Vetter Design Works PM

Vetter Design Works, project manager

by Duane Ausherman

So who is Craig Vetter?  Only the most important single individual in motorcycling in the last half of the 20th century.  The photos are of a sales brochure for his property.

This is a picture from the air of the Vetter compound. It sits atop a large hill with a great view of San Luis Obispo, the Pismo Dunes and the Pacific ocean.

This is where I lived and worked, life is rough, but someone has to do it.

This is a view of the front of the main house. It is the South side and gathers in a lot of solar energy.

Craig and Carol lived here

Photo of Craig and Carol Vetter's dinning room in San Luis Obispo

The dining room

Vetter Design Works workshop area in San Luis Obispo, California

Some details about the shop.

The above is the workshop that I used and below is my apartment. Life was good

The photo above shows the workshop area where the design work fabrication occurred.  The lower photo is the living space that I occupied.  One could sit in the hot tub, watch the rockets take off from Vandenburg Air Force Base, and enjoy the overlooking of the San Luis Obispo valley below.

The description of my apartment at Vetter Design Works

Somehow I was able to manage:-)

After I sold BMW of Marin in 1975, my role was to sort of retire.  I was comfortable enough to live without any income.  I was now able to do whatever I wanted without respect for a reliable income.  I bought a place in Modoc County and lived there for a few years to “unwind” from my hectic life as a BMW dealer.  I got offers of employment, but it wasn’t until Craig’s offer that I was “sucked” back into the workforce.  What did I do?  My first task was to be the project manager of the Mystery Ship project.  It was the forerunner of today’s fully-faired crotch rocket.

I had no idea just how much this would change my life.

The original idea was to start with a BMW, but Butler and Smith, the importer in those days, was unwilling to make a favorable deal with Craig Vetter.  The Kawasaki KZ 1000 ended up being used as the base bike.  My job was to manage the project.  Craig did the design work and left much of the rest of the project to me.  Only 7 of the units were made and sold due to poor responses from the buying public.  The design concept was far ahead of its time.

My old position was assigned to my very good friend, Dick Arnold, who was also my flight instructor.  We remained good friends, but he “escaped” to Texas, where he and Judy, his wife, taught English in high schools until they retired.  I just got word that he died this past January 2017.  RIP, my good friend.

The business card for Duane Ausherman of Vetter Design Works in San Luis Obispo, California.

My business card.

Today we see many models of motorcycles on the streets that follow the Mystery Ship concept.  Partway through the project, I was pulled off to manage the first-ever Vetter Rally in Colorado Springs, CO.  These are the cards that were sent out in bulk to Vetter dealers and related manufacturers to be handed out to Vetter fairing owners.

Updated 30 March 2023