Our Card: Our Dealer Sticker:
In mid-1966 my friend John Douglas and I decided to extend our love for motorcycles into the business world. We teamed up with a Leawood (in Johnson County, KS) policeman, Bob Jones, and set about setting up shop. Although that was back in 1966, the seed that was planted continued to bear fruit, evolving in the early '70s into Bob's exclusive Yamaha XS650 Merriam Cycle Shop. Alas, by 2012 both it and Bob Jones himself were no more. John Douglas had preceeded him in death is 2005. Only Dan Martin (me) survives in 2018.
Back in the JoCo day (1966 to late 1970s) we sold Yamaha, BSA, and Kawasaki. Originally we thought we had the Triumph franchise (the reason we undertook the entire risk in the first place), but at the last possible moment the Johnson Motors representative [the once famous cycle racer] Everett Breshears gave it all to the local Honda dealer. Dang! A whole shop ready to open and no motorcycles to sell! Fortunately, the Yamaha folks heard of our plight and sent a rep to see us. He was carrying a Yamaha Big Bear (250cc) in the back of a Chevy El Camino. I looked askance at the compact machine, and ridiculed its smoky ring-ding engine. But a late night ride on the little beast left me a believer. It ran better than my own 650cc Triumph!
Not many pix survive from those early days of Jo Co Motors, but please forward to me scans of any you may have. PLEASE SHARE!)
We set up shop in a [really] small storefront in old Overland Park, KS, between a cleaners and a pizza shop. Here is how we had to display our wares, along the curb right in front (in our one parking space). We opened in late summer of 1966 (or was it '65?). Here are pix of our window display that first Christmas:
The next summer, Yamaha had an overstock of black 80cc
cycles. We could buy them new in the crate for $180. He did not
really want it, but I convinced my Dad to buy one. Here he is, hesitantly
mounted in 1967:
In the background is my son Scott, riding a 50cc "Maverick" - the pocket-rocket of its day.
Several years later Dad gave the 80cc to my sister who moved it and her family to
Colorado. Years later my wife Sheryl had a chance to ride it in 1976, alongside me and my brand new
Gold Wing on some trails near Buena Vista, CO. Later, after years of disuse, I believe the little
bike was given to a neighbor boy.
The Ones I Rode Page
The 2003 CHECKERBOARD TOUR
The 2004 LEFT COAST TOUR
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