History, History of Kawasaki, AKMC
Kawasaki, Opal Krause, Karene Krause, Paul Collins
on the word links
below to see related pictures.
This bio is a bit
slanted towards the events I found most interesting,
and I do not know
all the stories or facts, so your
comments are welcome.
Darrel was born to William & Verna Krause, a South Dakota farm
family in 1938.
This was no ordinary
farm family, however. The Krause farm was featured
(with photos) in
newspapers more than once for some 'futuristic' improvements
and inventions the
family had added to their small farm & residence.
William Sr. later
switched to home building (now 'Krause Construction' in FL)
and built a large
number of homes and apartments in eastern South Dakota,
After a brief
stint in the army reserves, Darrel married
classmate Opal and they
started a Photography
studio in Redfield, SD. Later, while managing the
park concessions of
Pactola Lake (in the Black Hills) Darrel attended the
South Dakota School
of Mines & Technology with his brother Bill Krause Jr.
Majoring in Mechanical Engineering.
partnered in the first Kawasaki/Suzuki dealership in Omaha, but was
soon hired directly
by the fledgling 'American Kawasaki motors Corp.' as one of
their very first
corporate employees in the states. One of the earliest things
for them was to
commission a US marketing plan
for Kawasaki (Their first? 1966).
some of their early 250cc models to Bonneville the next year and set
2 AMA world
speed records himself that year in 1967. I believe these were
Kawasaki's first US
motorcycle records set as an official company effort?.
Darrel also oversaw
some of Kawasaki's earliest racing teams in the US.
administered stateside testing of the first 500cc
H1 60 hp two-stroke triple.
The test rider was
Tony Nircosa, mid-way in his career to becoming a legend in racing.
(1968), it was the 'World's Fastest' production motorcycle of the time.
The success of the H1
encouraged an entire line of 'triples' that, along with the
1972 903cc Z1, firmly
established Kawasaki in the American marketplace to stay.
start their US Engine Division in Minnesota, which supplied nearly all
of the engines
for major snowmobile manufacturer 'Arctic Cat' for several years,
and served as an
R&D facility to develop other applications for ATVs, generators,
outboards, and even a
low-cost snowmobile-engined race car
actually keep up with
conventional V8-powered cars on short oval tracks.
Most of these
projects were executed by race car builder Harvey
He also started
the Accessory' Division in California,
which produced impressive
Kawasaki in just it's first couple years. During this
time Darrel had a
part in introducing the first
use of Microfiche machines in the parts departments
This may have
been their first use in the industry.
division played a role in the development of the original Jet
which was the
first mass-produced craft of it's kind. It sparked the huge
Craft' industry as we know it today.
He was at the
time, one of only a couple of westerners trusted to be
on the otherwise
all-Japanese board of directors of American Kawasaki.
This trust was earned
even before he was employed by them, when Darrel
sacrificed his own
early business prospects with the Omaha dealership
to prevent Kawasaki
from being defrauded by his partner's intentions.
As an engineeing
major and proving to them to be business-minded, someone
at Kawasaki offered
him a job. In this fashion, Darrel became one of the first few
Americans hired by
American Kawasaki Motors Corp. to help build their presence
in the US,
particularly in the west and midwest.
At this early point
in AKMC's history, Darrel often delt with a Sales Consultant
named Paul Collins.
Mr Collins hired several racing celebrities to create the earliest
magazine ads for
Kawasaki in the US. Paul even used his own pretty little girl Cathleen
in Kawasaki's ads.
Paul also worked on marketing projects for Hobbie (Hobbie Cat).
Cathleen went on to build a sucessful modeling and acting career
using the stage name
'Bo'. Here is
the official bio of Model & Actress Bo Derek
One photo at the
bottom of the page shows her with an early Kawaski import.
serveral years of criss-crossing the Pacific to the far east & back
on behalf of AKMC,
Darrel decided to leave Kawasaki in 1974 to spend more time
with his wife Opal
and their children Karene & Jeff.
many enterprises ranging from commercial importing, 2 retail leather
stores in Laguna
Beach, CA with Opal as manager/owner (including LOVE
co-owned/managed AJA Enterprises (started by Harvey
Kawasaki days) Harvey
designed and hand-built built the above Kawasaki
Darrel was an avid
sailor; starting with day-sailers in Minnesota. He brought
his passion for it
with him to California where his family, friends and his
several trips with him and Opal as hosts to Catalina Island.
They lived aboard
their Transpac 49' custom ketch 'Encore' from 1978~1985.
Once on shore
again in Santa Maria (1986), Darrel dabbled as home loan agent
just to 'pay the
bills' while working on a product venture,
but that quickly snowballed
into becoming manager
of a startup office for American Residential Mortgage Corp.
Morgan). Chase/JP Morgan has hundreds of mortgage offices, but
true to Darrel's
talents his little Santa Maria office soon won many national awards.
He was a very
loved member and elder at 'Lutheran Church of Our Savior'
In Santa Maria, CA.
Darrel constructed and hosted their first web site as well.
sought recognition for the things he has accomplished.
It was fun seeing how
people would discover and begin to admire Darrel for
kindness and service, without ever knowing his past credits.
way I can describe Darrel was that he willingly served
as both an 'anchor'
and 'compass' for so many, many people.
Darrel will be very
dearly missed, but always remembered.
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Last updated Jan 3rd, 2009