Article And Photos By: Lisa Ballard
Originally Published In The May 2011 Issue Of Cycle Source Magazine
This meticulous shop is run by Tony and Andy Dunn, a father and son team who has been keeping vintage British motorcycles alive in Orange, California. This very small, yet organized shop is currently working on thirtyfive motorcycles of which six are 1950’s Triumphs. They are in line to be restored, repaired and serviced. Sounds like a shop owner’s dream but it took many years to get to this point. Tony got his first bike in the late sixties and always enjoyed working on motorcycles in his garage at home. He purchased a ‘69 650 Bonneville from the then senior editor of Hot Bike, restored it and caught the British bug. Andy followed suit and soon their garages became overwhelmed with friends’ motorcycles and their own custom builds. “I have to give props to Andy for having the foresight to think about getting a small shop where we could start doing it professionally. I was an electrician at the time, got fed up with the daily grind, quit my job and started here full time,” said Tony. Here’s the catch folks, Tony decided to take the leap right when the recession hit. The shop just consisted of Andy and Tony but now three years later they have added Ryan Mullion for restoration and repair, Uncle Bob for engine repair and their latest apprentice, Hayseed. Andy has a full time day job but you can find him on location most nights and weekends.
Classic Cycles can create bobbers, flat track racers, cafés or choppers based on your wants. There are an abundance of motorcycles brought in that have been passed down through the generations. The oldest to date was a 1940s BSA War B-34. They have also worked on a 1948 Norton ES2 and currently a ‘58 Triumph is also sitting in the shop. In the motorcycle industry, word of mouth can either make or break you. With Classic Cycles’ stellar reputation, seventy-five percent of the current projects come from past customers in California, Arizona and Nevada. Every lift in the place has a vintage Triumph, BSA, Honda, Norton and the occasional Harley tied down to it. “We see a lot of ‘e-Bortions,’ you know the bike that looks cool on eBay but once you buy it, it needs some help; that’s where we come in. From repairs to modifications or even total restorations, we can get you back on the road. We have a very reliable team and outsource with the best painters and powdercoaters around. We seem to wait for chrome like the rest of the folks, as California got nasty with their environmental laws but we can make it happen. We also provide VIN verifications, safety, light and brake inspections,” stated Tony. Service turnaround is pretty quick, usually no more than a ten day wait once the motorcycle is on the property.
The latest build from Classic Cycles is “Brown Sugar.” It took many nods at the last year’s Grand National Roadster show. They walked away with 1st in class, “Best Detail” and the Granddaddy accomplishment was “Best Overall Motorcycle.” Classic Cycles also supports most of the grass roots events here in So-Cal. “Basically anything that the Biltwell guys are throwing you will find us there. The Slab City Riot is by far the best and we are looking forward to the EDR. The shop hosted the Born Free event its first year and I have never seen so many bikes in one spot. Can’t wait to see what they pull off this year. We also set up at the El Camino swap meet every year; it’s a tradition,” stated Ryan. You can also find Tony and the crew at the monthly Long Beach swap meet. I asked Tony and Ryan if that is where they find the parts for their builds. They both laughed saying they use the swaps for their personal hoarding problem. If these guys have a hoarding problem, it can’t be seen anywhere in the shop. Tony would like also like to thank his wife Sheri for helping with the books. Being one of the few state licensed and insured vintage motorcycles shops, it’s a lot of work keeping it all legit. So look no further folks, Classic Cycles is your one-stopshop for all your vintage needs.