Ed Youngblood’s Motohistory News Current

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Zündapp 50 Racer

Motohistory Quiz #66

(4/30/2009)

Okay, here we go with another Motohistory Quiz. Be the first to name this rare engine and its nation of origin, and you will become our newest Motohistory Know-It-All, confirmed through your own personalized diploma. Your friends will shiver with envy.

So rush to your keyboard and send your answer to Ed@Motohistory.net .

The mechanical, mythological

Mind of Don Bradley

(4/30/2009)

There is no doubt that quality graphics contribute to the prestige of a corporation or a special event. A logo, an image, a mascot that captures the imagination and speaks of creativity and style certainly infers those qualities on the entity it advertises. Take for example the Riding Into History Concours d’Elegance, an event at the World Golf Village in St. Augustine.

Florida. begun in 2001 that has quickly become arguably the most prestigious motorcycle concours in the eastern United States. Yes, it’s in a classy setting, and it is done by people who pay great attention to detail, but there is no doubt that its reputation has been incalculably enhanced by the work of graphic artist Don Bradley (pictured above), whose promotional beautiful poster art is like nothing seen before at a gathering for cars or motorcycles.

Don Bradley, born in 1939, grew up in Winter Garden, Florida. His father died of cancer when he was just four, so he was raised only by his mother. He recalls, “We were poor. My mother had to work, so I spent a lot of time alone, but she always had plenty of papers, pencils, and paint for me to entertain myself with.” Bradley adds, “I drew for hours on end, and it became a way for me to bring my fantasy world into reality.” However, as a teenager, Bradley discovered motorcycles, which pushed his art aside. “I always liked mechanical things,” he explains, “and at about 14 I abandoned the drawing board and really got into motorcycles. I loved riding and wrenching, and I did a little racing, mostly with BSA Gold Stars.”

After high school, Bradley went to college and returned to his art. He landed a job as an illustrator and went on to become an art director. When that company went out of business seven years later, he went to RCA where he became a technical illustrator.

He kept his hand in his creative work by freelancing, but by 1980 he was burned out on drawing. He found a ragged old 1952 Vincent Black Shadow, and he was bitten again by the motorcycle bug. He recalls, “I immersed myself in motorcycles.

I worked as a salesman and then the sales manager at a thriving Honda dealership, and when a competing Honda dealership came up for sale, I bought it.” In the late 1980s, Bradley sold the business to turn his attention to motorcycle restoration, and again to his art. He explains, “Restoration combined my two loves. I feel like creating a painting and restoring an old motorcycles are both works of art. They are just different media.”

A whole new period in Bradley’s work opened up when he did some motorcycle t-shirt art for his grandchildren. People reacted positively to the t-shirt, so he began to design others. His designs featured an accurately rendered vintage motorcycle with a cartoon creature onboard—a star on a Gold Star, a tiger on a Triumph, a shadow-like cloud aboard a Vincent, a Manx cat on a Norton Manx—and they had a touch of the crazed quality of Ed Roth’s hot rod art of the 1960s, except they were far more refined and impeccably executed.

But the t-shirt art evolved from cartoon fantasy into a strange and otherworldly mythology featuring strikingly beautiful women aboard motorcycles. The change came with a wild Vincent-riding woman (pictured below), originally created as t-shirt art, that took on a whole new significance when it was used as the promotional graphic for the Riding Into History Concours in 2004.

With a positive response to the Vincent woman poster, Bradley launched a new series that brought together the fastidious attention to detail that was required as a technical illustrator at RCA with the otherworldly mythical creatures living in his artist’s mind. With is originals executed in one-quarter scale in acrylic on illustration board, Bradley reports that he typically spends six months on a single work.

He explains, “I research and study the motorcycle in great detail; its design, its history, and its cultural significance. On the original painting you can see every nut, the threads on bolt, even cotter pins.” But the women who ride these machines are anything but realistic. They are lithe, elegant, elongated, vigorous, curvaceous, openly sexual, and often intimidating. They are Valkyrie, banshees, temptresses, and sometimes demonic.

They are women to die for; women to die from. The result is a shocking contrast between the near-perfect photo realism of the motorcycles and the creatures who ride them.

“The Seven” (pictured above) features a mid-1960s Honda RC174 six-cylinder grand prix machine. Bradley has taken the liberty of removing the fairing so that he can reveal the detail of the engine and chassis. The story in the painting is based on Japanese mythology and literature, featuring the goddess Benten (or Benzai), the only female among the Japanese seven deities.

In mythology, Benten selflessly married a dragon in order to protect the Japanese people. Bradley’s wild Benten, her nudity only slightly hidden by bit of Samurai armor, has mounted her RC174 to do battle with the dragon, raising her sword in battle. This work was adopted by the Riding Into History Coucours as its 2006 design.

