Seaver takes over
In 1950, Irv Seaver, who was an Indian enthusiast, sold the family farm in Worcester, Massachusetts, and moved to the year-round motorcycle paradise of Orange County, California. In November 1953, Seaver bought out Carriker. Unfortunately, by December of '53, Indian Motorcycle Co. was in the process of ending production. Fortunately, the new sportier English bikes fit the shop's younger, sportier owner and race oriented crew, some dating back to Carriker's competition days. For example, Trailblazer Hall of Fame member Dewey Bonkrud worked for this shop from the late '20s to the early '70s, and was very active and successful in many forms of the sport, from drag racing to desert.
Putting his crew in uniforms and sourcing financing for his customers, very progressive for the '50's, smoothed the transition and gave Irv the confidence to build a showcase dealership in 1957, when the old Town & Country/Main location was taken (eminent domain) to build a shopping center.
Property was chosen at the soon to be intersection of Main and the 5 freeway and construction started on the building that became the Southland’s most modern motorcycle store in 1957. Lots of neon, including a 40' tall, rotating sign. Over the years many brands were represented as "The Finest in Motorcycling", American (Cushman, Yankee), English (Royal Enfield, BSA, Triumph), German (BMW), Italian (Laverda, Vespa), Spanish (OSSA) and Japanese (Yamaha, Tohatsu and, from '63 to '92, Suzuki). The first BMW did pre-date Irv, according to Bill Singer whose son now has the R67 his dad bought from Carrikers in 1951.
In the summer of '59, local farm boy and hot-rodder Evan Bell was hired as a line mechanic. Evan's summer job stretched on (he was named General Manager in '69), providing great dinner conversation for his family. Steve McQueen and Bud Ekins, often with Von Dutch along for the ride in McQueen's' '46 Ford truck, came in most Fridays for years, buying up Irv's vintage collection. The shop sponsored a crazy kid from Santa Ana, David Aldana, who was one of 4 racers vying for the Grand National Championship, as documented in another customer's film, On Any Sunday (Bruce Brown).