Harley Exhibit has Wabash in Hog Heaven

By Eric Olson

April 13, 2011 Updated Apr 13, 2011 at 1:26 PM EDT

WABASH, Indiana (Indiana's NewsCenter)--THERE ARE CERTAIN THINGS YOU EXPECT TO SEE IN A HISTORY MUSEUM…OLD PHOTOS…ARTIFACTS FROM YESTERYEAR. WHAT YOU DON’T EXPECT TO STUMBLE ACROSS, IS A CLASSY PATCH OF HOG HEAVEN.

Leila: Just walking around here gives you kind of goose bumps.

…GOOSE BUMPS FOR GOOD REASON. THE NEW HISTORIC HARLEY’S EXHIBIT AT THE WABASH COUNTY HISTORICAL MUSEUM SPORTS SOME OF THE GREATEST HARLEY DAVIDSON’S EVER MADE…THIS 1910 SINGLE, THE OLDEST BIKE IN THE COLLECTION…THE LAST HARLEY PRODUCED WITH BELT DRIVE. AND THIS, A BONAFIDE LEGEND…A 1935 FLATHEAD, THE FIRST YEAR HARLEY’S WERE OFFERED WITH TWO TONE PAINT.

BUT THERE’S A BIGGER STORY HERE BEYOND THESE ROLLING SCULPTURES. THIS COLLECTION BELONGS TO BRANDT’S HARLEY DAVIDSON, A LONGTIME WABASH HARLEY DEALERSHIP FOUNDED BY WALDO BRANDT IN 1949. WALDO FELL IN LOVE WITH BIKES AS A SOLDIER IN WORLD WAR TWO AND BUILT THE DEALERSHIP WITH HIS THREE SONS. FOR SIXTY YEARS BRANDT’S HAS BEEN A COMPASSIONATE CORPORATE NEIGHBOR IN WABASH, SPONSORING NUMEROUS CONCERTS, GOLF OUTINGS AND OTHER EVENTS, DONATING ALL PROCEEDS TO LOCAL CHARITIES…A COMPANY WITH A REAL FAMILY HEART. SO WHEN WALDO’S SON STEVE WAS KILLED IN A CRASH LAST JULY, IT’S NOT SURPRISING THE WHOLE TOWN MOURNED.

Toni: He was just a very generous, very kind human being. He taught me how to share the way he shares. You know Toni if you got it in your pocket keep it spreading around.

EVERY MACHINE HERE HAS A BRANDT FAMILY STORY BEHIND IT, MIKE BRANDT’S FIRST HARLEY HE GOT AT AGE SIX…STEVE’S V-ROD, DESIGNED TO CELEBRATE HARLEY’S HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY, IT’S NEVER EVEN BEEN STARTED. WALDO BRANDT DIED IN 1988 BUT HIS LEGACY EXTENDS BEYOND A SUCCESSFUL BUSINESS AND A GREAT BIKE COLLECTION…IT INCLUDES A COMMUNITY ENRICHED BY HIS LIFE, AND A FAMILY ANY DAD WOULD BE PROUD OF. ERIC OLSON REPORTING, OUT IN ‘YOUR COUNTRY’.




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