Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bike Series #2 - Willie G

William G. Davidson, better known as Willie G., is the grandson of William A. Davidson, one of the original founders of Harley-Davidson.
Willie G. is best known for shaking up the staid design department at Harley-Davidson with new and innovative ideas that helped usher in a new era for the Milwaukee-based company. He was part of the group of employees that bought the troubled company back from AMF and helped guide it to financial health during the 1980s.

Davidson, naturally, grew up around motorcycles. He remembers as a young child the excitement of being given rides in the sidecar of the motorcycle his father was riding. Davidson graduated from the University of Wisconsin with a degree in graphic art and then attended the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, California.

In 1963, he was asked to join the design department at Harley-Davidson and he accepted the position. Early on, Davidson often met with resistance from upper management because of the design direction he wanted to take the company. The older and more conservative managers saw young Davidson’s designs as radical and unpractical.

Davidson was promoted to Vice President of Styling in 1969. Today, Davidson, with his black beret is highly visible at numerous rallies across the country and has become a legendary symbol of the family and of Harley-Davidson.

Thanks, Andy!

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