Buddy Holly's 1958 Ariel Cyclone is heading to auction

Buddy Holly's 1958 Ariel Cyclone is heading to auction
Rocker Buddy Holly, far right, poses with members of his band the Crickets on new motorcycles they bought together in May 1958. (Guernsey's)

On May 13, 1958, flush from the success of a world tour in support of their songs "That'll Be The Day" and "Peggy Sue," Buddy Holly and two other members of his band, the Crickets, paid a visit to Ray Miller's Motorcycle Shop in Dallas.

They left with new bikes. Drummer Jerry Allison bought a Triumph Trophy. Bass player Joe Maudlin bought a Triumph Thunderbird. And Buddy Holly bought a 650cc Ariel Cyclone -- one of only 200 ever made.


(Legend has it the three men first visited a Harley-Davidson dealership, and said they wanted three matching Harleys, but the salesman, not recognizing the pop trio, laughed them out of his shop.)

They also purchased matching gloves and caps, and then rode their new bikes to a J.C. Penney's and bought matching Levi jeans and jackets, and rode the 350 miles back to their homes in Lubbock in a rainstorm.

Less than a year later, Holly was killed in a plane crash.

The Ariel stayed with the Holly family until 1970. Years later, it was given as a 42nd birthday gift to Holly's childhood pal and fellow rocker Waylon Jennings.

Now it's for sale.

The Guernsey's auction house says the Ariel hasn't been ridden in 20 years -- Jennings died in 2002 -- and has only 4,000 original miles on the odometer.

The Ariel will go on the block Oct. 5 at the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, along with more than 2,000 other items from the Jennings vault.

As the just-concluded auctions at the Monterey Car Week demonstrated, vehicles owned by celebrities have a certain cachet -- and sell for more than vehicles owned by regular folks.

A 1967 Ferrari GBT/4 owned by Steve McQueen was sold for $8 million -- about three times what the same car owned by a civilian would have fetched.

A 1931 Harley-Davidson VL owned by the actor went for $95,000 -- multiples more than the bike might otherwise have brought.

Twitter: @misterfleming