A rusty old motorcycle sits in the corner of the room, with seemingly nothing to connect it to the gleaming chrome beasts which surround it, except for the name emblazoned on its side – Harley-Davidson.
The bike is a 1917 T-Model V-Twin, the first Harley sold in Australia, when Arthur Davidson came to Brisbane just a few years after setting up his soon-to-be famous motorcycle business in the United States.
Since then, Harley-Davidson has had a strong connection with Australia, with the market Down Under the second biggest in the world for the company behind only the US.
To celebrate a century of Harley-Davidson’s connection to Australia, Arthur’s grand-nephew Bill Davidson is taking part in a ride of the east coast of Australia, from Brisbane to Melbourne, starting on Saturday.
Mr Davidson says he’s looking forward to attending some street parties in Brisbane over the weekend organised by the company before the ride starts.
“It’s amazing when I go to these different events I feel like I’m at home, because people are very welcoming, the camaraderie is a big part of it,” he said.
“There’s a real brotherhood, and sisterhood, behind the brand here, which is great.”
He said the 1917 model reminds him of the very first Harley-Davidson motorcycle, which is on display at the company’s headquarters.
“But from 1903 to 1917, the transformation in the technology available to them was pretty amazing,” Mr Davidson.
“The 1903 had no lights, no clutch, it was direct drive. The 1917 is a V-Twin, which is a big jump already.”
“But you can trace a direct line from those bikes to what we see on the road today.”
As part of the 100-year celebration ride, two patients from the Cure Brain Cancer Foundation will ride with the group from Sydney to Melbourne, with the company also donating $ 100,000 to the foundation for ongoing research.