“Time Tangle” (pictured above) depicts a 1947 Moto Guzzi Bicilindrica 500cc racer. The curvaceous woman riding the machine is leaping fearlessly into space as the cobblestones of the real world crumble away under her wheels. She is entangled in a ribbon-like time line that has on it names of great grand prix champions. “Time Tangle” appeared as poster art for the 2007 Riding Into History Concours.

“The Light Brigade” (pictured left) honors the memory of the British 13 th Dragoons whose charge of October 25, 1854 at Balaklava during the Crimean War was made famous by the poet Alfred Lord Tennyson. In this case, the charge is aboard a 1957 Triumph TR6 Trophy Bird which is rendered in blue and ivory (the original was orange and ivory) to match the blue of the uniform of the 13 th Dragoons.

The militaristic woman aboard the machine is wearing such a uniform in fantasy styling to fit her lithe body. Below her are the smoldering remains of war.

“Katrina” (pictured right) places a 1916 overhead-cam Cyclone racer before the devastating horrors of nature. Swirling behind the nearly naked woman aboard the motorcycle is the violent vortex of a hurricane, devolving into a black hole. The rear wheel of the Cyclone shatters the surface of a board track as the machine leaps into space. “Katrina” became the poster art for the 2008 Concours.

Drawing from the well-know verse from the Book of Revelation, “Behold a Pale Horse” [ And I looked, and behold a pale horse, and his name that sat on him was Death, and hell followed ] (pictured here) may be Bradley’s darkest work yet. Death, as a woman, is astride a 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead on rocky terrain. Skulls hang from her tunic and beside her is a road marker pointing to the River Styx, which souls must cross to enter the underworld.

“Blue Angel” (pictured right) features a beautiful woman reminiscent of Marlene Dietrich, the German actress who gained international fame through her performance in the 1930 motion picture “Blue Angel.” She is astride a 1929 BMW R11, wearing only a head scarf, white gloves, white panties, and white silk stockings. A sign pointing toward “Luft Rennen” indicates she is on the way to the air races, reminding us that BMW was once a leading aircraft engine manufacturer.

Above her in the sky are bird-like fantasy air racers. There are BMW and NSU logos on the wings of two of the aircraft. “Blue Angel” was featured at the 2005 Riding Into History Concours.

This year’s signature art for the 2009 Riding Into History gathering is “E. Pluribus Unum,” (pictured above) inspired by the Great Seal of the United States that can be found on the obverse side of an American dollar bill. The motorcycle is a 1937 Knucklehead and its woman rider is costumed in the various components of the Seal.

Her cape is like the wings of an eagle, her shield features the thirteen stars and bars, and in her fist are the thirteen arrows emblematic of the original thirteen colonies.

Bradley has also created original art for the Cycle World Rolling Concours, and his work has appeared in major galleries, including the Norton Gallery in West Palm Beach. Florida. He counts among his influences the Russian artist Romain de Tirtoff who worked under the name Erte, the American magazine illustrator J.C. Leyendecker, and the Brandywine school of painters.

Giclee prints of Bradley’s motorcycle posters are have been produced in limited editons of 100, and are available for $475 each, except “Black Lightning” and “Pale Horse” which are available for $375 and $275, respectively. His signed caricatures on 12×17-inch heavy stock are available for $50 each. For more information about Don Bradley’s art, click here. To compare images by Erte, click here.

To compare imagers by Leyendecker, click here. To read about the Brandywine Painters, click here .

Editor’s Note: Don Bradley has appeared before at Motohistory in regard to his motorcycle restoration work. For over two years, Bradley and his friends restored a pair of BSA’s in celebration of the 50 th anniversary of BSA’s remarkable five-place sweep of the Daytona 200 in 1954.

Pictured here are Myles Raymond (left), Bradley, and Nick Simpson (right) with the motorcycles, which were featured in an exhibit at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in 2004, and have since been exhibited internationally. To read more about the exhibit, go to Motohistory News Views 4/28/2004 and 5/21/2004. To read about the BSA restoration project in which Bradley was involved, click here .

Rolf Witthoeft,

winner in all saddles

By Leo Keller and Harry LaClair

(4/29/2009)

In the late 1960s and ‘70s, Germany was one of the leading nations in what we now call “Enduro sports.” Who among enduro enthusiasts does not remember BMW, Hercules, Maico, or even Zuendapp? Herbert Schek, the tall guy from the Allgaeu Hills, is legendary as an off-road competitor (see motohistory 2/2008), but there were more than a dozen German world class riders contemporary with Schek.

