There were plenty of people watching the June 25 auction of the 1955 Harley-Davidson Model K Johnny Depp famously rode in Cry-Baby, but that wasn’t enough for the high bid to reach reserve. That’s right, after all the press coverage and people talking about the bike, nobody was willing to pony up the cash the seller wanted. Bidding started at a whopping $250,000 with bid increments set at $25,000.
I’m guessing since the estimated high bid was targeted between $500,000 and $750,000 reserve was at the low end of that range, which is insane. Even $250,000 is steep for this movie motorcycle, but I bet the owner tries again later when they think Johnny Depp’s star is shining brightly, maybe when he stars in Pirates of the Caribbean: My Parrot Stepped on a Bee. Until then, this bike Harley will likely sit in storage.
My original coverage of this auction, for your refresher:
Out of all the iconic movie motorcycles, you’re forgiven for passing over the 1955 Harley-Davidson Model K ridden by Johnny Depp in the 1990 film Cry-Baby. In fact, you’re forgiven for not even remembering the movie existed (I can’t forget, thanks to my sister having the poster up on her door for a long time). But with all the buzz generated by the defamation trial with Amber Heard, Depp’s name is on just about everyone’s lips these days, so interest in the movie motorcycle as it heads to the auction block in just a few days is understandably high.
According to the lot listing, this Harley was exhibited in a museum in Branson, Missouri. Not too long ago, it was displayed at the Philadelphia Auto Show, so you might have seen it there. Now, you could display it proudly in your own garage. It comes with a letter of authenticity establishing it was used in the production of Cry-Baby.
Two notable details about this Model K have been changed since its on-screen appearance. One is the tachymeter was swapped for a speedometer, ensuring the rider stays on the right side of the law. A chain guard was also added, something most people would appreciate once they try riding without one.
While the lot listing says this Harley is complete and “should run and drive” it doesn’t guarantee the mechanical condition. Since it’s been sitting in a museum and has been displayed at other places, apparently nobody has bothered riding it for an unknown period of time.
Even though the running condition of the ’55 Harley-Davidson Model K is unknown, it’s poised to fetch big money. The minimum bid on the lot listing is $250,000 with the bid increments set at $25,000. In other words, this movie motorcycle is only for those with deep pockets and the determination to sit on the same saddle as Johnny Depp. Plenty of readers will think this price is insane, but if even just a few determined bidders show up, this could auction for an eye-watering sum.
This 1955 Harley-Davidson Model K wasn’t the stunt motorcycle which is crashed and catches fire during the climactic scene. Instead, this is the hero bike, the one used in all the close-up shots, so it was well-preserved during filming and looks to have been well cared-for after.
Per the auction house, after filming for Cry-Baby wrapped, this Harley was acquired from picture car coordinator Frank Tamburo by Josh Spring, who worked on the film as Best Boy Electric. Two letters of provenance from Spring help to establish this history, plus an open Maryland title in Spring’s name is included.