Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Robison Motorcycles

So this morning I get a call from my little brother who was out test driving some trooper car and he mentioned he had seen “Mr. Joe’s 33 Buick” and I should go check it out. Well my fellow Hoons, once this olelongrooffan had seen what was over at the location of that old Buick, I knew I had to postpone that V.I.S.I.T. post and share this one with you.

Robison Motorcycles was founded in 1962 and still operates in its same building and at the same location down on what is now called International Speedway Boulevard.

I captured this image of an old aerial photograph on the wall of his showroom, a picture among hundreds including his daughter as Miss Daytona Beach in 1974 (yeah she is hot). Pictured in that photograph is Robison Motorcycles in it’s heyday. That car on a hook at the bottom on what was then Richard Petty Boulevard is a mid 80’s GM front drive luxury coupe. Note all the bikers working on their stuff on the street running from north to south. Robison Motorcycles comprised the three main buildings in this shot with the one with the overhang being his warehouse. The other two buildings with all those dudes hanging out were shop bays. And no Syrax, the identification of every one of those automobiles is not necessary!

As I was getting some images of Mr. Joe’s Buick, this gentleman comes up and we started chatting it up. I asked if he was Mr. Joe? “Yes, young man, I am.” I asked if he was retired and he said, “No, I’ve been running that motorcycle shop (gesturing across the street) since the early 60’s.” My response, “Mr. Joe, do have a few moments to chat?” “Sure come on over” and we sat for a few minutes on a couch in his

vintage motorcycle showroom. Apparently, “Mr. Joe” is a quite notorious in the motorcycle community. His shop was the original Harley Davidson franchise in Daytona Beach and he owned it from 1962-93, selling it to Bruce Rossemeyer whose heirs own it to this day.

Not only that, he was the sole instigator for the establishment of Biketoberfest when the AMA racing series dropped the fall race here in Daytona Beach. A brief read about Mr. Joe can be seen here. During our conversation, the subject of the value of the above motorcycle and he, sheepishly, said $25-$30,000. I asked why he was that way about it. “I paid $800 for in the early 70’s and my guys got it in the shape it is during their spare time in the shop.” Now, this olelongrooffan doesn’t know what that return on investment represents in today’s dollars but having several of those sweet bikes around for all these years has an immeasurable worth to me and I’m not even a two wheel Hoon.

Some other tourists bikers came in to check the place out and I took my exit. Outside I got an image of this old Harley from the right

and the left. Now don’t fret about the lack of detail on it my fellow two wheeled fan Hoons, yesterday I got close up images of similar era rides and those will be coming soon.

I hoofed it down to his warehouse and took a look around there.

It was filled with all sorts of parts including the wall of a hallway filled with engine covers.

Fenders both front and rear were also in attendance at a roughly average price of $240.

There were bins and bins and, did I mention bins? full of brakes, gears, pedals, mirrors, gauges, speedometers, and on and on and on.

All in all, this olelongrooffan was deeply impressed with the significance of this sight and site of motorcycle history that I was previously unaware of. And damn, it’s right here in my hometown of three years!! I gotta get crackin’ on further research of this area!!

And just for a V.I.S.I.T. tease

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3 responses to “Hooniverse Weekend Edition: Robison Motorcycles”

  1. jeepjunkie Avatar

    Hell of a lot of history in those three buildings.
    Was my priviledge to spend a little time with Mr. Joe a while back. Not nearly enough, but is was late and he was getting tired.
    Not very often does one have a chance to visit with a living historical figure.
    Kind of like visiting with Grandpa George a few years back.
    The time goes by way too fast and it isn't until after you've left that you remember all the questions you wanted to ask.
    Glad I was able to turn you on to a little of our fair city"s history.
    Even if it is only on two wheels.

  2. CptSevere Avatar

    Great story. I'm not much of a Harley guy, but I do like vintage Harleys, and would love to check this place out. I hope you took pictures of all those great bikes in the background, and I'd like to learn more about the roadrace Sportster in the lead photo.

    1.  Avatar
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