This is another installment in the series of one-of-a-kind motorcycles I found in the collection of Phoenix Harley-Davidson dealer Buddy Stubbs. Stubbs was a motorcycle racer in the 50s and 60s and a stuntman in many movies and television shows through the 1970s. I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Buddy and viewing his collection of over 300 vintage motorcycles at his Phoenix dealership. All of the bikes are amazing; however there are a few that are truly iconic.
Possibly the defining moment in Buddy’s movie career was when he was hired to stunt ride and maintain a fleet of ten white Harley Electra Glides for the 1973 movie Electra Glide in Blue. The film starred Robert Blake as a diminutive motorcycle cop caught in a web of trouble on the Arizona highway. Blake later won an Emmy for his TV role as Baretta in the mid 70s. With a smile, Buddy told me, “Blake is one of the few men I’ve met who is shorter than I am.”
The “blue” in the title of the movie referred to the color of the motorcycle cops’ uniforms. However, the actual “blue” Electra Glide is the story here. It only appeared in a shockingly climatic scene near the end of the film (which I will not spoil for you in case you get the itch to rent the movie). In my opinion, this gritty movie is a must see for anyone who loves classic motorcycle flicks. You can see the original Electra Glide in Blue movie trailer at the end of this article.
Now back to that blue Glide’s amazing story. Buddy sold the bike to a customer in 1968. When he was hired for the film in 1973, Buddy borrowed the bike back from that customer to use as a prop. Upon completion of the film, Buddy returned the bike and did not see it again for years. In an interesting twist of fate, Buddy saw the bike at a classic motorcycle auction in California almost 30 years later. At that point, Buddy won the bidding for the bike, and it is now a cornerstone of his collection at his Phoenix dealership.
Like so many of the bikes in Buddy’s collection, the Electra Glide has a poignant back-story. Stubbs prefers bikes that are in original, unrestored condition, which gives his classic collection an air of authenticity and history that is refreshingly rare. If you want to see the rest of Buddy’s amazing collection, there is a tour offered every Friday evening at his Phoenix location. Buddy himself often leads the tours. For more information, visit http://www.buddystubbshd.com.