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Great Balls of Fire: Historic Harley Panhead on the Block

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On: Mon, Jan 12, 2015 at 3:31PM | By: Gary P Garry

Great Balls of Fire: Historic Harley Panhead on the Block

Cars and motorcycles are more than just transportation if you look at them right. I don't know what it's like in other countries, but in the United States, vehicles have always been symbols with motors. They get you from place to place, but they also allow you to make a statement about yourself.

We have all seen bikes and cars that are the epitome of cool, and this was firmly established during the the 1950s. That era was a perfect confluence of two different powerful cultural influences: the motorization of personal style along with a brand-new form of music called rock and roll.

The synergy was palpable, and it is something that people identify with to this day. Rad rides gave young people a new sense of liberation, and societal mores were evolving. Rock and roll freed up the collective consciousness of the willing, and new avenues opened up on various different levels.

Many historians say that the first rock and roll song was "Rocket 88." The tune was cut in Memphis in 1951 by Jackie Brenston and his Delta Cats; these musicians also backed Ike Turner.

"Rocket 88" may have been the first rock and roll song, but guess what? A lot of people say that the 1949 Oldsmobile Rocket 88 was the first muscle car, so the connection is unmistakable.

Certain rock and roll pioneers embodied this shift in what it meant to be young and hip, and one of them was Jerry Lee Lewis. In 1957 he blew minds with his mega-hit "Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On," and his "Great Balls of Fire" followup proved that he was no one-hit wonder.

If you want to be a part of all of this history, an opportunity is presenting itself at the Mecum Auction that is taking place in Kissimmee, Florida on January 16th through the 25th.

A killer (no pun intended) vintage 1959 Harley-Davidson Panhead that was owned by Lewis is going on the auction block. It has just 2,257 miles on it, and the thing looks like it is brand new.

Harley-Davidson gave the bike to Jerry Lee back in 1959 as a gift, and he has had it in his possession ever since.

Any 1959 Harley Panhead that is in this kind of condition would be valuable, but when you swizzle in the history, this one is truly extraordinary. Some collector with a whole lotta coin goin' on is gonna walk away with a true piece of rock and roll history.



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