In Central Florida, it’s easy to hear the word motorcycle and perhaps picture one thing. And while Orlando and its outlying areas certainly have their fair share of bikers that may fit that image, there are also a handful of communities doing their own thing. Restoring vintage bikes. Starting motorcycle co-ops. Inviting more folks to peer into the world of motorcycles and perhaps even redefining what it means to be a biker.
Dewey Bond can’t even run to the supermarket for milk without talking motorcycles. Granted, the collector and award-winning restorer of antique and custom bikes is most likely sporting a worn T-shirt emblazoned with a logo for Triumph or any of the other British makes he favors — and has favored since he began riding with a restricted license at age 14 in Miami.
“Guys come up to me and tell me that they had this or that Triumph, or that their brother had a Triumph,” says Bond, clean-cut with no tattoos or earrings. “I get a lot of response, and it’s all positive.”
And this from those who haven’t even seen his collection, which, at times, has numbered in the 40s, but right now tops out at 12 vintage and custom-built bikes.
“I can get a lot more motorcycles in my workshop than I can cars,” says the 70-year-old of his home in Geneva. Space is just one of the reasons behind his love of two wheels. Bond also admits that he just loves restoring anything with a past, be it a 1950s-built Pargo golf cart or a Ford tractor.
But it’s motorcycles that have his heart.
Currently, he’s working on a 1963 Triumph TR6 Trophy, a very rare bike — the first from the manufacturer to have the transmission and engine combined, known as unit construction. The bike, or rather, a hodge-podge of its guts, has been in his possession for 20 years, and only recently has he been able to start restoration.
“I bought it in what we call a basket-case state — it was totally disassembled in boxes,” he says. “But as long as the VIN number on the engine and frame match, it’s a very legitimate ‘survivor’ bike — that means it’s basically how it came from the factory.”
And thus, it’s one Bond is confident he can restore to its original state.
The limiting factor on restoring the prize had been finding parts. These days, acquiring everything from the correct battery box to paint code is as easy as typing names into the Google search box, but 20 years ago, when Bond purchased the bike, only swap meets held everything needed.
And in the case of this TR6, further patience was required as the bike is unique: It can’t rely on parts, even foot pegs, from other year models of the same make. But finally, two years ago, Bond scored the necessary parts. The bike will be finished any day, adding another treasure to his collection.
It’ll become a source of pride, sure, but the ace of his collection will remain the Corrupted Triumph, a custom 1977 Bonneville, which won…