One of the most successful was Rolf Witthoeft, who was one of the title heroes of Robert Poensgen’s book “Sieger in allen Saetteln” (Winner in All Saddles). Born 1944, Witthoeft started racing in 1962. With a beginner’s license, he entered his first enduro on a 50cc Kreidler.

He also competed on this machine in trials, motocross, and on grass tracks. With a laugh, he recalls his first sponsor: Kreidler gave him a heavy duty front fork and a modified seat for his 50cc “Mustang.”

In 1964, Witthoeft swapped his little Kreidler for a 100cc Hercules (pictured here in 1967). His dizzying success on this machine led Hercules Team Director Alfred Winkler to offer Witthoeft a factory ride by mid-season. The end of his first full year as a factory rider found Witthoeft in second place behind Zuendapp factory star Lorenz Specht. A year later, Witthoeft won his very first ISDT Gold Medal at the Isle of Man.

By 1967, he was racking up notable victories. These included the German 100cc Enduro Championship, the OMK Trials Medal, and his second ISDT Gold medal at Zakopane, Poland as a member of the West German Trophy Team.

Unexpectedly and quite suddenly, at the end of 1967 Hercules pulled all support from its factory enduro team, despite all that Witthoefts had achieved. Witthoeft remembers that he immediately asked the Austrian Puch company if they wanted him ride for Puch, then he hopped into his car and drove to Graz to pick up one of the newly developed 125cc machines. However, upon arrival he learned there was no motorcycle for him because the factory enduro bikes were not yet finished.

Rather, they gave him a Puch that had been used for display purposes. Still, out of the gate Witthoeft (pictured above on the Puch) was unstoppable on the new bike. In addition to winning the German National Enduro Championship titles in 1968 and 1969, Witthoeft also won the newly-created European Enduro Championship titles both years. At the Garmisch-Partenkirchen ISDT, he was a member of the victorious German Silver Vase Team, garnering yet another Gold Medal.

Few were surprised when Zuendapp showed interest in the fast guy from Schleswig Holstein and offered him a factory contract in 1970.

From 1970 through 1976, Witthoeft and his Zuendapp remained a nearly unbeatable combination. He earned five German National Enduro Championships, five European Enduro Championships, six ISDT Gold medals, and became the overall winner of the 1973 U.S. ISDT in Dalton Massachusetts (Pictured above at the ISDT in Czechoslovakia, 1972).

He was also a member of the German Trophy Team in 1975 and 1976, the last year that a West German team won the Trophy. He is also legendary for other racing achievements. For example, at the Fisherman’s Harbor road race in Bremerhaven, Witthoeft took his factory Zuendapp motocrosser and installed street tires.

Racing on the cobblestones of the old city harbor streets (Pictured below), the other riders on Maico, Yamaha, and Morbidelli were left clueless as to how to compete against Witthoeft as he w ent wide open, crossed-up, and drifting through the corners, riding enduro style on the streets. It was as if he single-handedly invented Supermotard that day.

At the end of the 1976 racing season, Witthoeft announced his retirement. His rapidly growing motorcycle business (he owns a Kawasaki dealership still today) left him little time for competition. However, after 15 years of competing nearly every weekend, retirement proved an uneasy fate. When, in 1978, a “750cc and greater” class was created, the Kawasaki dealer heard his named whispered on the wind, and he got to work.

Witthoeft took a twin-cylinder KZ750 and built an awesome enduro machine (pictured right on which he promptly won the championship against the BMW armada in the aptly named “Bull Rider Class.” BMW was not about to take this defeat lightly, so they promptly hired Witthoeft away from himself, making him a factory BMW rider (pictured below). Witthoeft considers winning the 1980 European Championship title and winning the Vase at the 1980 ISDT in Brioude. France to be the crowning achievements of his career.

In the 1980s, BMW began to refocus its attention away from national enduro championship and toward the Paris-Dakar Rally. Sensing the shift, Witthoeft got back to work in his workshop and created another twin cylinder enduro racer. This time a 510cc using a KLX250 chassis and an enlarged KZ440 engine became the special machine (Pictured below) on which he campaigned the European Enduro circuit.

By this time—approaching the age of 40—he said he was riding “just for fun,” but this did not stop him from always being extraordinarily successful. And it was on this very machine that in 2000 he re-emerged after many years of retirement to compete in a Classic Enduro in Germany, making it clear to all present that for him winning an enduro was just like riding a bicycle. You just don’t forget how, nor had he forgotten how to climb the steps of the winner’s podium to collect his trophy.

