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Craig Vetter

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#1
When Kynan told me that he was organizing a Vetter Owners Group, I thought: “This is great! He can do all the work and I can have all the fun.”

I have countless untold stories behind all those Vetter designs.

I look forward to sharing them with you
 

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Mike

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#5
I have been intrigued at talented creators like Hobie, Boyd (wheels) and yourself and some others that created something good then sold the company only to have the company mismanaged and fail. What is your take on this unfortunate reality?
Have you been as creative since moving to California?
 
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Craig Vetter

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#6
Actually, I had never heard of a sale of a company like mine that was successfully sold. It concerned me so much that I interviewed Hobie Altar in Jan of 1977 to get an idea of how it was going for him. I sold my company a year later.

What happens, I think, is the motives of we creators is different than the people we sell our business to. The short reply is: Get your money up front. Accept no promises. Be ready to watch the thing you so carefully and lovingly built be destroyed. Most are, it seems.

It is easier to be creative in California than any place I know of. Terry Hershner and I worked together this past year streamlining hie electric Zero. Terry is a very creative guy. He said "I am moving to California. People understand me here." Well observed.

As for me, I'd be creative anywhere.
 
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#7
I am curious, and I know you have been a designer of many different things during different times of your life. Will this book include a large focus on the Vetter Fairing Company years of 1966 through 1983? There is a lot of history that happened between the time you sold, the fire, expansion, bankruptcy, and Bell. It seemed that the fairing and what you had created was on the top of the world during those times.

Just about every touring motorcycle or Harley you see today has some sort of fairing with a strong resemblance to many of the fairings you invented and designed.

I look forward to your book.

Any clues to when it may be out?
 
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Craig Vetter

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#8
Certainly the bulk of my motorcycle story is between 1966 and 1983. It is so long ago that I find myself telling little side stories to help put those years in perspective for those that did not live them. I am writing everything. I'll need a good editor, that's for sure.

When will it be out? After the good editor is located and when good color images are available in Print on Demand.
 
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MVetter

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#10
When will it be out? After the good editor is located and when good color images are available in Print on Demand.
A good editor, in this case, is also going to be someone with a guiding hand to pare down the massive amount of writing and give direction. From what I've seen there's a lot of cool writing but it's in distracted chunks, all over the place. I think some stories need to be told sooner than others because of how utterly interesting they are. Rest assured, people, when it does come out there will be pictures. Of everything. He's always been good about photographing what he does from start to finish. Much of my childhood consisted of, "Will you come down to the shop and take pictures of me and this thing I'm doing?"

Heck, I've got stories about picture-taking.
(PS- hi dad)
 
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philwarner

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#12
Craig wrote "Actually, I had never heard of a sale of a company like mine that was successfully sold. It concerned me so much that I interviewed Hobie Altar in Jan of 1977 to get an idea of how it was going for him. I sold my company a year later."

Was that Hobie Alter when he sold Hobie Cat to Coleman in 1976?

I had a chance to see the first Hobie 33 #1, which was for sale in a boat yard in Ohio some years ago, but I couldn't get anyone to go in with me on her. I believe her name was Holy Toledo at the time and it is probably best I didn't succeed because I would have risked unsetting the boat gods by renaming her Alter Ego.
 
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philwarner

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Nice photo of your 305 and S1000. Thinking a bit more about my S1000, I believe it had been previously fit to another model bike before I bought it because the inner flange edges had crescent shapes ground from them, probably to clear wider exhaust pipes than those of the 305, and I think it came without a windshield, too. I was working my way through school part time in a machine shop on the Ohio State Campus where we made research equipment, so I had access to 1/8" plexiglas and a hot air gun; I believe it took two tries to mold one over a bowed sheet of stainless steel without making air bubbles from too much heat - I didn't know about the hot oil method you used. This faring also has a small brace rod across the top between the outermost windshield mounting holes - I don't know if this was stock but I am sure it came with it, and I think I made or adapted the mounting brackets for the 305 in the research machine shop in 1967. Until recently I had no idea my fairing was actually developed on an example the bike for which I bought it.
I just visited your anniversary page and took note of the Studebaker in the photo. Yours? My first ever car was a similar 53 Studebaker Comander Starliner coupe' which was my other transportation through my years in college. BTW, my 60s riding gear included a pair of "engineer's boots" into which I would tuck my jeans and if I was caught in the rain, water would collect along the back edge of the inner flange of the fairing and blow back on my knees and run down into the boots; it was not unusual to have to dump a pint of water out the boots when I got home and I never did figure a way to avoid it short of a full rain suit that I didn't have.
 
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Craig Vetter

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#15
My first fairings - designed between 1966 and 1971 were closer to pure art that the later fairings. They were beautiful. The crossbar is standard on the Series 1000 fairing. It was called the Motherbar. It acted like a bow string to keep the fairing curved and strong. Funny stories about that later.

There are two ways to track the history of your Series 1000 Fairing: One is to find your serial number which is scratched into the figlass under the windshield foam tape. See the picture:
Once you have the number, I probably can track is since I kept those early records.

The other way is to send me pictures. I pretty much remember the cut outs for the different bikes.

I told you this was fun.
 

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philwarner

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#16
I found no serial number on my fairing (as we had discussed awhile back by email) and going through old photo albums I found only one picture of the 305 with S1000 fairing which was taken in March of 1971. By that time it also had a wider seat, a luggage rack I made at the shop, and a bit more front rake as a result of the wreck discussed below.
my 66 Yamaha 305 with Vetter S1000 fairing Mar 1971.jpg
my 66 Yamaha 305 with Vetter S1000 fairing Mar 1971.jpg This faded photo of the 305 was taken sometime after I bought it in December of 67, probably in early 1968. Note the surplus military pilot's helmet I was using at the time.

My 66 Yamaha 305 AUG 1967 1.jpg


This third photo is the bent fork aftermath in August of 68 when it was in the back of my pickup which was forced head-on into a concrete bridge abutment by an oncoming dump truck while on vacation in Savannah Georgia. The exhaust end was dinged in that wreck too.

My 66 Yamaha 305 AUG 1968 after Georgia wreck 1.jpg
 
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philwarner

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#18
Speaking of breaks, I got my 305 (with fairing) airborn coming off an iron bridge on a back road in Ohio (the road I lived on, actually) and wiped out in a crown of gravel coming down on my left side and breaking both clavical and scapula in the process; I had to hook my left thumb in my belt to hold the shoulder up on the walk home. A week in a hospital bed and a little figure 8 plaster cast later I was back home and, much to my wife's chagrin, back on a bike but it was my 55 Triumph Cub this time since the 305 was still suffering from road rash. A neighbor had brought it home for me, and the fairing did survive sans windshield and a half inch or so of the lower left flair that was scrubbed off, thanks for the quality of the layup.
I still have one piece of gravel in my left elbow that never worked its way out and one shoulder a 1/2 inch shorter than the other as a reminder to never again ride without a good jacket no matter how hot it is. It is amazing how invincible we thought we were and amazing too that we survived to be older and wiser.