Discussion in 'General Harley Davidson Topic' started by Jack Klarich, Oct 11, 2009.
Remember the AMF years anyone care to post good bad and ugly side of the AMF years
U r right they bled the co dry the onyg thing positive i can think of was the investment in developing the early 5 speed trannys otherwise the moco would not be here today as we know it
Its too bad about the Nova project and other ones dropped by the MOCO I bet the metric community picked up on some of these ideas and capatialized on them Sounds to me like Smitty has done his homework
The story of AMF Harley Davidson is a double edged sword. It is probably true that the AMF purchase probably prevented HD going the way of many of the British manufacturers and other motorcycle names. And they did help update the facilities and methods used at Harley.
But their attempt to "mass produce" Harleys to compete with the flood of low priced but reliable Japanese motorcycles was a major strategic error. They turned out a lot of junk iron that created a perception that still remains in the minds of many older non-HD riders. Stories about a HD bike "marking its territory" when parked, nicknames like "Hardly Ableson", "Hardly Drivable," and "Hogly Ferguson" plagued the line.
When the Company was bought back from AMF in 1981, new management made some critical decisions that help to rejuvenate the Company. More Quality method (like TQM) played a big role in success. Focusing on the high-end large displacement market was also right. Getting the help from the US President to limit competition on the big displacement engine bikes was also key.
But probably the thing that help "save" HD the most was the idea and philosophy of "listening to the voice of the customer". This is both the Dealership network and the end rider.
So what now? Is the Company perched on the same ledge it was back in the late 60's. Many think so. Has HD lost its focus on the voice of the customer, particularly the end rider? Many think so. Has the Dealership network been allowed to plod on unmeasured and uncontrolled with a significant negative impact on the image of the brand? Many think so. So what should the Company do?
There is an old adage that goes something like this: "Those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it" (Santayana).
ahhhhh... AMF.... The ownership that gave birth to the only Harley with a soul...
It's true. Just listen to 2 or more Shovelhead riding together and you'll hear the wonderful sound they make. That thrum, that almost engine in sync, but not quite, lovely mechanical sound that iron motors make... Milwaukee iron.
They were given a soul because most are "one off". One off? Yep, the art of making mis-matched lower end cases mate, hand fitting cylinders, and knowing how to make a mish-mash of ill fitting parts into a motorcycle, a sense of their past coupled with the being part of the past and present (think Pan-Shovel) is what gave them a soul.
You must not have owned one, TQ. Because they don't mark their territory, they mark their spot. Owning a Shovelhead means more maintenance per riding hour. And maintaining them requires more "feel" then the beer-can motors (evo and twin-cam). My shovelhead gets more looks then either of my Evos.
They can also be a "bear". The same feel when maintaining them can turn into blind rage when the techniques you have been using for years suddenly no longer work. And just has suddenly, work again.
I honestly believe that since they have souls, they have moods also. It must be true because there are times when Shaker runs harder and faster then any of my Evos. But there are other times when a short run is nothing but a hard time. Not in a mechcanical problem sense, but more of a "I'm not in the mode to be running around town" sense. Or just the opposite. She would rather be in the city running stoplight to stoplight then cruising the country side.
Line up a Shovelhead, and EVO and a Twin Cam up side be side and it's the Shovelhead the speaks the loudest. Not the exhaust sound, but the history, style, attitude and sense of just who it is.
It's a Harley with a soul. It's an AMF Shovelhead.
You are right on that. But I was not talking about my feeling about the AMF bikes but rather the impression that many non-HD folks still have about Harleys in general.
I personally love the retro bikes. I would love to have one, but that will probably not be an OEM. Best chance may be one of the kit bikes that include a newly manufactured retro engine. Will that engine/tranny have soul? Maybe not. I think I will still like it though.
One point I failed to make above, is the strategic move New Management made after the buy back from AMF to stick with a retro look/design. While the competition was moving towards what we now call "sports bikes", HD focussed on big iron. Good move. Do I like the V-Rod? Have never ridden one, but they do look sort of cool. But given a choice between buying a new Muscle and getting a retro bike kit like a '36 EL Knuckle or a '49 Hydra-Glide Pan, I would build one of the retros (may be both some day).
Nice!:small3d018: Thanks for the education, I never new that.:33:
I can recall a quote from either "Cycle" or "Cycle World" magazine way way back in the very early Eighties.A Harley with gearbox issues was opened up.Apparently there was a note inside that said "Ha Ha,no second gear"
Dont know if that was an apocryphal story or not but it certainly fit with H-D's issues of those times.
Many agree that the Evolution V-2 engine helped turn things around for HD.
With that being said, an HD dealer whom I consider to be a wise ole owl informed me that....(paraphrasing) "People may slam AMF, but it was AMF money that brought about the development of the Evolution V-2 engine."
I still like the old school AMF No. 1 in red white and blue. Have some of these patches sown on my jacket and wear this often.
I was surprised that a very young kid who is just old enough to race dirtbikes... Identified my No. 1 patch with being HD!
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