The History of
Reg and his SZP Hangar Museum as told by
Pacific Flyer's Wayman Dunlap...
Anyone who has ever flown in to Santa Paula (Calif.) Airport on a
day when Reg Pridmore had one of his hangar doors open might have
thought he or she had wandered into a museum.
Or several museums, as parts of it were dedicated to
vintage Coke machines, others to restored oil cans, oil carts,
pieces of gas station equipment, or treasured aviation paintings
skillfully framed and vintage wooden aircraft and car models - all
of it looking brand new.
There are paintings by Robert Taylor, Stan Stokes and
Gil Cohen, among others, plus artist's proofs and collections
featuring Jimmy Doolittle, Eric Hartmann and Adolph Galland.
There's also a beautiful Swift and a Citabria sitting
about because Reg is a devoted aviator who, being London-born, has a
special fondness for RAF aircraft.
But did you know this quiet Limey is also a former
motorcycle racing champion and a member of the Motorcycle Hall of
Reg was the very first AMA (American Motorcycle
Association) Superbike Champion. In fact, he won the series the
first three years of its existence: 1976, 1977 and 1978. He rarely
finished outside of the top five and more often than not he earned a
spot on the podium.
His most famous win was the 1976 AMA Superbike Series on a Butler &
Smith BMW R90S - yes, a BMW. The two following years he won
Superbike titles on Racecrafters and Vetter-sponsored Kawasaki
He was the first rider to win an AMA Superbike national
on a Japanese-made motorcycle, when he took victory at Pocono, Penn.
on August 21, 1977, aboard a Racecrafters Kawasaki KZ1000.
Born in London on July 15, 1939, he began racing in England in the
early 1960s. He won his first race at Silverstone in 1961 riding a
Triumph 500 Tiger. Growing weary of the British weather and
political climate, Pridmore decided to move to what he had always
heard was the land of opportunity, the United States. The
25-year-old sold all of his possessions in England, shipped his car
over and took a ship to America. Upon arrival, he immediately got
back into motorcycle racing. In 1972, Pridmore switched from Norton
By the time Superbike became a recognized AMA National
Championship event in 1976, Pridmore had the jump on his competitors
with a wealth of experience in racing production motorcycles.
When inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2002, Pridmore
was running CLASS, one of the top motorcycle riding schools in the
country. He still runs CLASS, but on a more limited schedule than in
past years. He lives in Santa Paula and loves to pilot his aerobatic
airplanes and go on fishing trips when time allows. His son, Jason,
became an AMA road racing champion of the 1990s and early 2000s and
has his own race school.
(The editor attended one of Reg's motorcycle racing classes and
Pridmore took him around Willow Springs racetrack on the back of his
Honda VFR 750, on street tires, at unbelievable speeds, passing pure
race bikes with slick tires as if they'd developed engine problems.)
Now Reg, obviously an inveterate collector, is selling it all off
and spending quite a bit of time in Baja. Everything must go, he
told us, including paintings, museum quality commissioned unique
wooden artwork of various WW II Airplanes and a 1931 Cadillac V-16
Convertible, plus his Coca Cola Machines, metal signs and other
advertising art. His Texaco pieces include numerous original and
beautifully restored oil cans, a gas pump, oil carts and other
pieces of gas station equipment and memorabilia.
The sale will take place at the Santa Paula Airport (SZP) in
Reg's Hangar "G" on Saturday, February 10th, 2007, from 10am to 3pm.
You can call him at 805 933-0976 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or for details on
all that's for sale and directions to get there, see
www.aviart4sale.com. And if you're Yvon Duhamel, you can drop by and
talk about the time Reg ran over your foot in a race at Laguna Seca.