WHERE WERE YOU IN ’82?
The 1982 Oakland Show revisited
The year of 1982 was by all accounts pretty monumental. IBM dropped the PC-DOS version 1.1 operation system, the Brits were bombing the hell out of the Falkland Islands, the US was still conducting nuclear testing in the Nevada desert, and John Updike was awarded the Pulitzer Prize.
But nothing came close to bike junkies as the Oakland Grand National Roadster Show. This show started in 1950 to the delight of tens of thousands of Northern California custom vehicle builders, owners, and admirers up until 2004 when the show moved south and was renamed the Pomona Grand National Roadster Show.
Direct from the Street Chopper archives of the May 1982 issue, we present to you just how the custom motorcycle lifestyle was in the early ’80s. This was the 34th year of the show, and as you can see digger-style machines were everywhere, as were forced-induction engines. There were also a fair amount of early Flathead, Knuckle, and Panhead-powered real- deal choppers still under the roof of the Oakland Exposition Center. Both the gals and guys had tight jeans and feathered hair, and if you were a dude who didn’t have a moustache, you weren’t shit.
One of the highlights of the show in 1982 was a young Cory Ness debuting his first bike known as Turned Loose, which started the lifelong career of this second- generation Ness builder. These photos also show that the old adage “what’s old is new again” rings true, as the style and componentry used on these bikes some three decades later are still showing up on current bike builds. And that is a good thing.