Ness in 2014
|Born||July 12, 1939|
Moorhead, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||March 22, 2019 79)(aged|
|Occupation||Motorcycle designer, entrepreneur|
|Known for||Custom motorcycles|
Beverly Ness(m. 1960–2019)
|Relatives||Cory Ness (son), Zach Ness (grandson)|
Arlen Darryl Ness(July 12, 1939 – March 22, 2019) was an American motorcycle designer and entrepreneur best known for his custom motorcycles. Ness received acclaim for his designs, most of which are noted for their unique body style and paintwork.
Arlen Darryl Ness was born in Moorhead, Minnesota on July 12, 1939 to Elaine and Ervin Ness, and moved to San Lorenzo, California when he was in the sixth grade.
Prior to his career as a motorcycle builder, Arlen worked as a pin setter at the local bowling alley, and later as a post office worker and furniture mover. Ness also competed in semi-professional bowling leagues, the earnings of which he used to buy his first motorcycle, a 1947 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead that he later customized.
Ness was married to his wife Beverly for 59 years until his death.
His first customs were made in the garage of his home in San Leandro, California, but by the early 1970s he had moved to a storefront on East 14th Street.
Ness was recognized for his unique painting style and for developing a line of custom motorcycle parts. His popularity grew as he built new custom bikesand then had those displayed on the bike show circuit and featured in motorcycle magazines.
After more than three decades of custom bike building, his business, Arlen Ness Motorcycles, moved to a Dublin, California facility that includes a museum featuring more than 40 of his custom motorcycles. The museum displays his Untouchable, the twin motor Two Bad, the antique inspired Ness-Tique, Blower Bike, the Italian sports car inspired Ferrari Bike, the '57 Chevy inspired Ness-Stalgia, the Bugatti-like Smooth-Ness, the Discovery Channel's Biker Build-Off bike Top Banana, and his jet-powered Mach Ness. The company is also an authorized dealership for Victory Motorcycles and for Indian Motorcycles.
The Mach Ness is a motorcycle Ness built in 2005, inspired by Jay Leno's turbine-powered bike, that incorporates a jet-powered helicopter engine as its power plant. The design, concept, paint, and graphics were created by Carl Brouhard and the hand-made aluminum body work was by Bob Monroe.
Ness received recognition and awards including Builder of the Year, induction into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame and Lifetime Achievement Awards.His son, Cory Ness, has worked with Ness for more than 30 years, and now runs the day-to-day business operations at Arlen Ness, Inc. Cory has himself been recognized as a top custom bike builder and even defeated his father in a 2004 episode of Biker Build-Off. Carrying on the family tradition to a third generation, Cory's son, Zach Ness, built several high end customs before finishing high school in 2006.
Ness received a patent for the Big Shot, a method of altering the motorcycle's fuel injection system, and thereby enhancing a motorcycle's performance.
Ness died on March 22, 2019 at the age of 79.
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Zach Ness is a third-generation American motorcycle designer and entrepreneur. He is the grandson of motorcycle customizer Arlen Ness, and son of Cory Ness. In 2013 Zach teamed up with National Geographic Channel for the television series Let It Ride. The series followed Zach as he and the Ness crew built custom bikes for clients.
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Harley Davidson Sportster Motorcycle, 1972. Customized body with silver and copper leaf, gold plating, and engraving. History: Arlen Ness customized this motorcycle in 1984. He used it for display and in competition naming it "QuickNess." Regular shows were held where customizers exhibited their artistry. Arlen Ness has won many trophies for his superb machines. This one has a tangerine orange body with copper leafed and painted designs and engraving on the chrome parts.
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