Let me start by assuring you that nothing in this article is made up or exaggerated. The story you are about to read will touch your heart, no matter how much of a hard-boiled motorcyclist you might be. This is a true story of a man who started from literally nothing and went on to achieve his dream and lives a life he’s always dreamt of. I’ve always tried to follow the idiom ‘One Life, Live It’ and here I was, face to face with the only man I’ve met so far who has put this in practice.
At first glance, or even a second or a third glance, Manjeet doesn’t come across as a fanatical Harley-Davidson rider, which is what he is. He doesn’t have any tattoos, no long beards and a demeanour, which in no way is indicative of his obsession with the brand.
During our candid conversion, one thing that struck me the most is how Manjeet credits Harley-Davidson of making him the man he is today. No, he wasn’t employed by the brand but he was guided by it and you can’t miss it. As we get deeper into our conversation, this soft-spoken and very meticulous man opens up to me about how he has had a very tough childhood and having lost his father at a very early age, he was required to work by the time he was just 10 to support his mother and his brother in making ends meet. The only reason for him to migrate from his hometown was to get to country where he could buy a Harley-Davidson and stay within reasonable flying distance from his mother. Dubai seemed ideal.
Manjeet started his professional career as a delivery boy at a ‘video parlour’ in the suburbs of New Bombay, delivering video cassettes and VCRs to customers for a daily wage of less than 10 American cents a day. Today, he holds a decisive position at the Middle East HQ of one of the largest automotive companies in the world. Manjeet started with nothing, and through hard work, talent, grit, and a bit of luck, managed to rise to the very top.
Moving on to his motorcycles, they are all equally outstanding as Manjeet himself. Nothing prepared me for what I was about to see when I entered his home. I had heard from fellow riders that Manjeet parks his motorcycles in his living room. In my head, I had envisioned one motorcycle parked in a corner, left there for visitors to admire and not having been ridden for a while. That wasn’t the case. All of the Harleys parked in his living room crank, run and are road worthy. Suddenly, throwing a cover over my motorcycles and parking them in a basement seemed so inadequate. For most of us, washing our motorcycles when they are dirty seems to be enough. However, that’s not what satisfies Manjeet. Not only does he park all his motorcycles inside his house, he also details them himself after every ride. Talk about being obsessed.
He currently owns a 1933 VLE, 1942 WLA, 2005 Fat Boy CVO and a 2014 Ultra Limited CVO. With the 1933 VLE being the crown jewel of his collection.
Even though I’m not a Harley rider, I know that these motorcycles are all very special in their own rights. Manjeet has spared no expense in ensuring that both is classic motorcycles are period correct. Even though his 1933 came with a full history and as factory original as possible, Manjeet has made sure that the remaining bits are restored to the day this motorcycle rolled out of the factory, However, the headlights aren’t stock, in remembrance of the second owner of the motorcycle who Manjeet respects and admires a lot.
The story of this motorcycle goes somewhat like this. This 1933 was left to rot nearby a US air force base in Virginia where it was spotted by a US Air Force pilot. It was then purchased by him for 75 dollars and fully restored and owned for over 65 years. He then donated it to his local church, which was desperately in need of a new roof, and the church then auctioned it off along with all the original documentation and parts that came along with the motorcycle. The motorcycle then went to its new owner who rode it for a little while and then dumped it in his warehouse due to some mechanical issues. It was then found and listed on eBay the owners son to fund his college fee and that is how Manjeet managed to buy it. He bid for it and waited with bated breadth.
All his other motorcycles were bought in Dubai and he outlined the story behind each of them. Listing them all down here will be too long and we will definitely feature the details behind each of his motorcycles in our upcoming issues.
Will he ever let go of any of these motorcycles? I don’t think so. He might certainly add to his collection but imagining him part ways with any of these seems very unlikely. There’s a certain benevolence in the way he says how he is just a caretaker of these motorcycles and that after him, he wants to ensure that his future generations get to enjoy these the same way he did. He doesn’t believe in just storing them and letting them appreciate in value. He is very clear on the fact that these are motorcycles that have to be ridden. The true joy is to be out on the road on these, dealing with the idiosyncrasies of each one of them and appreciating them, as we would admire a quirk in our loved ones.
Manjeet has won several awards at motorcycle shows organised locally but they don’t mean as much to him as it means to display these iconic motorcycles to those who don’t get to see such rare motorcycles up close. He has been featured in countless publications around the world and that has catapulted him to international recognition. His entire house is like a mini Harley-Davidson museum as you can see in the photos and it’s befitting a man who worships the brand in a way I’ve never seen before.
You won’t find a lot of people like Manjeet around, that’s for sure. I spend a lot of my time with motorcycling folks and in the last decade that I’ve been networking extensively; I’ve never come across anyone as Manjeet. He doesn’t go around boasting about his motorcycles or his impressive collection of rare Harley-Davidson merchandise, he doesn’t interfere in every Harley-Davidson conversation and he definitely doesn’t go around claiming to be an expert, even though he is.
For me, it was an eye opening evening of sorts to learn so much about the history of the brand and see, touch and experience such rare motorcycles in person. Hats off, Manjeet.