Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum Showcases
Arlen’s “Awesome-Ness” in New Exhibit

Spotlight Shines on Legendary Career and Customs of Arlen Ness


PICKERINGTON, OHIO – The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum announces “Awesome-Ness,” a new exhibit honoring master motorcycle designer and builder Arlen Ness. An icon in the motorcycling industry, and 1992 inductee into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, Ness will join prominent colleagues and friends at the Museum in Pickerington, Ohio, on July 24, 2008, for the grand opening of “Awesome-Ness.”

The fifth in a series of Legends exhibits at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, “Awesome-Ness” will feature machines and memorabilia from Ness’ personal collection. Curated by photographer Michael Lichter, the exhibit will do more than simply display Ness’ significant creations; it will delve into the stories behind his influential career. Lichter, author of “Arlen Ness: The King of Choppers,” will use his unique perspective on Ness to provide visitors an in-depth look at the celebrated customizer.

More than four decades of groundbreaking designs have earned Arlen Ness his status as an authentic legend. He began his career in the 1960s, with the customization of a 1947 Harley Knucklehead. After entering the Knucklehead in local motorcycle shows, Ness’ work was noticed by the press, as well as by potential customers. Soon he was able to start a business custom painting bikes. Not long after, Ness began selling custom parts and created a catalog to keep up with customer demand. As business boomed, Ness continued to create custom motorcycles, with a stretched and lowered style and high-performance engines becoming hallmarks of his designs.

“Awesome-Ness” will feature 11 of Ness’ significant creations, including “Untouchable,” the 1947 Knucklehead that launched Ness’ career. Additionally, the exhibit will spotlight “Two Bad,” his 2,000cc twin-engine Sportster; “Ness-Tique,” a modern custom inspired by a 1903 Harley-Davidson depicted on a Cartier trophy he won at a Harley-Davidson ride-in show; “Red Flame Chopper,” a straightforward, high bar bike inspired by his first Knucklehead; “Top Banana,” winner of top honors on the Discovery Channel’s “Biker Build Off”; “Overhead Cam Sportster,” a one-off 1200cc with sportbike styling that Ness keeps in his office; and “Mach Ness,” his helicopter turbine-powered bike.


“Awesome-Ness” will also feature three designs inspired by classic cars, “Smooth-Ness,” modeled after a bronze of a 1932 Bugatti Roadster; “Ferrari Bike,” which evokes the iconic Italian automobiles; and “Nesstalgia,” inspired by a classic 1957 Chevy. Together, Ness’ creations form a timeline of the custom-bike movement in America. His work has influenced everyone from other bike builders to factory engineers.

Mark Mederski, Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum executive director, says Ness will be the second designer to be featured in the Museum’s Hall of Legends. The first designer profiled was 1999

Motorcycle Hall of Fame inductee and Vetter Corporation founder, Craig Vetter. “Like Vetter, Ness’ career shaped the entire motorcycle industry,” says Mederski. “Ness’ contributions, both creatively and from a business perspective, have fueled a global fan club that just keeps growing. We look forward to sharing his story with enthusiasts and admirers alike.”

“Awesome-Ness” will open at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington, Ohio, on July 24, 2008, and run through June 2009. The ribbon-cutting ceremony featuring Ness, and other motorcycling heroes, will begin at 6 p.m. and be open to the public. While at the Museum, visitors will also be able to enjoy the newly opened “MotoStars: Celebrities + Motorcycles,” an extensive exhibit spotlighting the world’s most recognizable enthusiasts. Scheduled to precede AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, July 25-27, at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, the “Awesome-Ness” opening is the perfect beginning to star-studded weekend featuring motorcycling heritage and history.

For more details on the grand opening of “Awesome-Ness,” as well as a complete biography of Arlen Ness, visit

About the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum
The goal of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is to tell the stories and preserve the history of motorcycling. Located on the campus of the American Motorcyclist Association in Pickerington, Ohio, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame honors those who have contributed notably to the sport, and three major exhibition halls showcase the machines and memorabilia that have shaped motorcycling. The Museum is open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily; and is closed on New Year’s, Easter, Thanksgiving and Christmas. Adult admission is $10 per person; students 12 – 17, $3. AMA members $5. Seniors receive a $2 discount and members of motorcycle clubs and organizations are eligible for a $1 discount per ticket. A $25 family rate and group rates are also available. For more information, call (614) 856-2222, or visit the Museum’s website at

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