Saturday, July 30, 2011

Albuquerque Dealer History

I've been thinking I'd really like to make an Albuquerque specific dealer decal for the '51. I'd love to copy an original but I'm just not sure there's an original still with us to copy. First step, find out who the local Triumph dealer was in '51 (assuming there was one). Enter Robbie K:

The dealer in the late '50s and 60's were the Bodwell family, they also sold Cushman scooters. Al Simonson was the Indian dealer in the 30s and 40s. He took on Triumph back in the 50s but then sold it on to take on Honda. Bobby J bought the Indian franchise when they imported Brit stuff before he took on Yamaha. Tommy Jacobs was another Indian dealer for a while in the late 40s and 50s. Joe Turney sold BSA and Jawa/CZ, Rissman motors sold Norton and Moto Guzzi. - Robbie

I love this sorta of stuff! Sounds like Al Simonson might be our guy. Enter Vance Deniston via Google and a discussion of the old Albuquerque Motorcycle Club clubhouse I've posted about before.

A group called 'Duke City Cyclists' in the 1940's was pretty much the group to hang with 'back in the day'. I'm not positive, but I think this is the club house that was built by this group and others. Indian motorcycles were all the rage and Harleys were carving their own trail. The group had people like Al Simonson, Harold Boyce, Jessie Savaadra and Arthur Sandoval, everyone rode together. Were did they ride? The Jemez, same as every self respecting New Mexico motorcyclist does today. I've attached a page from The Indian News from October 1940, I'm sure you won't be able to read it but here it is. I worked for a brief time at M&M Honda in Abq. when the "Goldwing" was new and all the "Wing-dingers" were everywhere. Old man Simonson would come by to check on his old place. M&M was originally Simonson Honda across the street from the fairgrounds on San Pedro. Al was also the first Harley dealer in New Mexico before he sold to Alcon. Al would keep Swanny and me wide-eyed with the photos he would bring in and the stories he would tell us. They would ride to Santa Fe, a gravel and stone road, and he said sometimes it was a 2-day trip with the break downs and "story-telling". I think the story-telling part meant, lets stop and have a drink from the saddlebags. I miss 'ol Al, telling those stories with his one eye closed, like Popeye. Ride on.

It was seeing a shiny new '77 Honda XR75 at that San Pedro location that made me into a motorcycle freak. Now I almost don't care if the Simonson dealership would have been historically accurate or not! Frankly who besides me would know or care?

Now I have to find out what his dealership was called around that time. I'll keep digging. Hell maybe a decal will turn up. This one came from Robbie.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

I worked for Al Simonson for a little over a year in 1961-1962. I can still hear him answer the phone (with his signature stutter) "Siiiiiimonsons Cycles". He made a huge difference in my life by not giving me a raise and encouraging me to go to college. Lots of memories of this man and his gentle wife.
Steve Hawkins
San Francisco