Most “American Pickers” viewers will know Jon Szalay better as “Jersey Jon.” He was first introduced to fans in Episode 6 of “American Pickers” Season 7, titled “Sturgis or Bust,” but has since appeared in 16 other installments of the series (via IMDb). An expert in 1900s motorcycles, Jersey Jon has emerged over the years as a fan-favorite supporting player on “American Pickers,” impressing both the show’s stars and those watching at home with his expertise.
To his credit, Jersey Jon acquired all his knowledge through plenty of hard work and dedication to his craft. Indeed, Szalay has been working as a professional craftsman and restorer since he was just 12 years old (via Antique Motorcycle Foundation). While growing up in South Jersey, Szalay found a passion for woodworking early on in his life, and by the time he was 17, he had earned enough money by restoring furniture to purchase a building for his business, which he did. Years later, in the 1980s, he began to focus more on antique motorcycles and found himself increasingly interested in acquiring and restoring the engines that powered many late 19th century and early 20th century motorbikes.
One of the motorcycles that Szalay went on to restore was chosen to be shown in a Guggenheim exhibition, and he eventually developed a talent for making replica carburetors. Over the years, his work has attracted the attention of clients from all across the country, and he even participated in the pre-1916 Cannonball Motorcycle Rally — just in case his previous accomplishments weren’t already impressive enough.
All of this is to say that Jersey Jon is even more experienced with restoring antiques than “American Pickers” fans might have previously thought.