In 2007, Rolf Witthoeft announced his retirement from the vintage competition at the end of the year, stating that the Schimmeldewog Enduro would be his last ride. “I’ve been lucky to have avoided serious injury, and don’t want to press my luck,” stated the nine-time German, eight-time European, and two-time (each) ISDT Trophy and Vase winner. “Although I’m pretty sure you’ll see me at one or another enduro, or maybe on the trail, sometime,” added the Champ in parting. Indeed, in 2008 did not see Witthoeft riding vintage competitions, but when Motohistory called him some weeks ago he told us that he wants to visit one or two events this year.

He laughs, “No, I will not take a bike with me. I will come as a spectator.” Of course, we will be at all surprised if he changes his mind at the last minute, bring a bike to ride—just for fun, of course!

To reach Rolf Witthoeft’s web site, click here .

Photos, top to bottom:

Rolf Witthoeft, 1967.

On the 100cc Hercules in 1967.

At the ISDT in Czechoslovakia, 1972.

All photos provided by Leo Keller.

What’s in a Name?

By David Wright

(4/27/2009)

More than 50 years after production ceased, the Vincent motorcycle is held in high regard throughout the world of classic motorcycling. How strange then for a name that has achieved such iconic status, that for most of its 27-year production run—from 1928 to 1955—it was badged as Vincent HRD and actually written and spoken about as just HRD by the press, factory employees, machine owners, and motorcyclists at large.

The tank badge illustrated here shows one obvious reason why that was so, for the HRD name dominates and Vincent comes very much second best. But how did this arise, for most people know that the Vincent HRD Company Limited was established by Philip Vincent, and as a confident, young 20 year-old he could surely have been expected to have his name upfront.

At this point, we should offer a reminder as to what HRD stands for and how it came to be incorporated into the name of Philip Vincent’s new company. Howard Raymond Davies was a man with a successful competition career that included second place in the Isle of Man Senior TT of 1914 on a Sunbeam, and victory in the Senior TT of 1921 on an AJS. He also worked in the motorcycle trade for the likes of AMAC carburettors and Hutchinson Tyres in the early 1920s, before deciding to go into business as a motorcycle manufacturer in 1924, giving the machines he produced the initials HRD.

By the time of the 1925 TT races, HRD Motors Limited had been in production for less than a year, but few were surprised when the company submitted entries for the world-famous event. However, everyone was truly stunned by the successes achieved, for Howard Davies took second place on one of his 350cc bikes in the Junior TT and then rode to victory on a 500 in the Senior at record-breaking speed, vanquishing the race machines of almost 20 other manufacturers along the way.

It was a superb performance, and one that may just have received a boost at his mid-race pit stop, for a report on the race said, “he had a hurried drink of champagne and went off again feeling quite refreshed.” Ah, those were the days! Above is the Howard Davies 90 Model. Even today its lines are attractive.

Howard Davies’ TT victory in 1925 should have provided the foundation for business success, but though demand increased, larger premises were taken, and another TT victory came in the 1927 Junior with Freddie Dixon riding, that was not enough, because Davies’ motorcycles were priced at the top end of the market. The economic climate was poor, and HRD Motors Ltd. went into voluntary liquidation at the end of 1927.

It was against this background of a failed business by a widely known TT winner and respected member of the motorcycle trade that a young, unknown and inexperienced Philip Vincent took his first steps on the road to becoming a motorcycle manufacturer, by purchasing the name of HRD for £400 (some say £500) in the Spring of 1928. That acquisition is partly explained by the fact that Vincent was an admirer of Howard Davies and his products, for in later writings he tells how “Howard Davies was the idol of my teenage years” for his competition successes, and how the models launched by Howard Davies towards the end of 1924 “seemed so right and correct.” He also revealed that the title Vincent HRD was adopted for his new company “in the hope that Howard Davies famous monogram would overcome motorcyclists’ natural reluctance to buy an untried new model;” by which he meant the one that he would be offering them!

Given his admiration for the designs of HRD Motors, one might expect Philip Vincent’s first motorcycles to have borrowed some features of Howard Davies’ fine-looking machines, but that was not the case. Indeed, whereas the original HRDs benefited from the input of established designer E.J. Massey, the new Vincent HRDs were very much a do-it-yourself design job. And they looked it; the magazine The Motor Cycle describing them as “hardly pretty.”

The new Vincent HRD company tried to maximise the benefits of its links to HRD by advertising the original company’s TT successes of 1925 and 1927 as though they were its own, and even claiming after it had been in production for a few years: “The reputation for speed and reliability already established, we have cut the great expense of continuous racing and trials and the saving effected is reflected in the improved specifications and improved prices in our 1933 models.” It was actually Howard Davies’ great expense and racing efforts that were being referred to!

