Sonny Barger

Sonny Barger aboard his 80-inch Harley stroker with high bars and long tailpipies, 1959. This bike design was considered pretty progressive for it’s time.

Ralph “Sonny” Barger, long considered the Godfather of the Hells Angels MC (having  started the original Oakland chapter) is definitely an original “one percenter” if there ever was one.  There’s a lot of very interesting history behind Sonny and the Hells Angels that I can’t post, so if you’re itching for more, check out his books.  Here’s a little collection of pics, along with some of Sonny’s personal accounts on his life and times, and the history of the club– and be sure to check out the vintage Hells Angels video at the end of the post.

From Sonny Barger’s autobiography–

“When I saw The Wild One, Lee Marvin instantly became my hero. Lee’s character, Chino, was my man. Marlon Brando as Johnny was the bully. His boys rode Triumphs and BSAs and wore uniforms. Lee’s attitude was ‘If you f*ck with me, I’ll hit you back.’ Lee and his boys were riding f*cked-up Harleys and Indians. I certainly saw more of Chino in me than Johnny. I still do.”

Sonny Barger of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.

Sonny Barger of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club.


hamc sonny barger




(Photo caption above) Ralph “Sonny” Barger, (C, front row), President of the Hell’s Angels Oakland chapter, announces at a press conference that the notorious California motorcycle gang would not stage a demonstration 11/20 against anti-Viet Nam marchers. Oct. 16th, during a VDC march through Berkeley, several of the club broke through police barricades and assaulted several demonstrators. Barger said his group was calling off its plans because the marchers “may provoke us to violence.” LTR: Top, Tiny Walters, (L), Ron Jacobson. Seated, Skip Workman, Barger, and Tom Thomas. Oakland, CA  –November 19, 1965.

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