E.J. Cole’s motorcycle collection has been whispered about for decades, and well-heeled suitors have shown up at his doorstep time and again, only to be rebuffed with impossible demands for piles of cash. Talk heated up last fall, as it seemed Cole was ready to cut loose, and several auction houses plus a couple of wealthy collectors negotiated in good faith, only to leave the table shaking their heads. After every approach failed, the 89-year-old Cole, for some unspecified reason, finally budged. His deal with Mecum Auctions, while rumored to have included sale price guarantees and millions in cash, was apparently far simpler than that—just sell the bikes and see what they fetch.