Vincent HRD’s output was so low in its first few years that there was no opportunity for it to go racing, and Philip Vincent had put an end to any thoughts that he might personally go racing when he accepted his father’s money to found the firm, for as he put it, “my parents would only agree to form the company for me in return for a faithful promise that I would never indulge in motorcycle racing.” But, for all that, one sure-fire way for a company to obtain world-wide publicity at the time was by racing, in particular at the Isle of Man Tourist Trophy races. Founder of the Vintage Motor Cycle Club, Titch Allen, explained in later years how important the TT races were to manufacturers of the early days with: “The TT dangled handsome rewards in front of the many enthusiastic manufacturers struggling to make a name for themselves in what was an overcrowded industry.

The TT was the only really effective shop window for sports machines, for there were then no palatial dealers’ showrooms, and advertising and publicity was in its infancy as an art. The customer with sporting instincts took his cue from TT entries and TT results, and consequently it was almost obligatory to have a go at the TT if you manufactured sports machines.

It was undeniable, too, that the TT was the best testing and development ground in the world.” Philip Vincent realised this, as did his Chief Engineer Phil Irving, and the Vincent HRD Company Limited made its first Isle of Man TT entry in 1934. While its performance was nothing to shout about, it did get the firm noticed and, allied to an improvement in the economic climate, Vincent HRD sales took off in the mid-1930s.

We opened by telling how for most of the production run of what we now call Vincent motorcycles, they were actually known as HRDs. But then, in an attempt to boost sales, Philip Vincent visited the United States in the Spring of 1949 on a promotional tour. While there he realised that many Americans did not distinguish between the customarily abbreviated form of the Harley-Davidson name—HD—and the logo of his company that so prominently featured the initials HRD.

So upon his return to Britain a new logo was devised that saw his motorcycles badged just Vincent, a mere 21 years after the start of production.

Editor’s Note: To learn more about Vincent—the man and the brand—refer to our Motohistory Tribute to Philip Vincent to which author David Wright was a contributor. Click here .

Don Emde named

VMD Grand Marshal

The American Motorcyclist Association has announced that 1972 Daytona 200 winner Don Emde has been named Grand Marshal for AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2009, which will take place July. Emde’s selection ties in with the fact that BSA has been chosen this year’s commemorative marque. Emde began his professional racing career aboard a BSA, winning two Amateur-class national championships to earn a national number and a BSA factory ride in 1971.

That year Emde was among the top three road racers in the nation, surpassed in points only by Dick Mann and Kel Carruthers. In accepting the appointment, Emde said, I consider it a real honor to be asked to be the AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days Grand Marshal. There’s so much of motorcycling represented at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, from the road-race course to the swap meet to the motocross track to the half-mile at the fair grounds in Ashland .” Emde, pictured her with his restored BSA dirt tracker, was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. To read his Hall of Fame bio, click here .

Spring 2009 IJMS

(4/25/2009)

The Spring issue of the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies has just been posted. James J. Ward takes us to the 1950s where he traces the origin of a rare batch of AJS 10Rs, which were Matchless G45s rebranded for sale in Venezuela.

This issue’s Roundtable offers fascinating new takes on the classic biker flick, “The Wild One.” Other essays in this issue trace the more recent history of motorcycle rights: Gary L. Kieffner highlights police bias against motorcyclists in the American Southwest and Midwest, while Darilynn McClure offers a tale of involvement in the rights movement. IJMS is the only on-line peer reviewed scholarly journal about motorcycling. To check it out, click here .

(10/23/2009)

Cliff Steimle, President of the non-profit Historic Highway 80 of California, is looking for articles, information, and photos about motorcycle use of this famous “sea to sea” highway. Steimle writes, “I know that in the early teens, Ed Fletcher, a pioneer San Diego businessman, sponsored a contest to see which would be the quickest route to the Coast from Phoenix. to L.A. or to San Diego. I would like to know if Cannonball Baker or any other motorcyclists took part in that race.

We have a number of old photos with cars crossing the old plank road through the sand dunes, but nothing with motorcycles. I do have a number of old Motorcyclist magazines from the ’30s ’40s, but not a full collection. Any help Motohistory readers can offer will be greatly appreciated. For more information about Historic Highway 80, click here.

If you have information, write to Cliff at cliff.s1978@hotmail.com.

Wheels Through Time Museum

sets land speed records

(4/22/2009)

At the season’s first speed trials sanctioned by the East Coast timing Association, the Wheels Through Time Museum team captured five new land speed records, all aboard motorcycles more than 60 years old. The oldest—a 1930 Harley-Davidson 750cc Model D, was determined to be the oldest machine ever run at an ECTA event. Museum curator Dale Walksler rode the motorcycle to a speed of 90.307 mph, breaking the prior record for the class by over five miles per hour.

