Harley designer Willie G. winds down career

Charles Benson

Harley designer Willie G. winds down career

By Charles Benson. CREATED Apr 30, 2012

MILWAUKEE - He's the creative genius behind just about every Harley Davidson in the last 50 years. And on Monday Willie G. decided it was time to call it a career.

He sat down with TODAY'S TMJ4's Charles Benson to talk about his future and the future of Harley Davidson.

"I really can't cut the chord, it's my life," said Willie G., " my family's life. It's just been an exciting ride all those years."

What a ride it has been! For 50 years Willie G. Davidson designed motorcycles for the company his grandfather co-founded.

"I've had gasoline in my veins from day one."

At an age 78 he's not on running on empty. Harley Davidson is one of the most successful brands in the world.

Charles: Are you working on anything right now that is still in the design stage?
Willie G.: I am, but if I tell you I'll get fired. ( laughs)

Willie G. says the company's future looks good with or without him.

"As long as we understand the magnitude of the brand, going forward and treat it with great respect, I think we will be fine."

The bikes he helped design are even cooler with names like Fatboy, Super Glide, Low Rider and Street Glide.

"Street Glider, I'm very proud of that vehicle. I was the author of that bike and it's become our number #1 seller."

But designing bikes isn't always number one in his life. Willie G. also has a passion for painting with watercolors.
You can seem them on display at the museum.

"There's an overlap here. These are two dimensional and the motorcycles are three dimensional."

But there' s only one Willie G. and he hopes people will remember his contribution to the company.

"I just hope they realized I was dedicated to this brand and the sport."

Willie G. says he will still have an office at the Harley Davidson Museum and if you are lucky you might even see him on a tour. He will also be an Ambassador for Harley Davidson at motorcycle rallies.

Charles Benson

Charles Benson

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Charles Benson is one of the most reliable, trusted and experienced reporters in southeast Wisconsin. If there's a big story going on, Charles is usually there leading the way.