History

Benjamin F. Hardy

Benjamin F. Hardy was a prominent black motorcycle engineer and chopper builder. He was known for creating the customized choppers for the characters ‘Captain America; and ‘Billy’ which appeared in 1969.

Working along with another Black motorcycle builder, coordinator, Cliff Vaughs, Hardy built two ‘Billy’ bikes and three ‘Captain Americas.’ One of the bikes was destroyed in the making of the movie, the rest of which were stolen. The ‘Billy’ bike was typical of the custom motorcycles Black bikers were riding at the time.

Despite the two black men’s phenomenal work, they remained largely unknown and uncredited for 25 years. They were not welcomed into the mainstream of the white motorcycle world. Hardy’s work has been featured in the “Black Chrome” exhibition at the California African American Museum.

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