Focus: Mike Parti


Mike Parti has a massive collection of memories and artifacts from days gone by. When asked what his favorite might be, he simply replies, "the friends I've met along the way." Born in 1935, "Parti Animal" has lived a rough and ready motorcycle-oriented life most of us could only dream of.

From running with early LA motorcycle clubs in the '50s, to dominating desert sidehack races in the '60s and setting LSR's at Bonneville in the 70's, the man known by friends as "Parti Animal" has done it all. 

Mike Parti retired as a Master Machinist in the '80s and began restoring uber-rare pre-1920's motorcycles. Through it all, one thing has remained constant: Mike Parti has always loved Triumphs and Vincents. He's been working in the same home garage for half a century, and both the man and his machines show that wear and tear. Every nook and cranny of Mike's overstuffed garage is filled with the useful tools, parts and odd collectibles that can only be acquired through a lifetime love for machines and the people who ride them.

In 2001 the AMA inducted Mike Parti into their "Hall of Fame." Mind you, this is the same organization that used to punish Mike and his friends for most of their on- and off-track antics. Not an easy accomplishment by any stretch, and it's one that Mike is still proud of today. When asked how he survived the particularly wild early days, his response is immediate. "I drank a lot of whiskey and beer, and raised a fair amount of hell. But, I got up every day and went to work. I never did drugs and I was never a criminal. Didn't have to be, I was a machinist and I chased the overtime working in 25 shops over 40 years. I married a good woman fifty years ago and am still married to her today." Mike is justifiably proud of his accomplishments and the friendships he's grown over the decades, and it shows.

Last month we spent an afternoon with Mr. Parti, video cameras rolling. ChopCult will bring you a multi-part video interview featuring some of Mike's legendary stories, but editing all those hours of footage will take some time. Until then, please enjoy these photos from Mike's amazing musuem of rare and cherished motorcycle arts and artifacts.


Thanks to Wes D for the great shots in this set, the other ones were by yours truly.

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Commented on 4-5-2010 At 06:10 am

Wes White took me over to Parti's last time I was in California, it was a treat for sure. His shop is total mental overload, it is truly amazing.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 06:22 am

I am in awe... looking forward to the videos!

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 06:57 am

wow, just awesome

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 07:02 am

Awesome story, can't wait for the Video!!!

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 07:36 am

I love Mike. My favorite thing he ever said to me while dipping chewing tobacco together, "Why you keep spitting it out? I paid good money for this. I'm not going to spit it out." Mike is a hard, hard man. I felt like such a pussy.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 09:09 am

The Penguin.

I went over to Mike's place last July with Wes and Frank Kaisler. With a sly smile, Mike was quick to point out the sign on the door to his shop to me - it was an old original sign that said "No Irish need to apply". What a crack-up.

Yeah, it isn't too often you walk into someplace, and see a Vincent engine up on the workbench, and two more complete Vincent engines in wooden crates waiting to be rebuilt. I was facinated by all the memoribilia, bikes, and especially Mikes tooling and machenery.

When I was leaving, I said "Thank you Mike, very much. I appreciate this very much". Mike turned and said, "Well, that's why you're here, you know. Here's my card, you call when you're in town the next time".

I most certainly will....

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 09:17 am

i can't wait for the videos.

these are some excellent photos guys!
one of the best features yet i would say.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 09:20 am

I feel truly greatfull to Wes White and Billdozer for the invite to Mr. Parti's place.
It was a once in a lifetime treat to a "MAN" that has many story's to tell and all of the story's seem to have a funny punch line. I held a piece off Von Dutch art/history in my hands.In my eyes the most valueable knife in Mike's collection and maybe in the shop.How do you value such a item? When the most value was Mike Parti himself........
Thanks guys....
I will quote FlatheadJedd "I felt like such a pussy" I have never done that at a bar..

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 01:06 pm

wow there is alot of stuff in there and its all organized and i bet that guy has forgotten more than most of us know

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 01:17 pm

he among other judges picked my bike for second place at the 08 primers, I can't remember if it was in some class or what. He personally complemented my bike; "nice bike", I had a vague idea of who he was. My bike was built by Kurt Morrow and Kurt told me who he was. At another show in Ventura, David Mann?? or?? he had that 1913 Indian he restored and I went over and asked twenty Questions and he seemed to appreciate it and was very patient with me.
Then I found out just recently he was a Gallopin Goose! My friend Gary who's father drove CGC trucks was a GG, I grew up in Northridge.
Anyhow, bla bla bla. Nice post and a true cool and interesting guy. I love SFV stories.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 01:20 pm

+1 on the "can't wait to see the videos". Thanks for sharin gents!

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 03:51 pm

That workshop is like an art museum. Amazing. Greatest respect.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 04:05 pm

These cats are literally fading in to the wood work of their own shops, it is refreshing to see them come out and share their stories, history, and love.

Thanks for seeking these folks out. Very, very cool!


Commented on 4-5-2010 At 05:29 pm

Man, this was one of the best "shoots" ever. I'll archive this one.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 06:23 pm

I was lucky enough that Wes took me to meet Mike and check out his treasure on my last trip to California, and WOW. It was a treat and awesome visual overload.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 06:49 pm

Went over with Irish Rich, F. Kaisler, and Wes last summer. Got the whole place on video as well. Amazing place, amazing guy, and a lot of great stories. The equipment he had was out of the stone age, the shop had a huge crack ripped down the center of the floor, and I don't know how he packed all of those vintage bikes in that small room.... Fucking cool.

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 07:03 pm

Bring it on! Should be sweet to see some stuff with a real history

Commented on 4-5-2010 At 07:03 pm

Bring it on! Should be sweet to see some stuff with a real history

Commented on 4-6-2010 At 06:49 am

great story and well told - thanks!

Commented on 4-6-2010 At 10:13 am

I've never heard of him, but now I am in complete awe. Time to fire up some internet search engines. His shop is amazing, and the memorabilia is second to none. I love hearing stories from guys like him, and others who have lived the life for so long.

Commented on 4-6-2010 At 04:02 pm

I love Mike of the most supportive, genuine guys I have ever known. And thats separate from his amazing knowledge and impressive collection of parts, bikes and tools. I cruised over to his place as soon as I got my '31 coupe on the road back in the early 90's and took him for a ride around the valley....awesome memory, he's been livin the life most of us can only dream of...

Commented on 4-6-2010 At 08:37 pm

what a dude.

Those scrapbooks are the sort of thing that should be scanned and archived so they're not lost 35 years down the track when some ungrateful kid cleans the garage out.

Commented on 4-6-2010 At 08:41 pm

After looking at the 42 pics posted in the little slideshow, I too am in awe at this man...What I wouldn't give for a month or 2 of hanging out with him just to listen to all the stories he could tell!!!...I could take another month just to look at everything in his little shop/museum!!!

Great work on the pics and story so far...can't wait for the continuation, with the video's and more pictures...You all did REAL good on this one!!!

Thank you!!!

Larry in MD

Commented on 4-8-2010 At 03:22 am

Great story. Great shots. Great job. I really like stuff like this. History and all. Would be nice if you were able to hit up some east coasters once in a while.


Commented on 5-1-2010 At 01:27 am

Funny to see the Pennywise sticker, amazing stuff.

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