(Photo by Mark Thompson/Getty Images) By Mark Thompson
CALABASAS, Calif. (AP) — The customized Captain America chopper Peter Fonda rode in "Easy Rider" is up for auction this weekend in California.
Or is it?
Gordon Granger of Texas says he bought the original "Easy Rider" motorcycle in 1996 from Dan Haggerty, an actor with a bit part in the 1960s counterculture classic.
Both that red, white and blue bike and the one headed for auction Saturday have certificates of authenticity signed by Haggerty.
But the actor acknowledged to the Los Angeles Times (http://lat.ms/1sQi3b6 ) this week that he has authenticated and sold two Captain America bikes.
Now Haggerty says just one of the bikes is legitimate, and it's Michael Eisenberg's — the one going up for sale Saturday with a $1 million minimum.
For his part, Fonda says he has no idea which bike is the real one.
"There's a big rat stinking someplace in this," said the 74-year-old actor, who co-wrote "Easy Rider." He hopes the weekend sale by auction house Profiles in History is called off.
Eisenberg, a Los Angeles real estate agent and collector of Hollywood memorabilia, bought his chopper earlier this year from John Parham, a Midwestern motorcycle parts magnate who had purchased the bike from Haggerty 12 years earlier.
Eisenberg insists his bike is the real one, because Haggerty says it is.
"Dan Haggerty is the only guy who knows," Eisenberg said.
Haggerty did not deny that he signed Granger's authenticating documents. He now says he signed something that simply was not true.
"That was my mistake," Haggerty said. "It's not the real bike."
Granger, furious at the prospect of this weekend's auction, insists he owns the genuine article.
"They know damn well they don't have the real bike," Granger said. "I own the original remaining Captain America bike. The one to be auctioned is a replica."
The chopper features a forward-angled front wheel and handlebars, fishtail exhaust pipes and a teardrop-shaped gas tank where the movie's protagonists stashed their cash. It was designed with input from Fonda who insisted on it being decorated with the American flag.
"Easy Rider" is a 1969 road film about two drug-using, long-haired bikers, Wyatt (Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper), who go on a cross-country odyssey to New Orleans in search of personal freedom and easy money.
Four motorcycles were created for the movie, but only one is known to have survived. It was used in the climactic crash scene in which Fonda is thrown off the bike.