Friday, October 5, 2012

Try Tom's

I caught this great ad on Show & Go yesterday.

Earlier the same day Michael Tom had recounted how he had pulled a TT Special off the family showroom and converted to a semi-legal street bike. It was pretty clear he really  liked that bike...

I enjoyed talking to Michael. Anyone that reads the crap I post here with any regularity knows I'm really fascinated by early Triumph dealer history. Mike's Dad Carmen started selling motorcycles (Jawas) out of the single car garage of the commercially zoned family residence in 1958. Michael mentioned in a previous conversation that his parents had picked up Triumph in 1964 (by then a real shop had been constructed in place of the home). Carmen apparently was impressed with the new "Unit" Triumphs. They carried Triumph to the bitter end. Michael mentioned taking a trip to the UK in the '70s and buying up $300,000 worth of parts. That proved to be an excellent investment years later when the parts were sold mail order.

Several sources attest to some shrewd business decisions made by the family over the years. In Carmen's words:

"Russ and I took a trip back to Milwaukee for a week," he said. "Harley -Davidson was barely making 50,000 bikes a year and we got 50. Russ handled the advertising and was out on the floor every day. We sold more bikes than we could get our hands on."

Carmen ended up selling the HD dealership just before the burst of the economic bubble that has left many other big Harley Davidson dealerships struggling financially.

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