Silver Street, Inc. was incorporated in June 1979. The company’s founders were brothers Bruce and Craig Hardy. It was named after the street on which Bruce Hardy lived at the time of incorporation.
Silver Street commenced manufacture of “Deadringer” Drum Mufflers in November 1979. Other products that followed were: Pick-Clip (the first pick holder, later copied by Dunlop), a line of drum cases and other combo accessories.
In 1981, after returning from the Music Messe in Frankfurt Germany, Bruce designed the Taxi guitar. It was a full scale guitar with a gig bag and shoulder strap that could easily be transported in a city taxi. In addition to the Taxi-design patent, founder Bruce Hardy was granted ten patents for various guitar and drum-related products.
US Patent Application Filed 1981
The Taxi had an innovative design and was the subject of a U.S. patent application that was filed in 1981 and granted in 1983. Five pre-production prototypes were built by legendary luthier Richard Schneider who was then a Kalamazoo resident and Gibson guitar consultant.
Subsequent Silver Street models included the Spitfire, Cobra and MX designed by Bruce Hardy and the ensuing Nightwing, Tommy Shaw and Elite. All models were offered in several configurations featuring various pickups, available custom paint and optional hardware.
The MSRPs for Silver Street guitars ranged from $449.00 for a single-pickup Taxi model to $889.00 for a basic Elite model. Actual retail or street prices are not known.
Production of solid-body guitars commenced in Elkhart, Indiana and was moved to Shelby, Michigan in 1983. Silver Street guitar production ended by 1986 and the company’s facilities were subsequently devoted to the manufacture of high-quality library furniture.
A Few Silver Street Guitar Facts
– The first guitar made for Tommy Shaw was a Taxi model in Pepto-Bismol Pink; it was created prior to the debut of the Tommy Shaw model.
– Notable artists who played the Taxi included Michael Stanley – The Michael Stanley Band, Chris Hayes – Huey Lewis and the News, Mike Reno – Loverboy, Paul Warren – Prism, Craig Chaquico – Jefferson Starship, Rick Springfield – he bought three and used one on a MTV video.
– Notable artists who played the Spitfire included Jonathan Cain of Journey, Chris Hayes of Huey Lewis and the News, Don Barnes of 38 Special and David Huff of David and the Giants.
– Notable artists who played the Cobra included Jack Charles – Quarterflash (he owned a Candy Apple Red and a White Pearl with tremolo), Jeff Carlisi – 38 Special and Henry Small – Prism (Seen on their Beat Street album cover, see photo below).
– Only one prototype Taxi bass was produced. It has a red finish.
– Only one left-handed Taxi was produced. It was made for Elliot Easton – The Cars. It has a white finish.
A founders photo – Bruce Hardy in the early days of Silver Street Inc.
(Additional information about Silver Street would be welcome and appreciated)
Sincere thanks to all of you who have submitted information. If you are a Silver Street owner, please contact us to say hello at Info@SilverStreetGuitars.com.
Henry Small – Prism