Drag racing rider, builder, engine developer
The Somerville, NJ native was one of the leading drag racing riders and builders of the 1960s and ‘70s. His double- and triple-engine motorcycles set the standard for the era and established numerous records, including the first seven-second pass. Collins began winning in Southern California in the late ‘60s on a self-modified Honda CB750. When other racers wanted his performance mods, he formed RC Engineering (1970). His supercharged and fuel-injected “Assassin” 750 (1971) so dominated its class that Collins even ran it in Top Fuel. He rode his three-engine “Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe” (1973) to motorcycling’s first seven-second run; it became the first motorcycle to win NHRA’s coveted Best Engineered Car honor. His twin-engine “Sorcerer” won another Best Engineered award and on it, Collins recorded a 7.30/199.5 mph pass, a record that stood for 11 years. A master talent-spotter, Collins employed Terry Vance and Byron Hines before they left to begin their own successful operation. Collins was inducted into the AMA Hall of Fame in 1999.