Craig Vetter, Inventor and Designer

By Staff
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Craig Vetter

An inventor and designer. Having been influenced by Buckminster Fuller in the 1960s, whose message was to “Do more with less,” the common thread of Vetter’s work became to “Live better on less energy.”

In an era when motorcycles got 40 mpg and cars got 12 mpg, Vetter invented, designed and manufactured equipment that made riding motorcycles more enjoyable. His timing was good. A whole generation rode with him.

Vetter’s Windjammer became the most popular motorcycle fairing ever made. Today, every motorcycle manufacturer produces a model with the motorcycle touring components Vetter invented. In the 1980s, Vetter hosted the Craig Vetter Fuel Economy Contests in which, over 6 years, winning mileage went from 78 mpg to 470 mpg.

By the time he sold his company, Vetter Corporation was second largest motorcycle-oriented manufacturing company in the United States. Only Harley-Davidson was bigger.

In 1998, Vetter’s design for the British Triumph Hurricane was selected to be in the Guggenheim “Art of the Motorcycle”  exhibit which toured the world. Vetter’s work has earned him a place in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Vetter’s interests are not limited to motorcycles. He invented a sun-powered “Still Water Aerator” for Alcoa to help to keep ponds from dying. He built windmills that compressed air for his factory. He owned California Cooperage, a hot tub company where he designed unique, insulated tub covers and clever wood fired heaters. For another company he founded, Equalizer Corp, his innovative human powered design won the Boston Marathon wheelchair class in 1982.

Vetter continues to develop ways to live better on less energy in his homestead studio near the ocean in Carmel, California. His current “Freedom Machine” is being designed to get 100 mpg at 70 mph, into a 30 mph headwind, carrying 4 bags of groceries and be the most comfortable vehicle in the garage. Like all Vetter inventions, there is nothing like it.

Looking ahead, Vetter is planning for a world without electricity in the lines or gas at the pumps. How will we survive if such a situation comes about?

Vetter invites interaction as he discusses solutions on his blog for MOTHER EARTH NEWS. He intends to offer plans and kits for solutions that MEN readers will find useful.

Consider the proposals in his blog’s first post, The Dream of Independence, Freedom, Personal Responsibility and Self-Sufficiency. This man does not see things the way most of us do. Is he right or is he wrong? One thing for sure: Craig Vetter has a remarkable record of success.

At any time, you can see his work at

Read Craig Vetter’s blog.

Photos courtesy of Craig Vetter