The bittersweet story on the Harley-Davidson Heritage Classic that was sold and later found


“We’ve joked about it for the last five years, I reckon,” said Ashlee. “It got to the middle of last year, my dad passed away in August and his anniversary had just passed.”

The friend who offloaded the bike suggested that the Harley might have been written off by the new owner at some point, ending the search after it had just begun.

“He teared up and said, ‘I’m happy to sell it back to you; it’s going to bring you a lot more happiness than it does me.’ ”

Ashlee

Even so, Ashlee asked for the number plate details, and when she checked them with VicRoads, it said the bike was currently registered. It hadn’t gone to the wreckers.

“It brought back a little bit of hope,” she said. “I thought, ‘We’re back on.’ ”

However, the owner wasn’t returning her calls. So Ashlee found the person’s daughter on Facebook and sent her a message with her request. Eventually, she got a call that the bike had been sold to someone else.

“He’s like, ‘Here’s their number, I don’t know if it still works,’ ” she said.

A special birthday gift for Brady Morton ended years of regret.

A special birthday gift for Brady Morton ended years of regret.Credit: Jason South

After calling the number, she found the bike had been sold yet again, this time to the Peter Stevens dealership in Geelong. It might be the end of the road, Ashlee thought, as the dealership was unlikely to pass on the information she needed.

However, staff at Peter Stevens said they’d try to help. About a month and a half later, Ashlee was told to expect a call from a man called Dean who lived in Hoppers Crossing. When he rang, Ashlee told him the story.

The bike was still in his garage and hadn’t been ridden for a few years.

“He teared up and said, ‘I’m happy to sell it back to you; it’s going to bring you a lot more happiness than it does me,’ ” she said.

Once the Harley had been secured, friends did some work on the bike to get it started again.

On Saturday, Brady was taken to the Eltham Hotel, one of his dad’s old haunts, and told to expect a surprise for his 30th birthday. With a blindfold on, Ashlee read him a poem about his father and the treasured possession that had been taken away.

The moment the Harley is returned.

The moment the Harley is returned.

“As she was reading it, I started putting the pieces together,” said Brady. “They started the bike up and as they took the blindfold off I was in tears.”

After waiting so long, Brady took the bike out for a ride immediately. It was a bittersweet moment, he said.

“I’m just so grateful for what they’ve done.”

Brady Morton (centre) with his family and the bike.

Brady Morton (centre) with his family and the bike.

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