|1966 Series 1000 Fairing - the first Vetter fairing|
|Its rare. Its beautiful. You're lucky to find one.|
How the first Vetter Fairing was made
|Winter was coming and that meant cold and wet. Bob Dennis, co-owner of Yamaha Sportland in Urbana asked me when I was going to make that fairing I had been talking about since summer. The idea of a fairing became more important. "Right now", I replied. I drove my Yamaha 305 to the local boat shop in Paxton, IL, bought resin, catylist and a bundle of fibreglass. After a 15-minute course by Ray Diskin, owner, in resin mixing and laminating, I strapped everything on the back of my bike and rode home to Champaign, IL. That was October 13, 1966.|
|First I measured all the Japanese bikes I could find and sketched out rough dimensions. Then I made a ramp so I could ride my bike into my house. I drilled eyebolts into the floor to strap it down. Then I glued blue "house insulation styrene foam" together around my bike and filed it to shape. I applied a thin coat of body putty for a shiney surface. Using a carpenter's square, I tried to make both sides the same. Only later did I discover that the sagging floor gave me inaccurate readings. My first fairing turned out a little crooked. |
This would be a good time to apopogize to my landlord, Kermit Nogle. Kermit really did like me, but his croonies in Champaign put pressure on him to get us out of there.
|I waxed the foam master pattern and laminated fibreglass over it to make a mold. Seperating the two was almost impossible. (Don't make your mold of body putty.) I could see right away that I did not like fibreglass work so I strapped the mold onto my Yamaha and took it back to Ray to have a fairing made. I couldn't wait for a windshield so on Nov. 2, 1967 I mounted the first fairing on my bike and took a ride. |
I had the same thrilling feeling on June 28, 2002 when I took the first ride on the Torpedo Scooter.
|Making the windshield is a story in itself. Buying Plexiglas was easy but how did you form it? Turns out that I found a WW 2 military tech book called "Field Repairs for the P-40". It told me to heat motor oil "to smoking temp" and put the Plex in it. It further said to put the hot Plex between two molds which were lined with "Bunting cloth" and stand on them to press the Plex into shape. The hardest part was figuring out what Bunting cloth was. Getting my buddies to stand on it with me was easy.|
Brother Bruce Vetter left bottom & Ron Ramsden, rt. 1967
(We have forgotton the guy on top)
|A friend bought my first fairing. It was clear that this might lead to a business. I would need a name and trademark. I had just graduated from design school... I could do that. |
In a few moments, I created the design that would mean "Vetter".
|I was so enthusiastic about the Series 1000, I sectioned one, taking a couple of inches from the side and the center to make another model for the Honda 160 and Bridgestone 175s... the Series 800|
|You will find the serial numbers under the foam tape of these old fairings. We used the number to keep track of it as it was being made. Hidden under the foam tape makes it hard to find today. I still have the production records for these. If you send me pics and a number, I can usually tell you when and to who it was sold. |
|It was time to place an ad and sell fairings. What should the company be called? Vetter? Cycle World was the logical magazine to advertise in because it was so enthusiastic about Japanese motorcycles and my fairing was for Japanese motorcycles. With some help from my friends, I produced three ads, the first appeared in March, 1967.|
Mar. 1967 Cycle World first ad
|Well, we didn't sell much. I flew to California, picked up a new Yamaha 350 and drove it to Daytona. The fairings did not get finished back in Illinois but Jim Miller and Bruce brought pieces and tools to make 25 fairings. |
Duane Anderson put his Yamaha up as collateral for an electrical generator and we set up camp on the abandoned WW2 airstrip west of the track now a fly-in subdivsion known as Spruce Creek. In 1967, it was just a lot of sand. My brother and I rode out to the Daytona infield, set up a cardboard sign and waited for people to buy.
We sold two.
But it was enough money to all eat at the House of Pancakes and have gas money to ride back to Illinois.
|The Summer of Love|
|Ah, the Summer of 1967! Some called it the "Summer of Love". It was for me, that's for sure. I loved that Series 1000 fairing. Later that summer I drove all the way from Illinois to San Francisco where I parked at Haight and Ashbury Streets. Gawkers in tour busses took my picture. They thought I was one of the Hippys. |
They didn't know I was changing motorcycle history.
Independence Pass, Colorado, 1967
One of these first Series 1000 fairings is part of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, Pickerington, Ohio.
Posted Dec 13 2008
Updated Aug 13, 2011