Roy Richter

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For the pioneer in the Australian oil industry, see Roy Robert Richter.

Roy Richter was the founder of Bell Helmets in California in 1954 and he also founded Cragar Industries.[1][2][3] He began his life after graduating high school by going to work at Bell Auto Parts store in California in the suburb of Los Angeles called Bell. At that time he took an interest in auto racing in 1933. For a short time he was a professional auto racer, but came to realize his talents were more of building race cars and racing products than racing them. His cars in numerous racing divisions won hundreds of races, setting many track records and taking many victorious championships. In 1945 he sold his car and spent all he had to buy Bell Auto Parts for 1000 dollars. His auto parts store was said to be the county's first speed shop. And he is also known for bringing to market the Cragar custom stainless steel wheel.[4] In 1946, after the death of the second close friend by a racing accident, he devoted more of his life to creating safer racing products. In 1949 with the start of the Bonneville National Speed Trials he was there selling spare parts and also provided shade for contestants; he did this for 30 years. In 1954, in a garage behind his auto parts store, he began manufacturing his first helmets called the '500'. There went on to be numerous racers to wear his helmets, and many state after crashes that his helmet saved them from serious injury. Even Evil Knievel stated his Bell helmet help in saving his life after his Caesars Palace crash. His Bell Helmet company would go on to provide helmets to over 800 police departments for motorcycle officers and also the official provider to the US Ski Team. In 1967 he helped in forming (SEMA), the automotive aftermarket trade group. He is credited with producing the first full-face motorcycle helmet in 1968, the Star, and in 1971 the first full-face off-road motorcycle helmet. He was inducted into the Speed Equipment Manufacturers Association (SEMA) Hall of Fame in 1975. His company was credited with producing the first effective bicycle helmet in 1978, the Bell Biker. In 1980 he retired at the age of 63. Richter died on July 28, 1983, after his second heart bypass surgery from complications at the age of 66.


  1. ^ "Bell Helmets - Bell Timeline". Bell. Archived from the original on 2009-12-28. Retrieved April 18, 2016. 
  2. ^ "History & Facts". Bell Helmets. Retrieved April 18, 2016. 
  3. ^ "Hot Rods & Cool Customs". Die Cast X. 2005. Retrieved April 20, 2016. 
  4. ^ Berger, Michael (2001). "The Automobile in American History and Culture: A Reference Guide". Greenwood Pres. Retrieved April 20, 2016.