A family affair.
So is this a family business? Yeah, My grandfather opened the shop. My Mom ran it after him and now I do. - Tim Rutherford
I’ve had the image of Century Motorcycles in my head for a few years now. Saw some photos of the shop online way back and knew that it was a must visit.
I arrived and immediately saw a line of bikes. Each derelict machine was waiting its turn just like a beauty parlor. As I walked past the side door, two Brits greeted me. A Norton Domiracer and a pretty pre-unit Triumph. I stopped, smiled, and felt like the stories were all true about this place.
Through the entrance were rows of motorcycles. A familiar smell of gasoline and metal filled my head. I didn’t get far before Tim greeted me from behind the counter. The shop has been open since 1962. Bill “Wild Bill” Cotton, a motorcycle enthusiast, made Century Motorcycles a home not only for him and his family but to everyone in the community. Pictures of his friends and family still fill the walls of the old office area.
Most of the bikes on the floor were either for sale or waiting to be worked on. A beautiful pre-unit Triumph TR6 dresses the window waiting for a new owner. The way it was restored I’m sure it will not be waiting for very long.
A Vincent Comet single was also on display. Not as popular as its bigger twin cylinder sisters but still not by any means an ordinary vintage motorcycle. The single cylinder 500cc Vincent was known to be well balanced and a smooth ride. Sharing more traits with the Black Shadow then the Rapide models, the single was definitely not a slug. Some even dare say they prefer it to the twins.
To me it was beautiful. Vincents will always be up there on my dream list. I was studying the shapes and lines it made. The motor looked compact and strong. The frame light and nimble. Must be a blast to ride, I thought, as my shutter burst away capturing stills of what was for the moment all mine.
Coming close to the end of the day, I realized some bikes were being rolled in. The Norton was one of them. It was a real treat. Clothed in Evan Wilcox’s hand formed aluminum gas and oil tank, the Norton was dressed to kill.
I was walking around it and snapping a few more pictures admiring the work when I overheard Tim talking to a customer. He was in to pick up a dirt bike that needed a motor rebuild. This is when I knew Century was not just another shop. True to its reputation, I listened as Tim took his time and explained to the owner word by word how to break-in and maintain the new motor. Made sure they understood and gave them some supplies on the house just so they would be able to maintain the bike and not come back in a few weeks.
I thanked Tim again and told him it was worth every minute of the drive down the 405 to see his shop. I will definitely be back, knowing for sure that at some point I will need parts for our Brit bikes. Till then I hope at least to visit for the eye candy.