After World War II, American motorcycling fell into disrepute. Most riders were decent, happy fans of road fun and bugs in the Brylcreem. But their usual motorcycles were panhead Harleys, and maybe these seemed too loud, coarse and rudimentary for a generation aspiring to be silent, smooth and sophisticated. In 1947, 4,000 motorcyclists held a rally in Hollister, California. Mild fracas ensued. Using staged photographs, Life magazine played it up as “The Hollister Riot.” That led to the 1954 movie “The Wild One,” with Marlon Brando cast as the boy every dad had forbidden his daughter to date. This caused all the juvenile delinquents in the nation to buy black leather motorcycle jackets to go with the Harleys they didn’t have. (Never mind that Brando was shown riding a hoity-toity British Triumph Thunderbird 6T.) The motorcycle came to be viewed as a sign of serious social maladjustment. Anyone riding one was assumed to be headed to prison or, worse, a tattoo parlor.
This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.hagerty.com/articles-videos/articles/2013/02/25/game-changers