Custom Builder Russ Tom Killed In Helicopter Crash

I am sad to learn that fellow custom builder Russ Tom passed away October 8th, 2006 while piloting a small helicopter. Russ Tom is best known for taking over his father motorcycle business Downtown Harley-Davidson in Seattle Washington in the late 1990’s. Russ Tom was a lover of motorcycles as well as other motor sports, especially drag racing. At a young age, with his father, Russ helped develop the “Coffin” gas tank that became a part of custom motorcycle history. He created his first chopper in 1972 (Honda CB 750), then used Harley Davidson models as his base for customization. He ended up, like most of us, building bikes from the ground up. I met Russ in the mid 90’s while competing in the same bike shows in Daytona Beach. I remember very well his creations like the Blue Hornet, Mean Streak and Beluga which, at the time, looked like nothing else on the show tour. In 2000 he started to pursue other interests in real estate, but still remained very active on the Northwest motorcycle scene. (picture Jim Gianatsis) 




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