Dusty Jewels: Off-road Motorcycles of the 1970s

April 3 – October 25, 2012

dusty-jewels-logoThe AACA Museum is proud to announce the April 3rd opening of its next major motorcycle exhibit, “Dusty Jewels: Off-road Motorcycles of the 1970s.”

The 1970s were the “high water mark” of interest in motorcycling in the United States, and a unique variety of manufacturers world-wide supplied America with motorcycles. Prior to the decline in motorcycle sales in the 1980s and 1990s, many diverse factories produced models that were both functionally cutting-edge and aesthetically very different from one another. Prior to the modern decades of motorcycles being essentially identical, with differing paintwork, designers and factories in the 1970s were still “figuring it out.”

This decade was marked by the invention of long-travel suspension, classic frame geometry, and the development of the lightweight two-stroke engine. These factors together contributed to the creation of the first modern off-road motorcycles—the basic design of which is utilized today. 1970s motorcycles also reflected design trends from the various countries of manufacture. Machines of the 1970s were truly varied in their execution, and most of this innate character could be traced to aspects of the cultures that made them.


“Dusty Jewels” explores the off-road aspect of the 1970s motorcycle boom in America, and particularly highlights the aesthetics of these bikes . Among the many exquisite machines on display will be: BSA, Rickman, and Sprite (England); Maico and DKW (Germany); Ossa, Montesa, and Bultaco (Spain); Puch (Austria); Harley-Davidson, Penton, Yankee, and Rupp (USA); CZ (Czechoslovakia); Yamaha (Japan); and Husqvarna and Monark (Sweden). The exhibit will feature examples of the most beautiful off-road motorcycles ever made, as well as commenting on the transformative events of the 1970s, both within motorcycling and in the culture at large.

Among the many exquisite machines on display will be:

  • 1965 CZ “Side-piper” Motocross
  • 1969/70 Hodaka Super Rat
  • 1970 DKW 125 Boondocker
  • 1970 Maico MC250
  • 1970 Rupp Scrambler
  • 1970 BSA 441 Victor Special
  • 1971 Sprite 125
  • 1972 Bultaco 200 Pursang
  • 1972 Monark 125
  • 1972 Ossa 250 Stiletto
  • 1972 Rickman-Zundapp 125
  • 1972 Montesa Cappra 250 (“Grey Ghost”)
  • 1972 Yankee 500Z (custom flat-tracker)
  • 1973 CZ 250 Motocross
  • 1973 Maico (Wheelsmith/ASR) 440
  • 1973 Penton 175 Jackpiner
  • 1973 Puch 175 Motocross
  • 1975 Husqvarna CR250
  • 1978 Montesa 360 VB
  • 1974 Yamaha YZ250
  • 1974 Harley-Davidson Baja 100

The exhibit will feature some of the most beautiful off-road motorcycles ever made, and will also take note of major transformative events of the 1970s which continue to affect us.


“Dusty Jewels” opens Tuesday, April 3rd and concludes Thursday, October 25th.