“For a long time, The Gunny sat in the USMC Museum until its owner had decided it was time for him to sell it. He had one condition: He would only sell to another USMC Veteran.”
“You want to see something really cool?” Todd Duplnatis asked me with a smile. “You like motorcycles?”
I grew up on dirtbikes and yes, I like motorcycles, so we headed out to his garage.
When we walked through the door and I saw the custom, one of a kind USMC motorcycle that looked like a piece of art, my jaw dropped.
“I told you it was cool!” Duplantis crowed, and I could only nod in agreement.
Todd Duplantis is the Mayor Pro Tem of Tucumcari, New Mexico. He is also a self made entrepreneur that owns several restaurants, a catering business and has been instrumental in helping attract new business to Tucumcari, which sits on the Mother Road, Route 66, which is seeing a new breed of entrepreneurs come to town excited to play a part in helping it grow.
Todd was raised in Tucumcari and then left for college, but decided to join the Air Force instead. After four years, he spent a year in the civilian world and then joined the United States Marine Corps, where he served for 9 years.
Years later, Todd was in Malaysia working on oil rigs and was looking to buy a Corvette. Not finding what he wanted, he started looking for “choppers” and found a listing for, “The Gunny,” the motorcycle that is now his.
When Todd spoke with the owner, he found out the motorcycle is a one-of-a-kind custom job. It was designed by a USMC Gunnery Sergeant in Vietnam. He designed it, and his son built it.
For a long time, The Gunny sat in the USMC Museum until its owner had decided it was time for him to sell it. He had one condition: He would only sell to another USMC Veteran.
The Gunny comes to Tucumcari
Duplantis and the owner came to an agreement, and Duplantis purchased The Gunny.
“I was incredibly lucky to find this motorcycle, it’s beautiful,” Todd told me with pride as we looked it over. “It has been custom built from the ground up. Look, there,” he pointed a finger at the seat. “See the seat? It’s made from old covers (military speak for “hat”), and… there” now pointing again, “see the turn signals? They have hand grenades above them.”
Everywhere I looked, I saw unique touches- the rider shifts gears via gripping a USMC sword on the left.
The Gunny has appeared in multiple magazines, and even has a custom trailer to haul it.
Then, there are the wheels.
USMC Wheels, Patented
“The U.S. Marine Corps has a patent on this bike, only they can build another,” Duplantis told me. “But then I checked, and I was able to patent the wheels. This is the only set of these wheels in existence.”
I asked him, “Why did you patent them? You want to sell copies?”
He laughed and said, “No- I patented them so I’ll always have the only set! It’s a special machine.”
About the $120K
Like anyone would be, Duplantis was curious about how much his bike is worth, so he had it professionally appraised, and it is valued at $120,000.
“I won’t tell you what I paid,” Duplantis said, “but the owner wasn’t motivated by money. He wanted to sell it, one Marine to another.”
Duplantis has owned The Gunny for a little over eight years, and has no plans to sell. “It is an honor to own this motorcycle,” he said with a smile.