Early on in his life Dale Walksler became a gearhead. At just 12 years old he started building go karts and by 15 he started enjoying motorcycles after buying and then restoring a 1952 Harley Panhead in his parents’ garage.
By the time Walksler entered college he was searching for Harleys on a regular basis with his buddies–picking motorcycles from old dealers in Illinois and Missouri. In 1977 he became the youngest Harley Davidson dealer in the country with the opening of Dale’s Harley Davidson in Mt. Vernon, Ill. Dale’s Harley Davidson rapidly grew, expanding into a larger facility just five years later to sell new and used bikes, and to keep his collection of the old relic bikes growing.
Dale’s Harley Davidson became the iconic place to buy a Harley. Buyers from everyday consumers to players on the Dallas Cowboys and the Neiman Marcus franchise purchased bikes from Walksler. During the 1980’s Walksler dreamt of opening The Wheels Through Time museum, and following 24 years in the retail business Walksler sold Dale’s Harley Davidson to pursue his passion of opening the museum.
Walksler moved the museum (full of 200 plus motorcycles) in 2002 to the Smokey Mountain town of Maggie Valley, NC. Today his collection stands at 350 bikes with a little more than 100 of those being built or rebuilt by Walksler from parts and pieces he’s found from all over the country. He uses a trained eye and keen intellect to select only the most unique, rarest motorcycles to restore, and always ensures that every single bike runs and can be ridden. Nearly one million people from around the world have visited Wheels Through Time in the past 11 years.
In addition to being the museum’s head curator and continuing to restore motorcylces, Walksler is now host of WHAT’S IN THE BARN? airing every Tuesday night at 10 PM only on Velocity.