Every year since its inception, the Quail Motorcycle Gathering has drawn thousands of two-wheel enthusiasts to Carmel, California, to gawk at a collection of some of the world’s fastest, rarest, and most unique motorcycles. And each year, the organizers also bestow awards and honors to giants of the sport.
At this year’s 10th anniversary show, Arlen Ness is slated to be that honoree, and the show will feature motorcycles from three generations of the Ness family, including Arlen’s jaw-dropping, Art Deco-inspired “SmoothNess.” A collection of other bikes from Arlen, son Cory, and grandson Zach as well as others from the Ness Museum will also be in full view out on that pristine lawn.
Ness, who’s often credited with helping create the chopper and showbike industry, was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1992. Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame Executive Director Myrick Robbins has called Arlen “…the ‘Godfather’ of the custom bike movement. No one has done more to influence the look of what a custom motorcycle is.”
No argument there. In fact, here are five of our favorite Ness creations over the years.