Perkins’ New- H-D Sales-Service Plant at Frisco, Best in U.S.

By Mel Wharton

  • From the September 1928 issue of Motorcyclist magazine.

    The new motorcycle sales and service institution of Dudley Perkins at 214 Van Ness Avenue, San Francisco, has set a standard in beauty and efficiency for similar organizations in America to emulate. It is without exaggeration to say that the present headquarters of Dudley Perkins in San Francisco is the most luxurious in the West, if indeed, not the entire United States.

    The new plant is situated in the heart of the city on automobile row at the corner of Ivy and Van Ness. The main salesroom faces Van Ness, with the entrance to service, shop and garage on Ivy. The building is a two-story brick and stone structure of tan color with inlaid red marble ornamental blocks. Its glass area is tremendous, permitting a flood of sunlight at all times during daylight hours. Across the front in gold letters streams the name of the popular Dudley Perkins, one of America’s best known motorcycle Hillclimbers and dealers. On a flagpole is the orange and black Harley-Davidson pennant, indicative of the sales agency line of motorcycles sold by the firm.

    The spacious salesroom has arched panels and the walls are finished in Tiffany texture. The panels are amber in color, the walls a reddish lavender, with woodwork done in greenish brown striped with orange and blue. The floor is composed of maroon colored cement blocks. A large center display case holds half a hundred cups and trophies won by Dud on his trusty Harley-Davidson. There is also a case trimmed with a display of accessories and riding clothing. The sales force, in addition to the ever present Dudley himself, consists of Matt Tracy, William Pearsall, C.J. Terry and H. Vath.

    To the left of the salesroom are displayed Harley-Davidson package trucks. To the right are solo machines in many special colors as well as the staple olive green. Across the rear of the room are the offices, entrance to the parts and service departments, an information window, cashier’s window, general office, private office and sales office.

    The service department is in charge of Henry Terry. One of his jobs is to write up and estimate all incoming work. On the floor are a number of commercial delivery outfits rented for three cents a mile to patrons whose outfits may be under repair.

    National advertising, according to Terry, has been a valuable asset to the firm. He asserts that companies which have adopted the motorcycle van and delivery system have never been known to return to the light automobile because of the many advantages found in the motorcycle. Neat storm aprons are used on the machines during inclement weather.

    The Dudley Perkins firm has two service trucks upon which two motorcycles may be loaded at one time. In the event a commercial machine is up for overhaul the driver has a dozen different styles from which to select an outfit for temporary use.

    Bert Pearson, shop foreman, is director of repairs. He has under him seven mechanics in a light, clean, completely equipped shop. The shop has its own enamel plant. A ramp at the rear leads to the shop and to the garage where commercial machines are stored overnight. Other equipment in the shop includes a wonderful brazing table and a straightening device. Night service is a regular part of the day’s work at this plant.

    Then there is a wash rack with an especially built turn-table on which the motorcycle is placed, rotating so that every part of the machine is washed thoroughly. Hot water and soap or oil is used so as not to injure enamel. The front chain is removed and a cap is fitted over the clutch so that it may be kept dry. The machine is air dried.

    The parts department is glass enclosed, with a counter facing the service entrance. On each side and under the counter are showcases displaying accessories. Inside is a dumb-waiter supplying the shop immediately overhead. Walter Burrows is in charge of the parts department and has two assistants. Steel bins are used to stock supplies. The North Pacific Coast is supplied with parts from this department.

    By Mel Wharton
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