I’m not convinced about the looks of this bike, but there’s no denying its place in motorcycling history. It’s a 1959 Moto Guzzi Falcone that was worked on by Kenny Howard—better known as Von Dutch. Howard was contracted by the owner, a guy called Richard H. Cormany, who bought the Von Dutch motorcycle secondhand in 1961 and rode it for a year before spending 5,000 hours customizing it.
To create a new look for the Falcone, Howard starting carving wood molds for the headlight nacelle and front fender. According to the sales blurb, “Small diameter dual headlights were decided upon, and each headlight has an individual on-off switch at the back of the nacelle. The headlights themselves are adjustable for elevation while in motion. The stock gas and oil tanks were retained, and the entire coachwork was painted gloss black by Von Dutch, with a signature fine gold pinstripe applied to define the contours of the custom bodywork.” The engine was rebuilt and given a cosmetic overhaul, and Von Dutch machine-turned the flywheel.
Cormany entered the Von Dutch motorcycle into the 1971 Cycle World Show, and won the Best Street Custom award, getting a two-page spread on the bike in the magazine. The write-up said: “Dick Cormany won the street-legal custom category with his 1959 Moto Guzzi Falcone, which is no surprise. The bike is strikingly original, departing from the mainstream of custom art to combine the complexity of the classic Guzzi 500cc single-cylinder engine and suspension components with a sleek, flowing fiberglass shell.”
[Thanks to Jaimie Muehlhausen.]