Other weekend achievements by the Wheels Through Time team include four more class records. John Swanson, of Brethren, MI set the Modified Vintage Production 1000c.c. Gas class record on a 1948 Harley-Davidson WR with a speed of 78.783 mph.

Mark Hutchinson, from Ft. Wayne, Indiana also recorded successful results in various classes with his 1941 Harley-Davidson ULH. Hutchinson set two records in the Modified Vintage Production 1350c.c.

Gas class and later entered the Production/Vintage Production 1350c.c. class and recorded a top speed and new record of 95.176 mph. For more information about the Wheels Through Time Museum, click here.

J. Wood announces

monster auction

What has been described as the largest auction since the sale of Flint Indian Sales in 1991 will take place in Columbia. Tennessee on June 25. The sale will include over 385 antique and classic motorcycles and scooters, caches of parts, and antique Ford automobiles, all at no reserve.

Auctioneer Jerry Wood states, “The owner of this collection filled the building, then built mezzanines and filled those, and then he tied motorcycles from the roof trusses—on everyone one of them all the way across! And it will all go in one day to the highest bidders.” Inspection day for buyers will be June 24. The event is produced in cooperation with Bator International. For more information, click here .

(4/19/2009)

In an interesting story pinned by Alan Cathcart, Cycle News reported recently that Sammy Miller has been made a Member of the Order of the British Empire by Her Majesty the Queen of England. Miller’s racing career spanned six decades which included in the top tier of Grand Prix road racers, though he later became popularly known for his world-class skill in observed trials.

He won more than 1,300 trials events, was British Trials Champion 11 times, and twice won the European Trials Championship, which was the sport’s highest achievement in the days before the Trials World Championship was created by the FIM. He also earned nine gold medals at the International Six Days’ Trial.

Since retiring from active competition, Miller became founder and curator of the Sammy Miller Museum located in New Milton near Southhampton, where more than 400 historic bikes are on display. Two of the rarest, pictured here with Miller, are his 1939 supercharged AJS V4 and his 1949 AJS E90 Porcupine. To tour the Sammy Miller Motorcycle Museum on-line, click here. To see a video of Sammy Miller at the Bultaco 50th Anniversary celebration in Spain, click here .

(4/17/2009)

As reported previously at Motohistory, May 8 and 9 will bring motorcycles to the Quail Creek Lodge on California ‘s Monterey Peninsula. For more information about the Quail Creek Motorcycle Gathering . including the Bonhams Butterfields auction, click here. Designer and Motorcycle Hall of Famer Craig Vetter has been chosen to select the motorcycle best depicting leading technology for presentation of The Innovation Award .

Vetter equipped machines are invited to be on display. If you have a nice example, please contact Craig direct at craig@craigvetter.com.

Scotty Brown brought to our attention a web site with great pictures of historical speedway bikes and riders . Click here .

You will find some great photohistory on the 13 Rebels MC web site. Click here and go to “pictures.” To acquire copies of the pictures seen on this site, E-mail Van Maldonado at vhands1@verizon.net .

The 18th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show, presented by the Heart of America Motorcycle Enthusiasts . will take place at the Kansas Airline History Museum on June 7. To get more info from their really cool web site, click here .

This year’s International Six Days’ Trial Reunion Ride will be held October 2 and 3 in the hills of southeastern Ohio, hosted by the Enduro Riders Motorcycle Club. For more information, click here .

Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer

Remember the GL1000, when Gold Wings were big but not nearly so big as they are now? For information about the Naked Gold Wings High Plains Gypsy Run . to be held August 12 through 14 in Deadwood, South Dakota. click here .

The Wheels Through Time Museum is having a special one-day opening on May 14 for the Smoke Out Long Road Ride sponsored by The Horse magazine. For more information, click here .

Issue Two of Brennraum . the KTM on-line magazine has been posted, including an article about 1984 and 1985 250cc Motocross World Champion Heinz Kinigadner . To read the story, click here .

Have you heard of a million-mile Harley . Do you believe in magic? Click here. Oh, I shouldn’t have said that. It was not at all fair and balanced.

Brough Superiors and their owners will gather at the Rhinebeck, New York fairgrounds on June 12 and 13. For more information, E-mail Brough@fiteng.com.

Café Racer to host

trio of ride-in bike shows

(4/15/2009)

The U.S.-based quarterly Café Racer magazine will host three ride-in bike shows this year, beginning June. The first event jumps off on June 20 at Delilah’s during the annual Mods and Rockers Day sponsored by Ton-Up Chicago. A U.K./European round will take place June 28 at the Ace Cafe, London, during the annual Triton and Cafe Racer Day.

The third event will be held July 25 at the Mid-Ohio Sport Car Course during the AMA Vintage Days celebration. Shows are open to any professional or amateur custom motorcycle builders with a taste and flair for low bars and high performance.

