The Norman Transcript

Local news

September 7, 2013

1962 Matchless Pathfinder a fine first ride for resident

NORMAN — Johnie Wimer’s nickname is “Iron Butt.” The retired restaurant manager and current president of Norman’s Rock Creek Polo Club III homeowner’s association earned it from being able to ride motorcycles long distances.

He has a huge Honda VTX 1800 in the garage. In the past, he’s owned a 1957 Harley Davidson Sportster, 1972 Electraglide, 1948 Indian Chief and even a tiny 1959 Sears Allstate Highlander scooter.

What’s particularly remarkable about Wimer’s motorcycle history is that he still owns his first big wheel bike, a 1962 Matchless Pathfinder, that his folks bought him new at 16 for the then astronomic price of $600.

“We lived in Carlsbad, N.M., and I used to walk to Alta Vista Junior High School,” Wimer said. “On the way there was a little motorcycle shop that I went past every day.”

In that showroom the lad spied the red and white London, England-produced Matchless that captured his heart. It was the only new bike in the shop. Wimer told his folks about the bike. He actually had dreams about the Matchless. His folks were amused by the mechanical infatuation and gently teased him about it.

“One day, around three months later, my mom asked if I still wanted that motorcycle and I told her, ‘Of course,” he said. “She told me we should just go down and buy it.”

Wimer thought her teasing had reached the level of cruelty, but the family went to the shop and purchased it. The teenager knew how to operate the clutch from three or four spins on a friend’s bike and rode his new Pathfinder home.

“We didn’t have a garage and the first night I parked it in the front yard and slept next to it in my sleeping bag,” Wimer said. “I didn’t want to be away from my new motorcycle.”

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