All American BMX Eagles
In the early 1970s, BMX racing had taken the youth of the nation by storm, much like the hot rod generation of the 1950s. Nearly every kid had a bike, and local tracks were setup for competition and overall good times. Everyone wanted to get in on the action, including motorcycle builders Yamaha and Kawasaki.
From late 1974 to late 1976, Dan Gurney lent his name and some of his and All-American Racers' technical knowledge to help All American BMX, a local manufacturer, market various of BMX bikes.
Tommy Masuo Kamifuji (1932-1989,) of Kami Sales, Inc., was the man behind AABMX. Legendary BMX Hall of Famer Mike Devitt (1935-2020,) was hired as a consultant and did contract marketing for the small outfit, while BMX pioneer builder Bill Murphy collaborated with Kamifuji, Devitt and Gurney with his knowledge in the design and building. Dan Torii was also involved as the Marketing Director.
Mild steel and chromoly tubing was purchased from both Jorgensen Steel and TubeSales Inc., depending on their credit. The TubeSales Inc. salesman who sold them their steel was none-other than friend of KMPR Dan Wise, who is a fixture in the California Club Formula Ford scene.
The creations were subsequently known as Dan Gurney Eagles. The models manufactured by AABMX in Gardena, California were the Standard Eagle, the Double-Eagle, the Hardtail, Hardtail Double-Loop and Monoshock. Each model had various design updates during their time in business.
While the company ran into issues after less than two years in existence, its time in BMX left a lasting impression on the sport. Eagle BMX are felt to be Holy Grails of BMX collecting due to their namesake, and how competitive and advanced they were for their time.
Many of the team riders who rode Eagles became legends in the sport. Team manager Scot Breithaupt (1957-2015) won the 1975 ABA title for AABMX and helped in marketing. Late in the run, he tested a bike with an upper ‘flat oval’ tube that he copied when he started SE Racing. It was known as ‘Floval’ tubing by SE which has been one of the most successful BMX manufactures in the history of the sport.
1975 All American BMX / Bell Helmets factory riders:
Ronnie 'The Animal' Ames - 8 years old
Matt Devitt - 9 years old
Bobby Devitt - 11 years old
Donny Lange - 13 years old
Jeff Amamoto - 14 years old
Scot 'Old Timer' Breithaupt - 18 years old
Two amateur riders also went on to BMX greatness later on in their careers. Perry ‘PK’ Kramer and Andy ‘Bigfoot’ Patterson both got their start on Eagle BMX bikes. Patterson received a Eagle Monoshock for Christmas in 1974 when he was ten and was racing all over the world within a few years. Kramer joined Breithaupt to form SE Racing, and had the famous 'P.K. Ripper' named in his honor. As well, Marvin Church and Richard Cantrell both rode and endorsed All American BMX Eagles for their respective teams.
Besides the 'flat oval' prototyping, early use of chromoly tuby and mag wheels, AABMX also experimented with disk rear brakes as an option.
In August 2008 we came across one of these gems in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, a mere 15 minutes from our shop. The model in question that was obtained was a Dan Gurney Monoshock, serial number #1323, named for the shock that was used as part of the suspension. The main problem with the design of the various Monoshock bikes of the era was around the idea of a shock as a member of the frame, working a swing-arm type rear assembly. When a rider goes to pedal, the shock takes up the force load that is generated to the rear wheel, thus causing the tire to lose traction and spin. We later sold the Monoshock to a collector in Ohio, though it was a lovely piece. 38 lbs. at that!
In October, 2008, we found a 1976 Eagle Squareback Deluxe, #8445, which was in a storefront window in a Phoenix sporting goods store for years. Even better, it sported the optional Enkei Eagle magnesium rims that are ultra-rare. We’ve kept it very much the way it was.
In 2013, we came across an Eagle Deluxe Hardtail frame, #4357 and in 2022 were able to acquire all the rest of the needed bits to make it whole again, right down to the proper-dated Ashtabula stem and cranks. The seat tube for this build was cut from a bent A-arm from our 1977 All American Racers Eagle DGF Formula Ford, so this bike has perhaps more AAR DNA than the Eagles made in Gardena.
For more information on the various types of AABMX Eagles, visit www.bmxmuseum.com to see some of the lucky few winged-wonders that have made it through the years.