The Big Car Database

Alligator Motorcycles

The Alligator is a feet forwards motorcycle built by Dan Gurney. 

Alligator Motorcycle Company which is the motorcycle division of the former driver/racing team owners All American Racers workshop in Santa Ana, California.

Although not the first of such design, it is unique for its unconventional low-slung seating position which allows for its low center of gravity.


Legendary racing driver and race car manufacturer Dan Gurney is the inventor of the ALLIGATOR motorcycle and the founder of Dan Gurney Alligator motorcycles Inc., a division of All American Racers. Dan came up with the idea of the Alligator motorcycle because, as someone quite tall, he felt the standard riding position on most bikes was simply too high and crouched forward.

He set about working on a riding position that was much lower ‘into’ the bike and this had the added benefit of lowering the center of gravity dramatically. This is a familiar concept in race cars but not something that has been explored greatly on motorcycles.

The Alligator project started out with one mechanic in a small back room at AAR but has blossomed tremendously. The passion for this concept has not wavered over the course of the last 30 years. A ‘limited edition’ production run was successfully carried out in 2002 with Dan’s iconic number 36 from his Formula 1 days being chosen as the magic number of Alligators that would be produced.

The bikes, with their signature blue and white paint scheme, have been extremely well received and a lucky few owners around the country are smiling on backroads enjoying their exclusive treasure.

The ALLIGATOR name, which has been trademarked, came about because of the bike’s long, low appearance. The name was also chosen to reflect the American aspect of the cycle.

The Alligator is a species of North America not found anywhere else in the world. While it is a primitive animal with a history stretching back to the dinosaurs, it can be fierce and quick, having adapted well to its environmental conditions through the ages.

In the modern day world of design by computer, committee and consensus, this machine is the product of one man’s idea in the tradition of the great motor men of the past like Porsche, Ferrari, Ford, Tucker, Bloor, Britten and Honda.

The Alligator project continues to this day with various prototypes constantly being updated and ridden on Southern California roads. Dan is as passionate as ever about the Alligator and continues to experiment with new chassis and engine configurations on a daily basis.

Famous for the slogan: "More Smiles Per Mile!"


The bike design traces itself back to the pioneering era when Gottlieb Daimler designed a similar prototype in 1886, since then the conventional seating position has been used on all bikes with the exception of the few bikes like the commercially successful Ner-a-car and unsuccessful Quasar.

The bike design was first instigated when Gurney took a 1976 Honda XL350 as a base to develop the first design evolution known as the A-1 (a.k.a. "Grandpa Gator") and was completed in 1980.

Named after the reptile of the same name, due to the bike’s long, low appearance and was chosen to reflect the North American nature of the species

After several years of R & D, with eighty nine different riders consisting of professional motorcycle and car racers, prominent bike enthusiasts, engineers, journalists and regular Sunday riders to help develop the bikes through test rides along with Gurney's busy schedule running a team, six different prototype configurations all have logged thousands of miles before Gurney and his team decided on a sixth evolution, the A-6 with full fairing to be launched in 2002 with an intention to build no more than 36 as it was the number that appeared on the Eagle-Weslake Formula One racer which won the 1967 Belgian Grand Prix. The bike is then made available to consumers for $35,000, considering its price, beside its rare nature of the bike with a carbon fiber body over a chromoly frame powered by a 70 horsepower (52 kW) single-cylinder 710 cc Honda which is capable of 140 mph (230 km/h) and 0-60 mph in 3.1 seconds.