Rathe Named Historic Festival 37's Two-Wheeled Collector

Greg Rathe - Honored Motorcycle Collector

Greg Rathe is the principal designer and owner of The Displayers, a production and exhibit company in New York City. Additionally, Greg has established himself as a “wheelman” in the worlds of auto racing and collectible motorcycles. He owns one of history’s most celebrated motorcycles—The Vincent Rapide, the first Vincent built after World War II—and a collection of Italian motorbikes that have garnered him International acclaim. He has won more than 40 auto races with the Porsche Car Club of America.

Greg’s love affair with wheels began at age four when his Grandfather gave him a motorized minibike with training wheels—he was riding it before a bicycle. Through his youth and into his teens his interest and knowledge of motorcycles and cars grew intensely. When it came time to buy his first car, his father’s agreement with him was if he could get the deal he wanted, he could buy the car. When they got to the dealer, Greg knew more about the cars and their costs than the salesmen.

In college, Greg began auto racing, and won his first race at 18. Over the next 15 years, he traveled around the country winning more than 40 races, including Daytona, Watkins Glen, and Mid-Ohio. Although invited to race professionally, he always kept it a hobby. Among the cars he has owned and driven, include a 1970 Mercedes Benz 300SE 6.3, a 1972 Citroen DS21 and a 1973 Porsche 911S.

When Greg turned 35, his return to motorcycling came by way of a Ducati street bike he purchased for his birthday. Once riding and wrenching again, his passion for motorcycles was reignited, and he fell in love with the Italian handmade quality of Ducatis circa 1965-1985.

Within six months, he had collected six vintage bikes of this era, and soon amassed a collection of more than 25 vintage motorcycles, including the following motorbikes that he'll be bringing to Historic Festival:

1941 Indian Sport Scout - This 750cc Indian was the sporting light weight version of the heavier and larger Chief. This Sport Scout has been ground-up restored.
1951 Vincent Black Shadow - The fastest production motorcycle from 1948 until 1968, Rollie Free rode a hot-rodded version to 150mph. Purchased by its previous owner in 1977 and enjoyed by him for the next 40 years. The Black Shadow is a 1,000cc 2 valve motor capable of cruising at 100mph.  It was said in the 1950's that Harley Davidson's ran out of steam at 100mph and a Vincent Black Shadow would go an easy 125mph. Vincent's are mean to be ridden and this example wears its scratches and dings proudly.
1955 Triumph Tiger 110 - Introduced at the Paris Salon show in October 1953, the 110 was named for its top speed.  Aimed squarely at the American market, the T110 was Triumph’s fastest motorcycle to date and sold as the world’s fastest production motorcycle.  Its 649cc engine has a high compression ratio of 8.5:1, and a claimed 42hp at 6,500rpm. This example has been ridden less than 100 miles since receiving a ground up restoration.
1961 Matchless G80CS - Cycle World magazine tested a G80CS scrambler in 1963 calling it was a pretty impressive piece and a "A jewel beyond price," CW gushed. "The very soul of reliability. We were most impressed with this big Matchless – it had a lot of power over a phenomenally wide engine speed range, and the handling is absolutely without fault...we can understand how these bikes command such owner-loyalty. The G80CS is a most impressive all-around performer."

1971 BMW R75/5 - Toaster - known for its chrome fuel tank inserts, this model would bring BMW into roaring 1970’s of large displacement sport touring motorcycles. It’s excellent riding style made it an icon for BMW that today is still enjoyed many due to their wonderful reliability.

1982 Ducati 900SS - The Ducati 750 and 900SS (Super Sport) was responsible for bringing Ducati successfully into the 1970's and successfully winning many races, including the 1977 Daytona race, piloted by Cook Neilson, the most important race in the United States. 1982 represents the end of an era for Ducati and the 900SS. This low mile example and been well kept though out its life and a wonderful original example of the model.

Today, Greg is internationally known for his encyclopedic knowledge of hand-built Ducatis, his coveted collection of Italian motorbikes, and a passion for construction and mechanics that he shares with fellow enthusiasts and professionals alike through his website nydesmo.com. Not for business, purely for pleasure.

While his Mother would describe it as one of her greatest mistakes—allowing Greg to get on that minibike at four years old, before he could ride a bicycle—Greg calls it one of the best things that ever happened to him. Second only to his wife and two children, with whom he resides in Cold Spring, New York. 

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