While at the BC Sports Hall of Fame I came across the inductee information for Trev Deeley (1920-2000), a name associated with the award-winning Harley-Davidson dealership. When I happened to drive by the Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition on Boundary Road not even 24 hours later I took it as a sign — this was a story to cover.
Fred and Trev Deeley
Fred Deeley Sr. opened a 12-foot-wide store at 1075 Granville in 1914. In 1916, he acquired a Harley-Davidson franchise in Vancouver, becoming the brand’s second oldest dealership [source]. By 1925, the company expanded to two shops, bicycles and motorcycles, and Fred Jr. took over the motorcycle shop. They were now located on Broadway. At the age 15 Fred Jr.’s son, Fred Sr.’s grandson, Trevor started working for his father at the motorcycle shop [source].
From 1947 to 1958, [Trev] Deeley competed, won, and set a series of track records in numerous races and was a three time competitor in the 200 mile road race in Daytona Beach, Florida riding a Harley-Davidson.
In 1957, Deeley retired from racing and became more involved in the motorcycle industry and community. His commitment to promoting and distributing motorcycles had helped revolutionize the industry in Canada. In 1972 Deeley was given inclusive rights for the distribution of Harley-Davidson products, and was the first Canadian appointed to the Board of Director for Harley-Davidson.
He was a Canadian Motor Sports Hall of Fame Inductee in 1995, and was the only Canadian winner of the American Motorcyclists Association Dud Perkins Award. Deeley became an Inductee to the Worldwide American Motorcycle Heritage Association Hall of Fame in June, 1999. [source]
In 1998, “Team Deeley” set a new landspeed record (of 150mph) at the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah with a 1998 Buell S1 White Lightning. Trev Deeley, Peter Sellers, Mike Rowland and Terry Rea were part of driver Shane Kenneally’s crew.
Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition
The exhibition, adjacent to the dealership and a conference space, is open to the public 7 days a week. There you can browse a private collection of 250 antique, vintage, and modern models spanning over 114 years along with the “Made in America” exhibit.
You can stop by during the day and ask for Historian Terry Rae (mentioned above) who will give you a guided tour. Terry walked me through the collection and pin-pointed the unique attributes of each piece. He explained the unique components that lead riders to give certain models specific nicknames, the innovation and evolution of motorcycles during WWI and WWII war efforts, and helped me undertand the difference between knuckle, shovel, and pan head engines.
If you’re into motorcycles of any kind and their history, this collection founded by a BC motorcycling legend is well worth checking out.
The Deeley Motorcycle Exhibition is located at 1875 Boundary Road, Vancouver. Admission is by donation. Follow @TrevDeeleyHD on Twitter for motorcycle news and updates.
Thanks to Terry and Scott, who showed me around the rest of the store, for their time today.
View my full set of photos on Flickr.