H-D Museum Summer Exhibit Celebrates Motorcycle Legend Willie G. Davidson

1WillieG.2Vintagetoys3Toy-2The Harley-Davidson Museum’s summer exhibit honors the life, career and legacy of motorcycle icon Willie G. Davidson. Willie G. Davidson: Artist, Designer, Leader, Legend, celebrates the artistry, influence and impact of a man whose designs have defined American motorcycles for generations. The exhibit opens June 13 and runs through Sept. 7, 2015.

5Watercolor-14TrophiesWillie pursued his love of art and design from an early age and proved himself as a professional designer before becoming the first design director of Harley-Davidson in 1963. Over the course of the next five decades, he created a string of iconic designs that defined Harley-Davidson “factory custom” motorcycles. Throughout his life he has embodied a close-to-the-customer relationship, by attending motorcycle rallies, rides and races, that helped play a significant role in building the company into a global phenomenon. “I wanted to combine my interest in art and design with my love for vehicles,” said Willie. “I was born with gasoline in my veins and crayons in my hands.”

6Trophy-2Housed in the Museum’s Garage space, the exhibit displays a wide variety of pieces that Willie and his wife Nancy have collected over the years. From family and motorcycle memorabilia to a collection of antiques, Native American artifacts and American folk art, the things Willie surrounds himself with at home provide unique insights into his inspiration as a designer and artist.

Willie is also a skilled watercolor artist, and his artwork serves as a connective thread throughout the exhibit, from early drawings to dozens of recent watercolors highlighting his post-retirement creativity.

The styling department Willie built continues to extend Harley-Davidson’s design leadership at the Willie G. Davidson Product Development Center in Wauwatosa, Wis.  Willie and Nancy still actively attend rallies and events in celebration of the brand and its customers.

Willie G. Davidson Exhibit Preview Bike Night Thursday, June 11, 5 – 9 p.m. (Exhibit opens at 6 p.m.; Presentation at 6 p.m.)

14 Responses to “H-D Museum Summer Exhibit Celebrates Motorcycle Legend Willie G. Davidson”

  1. 1 richards May 31st, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Yea for Willie. He is an icon. I was at the museum several years ago. It’s a great place to see and feel motorcycling history. Do yourself a favor and visit…even if you don’t ride a Harley. I’m going to ride out sometime this summer, just for the ride and see what’s new there.

  2. 2 Seymour May 31st, 2015 at 11:25 am

    Lucky guy

  3. 3 TJ Martin May 31st, 2015 at 12:03 pm

    Definitely Willie ! If this was the UK he’d of been given a Knighthood years ago . But since he’s with us … our undying respect will have to do .

    Dang if the man doesn’t always pick out the best garb as well . Gonna have to trawl thru their clothing catalogue and get me one of those sweater/shirts

  4. 4 Zenaldo May 31st, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Hes never been in before ? C’mon, really ?

  5. 5 Rodent May 31st, 2015 at 6:36 pm

    Willie is the real deal

  6. 6 RUB Jun 1st, 2015 at 6:27 am

    After reading this , 2 words come to mind ……..” Silver Spoon” .

  7. 7 David King Jun 1st, 2015 at 8:17 am

    Willie G is a gentleman and a true icon in the motorcycle industry. He’s one of the most approachable and genuine people that I’ve ever met. I’ve been fortunate to have many small interactions with him over the years. Each conversation has been sincere, enjoyable, and very memorable. Hope both Nancy and Wille continue to be healthy and happy for many years to come.

  8. 8 Mike Jun 1st, 2015 at 8:56 am

    Looks like old Willy is hard at work figuring out how to fix that rear cylinder heat problem afflicting all Harleys.

  9. 9 Rodent Jun 1st, 2015 at 9:36 am

    Mike: Willie is an artist not a engineer.

  10. 10 Doug Jun 1st, 2015 at 11:34 am


    every born creature has an opportunity to make something of themselves, silver spoon or not. To discount what Willie G accomplished on his own because he’s a 2nd generation Davidson is stupid. Bill Gates & Steve Jobs did not come from financially humble beginnings. Would you still begrudge their accomplishments?

  11. 11 martin twofeather Jun 1st, 2015 at 4:40 pm

    Willie G. is just simply the best……

  12. 12 Mdkuder Jun 1st, 2015 at 9:56 pm

    Bold new graphics

  13. 13 RUB Jun 2nd, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    @ Doug , not at all . Didn’t say anything bad about the man . Just sayin it helps being born into it . Really helps the odds with success .

  14. 14 Doug Jun 11th, 2015 at 12:03 am

    “Didn’t say anything bad about the man.” – Ohh-K.

    William Boeing also did not come from a humble financial upbringing but he look what he accomplished.

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