goodbye, occ – good riddance

in 2002 occ crashed the v-twin party

tlc ends the grotesque run of occ – sort of

In 2010, February 11th came four days after Cincinnati’s V-Twin Expo and fell on the eve of Dealernews Dealer Expo. It’s appropriate that we remember the airing on that date of The Learning Channel’s final episode of American Chopper, a Frankenstein-esque money-maker for cable “reality” whose success in years to come will be impossible to explain.

In 2002, only eight years earlier, the clan from Orange County, New York wheeled a trailer load of rollers and a few customer bikes into Indy and onto a 40×40 island off the main floor of a then still growing Dealer Expo. My recollection, from an advertising perspective, was of feeling faintly woozy at the woefully amateurish marketing, even by powersports’ minimal standards, of a nondescript collection of clones.

occ excels – at the lowest common denominator

The business card, to this day, is the ugliest I’ve ever held. The display included cardboard signs glued onto plywood backers, banners that from all appearances were recycled from a strip mall pizza shop, and a particularly unattractive gold-ish carpet taped in place over the existing Geo. Fern standard booth issue. Highlights, for no apparent reason, included a faux wrought iron trellis. Trailer park chic would have been an improvement.

Nobody could have guessed that Lady Fortune would soon smile – make that beam – on this little island of misfit bikes in a way that would tilt the balance of v-twin build from iconic design to clueless incoherence. From Orange County Choppers was born the cable hit American Chopper, which in turn spawned a swarm of replicants across the dial. Could it be that, collectively, we’d unknowingly pissed off the Biker Gods and sure enough, they’d have their drawn out revenge?

every attempt at franchising or extending the brand flopped

How else would you explain the holiday launch of Full Throttle ‘cologne’ by mainstream department stores just in time for Christmas? Cheesy license plate frames sold by the tens of thousands in Auto Zones across the country? Acne plagued adolescents parading through WalMart, proudly representing OCC?

People can talk, and have, about the good the Teutuls have done. I don’t see it. What I see instead are outrageous prices for nothing particularly unique, often by corporate heads who are otherwise responsible for shareholder dividends but who now own piles of scrap assembled out of commonly available catalogs. That’s some expensive paint you got there, Dodge.

There’s plenty of train wreck documentation across the web as to what, when and how. As to why? I’ll never get it.