The Formula One BMX craze was short-lived, but Dan was there among the pioneers of the sport with the Hutch bike he
designed and raced.
In 1970, Hanebrink made waves with his Box car that not only featured four-wheel independent steering but was also an amphibious vehicle.
“Those early Lee Iacocca
days with the bikes that
used lithium polymer
batteries weren’t too
good, because they
could catch ;re.”
up. That was how the rock group, The
Association, saw my early drawings of
the Box. Larry Ramos was the guitar
player and a real car freak who had
seen my prototype in Dune Buggies &
Hot VW magazine. The band was looking for an investment, and after a year
of negotiations, they gave us $200,000
to get the project going. The Box was
originally designed to be a VW kit car,
but once we got funding, I had new
ideas for so much more, so it ended up
with a composite body and four-wheel
independent steering that could be
converted into an amphibious car.
I remember we entered the car into
a hill-climb event at Saddleback Park,
and I set the fastest time in practice,
which had us all really excited. But in
the race, the hydraulic steering broke
and the car and I drove off a cliff. All the
guys in the band were there watching,
and I think they were more concerned
with their investment than they were
with me! We made eight cars, but we
also lost money on every car we sold
and eventually ran out of money, so we
dissolved the corporation where they
got the write-off and I got the design.
After that, AMF called and offered
to buy the design, but they said they
would control everything. I said no,
because I didn’t want to have to
answer to someone else when it came
to the design. That was probably the
stupidest mistake of my life, and I spent
the next 16 years practically starving.
Live and learn!
EBA: Was this when you ;nally
turned your attention to two wheels?
Dan: Besides racing them, I had
been designing and manufacturing
motorcycle parts all along. For years I
was into road racing, but then I started
racing motocross, which I liked a lot,
because I could ride
a bike and not worry
about building or sell-
ing any of the parts or
dealing with spoiled
customers on the start-
ing line. The other thing
I liked about motocross
was that it was a fit-
ness sport, and so to
help with my fitness, I
started riding bicycles.
In 1980 I made my first
mountain bike, and I’ve
never looked back.
EBA: What were the
design highlights that
Dan: I was behind
a lot of cool projects—
from the gravity bikes
and Formula One BMX
bikes to the SE Shocker
mountain bike. Without
a doubt, my biggest
deal was the Extreme
Terrain fat-tire mountain bike that I built
Pushing the limits of aero ef;ciency has
always been of keen interest to Dan.