Harley-Davidson's Willie G. Davidson Retires
The most important man in modern American motorcycling steps down.
As a rider for over 50 years now, I am sad to see him go. Sadder still is that it doesn't appear there will be a Davidson to carry on the legacy.
I've lost track of how many different motorcycles I've owned. (30+?) Most of my bikes were not HDs but the HDs I did have still hold some of my fondest memories.
I know what Willie G has meant to HD, The motorcycling community is losing a true icon.
I agree that AMF did not do Harley Davidson much good except for the fact that if AMF had not purchased HD and kept the company in existence, HD would most likely be out of business considering the shape it was in in the early 80's.
Also do not forget what Ronald Reagan did for HD.
In 1983 President Ronald Reagan imposed tariffs on foreign motorcycles, that act became the lifeline that extended to the Motor Company and pulled them out of an economic quicksand that threatened to bury Harley forever.
"The Reagan move benefitted exactly one U.S. firm," according to an article in the April 11, 1983, edition of TIME magazine, "Milwaukee's Harley-Davidson Motor Co."
The tariffs were to last five years, but the company's comeback proceeded so quickly that it relinquished the final months of import relief. The tariffs did encourage Japanese companies like Honda and Kawasaki to build factories in the U.S.A. Ronald Reagan realized what an American iconic Harley is. He stepped up and helped an American company survive against the dumping of Japanese imports.
Harley Davidson's are like Nike's,
Yes you can get better but no you can not spend as much.
A friend of mine years ago bought a full HD dresser, and paid $27,000 for it and was telling me he would probably put another $4000 on it to make it have more power and such. The year before my father in law bought a fully loaded Gold Wing and paid $27,000, this bike had nearly twice as much power with reverse gear, wireless head sets, am/fm cd player, 6 cylinder motor. He brought it by my house to show it to me and I was out front talking to the neighbor which was a Harley owner, and even he said Harleys are pooches compared to everything else.
All you are doing is paying for a name not the product.
HD has been near financial failure many times in recent years, they could increase their sales very easily by putting out some new designs that don't look like the same old, same old, offer some quieter bikes (towns and cities would appreciate that as well since here in Colorado many have outlawed after market pipes due to the obnoxious noise) and offer some faster bikes for those of us that don't want sore wrists from trying to wring more throttle out of those old dogs.
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