge at various angles. Two-wheel vehicles are unstable when the rear tire is spinning, so the bike left a serpentine black mark all of the way down to drag strip. If the bike stayed upright, Ed would be doing over 150 miles per hour at the end of the 1/4 mile run. 

Some people came to see Ed race while others came to see Ed crash, which he did occasionally. One time the bike's throttle stuck wide open at the end of the run and he could not shut the engine down, so he just jumped off the bike before it hit some trees at the end of the pavement. Needless to say, he sustained numerous injuries. One time he broke his pelvis, but cut the cast off himself six weeks later so that he could start racing again.

Throughout the museum there are also extensive art collections featuring paintings, statues, and models. There is no fee to visit the facility and entrance to the museum is through the Sidecar Café. (Rick also owns the first super-rare Madam X Cadillac, but it is not on display)