GILROY – Rey Sotelo, who assisted in the launch and redesign of Indian Motorcycle Corporation’s flagship model – 2002 Chief – announced his retirement from the company Monday.
He has worked at the company for about four years and also assisted in the development of the corporation’s new proprietary engine the Powerplus 100.
“Motorcycles have been my life, and I’m proud of my contribution to bringing back an American classic. This has been a dream come true, and now I want to spend some time with my family and other interests,” Sotelo said in a statement released from Indian Motorcycle Corporation.
Spokesperson for the company, Chirstie Obata, said Sotelo was not available for interviews from the press.
“He just decided it was time to step down and spend some time with his family,” she said about his retirement.
Sotelo began working in the motorcycle industry in 1979 when he opened a retail outlet, South County Motorcycles, in Gilroy. He built custom motorcycles for celebrity sports figures including Karl Malone, Ralph Tamm, Dusty Baker and Erik Wright. He then opened California Motorcycle Company (CMC) in 1995 – a full scale manufacturing operation – to meet the demand for his bikes.
He continued to build celebrity bikes, including a recreation of the Captain America bike from the move Easy Rider for Peter Fonda.
Last year he was recognized by the Sturgis Motorcycle Museum and Hall of Fame. He received the first-ever J.C. “Pappy” Hoel Outstanding Achievement Award.
In 1999 CMC was bought by Indian Motorcycle Corporation and Sotelo joined IMC’s management team to assist with product development and the introduction of the Powerplus engine.