Thursday, February 24, 2011

Tom and the Supersport

This is a shot of Tom and Jim Clark doing a chain repair on the Supersport while on a trip. You will note the rear wheel on the bike, its a cast spoke wheel. It's been argued that AEE was the first to produce these for the chopper aftermarket. As I understand it they did 50 wheels on the first run but I have no info beyond that. Interesting as at that time cast wheels were not on production bikes.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


this is the second shop, it was on Burton Place and is where I started to work for AEE. It was at the end of a culdesac and across the street was a company called Fluidmaster. They made toilet valves of all things. in many of the older issues of Street Chopper the bikes were shot on the street and you can see either empty fields or Fluidmaster in the background. The shop and production area's were very crowded, showroom was tiny and so on. AEE was busting at the seams and we soon moved over to the next and last shop in Placentia not far away. The front door was one side of the glass but the other side opened too as the bikes were behind it. My very first day I had to back in our Shovelhead and I dropped it in the doorway as the door started to close on it. Luckily I stuffed myself between the bike, ground and door and saved it from damage. I had turned the front end too sharply and paid the price. Scared the heck out of me.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Early catalogs

In the early catalogs things were very crude as you can see. They shot this on a piece of corrugated with stick on letters. As time went by many of these lights got discontinued. We bought many of these small parts from companies such as Hap Jones.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

wing Tank

Dave Brakett came up with this while building the Honda 350 "Really' . He says he just took some metal and started bending it as he had never made one before.
Soon the tank was for sale it was such a hit especially after it showed up on our Shovelhead. Unfortunately not many bikes were designed very well around this tank. Many of them it looked tacked on. Not to mention it was only one gallon capacity. Cool looking but not real practical. if you run across one I need it for my collection!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

AEE's first bikes

Here is a shot on the cover of the first issue of Street Chopper of the Mindbender and the Corvair Trike. the knuckle was the bike that began AEE. Tom got hit on it and started making parts while recovering. One of the first if not the first motorcycle/chopper with a FULLY chromed engine. Trike was built and won the 1969 Oakland Roadster Show (AEE won it the following year with Bog Twin our 5 wheeler). Mindbender eventually ended up with low turnouts pipes and then a megaphone when it got sold off in 1971. My favorite bike up until then.


I'm getting real tired of all the parts out there being represented as AEE and they aren't. Much of it is not intentional. Others I'm not so sure about.
I would ask that anyone that wonders about an AEE part check it with someone that has an old catalog, or email me and I'll try to help. I'd like to keep this stuff pure! I'll say it again...its all about this:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My buddy Lenny

Lenny was the parts manager and became my friend and still is. This posed shot was our idea of a security system. Lenny, cuffed to the Mindbender with our shotgun in hand. What you can't see is the .38 in a shoulder holster. We kept the shotgun on the wall right behind the counter so you could see it. What you didn't see is the .38 or the 9mm in the cash drawer. It kind of cleared up the idea of ever ripping AEE off for some cash. Incredibly though one day some dude stole a springer out of the showroom (off the display rack)  while Lenny was in the warehouse getting some parts. He walked right past our security guard outside! Also below is a drawing of Lenny done by the guy that did the cartoons in Street Chopper, can't remember his name right now.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Our shops

AEE opened up in Buena Park, moved to Anaheim to a larger facility and then on to Placentia in 1971 to an even bigger place. Our final location had 4 buildings totaling I believe 40,000 plus square feet. To give you some idea of how big that was... some of the larger names in the chopper business even now have nothing that big 40 years later. We had it all in house...warehouse, retail parts sales, shipping, machining, welding, R & D, prototype, Street Chopper magazine etc.

tom's planes

This is one of Tom's planes in the background. Molly painted it for him. Tom loved his planes and owned a number over the years including a jet fighter. This picture was taken in Las Vegas where Tom loved to fly on the weekends. He was the personification of a high roller back in those days. Many is the Friday our cash box would end up awful empty at the end of the day and it just happened to coincide with Tom heading to Vegas. One time he brought back a wheelchair from Ceasar's Palace that he "acquired". We used to have fun doing wheelie's with it across the warehouse.