Harley Davidson styling guru Willie G. set to retire by end of April

After almost 50 years as the top executive of styling Harley-Davidson, Willie G. Davidson will be retiring come the end of April 2012.

Willie G., the Chief Styling Office and Senior VP of Harley-Davidson, is considered as a legend in the motorcycling world and considered as a great inspiration for motorcycle designers. He is not completely going into retirement though as he will still be the brand ambassador for events and motorcycle rallies. Willie G. will also act as Chief Styling Officer Emeritus.

Thru the years, Willie G., who is now 78, led the design team of Harley-Davidson to be on top of the motorcycle world producing custom, touring, and cruiser bikes. The design baton will be passed on to Ray Drea who has been with Harley-Davidson for 19 years and holds the position of VP and Director of Styling. Drea has collaborated thru the years with Willie G. in the production of some of the famous rides of the brand.

Practically anyone who has an interest in motorcycles owes a lot to Willie G. and good thing he has nurtured fresh talents at Harley-Davidson so his legacy will go on. He will continue his work as ambassador and will be talking to customers, signing jackets, and meeting riders during rallies of bikes around the globe.

Willie G. is the grandson of William A. Davidson, one of the founders of the company, and William H. Davidson’s son who was the second president of the company. Willie G. became the first styling head back in 1963 when he first joined the firm. Some of the landmark creations of the design team spearheaded by Willie G. are the Super Glide (the bike that started the custom motorcycles category back in 1971), Heritage Softail Classic, Low Rider, V-Rod, Fat Boy, and Street Glide.

He is among the 13 executives of Harley-Davidson who bought the brand from AMF Inc in the early 1980s.