By Dave Brackett
Those of you who were around Southern California in the late 60's and the 70's, surely remember "Molly", of "Paint by Molly". His motorcycle paint jobs amazed us all. Sadly, he passed away April 19th, after a struggle with cancer. He is survived by his wife and family.
Molly grew up in Southern California and always had a flair for color and design. In the late 1950's, while in high school, Molly started painting motorcycles and helmets. He became friends with Stan Betz, local automotive paint and louver specialist, and learned how to mix colors and other painting tricks.
In 1965, Molly opened his first shop in La Habra, California, using the name "Paint by Molly". He continued painting mostly bikes, and experimenting with polyester-based clear coat finishes. They were very shiny and fuel resistant, giving the finished paint job a brilliant luster.
In the late 1960's, Molly met Tom McMullen, and started painting his personal bikes and later most of AEE Choppers custom bikes, like the "Mindbender", "Women's Pride", "Really", "Supersport", "Shovelhead" and "Big Twin" twice, first in reds and last in purples. Molly also painted three of Tom McMullen's airplanes with his wild panel and scroll designs.
In the early 1970's, Molly painted the "Amani" bikes for Dave Brackett, and other custom projects for him as well. With all this work on bikes, it was only natural for Molly to start riding himself. He developed a passion for dirt bikes, and has ridden all his life. He now enjoys taking bike cruises with his friends around the country.
Molly continued painting custom bikes into the late 1970's, painting tanks and fenders for many motorcycle dealers in Southern California. In 1967, Molly went to work for Kawasaki Motorcycles, creating the now famous Kawasaki Green, and designing paint schemes for their bikes.
Molly continued doing paint and graphic design, adding Yamaha to his clientele, furnishing them with the yellow "bumble bee" graphics, plus accessories and their clothing lines. He is still involved with customers like Toyota, General Motors, Lexus, and designed race team graphics for Dan Gurney, Toyota's Craftsman trucks, and other teams. Later, Molly started designing and selling ground effect packages for many vehicles through Toyota Racing Development.
Molly will be missed, but his designs and paint schemes will live on forever.