Willie G retires April 30th
Willie G retires April 30th
Sure he will still have some type of finger print on the future products. Just not a full time deal since he is in his 70's
Harley never forgets a design... his iconic designs will be around for decades to come.
Just my opinion... but I think he was a master of looking at what 'owners' and enthusiasts were doing themselves. And looking back into HD's history. Then integrating those ideas, trends, details, historical elements, etc. into some really brilliantly-designed packages. FXWG, XLCR, Sturgis, Fatboy, 883, Springer(s), Heritage, etc. etc. etc. Love them or hate them, they were all iconic. Personally, I loved some. Hated others. But all had an impact and there was always something for everyone.
It will be interesting to see whether HD's new chief designer (Does anyone know who it will be?) is going to have the same ability to blend so many elements into a finished product. Because with some companies (BMW cars and Ducati spring to mind), a new designer taking over from a legend can have a really negative impact on the product line.
I don't think HDs designs CAN become any narrower in the motorcycle market.......it's a miracle they still survive.
Now that Willie G. has retired, it would be fitting for him to write a "real" history of what he knows about the Harley-Davidson Co.
I asked him what happened to his custom K model.He doesn't know who he sold it to or where it is now.
Although Willie G. has retired the fact remains that he is a major stockholder in the MoCo. He is not going to do or say anything that will damage his investment.
Here are Willie and John on thier custom K's.
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There is no doubt that modern H-D, Inc. owes a great deal to Willie G.
Besides the bikes he had a hand in designing, he also became the living symbol of Harley-Davidson past, present and future. His evolution from a suit and tie wearing straight dude in the 1960s to a bearded, belted and be-leathered biker type by the late 1970s is a real phenomenon. His dad and other factory guys told me a little bit about that. With AMF coming in and the so-called biker ("outlaw") culture taking over, there was a lot of agony around Harley-Davidson at that time. They took a gamble with a new image, but it sure did work well as a marketing tool.
The TRUE beginnings of the Harley-Davidson Motor Co.
It looks like Ray Drea will be the next in line He is currently the V.P. of styling,Willie will be moving his office down to the H-D Museum and be more involved there.
Ken S., # 6457
1926- H-D BAF-Peashooter
1968-Benelli Mojave 360
1973- H-D TX125