Author Topic: The long view  (Read 460 times)

Offline cliffrod

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The long view
« on: November 22, 2022, 09:59:52 AM »
It’s good to know where things are from, how they happened and who did what to get everyone to the present day.  Sometimes the most obscure things can have a huge impact, whether upon a single individual or an entire community. 

Back in the early 1960’s, a young man named Bill Epley went to a motorcycle dealership here in Spartanburg to buy a new bike.  Long story short, he didn’t have lots of cash money on hand and he was effectively laughed out of the place.  Undeterred, he was bike crazy so pursued other avenues.  A printed ad in a magazine led to a new dealership opportunity and by 1964-65 he was selling Ducatis from the barn behind his family’s house.  Later, he added Norton, Moto Guzzi and more to sell through his E&H Cycles here in Spartanburg.  Eventually, he focused upon Honda and repatriated the operation to his home in Forest City, NC.  My best friend largely grew up with E&H, racing bikes with Bill and his son Howard.  I am fortunate to have become acquainted with him over the years, but was late to the game.  Bill has been THE man in this game around here for decades.  At our last big bike rally in 2019, we honored Bill as the Grand Marshall.  He was nearly 87 or 88 yrs old.  It was pretty awesome to do it- not sure who was happier, him or us.

My 1965 Ducati Sebring 350, 1974 MarkIII blue & gold 450 and likely 15+ more of them, plus my V7 Sport and my 1968 Norton P11A were all sold new by E&H.  I always knew about the others but only recently confirmed my V7 Sport came from Bill.  It was great news for me to know that my absolute favorite bike came from his shop. 

During my Grand Marshall pr interviews and research, I learned more about his story and finally got to spend more quality time with him than you can get while in a working motorcycle shop doing business.  I finally had the chance to talk about how many of “his” bikes I had owned and how those bikes -especially the V7 Sport- had already impacted decades of my life.  Pretty amazing to hear how him being laughed out of one shop as a young man started him on a path that would touch so many others in a positive way.

Last night, we went to hospice to see Bill.  The morphine was already running the show and they didn’t expect him to make it through the next 24 hr, if he even made it through the night.  My best friend and I talked a lot about him on the way up and then on the way home from hospice.  Driving out through Forest City, we even saw a very late model white MG Eldorado parked along Main Street.   

Maybe I would still be here on WG and into Ducati & Moto Guzzi motorcycles without Bill, but I don’t know that.  He planted many of the seeds that grew in my bike world.  Glad I’ve still got a bike that came from E&H.

We’re really going to miss Bill.
« Last Edit: November 22, 2022, 10:05:24 AM by cliffrod »
1973 V7 Sport  "Now THAT'S a motorcycle!"-  Master Sculptor Giuliano Cecchinelli
1967 V700 Corsa Record
1981 Lemans CX100
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Online pebra

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Re: The long view
« Reply #1 on: November 22, 2022, 12:51:56 PM »
Dedication...... is vital!

Good story, there.

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Offline Kaladin

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Re: The long view
« Reply #2 on: November 22, 2022, 01:01:56 PM »

Thanks
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Online Guzzidad

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Re: The long view
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2022, 07:57:58 PM »
   Far too few of these old school, one man operations around anymore. I too had a similar dealer near me when I lived in WI. Marshall Elmer had his shop in Menasha WI. He sold Guzzi, Norton, Triumph, Ducati, and Benelli. I bought my first Guzzi from him, a 75 850T. Also a 67 Norton P-11, probably the most fun I ever had on a bike. Later on he had an 89 LeMans on the floor I just had to have. He was the type of guy who would take a part off a new bike to get you on the road if he didn't have it in stock. The type of guy who didn't just replace parts, he actually fixed stuff.

Wildgoose Chase Moto Guzzi

Re: The long view
« Reply #3 on: November 22, 2022, 07:57:58 PM »

Online Canuck750

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Re: The long view
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2022, 09:45:24 PM »
Great storey Clint!

The 'original' bike dealerships are now all gone around here, last one was in business for 49 years (Honda but sold Guzzi as well back in the 70's ~ 80's) closed the dealership down for good three years ago.

We have one other iconic 'dealership' but he hasn't had any new bikes in his shop in well over a decade, sold Kawasaki and a variety of European machines, mostly motocross types. His shop is a time capsule and still has shelves of vintage Kawasaki parts in his store. I bought the frame and swing arm for my Aermacchi project from him.
48 Guzzi Airone, 57 Guzzi Cardellino, 65 Benelli 200 sprite, 66 Aermacchi Sprint, 68 Gilera 106 SS, 72 Eldorado, 72 Benelli 180, 74 Guzzi 750S, 73 Laverda SF1, 74  Benelli 650S, 75 Ducati 860GT, 75 Moto Morini 3-1/2, 78 Moto Morinii 500

Offline AH Fan

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Re: The long view
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2022, 10:38:13 PM »
This story brings back thoughts of Moto International  and Dave and Micha as well as the rest of the original gang that ran that wonderfull old school MC shop.Will never forget the time and trouble they spent serving my Guzzi needs over the years.
They are missed by myself and many.
These big boxes just are soul less places by comparison IMHO.
As has been said they have forgotten more than most of these other shops know..........   :bow:

Ciao

Offline s1120

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Re: The long view
« Reply #6 on: November 24, 2022, 06:10:55 AM »
I think a lot of us are at that age when we have lost so many of the older good people that we looked up to, and got us to where we are today. Sorry to hear you are loosing someone that is such a big part of yours, and your whole biking community.
Paul B

Offline jpv7

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Re: The long view
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2022, 06:26:29 AM »
   Far too few of these old school, one man operations around anymore. I too had a similar dealer near me when I lived in WI. Marshall Elmer had his shop in Menasha WI. He sold Guzzi, Norton, Triumph, Ducati, and Benelli. I bought my first Guzzi from him, a 75 850T. Also a 67 Norton P-11, probably the most fun I ever had on a bike. Later on he had an 89 LeMans on the floor I just had to have. He was the type of guy who would take a part off a new bike to get you on the road if he didn't have it in stock. The type of guy who didn't just replace parts, he actually fixed stuff.
And there was Al Gillen from whom I bought my first Ducati at “Williamsville Welding” just south of Buffalo.  A great old school guy who also sold Guzzi.  He passed a few years back.  I was able to catch up with his son at EICMA a few years ago.  Brian Gillen is now a Technical Director at MV Augusta and lives in Italy

Offline Moparnut72

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Re: The long view
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2022, 07:47:33 AM »
The BMW dealer in Chico CA is still an old style dealership. Nice shop to visit, very friendly staff. I am not sure of the official name of the shop but it is commonly referred to as Ozzie's, the owner's name. I visited when the R18 hit the market. They offered me a ride on the demo. I was riding my Audace, they came out to look. The two bikes were very similar to each other. I wish we had more dealers like this.
kk
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