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A-C Minibikes A Part Of His Collection
As Allis-Chalmers collectors and restorers, brothers Gary and Paul Roidt had been looking for an A-C minibike for something unique to work on. They aren’t easy to find, so when one turned up on an online auction in nearby south-central Wisconsin, Paul decided to check it out.
Paul was going to pass on it because it had obviously been in a fire and needed a lot of work. But Gary talked to a friend who said that because it had some parts that are expensive to replace - belt guard, tailpipe and tailpipe heat shield - it was worth bidding on. They purchased it for a fair price and took it to their shop to assess the damage. There was a lot.
“It must have laid on its side after the fire. The engine shroud rotted away, and the front forks were really rusty,” Roidt says.
But there was also good news.
“The fire must have happened early. The internals of the engine looked like new. By looking on the outside you wouldn’t know; it was a pleasant surprise,” he adds.
The minibikes were built by Gilson Brothers Co. in Plymouth, Wis., in the early 70’s, when the minibike market was booming. Gilson labeled some of the bikes for A-C and Montgomery Ward. The Roidts’ 5-hp. minibike had suspension and a lot of chrome. The brothers hired others to do the chrome and brake work but did the rest of the restoration themselves, including zinc plating, sandblasting and painting, between December 2021 and July 2022.
The finished minibike was a hit at the Gathering of the Orange in Baraboo, Wis.
“It’s just a neat piece of history and cool to have the opportunity to have one and fix it up,” Roidt says, adding he enjoyed seeing his nephew ride it in the parade.
Other young relatives will have a chance to ride it as well, and the Roidts hope to take the minibike to more shows.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Paul Roidt (ph 608-697-6878; rbr2035@frontier.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #3