DAVE SMITH’S VINTAGE 1921 HARLEY-DAVIDSON MODEL J

As the owner of Freedom Harley-Davidson in North Canton, Dave Smith has spent his life around fabulous motorcycles. His personal collection includes a number of outstanding bikes, as well, including 10 vintage motorcycles.

When forced to pick his all-time favorite, Smith names his vintage 1921 Harley-Davidson Model J.

“I had that bike for 33 years,” Smith said. “I bought it in 1977. It was half restored and missing a bunch of stuff.”

Smith and a friend spent four years restoring the bike, which included rebuilding the engine.

“We just had a terrible time finding parts and getting things done,” Smith said. The hard work paid off. Now the Army-green motorcycle is “99 percent original,” he said.

The restoration was finished just prior to the 2009 Glenmoor Gathering of Significant Automobiles. Smith entered the bike, where it was judged against other vintage models.

“The bikes had to be previous to 1930,” he said. “There were 10 very nice items that showed up. I took two awards and tied for second in the (overall) motorcycle category.”

New or old, no two bikes are alike, Smith said.

“They all have their own personality,” he said. And Smith loves getting to know them. “It’s a vocation, an avocation, a hobby, you name it,” he said.

Smith, who has owned the dealership for 34 years, has two of his vintage bikes on display in his showroom, including the 1921 Model J. The dealership is at 7233 Sunset Strip Ave. NW in Jackson Township.

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