ERWIN “SMITTY” SMITH
Hall of Fame Inductee - Pre 2001 (1995)
Smitty bought his first motorcycle in 1928, a 1908 Flying Merkel that cost him $5.00. He has been a motorcycle dealer in Rock Island, Illinois since 1940, taking a three year break from 1942 to 1945 to serve in the U.S. Army as a Tank Retriever. Upon his military discharge, he reopened for business on January 1, 1946 with one Indian motorcycle and a parts inventory valued at $34.00.
Over the years he has sponsored such famous motorcycle racers as Ed Kretz, Sr., Bill Tuman, Joe Bissman, Mickey Green, Dave Camlim, Don Camlim, and his own brother Lyle Smith. In 1947 he helped convince the local school board to open the Browning Field running track to motorcycle racing. This lasted for two seasons...the neighbors complained, not about the noise, but about the dust seeping into their kitchens. From there he went on to aid in opening the East Moline Football Field and Track to motorcycle racing, the old Route 6 Speedway in Coal Valley, and Shea Haines Track in Davenport, Iowa.
He served as president of the Blackhawk Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America (AMCA), served for 5 years on the National Board of Directors of the AMCA and at the time of his induction, still rode his 1941 Indian 741 Scout on all the AMCA runs, hitting places like Spearfish, SD, Lake Tahoe and the Tennessee Valley.
Smith died in 2011 at the age of 94.