Common Tread

Vintage motorcycle available, needs restoration

Jul 27, 2016

Exactly 39 years and one day after a flood swept it away, John Vitalie's Yamaha dirt bike was found. He took a photo of it and said he didn't want it back.

I guess that's understandable. The bike is in pretty rough condition after 39 years underground.

The Tribune-Democrat newspaper in Johnstown reported that a construction crew found the motorcycle wedged into a concrete culvert while doing excavation work. Along with the rest of the family's motorcycles, the Yamaha had been stored in a backyard shed that was swept away in 1977 by a flood that killed around 80 people and is often called the second great Johnstown flood.

found motorcycle
Looks like it needs a new front wheel and the paint's a little faded, but all the parts are there for a full restoration. Johnstown Tribune-Democrat photo by Todd Berkey.

The more famous Johnstown flood was the 1889 disaster that killed more than 2,000 people when a dam collapsed on a lake for a wealthy hunting and fishing club. The 1977 flood was caused by a severe thunderstorm that dumped about a foot of rain on the area.

Anyway, if you're looking for a project bike, I hear there's one available in Pennsylvania.