THE tangled tale of Erik Buell Racing may not be at an end even though the firm closed its doors in April last year. Its remnants have been sold for $2 million and the new buyers hope to find a partner to turn it back into an operating business.
Even trying to sell the remains of EBR hasn’t been simple. When the company folded, former partners and investors, Indian firm Hero, took over the design consultancy arm of EBR to ensure that the new 250cc sports bike it’s been developing with the American firm could continue. The rest – including the manufacturing facility and all the equipment – went to auction no fewer than three times.
At the first attempt, EBR was seemingly sold to Atlantic Metals, a firm headed by Buell fan Bruce Belfer who hoped to revive the marque. However, having bid $2.25 million, the sale fell through after two payment deadlines were missed.
A second auction scheduled for December cancelled to give potential bidders more time to raise funds and a third took place on Wednesday this week, with Liquid Asset Partners making a winning bid believed to be around the $2 million dollar mark. The sale was approved at a court hearing on Thursday.
Liquid Asset Partners isn’t new to the bike business. It works as a liquidator, selling off assets of failed firms, and was chosen by Harley-Davidson to dispose of the original Buell business’s machinery and equipment when it was surprisingly closed down in 2009 (hot on the heels of launching new models and seeing improving sales.) Liquid Asset Partners has also overseen the liquidation of bike firms like chopper builder American Ironhorse and previously assisted in the dissolving the previous incarnation of Indian Motorcycles before the brand was transferred to Polaris to be reborn.
However, despite being known as a liquidator, the firm has told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that it hopes to find a partner, buyer or investor to allow EBR to resume production. Owner Bill Melvin Jr told the Journal Sentinel: 'We will not be manufacturing motorcycles, as Liquid Asset, but we will be working to put together a plan with a team that can be successful in doing that,' and went on to say: 'Our hope is that someone will continue to make these amazing motorcycles.'