By the mid-‘70s after years of AMF mismanagement, Harley-Davidson had lost almost all customer loyalty and profits were in freefall. When a group of company executives led by Vaughn Beals offered to buy the division for $75 million, AMF quickly agreed.
After the 1981 leveraged buyout, Beals led an amazing corporate turnaround. He funded new product development and implemented world-class quality control. It’s impossible to know what would have happened to the H-D brand if Beals had not risen up to save it, but it’s certain that no one else could have done a better job at rehabilitating it.