Those familiar with On Any Sunday will remember Cal Rayborn breaking the motorcycle land speed record and topping 265 mph in 1970. BUB Enterprises CEO and Motorcycle Hall of Fame member Denis Manning designed Rayborn's Harley-Davidson, and then returned to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 2006 to recapture the record he lost in 1975.
“Accomplishment is about believing in a concept and your ability to follow it through,” says Jim Giuffra, founding partner of world champion metric bike builders AFT Customs. “Credere”—its name purposely chosen from the Italian verb “to believe”—affirms that philosophy. AFT's rendition of Honda's respected VTX1300 cruiser embodies Giuffra's sculptural vision and celebration of the female form.
The year 1965 was pivotal for Harley-Davidson. The venerable Panhead engine delivered its swan song, making way for the Shovelhead era. The company went public on the stock market. Most importantly, The Motor Company christened the industry's first full-dress touring horse, the Electra Glide.
The mid-1970s was a cruel era for Honda streetbike enthusiasts. A lack of captivating suspects in the showroom lineup had admirers of the engineering giant wistfully twisting the throttles of past glories. The powerhouse Honda CB750 Four had broken ground on a number of design fronts, but the original superbike was an aging child of the sixties. By late 1976, the once mighty roar of Honda's innovative motorcycle engineering department had been reduced to a muffled gust—at least that was the view from the street.
Harley-Davidson, that inimitable icon of Americana, has once again succeeded in bringing dreams to life through the experience of motorcycling and the irresistible Harley lifestyle.
Harley-Davidson fired a 1340cc silver bullet into the marketplace when it introduced the Softail Fat Boy in 1990. Crafted as a high-caliber response to the low-cost Japanese imports that swamped the U.S. market, the imposing “Gray Ghost”—with its metallic paint, winged USAF-inspired tank logo and solid disc wheels—made a muscular and unapologetically American statement. It helped Harley-Davidson recapture the sales leader mantle in the 750cc-and-up heavyweight division.
As a well-scrubbed youth in the 1950s, Willie G. Davidson, grandson of Motor Company co-founder William A. Davidson, headed west from Wisconsin to attend the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. Out on the west coast, the sun was rising on the world of motorcycle customizing, with men like Ed Roth and Von Dutch on the crest of the new wave. The impact of the emergent custom scene would linger in Davidson's sketchbook as he joined Harley-Davidson's design department in 1963.