Harley Davidson’s Top Designer Retires
Posted Wednesday, Mar 27, 2013 by
William Godfrey Davidson, 76, Harley-Davidson’s top stylist for nearly a half century, has announced his retirement. He is scheduled to leave his post on April 30.
“Willie G.,” as he’s better known, is the son of former Harley-Davidson president William H. Davidson and grandson of company co-founder William A. Davidson. He is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the Art Center College of Design in Pasadena, Calif. After working in Ford Motor Co.’s design department, he returned to Milwaukee in 1963 to join the family business. He was named vice president of styling in 1969.
“Few individuals have the kind of impact on an organization, a brand and a lifestyle that Willie G. has had,” said Keith Wandell, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Harley-Davidson, Inc. “Everyone with a love for motorcycles owes a great deal to his vision and talent, and all of us have been blessed by his presence. His legacy will continue to grow, thanks to the talent he has nurtured in the Harley-Davidson styling studio.”
Willie G. was responsible for the design of many classic and popular Harley-Davidson bikes, including:
- 1971 FX Super Glide
- 1977 FXS Low Rider
- 1977 XLCR Sportster-based cafe racer
- 1984 Heritage Softail Classic
- 1990 Fat Boy
- 2001 V-Rod
- 2006 Street Glide
He will continue to represent the 100-year-old motorcycle company at shows, festivals and other motorcycle-related events.
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