When the parcel came over the transom (or, rather, through it—it was closed at the time) I started from my desk and threw open the office door, catching but a fleeting glimpse of the shrouded figure fleeing down the hall. Sweeping the shards of transom glass off the butcher paper and cutting the string, I unwrapped what appeared to be a portion of an ancient manuscript, the paper yellowed, the text handwritten in what may or may not have been the blood of innocents, but was probably ink. The penmanship was precise and ornate—almost floral—like monastic calligraphy or jail mail. As I began to read what was contained within, I soon realized that it was a detailed foretelling of events to unfold in the year ahead. I’m not making this up. It was eerie stuff, and riveting in the extreme, and while the manuscript contained prognostications across a broad range of subjects, I’ve gleaned from it those items I think will be of most interest to the Thunder Press readership. None of the following reflects in any way the personal predictions of this publication’s editorial staff, and some of it seems pretty far-fetched, but we bring it to you anyway as a precaution, because if we don’t do it now, and all this stuff actually happens, no one will believe us later when we say we saw it coming. Cue the spooky music:
The Prophecies of Motodamus for the Year of Our Lord MMXI
In a move that shocks the industry, Harley-Davidson Motor Company CEO Keith Wandell announces a name change for the venerable company. In a continuation of his policy of returning the company to what he calls “core competencies,” Wandell states, “We make Harleys. We sell Harleys. That’s what we do. Frankly, I don’t know where this whole ‘Davidson’ thing came from, but it’s unwieldy if you ask me. No sizzle. So we’re spinning it off. And I’ll tell you another thing, too. We don’t just make motors. We make complete motorcycles, duh. So now we’re Harley Motorcycles. How does that grab ya?”
In Medina, Minnesota, Polaris CEO Scott Wine makes a similarly astounding move with respect to Victory Motorcycles, following through on his December, 2010 comments when he noted, “We’ve decided strategically that we don’t need to be in the seat-making business, we don’t need to be in the stamping business, and we don’t need to be in the tube-bending business, so we’re going to take those businesses and outsource them.” Clarifying that previous assertion, Wine now declares, “We make motors, see? That’s what we do. So we’re changing our name to Victory Motor Company. Catchy, eh?”
In a transparent ploy to grab some editorial ink in Thunder Press, Canadian three-wheeler manufacturer BPR Can-Am emigrates to the States, thus becoming an American company, and thus qualifying for coverage in that august journal. They set up shop in Osceola, Wisconsin, in what appears to be an abandoned Polaris factory. In his first interview with Thunder Press, CEO Jose Boisjoli explains, “Nous voulons juste etre plus pertinente en Amerique.” To which Thunder Press replies, “Gesundheit.”
Motorcycle fatalities continue to decline significantly even as miles traveled by the nation’s riders remains consistent, forcing the NHTSA to rejigger their media smear campaign against motorcyclists and acknowledge the statistical evidence, but they attribute the improvement to “some really crackerjack ER docs.” The agency spokesman goes on to observe that, “As far as we’re concerned, these people are still socially undesirable thugs, so, when you think about it, maybe it’s not such good news after all, you know?”
The ongoing Teutel kerfuffle that has pitted Paul Sr. against Paul Jr. ad nauseum finally jumps the shark as Jr. announces his intention to join up with the Sons of Anarchy, saying, “Let’s see how tough the old walrus is when I show up at his place with my gang.” When it’s pointed out to him that the Sons of Anarchy are a completely fictitious creation of a TV programmer’s mind, he retorts, “Big deal. So are the Teutels.”
For his part, Paul Sr. disowns Jr. and adopts Jesse James, explaining, “Hey, the dude can weld and he needs a new gig; and I’ve always wanted a son with tattoos. Win, win.”
Indian Motorcycle kicks off a grand anniversary celebration at their corporate headquarters in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the first Indian produced in Springfield, Massachusetts… and the 48th anniversary of the first one made in Italy… and the 18th anniversary of that one in Phoenix… and the 12th of the first one out of Gilroy, and the 2nd anniversary of the roll out of the current iterations from Kings Mountain. Apparel emblazoned with the legendary war bonnet and the cryptic “1104818122” sells briskly.
Not to be outdone, Harley Motorcycles throws together their own gala in honor of the 100th anniversary of their first V-Twin model that actually worked worth a damn, as well as the 70th anniversary of the Knucklehead FL and some other stuff. They also use the occasion to announce an ambitious expansion of their social networking initiatives and yet another change to the company’s name. As explained by CEO Wandell, “Adopting that ‘Harley Motorcycles’ label may have been hasty, we realize now. It’s pretty good, but it still doesn’t quite capture our core competencies. So we’re going with eHarley.”
It’s all right here in the diaries.