When Jim Iacozili and his business partner at the time moved into their new location in 2003, they thought there was more than enough room. This assumption proved to be false as Yamaha of Warren quickly began outgrowing the new space after adding a Triumph franchise in 2013. Jim moved his office into the basement to free up more showroom floor, and their busy service department needed to use every inch it could get.
The basement was full of memorabilia Jim had saved from when the dealership first opened in March of 1976. Jim’s dad worked at a local bakery but after a few years of watching his son run flat track races with great success, he decided to take the plunge and open his own Yamaha dealership. Located in Northeast Ohio, Triumph-Yamaha of Warren sits along the Mahoning River, 14 miles northwest of Youngstown and about 15 miles west of the Pennsylvania border.
After camping out in the basement office for a while, Jim got the crazy idea to turn the storage area into a museum, which he affectionately calls “Motozilli.” It all started when he let some customers and friends store their bikes for free, but it soon moved to the next level, thanks in part to his friend, Parts Unlimited’s “Rocket” Rob Buydos: “About four months ago Jim agreed to let me invite all of my friends to store their bikes for free,” he jokes. “We thought we’d put together something from Northeast Ohio that motorcyclists could come and visit. This is a pretty rich motorcycle area, so I didn’t have to reach out to California or anywhere else, it was all here. And everyone that is in this room (for the grand opening) was a big part of getting this Motozilli museum off the ground.”
In attendance for the grand opening were retired racers who donated bikes, representatives from Yamaha and Triumph as well as loyal customers and family and friends. The theme of the night was reliving the glory days past and present. On display were some of Jim’s flat track bikes, Trevor Hines’ Freestyle Yamaha from the early 2000s and a ‘74 Yamaha DT360 with a very interesting history. Jerry Hrabosky owned the bike when he was 22 but sold it to help finance a dealership 30 years ago. The new owner kept it in his bedroom until recently when he decided to sell it back to Jerry. It was virtually untouched for 30 years!
“I just want to thank everyone for trusting us with the assets you’ve loaned for this project. I never imagined the amount of memorabilia we could collect over four months would be anything like this!” Iacozili concluded. He’s planning to put on a Lunch with a Legend event once a month starting in January.