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Dale Walksler

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CaptainKyle

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Dale's Wheels Through Time



7h ·

It is with heavy hearts that we at Wheels Through Time let you know that our beloved founder, curator, and friend Dale Walksler passed away peacefully, with his wife by his side, at home on February 3, 2021, after a courageous four year battle with cancer.
In 1967 at the age of 15, Dale built his first motorcycle, sparking a life-long love affair with American Motorcycles and their history. At 22, Dale established a Harley/Davidson Franchise in Mt. Vernon, Ill: Dale’s Harley-Davidson. His signal success as a dealer grew to include the decades-long work that would define his life: the creation of the museum we now know as Wheels Through Time.
As the museum collection grew, so too did Dale’s vision for the museum, his reputation, his mechanical and curatorial skills, and a goal of always exceeding expectations of customers and guests.
In 2002 Dale opened the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, NC. From humble beginnings in a small Illinois town, one of the world’s premier collections of rare and vintage American motorcycles, automobiles, and memorabilia emerged. Wheels Through Time became an Iconic American Institution and known internationally.
Those who have visited Wheels Through Time know that Dale’s passion was not just something to be observed but rather experienced. Whether it was listening to his vast knowledge and stories of transportation history or watching him start a motorcycle, his was a passion that was infectious. It inspired in many, that same desire to preserve and celebrate American motorcycle history. His genius rested on the latter portion of the Wheels Through Time logo, “The Museum That Runs.”
Dale was a man of vision, zeal, intensity, imagination, and generosity. He will be deeply missed by his family, friends, and the staff at Wheels Through Time, and as well as by the countless tens of thousands who have visited the museum.
Dale’s vision was not just one of preserving the past but was also focused on the future. In that regard, he made great strides to ensure that the museum and his legacy would carry on for generations to come.
A celebration of Dale’s life will be announced at a later date. At this time, we ask for privacy for the family as they mourn his passing. At Dale’s request, in lieu of flowers, please send any donations and condolences to Wheels Through Time, PO Box 790, Maggie Valley, NC 28751.
All donations will be dedicated to ensuring the continuance of the legacy that Dale created far into the future and to giving museum visitors historical insight into the vital role that transportation has played in American history. The thrill of hearing the cycles run coupled with thoughts of riding into the wind will continue to evoke thoughts of Dale’s vibrant spirit --- and his dream.
 

TK3333

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Thoughts and prayers for Dale, his family and friends.
 

CaptainKyle

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Condolences on the passing of your friend .
Not a personal friend but Dale was a great person to talk to when I would visit the museum. He was like an over grown kid running around starting all the old bikes. I went in enough times that he gave me and a couple others a personal tour of the back where they built all the old bikes. I don't care if people don't like Harleys or not that place is cool & has tons of history in it.
 

Fire-medic

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His planning for the continuation of the museum for future generations is the greatest gift of his legacy. Look at the news, one more generation, and we may-not have internal combustion transportation being built, new. It's a great thing to have done to put the museum into what I assume is a foundation, for its continued operation.

Here in south Florida, there was a guy named Warrick, who started a hobby shop in the Ft. Lauderdale area, which grew and became very successful. I think it began around the end of the 1960's. He was a muscle car guy, he really-liked the GM A-bodies of the late 1960's/early 1970's. He began collecting them, and filling warehouses with them. He would send buyers out to buy and transport them back to south Florida. He had a fully-equipped shop to do the restorations, including a media blast cabinet big-enough to hold an entire car chassis, with multiple pairs of gloves/workstations, so a crew of workers could work simultaneously to strip a chassis. He would inventory the pieces of the various cars he stripped, and they would be labelled and on shelves. I recall seeing a row of tri-power carb set-ups, sitting together, waiting for their refurbishment and installation.

He was also a motorcycle guy, and he had a Moto-Guzzi dealership. He wanted to open a business where his cars and motorcycles on-display would serve as the feature for a meeting-place with a food service area, and a restaurant. He had a battle with the city where the warehouses were, trying to build what he wanted, and he finally gave-up. Then, like Dale, he died of cancer.

His family was used-to living 'high on the hog.' When they found out that it would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars a year to maintain the collection of over 100 A-body muscle cars, and the warehouses where they were stored, and worked-upon, it all went on the block. An auction company came-in and there was about a 2-week period where you could buy anything in inventory at deep discounts. The vehicles and motorcycles were a separate sale. The machine shop went on-sale, too. One of my friends who travelled around Florida bought nearly anything left of the motorcycle parts inventory, including clothing and hundreds of helmets, at the final day auction. I bought new quality motorcycle clothing, tools, and supplies, for 'way-less than 50% of retail. It wasn't one of those 'deals' where the liquidation company comes-in and hikes the prices on everything, then offers phony 'discounts.'

It was the end of an era here. I recall going-by the one warehouse where he had the finished cars on-display, the overhead doors were up, and there were rows upon rows of beautifully-restored GM muscle cars sitting there. You could sometimes see him driving or riding one of the cars or bikes, or an employee doing a 'road-test.' They ran, and were used. Now, it's just a memory.

Rest in peace, Dale, and thank-you for living your dream, and ensuring it will continue.
 

sdt354

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Thanks for posting this Kyle. Dale was always a go to guy for tech help, parts and shared experience.. The motorcycle community will surely miss him. RIP Dale.
 

CaptainKyle

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Thanks for posting this Kyle. Dale was always a go to guy for tech help, parts and shared experience.. The motorcycle community will surely miss him. RIP Dale.
The world lost a vast amount of knowledge from him ! His son is very nice to & I am sure he has lots of knowledge to but probably not near what Dale had he also has some employees that have a good bit of knowledge.

I had thought about it at one time to see if they needed a volunteer in the shop a couple days a week just to be around some of the cool old stuff & learn a little. I never followed thru with asking since it is a 100 miles away. I kind of wished I would have now just because Dale so so enjoyable to talk to.
 

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