In 1954, Nicholson Motors, Inc. was established by Nick and Alice Nicholson in Long Beach, California. The first motorcycle sold at Nicholson Motors was a little known British motorcycle named James. Soon later, Nicholson Motors moved to North Hollywood becoming a BSA dealer, and quickly following as a United States distributor / dealer for Greeves Motorcycles, also from Britain.
First Nicholson Motors shop in North Hollywood
Prior to the establishment of Nicholson Motors, Nick began his versatile racing career in the late 1940’s, becoming a leading contender in almost every category of two-wheel racing well into the 1960’s. Some of Nick’s most memorable accomplishments include setting the flat-track record at Carrell Speedway, winning Southern California Trials Championship two years in a row, earning multiple wins at the famous Catalina Grand Prix and the 100 mile win at Daytona Beach. And of course, the Isle of Man TT finish with a bronze medal in 1953 and representing the American team at the Isle of Man ISDT in 1965. As a result of his motorcycle accomplishments, Nick was inducted into the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 2005.
Second Nicholson Motors shop in North Hollywood
Though Nick continued competing, it was in the mid 1960’s that Nick began to shift his focus to his dealership and helping up-and-coming riders. Nick was on the leading edge during the introduction of motocross to America. Nick and Alice housed and sponsored numerous European riders, including Bryan Wade, Vic Allan and Arthur Browning while they competed in the InterAm Series throughout the United States. Nicholson Motors also backed many of the American stars of off-road and motocross racing, including riders such as Gary Conrad, Malcolm Smith, Gary Bailey, Jim Wilson, and Preston Petty, to name a few.
As a young boy in the late 1960’s, Kenny Sykes was introduced to the Greeves Motorcycle by his uncle. At that moment, Kenny knew he had to have one and the likes of Bryan Wade, Jim Wilson, Vic Allan and Gary Bailey became Kenny’s Greeves heroes. As a teenager, Kenny went to Nicholson Motors in North Hollywood to buy parts for his first Greeves, a 1963 motocross special followed by his 250cc Greeves Griffon. Over time, Kenny’s love and passion of the Greeves Motorcycle developed into a vast collection of knowledge, motorcycles and parts.
In 1978, Nick retired and closed the doors to Nicholson Motors. Frank Conley, a true Greeves enthusiast, bought the remaining Greeves motorcycles and parts from Nicholson Motors and other remaining Greeves dealers. Frank kept the Greeves name alive and established the renowned yearly event known as Greeves Days, originally held at Kettleman City and now held at the Beanway Ranch in Santa Margarita, California. Due to the popularity of this event, what started as a one-day Greeves play ride became a two-day event consisting of a Concourse D'elegance for best show of Greeves, followed by a day of trials.
Nick participated in and won several of the Greeves Days trials events. It was at this event that Nick and Kenny re-met, becoming dear lifelong friends; often seen trail riding together in the hills of Lake Isabella, where Nick lived.
Frank and Kenny also became good friends. When Frank’s health became weak, Frank often dropped hints to Kenny regarding the continuation of Greeves Days. Kenny promised Frank that he would keep the love of Greeves alive.
Per Frank’s wishes at the time of his passing in 2012, the remaining Greeves inventory was acquired by Kenny and Kathy Sykes. Kathy is the daughter of Nick Nicholson. With the parts back under the Sykes/Nicholson roof, Kenny and Kathy knew from the get go that their goal was to continue the Greeves legacy.
In 2015, the doors of Nicholson Motors reopened in El Dorado Hills, California with Kenny Sykes at the helm! I know my father is so very proud.
~Kathy Nicholson Sykes
Nick Nicholson and Kenny Sykes
Lake Isabella, CA