This weekend, Custom Chrome Inc. CEO Holger Mohr and Marketing Director Steve Vieltri are welcoming about 250 motorcycle dealers, VIP’s and industry friends at the historic Dolce Hayes Mansion of San Jose, CA for the return of the legendary Custom Chrome Dealer Show and to celebrate with them the company 40th Anniversary.
We are in the Silicon Valley and like most technology companies CCI had humble beginnings in 1970 in a very humble backyard garage. What were you doing at this time? Hey, most of today’s top customizers were not even born! At that time, nothing was “Silicon” in the San Jose Valley, but the San Francisco Bay Area was the epicenter of the Kustom Kulture for both cars and motorcycles. As you probably know, the largest motorcycle clubs were also born here.
CCI, led by Nace Panzica and a group of friends, did most of their business polishing and chroming parts and started selling parts mainly for Japanese bikes since during this decade most choppers were Honda based. CCI then diversified with after-market Harley parts since the Milwaukee bikes were suffering of serious quality and reliability problems. First catalog was produced in 1973 and in 1975, the company reached the milestone of 1 million dollars of sales. Expanding its line of parts, custom Chrome then offered kit bikes, and its business expanded dramatically supported by the Harley boom of the late 80’s and 90’s. The company became the 1st distributor able to serve its US customers on both coasts with one-day shipping.
To preempt a big part of the explosive custom V-Twin market, CCI began to use the talent of designers like Rick Doss, Dave Perewitz and the ingenious John Reed, and the produced parts became worldwide best sellers. In 1987 Custom Chrome Europe was created to take advantage of the same custom motorcycle phenomenon on the other side of the Atlantic. Holger Mohr became its General Manager. In 2000, CCI offered 25,000 parts worldwide. Then motorcycle TV exposure created an ever bigger custom bike craze. In October 2009, CCI opened an office in Japan. Although the recession has affected all the industry, Custom Chrome is maintaining its business plan of looking to remain the leader distributor of the finest V-Twin parts available.
CCI Catalog Covers (from left to right and top to bottom. years 1973, 1975, 1976, 1981, 1991)
Photography CCI management: Cyril Huze.
Photography Catalog Archives: Horst Roesler