Wow, Strictly Hodaka goes from hobby to business of over 18 years still with the love and passion of day one!
How do I begin to share my thoughts and thanks to everyone in the Hodaka family , you have all changed my life forever.....
I had a 1973 Dirt Squirt as a young boy . The bug had always stayed with me to get one again someday then in 1986 the opportunity came true. Although it was a 1973 125cc Wombat it still was a chrome tanker. Even back then trying to source parts was very hard so I started down the road to reproduce parts . I had no intention to do this as a business or for other people. But over a few years the word got out that there was this guy on the East coast who had parts and that was the start to Strictly Hodaka.
The first few years were hard because we owned two business's that demanded our full attention. One was a deli/ catering business and the other our USDA Sausage company. Both were very successful business's while we were almost slaves to our own making. The deli was voted " Best of R.I." and we were on T.V. for interviews alot from that. Also the sausage company was claimed to be " America's Best" by the Los Angeles Times. That is how we met Jay Leno through the sausage company.
In those early years we would head off to work at 5:00am and return home at 6:00pm or later. Once Patti and I finished dinner then we headed off to return emails and calls to do with Hodaka parts. Sometimes our day's did not end until 11:00 PM or so. My hobby was growing in leaps and bounds.
It was during this time that a guy named Harry Taylor called and needed parts for his son's prototype Dirt Squirt 80 . We instantly became friends over the phone and he then suggested that I might come out to Oregon to visit. I did come out with photographer Jeff Hackett, Roger Lippiatt and George Cone - all true hodaka fans , whom I had met only over the last few years while involved in Hodakas. Harry had arranged a barbeque at his house where there was about 50 people who showed up. Most of them were the original Pabatco folks who had not seen each other in thirty years, a reunion of sorts. Talk about being a fly on the wall. This is where our " Hodaka Day's " started, and now look where it is in Mid Ohio as a featured classic display getting bigger and better every year.
What my objective is with Strictly Hodaka is to keep the brand alive. Not by remaking the motorcycle itself but by remaking the parts and pieces to keep the existing bikes going for years to come. The money we take in by selling parts goes right back into reproducing more of the parts that we need to keep the bikes alive. Parts that you would not think about but have to have to see the bikes shift or run we make. It is not about a business but rather a love or passion for this brand " Hodaka".
I am very fortunate that whenever I start to remake any part I send the idea to Hodaka Dave, Roger Lippiatt, George Cone, Ed Chesnut and of course Harry Taylor. Even the simplest of parts we all now look at it and see how we can improve it in any way at all. Some of the parts we are working on are parts that back in the 70's Harry wanted Hodaka to make but PABATCO refused. Now we are making some items that he wanted to see thirty years ago to improve the performance of vintage Hodakas. This makes it fun for all of us when we all can work together for the best interest of Hodaka.
The most important thing I would like to emphasize is that whatever we do here is a TEAM effort. It is not about Strictly Hodaka only . It is about the people that support us by buying parts and pieces from us so we can continue to make more parts. It is about the Pabatco men and women that have become my friends & extended family and who's trust I do not want to let down. Also about the people who continue to work with me to reproduce the hard to find parts or help design them. My goal is to try and keep Hodaka's supplied with parts and information for years and years to come so my children can ride them and my children's children.
Besides being involved with the Hodaka Days celebration in Athena from the beginning we are also very proud the honor the AMA bestowed upon Hodaka. Back in 2006 Allen Brown and myself spearheaded the Hodaka Days celebration as a part of the AMA's Vintage Days at Mid-Ohio. We both worked very hard to show the world that Hodaka deserved to be the "Classic Club" that year. With the help of many many Hodaka faithful that came from all over the country and the world we put on one heck of a great show ! Jim Pomeroy was our Grand Marshall and we had other greats to join him as Brad Lackey and Tommy Croft. We had the chance to meet and become friends with Alistair Johnson and Ken Smith both from VMX magazine and our friendship is still strong today.
Besides family and friends I think these two above mentioned programs are what we feel the most accomplished about. If you are reading this then you have some interest in Hodaka's and for that we thank you .
I hope that in some small way we have been successful in keeping Hodaka's alive! Thank you for supporting Strictly Hodaka!