Founded one of world’s most iconic brands (1903)
Launched Harley as a force in racing.
Scored 1st racing victory in 1908 (Walter Davidson)
Inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 1998
William S. Harley and brothers Arthur, Walter, and William A. Davidson were cofounders of the Harley-Davidson Motorcycle Company (1903), the definitive American motorcycle brand and makers of some of the most celebrated motorcycles in racing history. The project began two years earlier when Harley and Arthur Davidson started experimenting with gasoline engines to motorize bicycles. All four men would play important roles in the company. Harley, the sole college grad, was the company’s chief engineer and treasurer. He was also a racer who served on the AMA Competition Committee for 24 years. Arthur understood marketing and how to energize dealers. He started a school to train H-D mechanics and was an early supporter of the AMA. Walter was the company’s first president and as a rider, gave H-D its first race victory (1908). William did most of the hiring and through his relationships with employees, continually improved the manufacturing process. Together they changed motorcycling history. All four were inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 1998.