grew in 1967 when it became the importer for Husqvarna
in the eastern half of the U.S.
Old-timers might think they know the Husky story well.
Edison Dye famously brought motocross to the U.S. in
order to sell the Swedish brand. But, Edison was more
promoter than distributer and was given only the western
half of the country as his territory. Penton brought more
of a nuts-and-bolts approach to the business of building a
dealer network. In the eastern half of the country, you only
had to sell the product, not the activity. Enduros and hare
scrambles already existed, and the Husky was a nearly
Part of the Penton way of thinking was that smaller was
better. The NSU that he had ridden in the late ’50s was a
175, which was downright microscopic compared to the
big BSAs and Harleys of the day. Even the BMW that he
rode in the ISDE in 1960 was only a 250. So, he started
pressing Husqvarna for something smaller and better
suited to East Coast riding. The Swedes said no. That was
when Penton motorcycles really began.
In 1967, John rode the International Six-Day Trials in
Poland on a Husqvarna, then arranged a meeting with
Erik Trunkenpolz of KTM. At the time, KTM manufactured
bicycles and small, Sachs-powered mopeds, but Erik was
interested in expanding KTM’s product range, as well as
At the height of his late-1950s insanity period, John Penton
broke the transcontinental speed record on a BMW R69.