#46 Matt Miller
Cream Ridge, NJ
1947 Harley-Davidson U
My name is Matt Miller and I live in Cream Ridge NJ. I am 56 years old and self employed. I have been married to my wife Lois for 28 years and we have 2 children. I grew up on an 80 acre farm in West Windsor NJ and graduated high school in 1981. Growing up on the farm we always had motorcycles so I’ve been riding most of my life.
I started driving a tractor trailer right out of school and traveled all states east of the Mississippi river so I am very accustomed to following maps and being on the road.
In 1984 after visiting my brother in Juneau Alaska I decided to move there. I loaded my Harley Davidson in the back of my pickup and headed west. 3 years later, partied out and broke I sold my pickup and Harley and happily move back to NJ. I met my wife the first day back and it was apparent we needed another Harley right away. I purchased a brand new 1987 Softail and we spent all of our time on that bike. It was a good bike but being an antique enthusiast I was always looking for something different. I pulled out of my wallet an old handmade business card I got from a gentleman at a local swap meet before I went to Alaska. I knew I needed to reconnect with him. “Harley 45” the card said and he was Vic Northey from Trenton NJ. I purchased a 1946 WL from him. It was about 80% complete. We lived only a few miles from each other so I was over there almost every day until I completed that bike and got it rolling. He took me under his wing and taught me a lot about antique Harley’s.
Soon after that Lois and I had our first child so I needed a big twin and a sidecar. I sold the 46WL for my 47U that I still own today and will be riding it in the Cross Country Chase. Vic helped me do the first motor rebuild on that bike and we remained good friends until his passing 2 years ago.
I sold the softail and spent the next 20 years building antique Harley’s and adding to my collection. Riding was something I did alone but building was something I could do at home with my wife children. I didn’t want to miss them growing up. Our most noted Miller family project is my 34VLD.
I missed that 46WL so much that a few years ago I built another one to replace it. This time I built the whole bike including the motor with the skills taught by Vic. I raced that bike 3 years in Wildwood NJ at the Race of Gentleman. It’s still a strong runner.
Jersey Jon always stayed at our condo for that weekend and his stories about the Cannonball Run were very inspiring. Seeing Dave Minerva on his 1916 Harley and Jersey Jon on his 1913 Thor in Atlantic City for the launch of the Cannonball Run made me thirst for something of that caliber. Not having a 100 year old bike I knew it was something I could never compete in so I thought I would make my own run with my 47 Flathead. A more modern bike but I knew it would be just me and my motorcycle. No support vehicles or anyone following us with a trailer.
In 2016 I asked my very close friend Timmy O’Connor with a 1940 UL if he would ever consider taking a one way trip cross country and to my surprise he was ecstatic about the idea. We spent the next 6 months preparing for the trip and had our bikes hauled to Dudley Perkins HD in San Francisco. We flew out there and headed up the coast for a few days then started east. We made it back in about 12 days with only minor problems and it turned into my most memorable motorcycle trip. Crossing the Colorado Rockies over the Monarch pass on my Flathead was by far the coolest thing I have ever done. My only regret is that we could only do it one way. Both being self employed we were limited to the time spent away from our duties.
When I saw the post for this event on the AMCA Facebook page I could hardly contain myself. I knew it was for me.
This bike is still a very strong running bike and has been cross country tested so I know it is a perfect candidate for the “Chase”. As for myself there’s nothing my 18 year old mind can’t do. Good luck fellow riders.