david-hansen

David Hansen, Owner of The Shop
Photo Credit: Terry Bert

Welcome to The Shop in Ventura, California

The Shop is one of the planet’s oldest independent authorities on Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles!

The Shop has been described as an odd blend of industrial carpet, Art Deco black & white tile floors, old gas pumps, redwood latticework and shelves filled with motorcycle esoterica. The owner, David Hansen, explains: “No one planned the decor at the outset – it just emerged. We wanted something comfortable and unique; something warm so people would feel at home when they walked in. We had plenty of wall space to hang all the junk and memorabilia we had. I figured if there was an overflow of customers, which there is quite often, and limited counter help, which there is all the time, people can look around and be entertained. I have several friends that collect motorcycles, so we’re always changing the bike displays. It encourages people to come in — there is always something new – and old – to see.”

The Shop is located on Highway 101, which runs from Canada to Mexico and is the “Main Street of the West Coast.” “The amount of exposure we get being from being on the Pacific Coast Highway is phenomenal!” David adds, “and we are next door to one of the largest Truck Stops between Los Angeles and San Francisco.” On any given day, truck drivers from every part of North America, and tourists from around the world can be found viewing the antique and vintage motorcycles that are on display, or purchasing that hard-to-get part. David’s son Tory, who has literally grown up working there, can always be counted upon to conduct a tour of the establishment, time permitting. “The Shop has become one of the top global sources for parts, service, restorations, and just plain information,” says Dave. “We ship Harley and Indian parts all over the world, having clients in Europe, Australia, Indonesia, New Zealand and Japan.”

He goes on to explain the success of The Shop: “The thrust of a contemporary Harley-Davidson dealership is the ‘Twin-Cam’ engine. Because of the very large and growing customer base, many Harley dealers don’t have the time or resources to supply the needs of the clientele that are into the obsolete models such as the Panheads, Knuckleheads, Flatheads, Shovelheads, Evos, or even ironhead Sportsters. The parts inventory for these motorcycles would be substantial, as would the workforce, especially coupled with all the accessories carried for the Twin-Cams. More and more places are dealing with the older Harleys, and more shops dedicated to Indians have opened up. There are very few shops that deal with both brands to the extent that we can. It’s not unusual for our service department to be putting a set of 4-valve heads on an Evo while restoring an Indian chassis and rebuilding a Henderson 4-cylinder motor.”

Beginnings

David Hansen on his 1933 Indian ChiefDave Hansen got his first taste of motorcycles in 1967 when a friend flaunted his newly purchased Honda. As Dave puts it: “He had a 305 SuperHawk, then I bought one too — a 250 scrambler. I didn’t have any interest in motorcycles until that moment. As I started riding more and more, I realized I wanted something bigger. A friend of mine had just traded in his Nomad for a Panhead. Although this really caught my eye, I wanted to ride something equal to a Harley, but different. I bought a Scout from another friend but it was too small. Then I bought a basket chief and put it together one summer with the help of the local Harley dealer and others. That’s how I started riding Indians.”

While attending college, Dave was working on motorcycles more and more. “My friend and I got a garage going and started working on our own stuff,” explains Hansen. “It was just a place to go and work and hang out. I was one of the few guys in town into Indians. People found out I was into them and would stop by because they knew I would buy parts. Prices were unreal — I mean you could get a running Chief for $100.!” To put that number in perspective, a restored Chief is currently worth in excess of $30,000!

As The Shop gained notoriety, Dave began working on Harleys more and more as locals dropped off their motorcycles for repairs. By 1972, Dave’s business was a full fledged Harley/Indian full-service shop. And the rest, as they say, is history.