The winners at each event will be featured in Café Racer and prizes from sponsors Pirelli Tires, Vanson Leathers, and Old Bike Barn will be awarded in the following classes: Best British Café Racer, Best Japanese Café Racer, Best European or American Café Racer, and Most Radical Café Racer. Entries can be made by sending photos to here. Entrants must be fully functioning motorcycles that are ridden into the show area under their own power.

For more information about Ton-Up Chicago, click here. For the location of Delilah’s Chicago, click here. For information on AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2009, click here .

O’Hannah shows Stewart,

other stars how to wield a Sharpie

(4/14/2009)

On the eve of the Jacksonville Supercross on April 3, Johnny O’Hannah, the uncle of American motocross, made a personal appearance at Andy Kent’s Beach Boulevard Motosports to sign autographs with America’s top rider. James Stewart said, “Johnny may not be a podium finisher on the track, but he runs rings around me with a Sharpie. I discovered tonight I still have a hell of a lot to learn.”

Actually, Stewart didn’t say that at all. We made it up.

Photos courtesy of Foxy O’Hannah

Event organizes looking for motorcycles

The Eyes on Design Exhibition, scheduled to take place at the historic Ford Estate in Grosse Pointe. Michigan June 21, will honor Willie G. Davidson with its prestigious Lifetime Design Achievement Award. The organizers are looking for Harley-Davidsons from the last 100 years to put on display.

Judging will be conducted by automotive industry design professionals with Peter Egan, columnist for Cycle World magazine serving as special guest judge. Individuals who have motorcycles they would like to put on display may E-mail Andy Sirvio at arsirvio@sisuprint.com or call 248-821-2390. For more information on the event, click here .

In addition, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum is looking for motorcycles from 1924 through 2009 to display at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2009 in celebration of the 85th anniversary of the American Motorcyclist Association. To see a complete list of the classic machines the Museum is looking for, click here .

(4/10/2009)

“ The Café Racer Phenomenon ,” by Alastair Walker, is scheduled for publication by Veloce Publishing later this summer. At 96 pages in paperback with 100 color and black and white images, this book covers the rebellious spirit of the 1950s, interviews with bike builders, the best and worst of café racer manufacturers, personal memories from the 1960s and ‘70s café racing scene, unique prototypes and special café bikes, many previously unpublished photos, and a global directory of café racer information.

Its foreword is by Paul Dunstall. It is priced at £14.99. For more information, click here .

The May issue of Cycle World contains a feature by John Burns entitled “Happy Birthday, Mr. Ninja!” in celebration of the 25 th anniversary of the Kawasaki GPZ900R—the legendary Ninja—a motorcycle that defined a new market niche that would become known as the “sport bike.” Burns reveals that we can attribute the motorcycle’s name in the U.S. market to Mike Vaughan, who was Kawasaki’s director of marketing at the time, and who was an avid student of Oriental history (Vaughan even had a sail boat named Ninja ). It had been Kawasaki ‘s American advertising agency’s idea to call it the Panther.

With its narrow 900cc DOHC 16-valve engine, compact size, and full racing-style bodywork, the Ninja was like nothing previously seen in the retail market. Performance backed up its speedy appearance when the bike achieved 120 mph in a quarter mile—the fastest production machine yet seen—at its press intro. It also did not hurt the Ninja’s sales when Tom Cruise—the super cool “Maverick”—zipped around on one in the motion picture “Top Gun.” Two years after the Ninja, Suzuki upped the ante with its alloy-framed GSX-R, and the Japanese were all off to the races with street bikes that inspired the kids and horrified the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. To reach Cycle World on-line, click here .

The May/June issue of Motorcycle Classics contains a cover story by Alan Cathcart about the Steve McQueen Triumph M?tisse replica that is currently in production at Metisse Motorcycles Ltd. the Oxfordshire company licensed by the Rickman brothers to carry on the name and the tradition. Only 300 examples will be built and sold for a price of $18,500 (£12,999).

These breathtakingly beautiful machines, exquisitely photographed for the story by Kyoichi Nakamura, carry McQueen’s signature on the tank, a feature authorized by Chad McQueen. As he does with many of his articles about special and historical machines, Cathcart gives it a ride, concluding, “I’m sure Steve McQueen would have approved of what son Chad has done by allowing it to be built with his name on the tank. It’s a lasting tribute to a good guy—as well as a reminder that Triumph. is still in business with some exciting plans for the future.” He adds, “This is just the start of the Metisse comeback.

The issue also contains features about the 1993 Honda CX650T trubo, the little-known 1,260cc Ducati V4 Apollo, and a curious Matchless/Gilera hybrid. To reach Motorcycle Classics on-line, click here .

