Brotherly love is something that can’t really be explained. Brothers can be a nuisance, they can be bothersome, and they can be taxing, but for some inexplicable reason, you always seem to find yourself sharing a bond that is hard to break. For Indiana service shop owner, Tony Griffin, the relationship with his younger brother Bill is a special one. Bill has lived for 53 years with Down syndrome.
Bill has spent years admiring the Porsche restoration projects that Tony has assembled. Whenever Tony returns to his home town to visit, Bill always wants to know when he will get his own Porsche. Owing to that, Tony decided to build Bill a special Porsche of his own. Bill has always had an affinity for two wheeled travel, and does not have a driver’s license so Tony made sure to build something to suit him.
Tony, at age 56, owns and manages Griffin’s Service Center in Flora, Indiana, where he restores and maintains European models of all vintages. For several years, though, Tony’s fixation has been Porsche. When not at work, Tony has restored an astonishing 19 vintage Porsches over the years. All this time, Bill has witnessed them come back to life at his brother’s hand, cultivating his own affinity for the German brand.
Tony’s abilities have been proven, and continue to be fine-tuned, with each passing project completion. Recently, Tony placed fifth in class at the Savannah, GA iteration of the PCA Porsche Parade concours. It was during his 19th restoration that Tony decided he wanted to dedicate the car to his brother. Later, it was decided that a dedication would only serve to confuse Bill, and work was begun on the Porsche bicycle project.
As a youngster, Bill took to the mechanics of pedaling and balance required to ride a bike as though he were a proverbial duck to water. Often, Bill would ride his bicycle to the store to buy a few everyday needs for the family. Bill now lives with sister and caretaker Jane, and to this day, he will occasionally bike into town with a smile.
The new Griffin-built Porsche bicycle began life as a 26-inch, 15-speed mountain bike. With the addition of a hub-mounted electric motor scrounged from a stand-up style scooter, plenty of electricity from an interstate car battery, and some hand crafted bodywork, the bike began to take form. Tony says that the job took a lot of labor, and a lot of love, with over 25 hours invested.
The cushy long-hauler bike seat, the swooping fenders, a flashy guards red paint job, and a large Porsche crest on the front have really set this bike apart, and made it unique. In addition, the bike retains a single speed chain drive, so it can be run on Bill power, or electric power, making it the first hybrid-electric Porsche with two wheels. The bike definitely doesn’t disappoint the brand faithful, as it is capable of a blistering 14 miles per hour for up to four miles of travel on a charge.
Tony prepared the bike to be gifted to Bill over the weekend of the 1st, so we will be sure to keep you up to date on how the presentation transpired, and hopefully some positive reactions from Bill. On Saturday, Bill’s home town of Darlington plays host to the Darlington Days celebration, and as part of the festivities, Tony hopes that Bill will ride the bike in the town parade.
"For him, that will be extremely special." Tony said, "Apparently, they judge, too, in Darlington. I hope he gets that prize."
UPDATE: We finally got the chance to meet Tony during the 2017 Amelia Island Concours Weekend. Tony was present at the PCA's Werks reunion with both his 924 Turbo and Bill's bike. Sadly, Bill passed away last September. To celebrate Bill’s life and his pride and joy, this bike we offered for sale at the Hollywood Wheels Auction. 100% of the proceeds were donated to the “Down Syndrome Association of Pittsburg” in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania in memory of Bill.
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[Story and picture source via TimesOnline.com]