Monday, April 20, 2015

GME History

I have been working on an old GME gas tank for a project I'm working on. Don't even ask me how many hours I spent cleaning it up and retunneling it. Sometimes projects can take you down a rat hole. I've always sort of hated Mustang tanks. Then it occurred to me that if they weren't so drastically Frisco'd they are effectively a Triumph/Wassell hybrid.  I especially like the old GME tanks as the rib is almost identical to the one on a stock Triumph tank. Seemed worth a shot.

Long story short spending so much up close and personal time cleaning up and cutting apart my GME it got me interested in what G-M-E stood for and the company's history. A little digging turned up a very informative post by Irish Rich on JJ.

GME was General Motorcycle Engineering aka The Machine Shop, in N. Hollywood CA. It was Gene Shaffer, Don Tomasko, and Don Orr. Don bought out what Mustang inventory was left, and the name Mustang from a guy in Texas. Unfortunately, Don didn't get all the paperwork and titles to the stock, so he just dumped all the parts after he built a couple dozen "Stallions' as he called them. 

Don didn't use the Mustang for a pattern for the GME tanks, but he did give Ronnie Paugh a NOS mustang tank so that Paughco could make the prototype dies to stamp them out around '70 or so (maybe earlier). They stamped Amen's and GME's out for them as part of the deal. 

Don was in partners with Neil McNeil, then he sold his share out and went in on The Machine Shop. He left there, and started Triton Engineering, and had Billy Westbrook custom painting bikes there when he was THIRTEEN YEARS OLD! That is, until Triton burnt down. 

Last time I talked to Don Orr was about 5 years ago, and he still had a lawsuit against H-D pending, and he was up in Bend, OR building Bonneville racers.

1 comment:

GOrr541 said...

Hi! I am Don Orr's widow, he passed away in 2002 in Bend, Oregon. Our two sons were in high school at the time. I am always looking for information about their dad from his motorcycle days to pass on to them. Did you finish your project? We'd love to see pictures!
Thank you!
Gail Orr