The May/June issue of IronWorks contains an article by Margie Siegal about the Curtiss motorcycle, focusing specifically on a restored 1907 twin owned by Wes Allen. Siegal describes the company’s technological superiority in the first decade of the century, then how the lure of the emerging aircraft industry drew Glenn Curtiss away from motorcycles. Excellent photographs of the Allen machine are provided by Stephen Jacobson.

The issue also contains a story by Editor Dane Gingerelli about JP Cycles on the occasion of its 30th anniversary, and a technical feature by Bert Baker about the history of the motorcycle drive train. While IronWorks almost always carries an historical feature, it is mostly about the current V-twin custom scene. However, with a strong emphasis on old school bobbers and choppers, the chronological boundaries between then and now definitely become blurred—or perhaps we should say less relevant. To reach IronWorks on-line, click here .

The April issue of VJMC . the official The Appublication of the North American Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, contains a cover feature by Jan Ringnalda about the Honda CB1100R, which he states can be arguably claim the title of “the ultimate air-cooled four.” This early-80s European production racer was built in limited numbers, produced 115 bhp, and was capable of speeds approaching 150 mph. Its performance, style, rarity, and legacy have made it a very desirable collectible, which Ringnalda reports has spawned many cosmetic wanabes. He mentions some of the clues in distinguishing the fakes from the real thing.

The issue also contains features about restoring a Honda Dream and the significance of the Honda C100 Super Cub. VJMC is a controlled-circulation magazine, not available on news stands. It is received by VJMC members as a benefit of membership. To learn how to join the North American VJMC, click here .

After more than two years of research and development, Chris and Barbara Betjemann are on the verge of publishing their much-anticipated “ BMW/2 Restoration Manual .” This exhaustive work contains 512 pages and 425 photographs that systematically take the reader through every aspect of disassembling, overhauling, restoring, and maintaining the /2 BMW models. In addition, the text is highlighted by 60 often-amusing original drawings by Barbara Betjemann.

So time is running out for the pre-publication special price of $90.00. After publication, the book will be $105.00. There are no plans to sell it through retail or internet book sellers. It is currently available only from Barrington Motor works, LLC.

For more information, click here. After publication, it will also be available from Bench Make Works (click here ) and Cycle Works (click here ).

(4/8/2009)

It’s still a mystery

About a year ago we published a photo of a scooter sent to us by Frank Hutchinson of Cumberland City. Tennessee. Now, Hutchinson writes:

Well just got back from the Spring meet for Cushmans. I took the little scooter with me, and of course it was a hit. Still, nobody can name it. Since it seems to be a lost item with no name, I am going to get it running and paint it up beautifully and name is Fred # 1. To complete it, I am in need of an 8-inch wheel.

A few people thought a Tote Gote wheel or a Mustang wheel might work. If any of your readers can help, I will appreciate it.

Okay, Motohistorians, can anyone help Fred find a wheel for Fred #1. And we’re still looking for an answer to the main mystery. What was this scooter called before it became Fred #1. Note the curvature of the front frame tubes.



This is a very unusual shape, not seen on other scooters to our knowledge. If you think you have a wheel that might fit, Hutchinson can give you a lot more specs, Write to him at CCityCustoms@aol.com .

(4/6/2009)

A leading maker of die-cast models is looking for an Indian Roadmaster Chief—preferably a 1953—on the East Coast, that can be used for measurements, reference photos, and notes to create a prototype. If you qualify, write Ed@Motohistory.net and we will hook you up.

Lambert Butler’s

vintage motorcycle cards

(4/4/2009)

Here are more motorcycle cards, distributed with Lambert Butler’s cigarettes in the United Kingdom in 1923, from the Ken Weingart collection.

47 in a series of 50:

The text on the back of the card reads:

Manufactured by the Triumph Cycle Company, Ltd. Coventry. Established 1885. Four large factories capable of accommodating 2,500 workmen. Over 20,000 Triumph motor cycles were supplied to the British and Allied War Departments during the European War.

Engine 4 h.p. all-chain transmission, spring drive, patent spring forks; equipped completely ready for the road, with electric lighting set and bulb horn. Equally suitable solo or with sidecar. Other models from 2½ h.p.

48 in a Series of 50:

The text on the back of the card reads: The 2½ h.p. Velocette is the lightweight with the capabilities of a heavyweight. It has many important features. Lubrication—

mechanical patent pump system, sump cast integral with the crankcase. The cylinder has a double exhaust port and very deep fins. The frame is built with duplex butted loop tubes giving great strength and rigidity.

A new patent steering head with lubricating device is fitted.

Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer
Zündapp 50 Racer

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