The gorgeous artistry of vintage motorcylce logos

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You don’t have to own or even ride motorcycles to appreciate them, and especially those of an older vintage, as mechanical marvels or for their amazing sculptural designs.

And if we revere the pioneers of the automobile, what sort of pedestal should we reserve for those who first challenged what passed as roadways on two wheels, and totally exposed to the elements, or for those who raced around high-banked, wood-plank board tracks on machines that had engines and handle bars but no brakes and pretty much no cushioning suspension either. 

These are thoughts that came to mind last month as I wandered among the vehicles on the docket for two major vintage and collector motorcycle auctions in Las Vegas, a one-day sale by Bonhams and a nearly week-long parade across the auction block by Mecum.

In both cases, you could buy or sell — and the auction houses were delighted if that’s what you were doing. Or, like me, you could simply enjoy what felt like visiting a couple of marvelous if temporary motorcycle museums. 

Exposed mechanical bits

Automobiles hide their mechanical parts beneath bodywork made of steel, aluminum or composites ranging from fiberglass to carbon fiber. For the most part, and for most of the parts, motorcycles expose their mechanical bits for all to see and enjoy. 

Fuel tanks as works of art

Lit from within, there are few transportation items more artistically beautiful than the globes that once topped the fuel pumps at gas stations. But the logo designs on motorcycle fuel tanks have to be considered works of art in their own right.

Here are some of the gorgeous logo designs I encountered on these vintage beauties:

Image Credit: Larry Edsall photos.

1912 Indian Single

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1914 Jefferson Twin

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1905 shaw

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1910 Indian Twin

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1939 DKW Diamant

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1940 Husqvarna Angel Wing

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1936 Terrot Type HU

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1909 Excelsior Auto Cycle

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1955 Follis Sport 98

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1973 Honda Flying Dragon

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1929 Dunelt Single

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1989 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1956 Ariel Square Four

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1961 Triumph Bonneville

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1953 Monark Blue Fighter

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1918 Harley-Davidson Model 18J

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1900 de Dion Bouton

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

1956 MV Agusta victory flags

This article originally appeared on ClassicCars.com and was syndicated by MediaFeed.org.

Image Credit: Classic Cars Journal.

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