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Ed Youngblood's News and Views
June 2006

 

Motohistory Quiz #23

We have a winner!

(6/17/2006)

Curtiss Marvel EngineOur mystery engine is from a 1912 Marvel motorcycle, and was designed by Glenn Curtiss, who also built motorcycles under his own name. It features an overhead valve configuration activated by a single pushrod. The pushrod drives a single rocker that alternatively opens both the intake valve and the exhaust valve. Valve overlap theory obviously was still a thing of the future.

Not much is known about the ownership of the Marvel company. Both Marvel and Curtiss motorcycles were built in separate factories in Hammondsport, New York where Curtiss was involved in the formation of the Marvel brand. In his “Standard Catalog of American Motorcycles: 1898 – 1981,” Jerry Hatfield opines that Curtiss had begun to realize that his long-term future lay in the aircraft industry, and that it may have been his strategy to tie the Curtiss name to aviation and phase it out of motorcycle manufacturing. Hatfield's book (Krause publications, 2006, ISBN 0-87349-949-2) contains an excellent drawing of the Marvel's novel valve train. Pictured here is a recreation of a 1912 Marvel, owned by Dick Winger. The engine is authentic and exceedingly rare. The rest of the motorcycle was expertly reconstructed by Paul Brody based on period drawings and advertisements, using the engine pictured in our Curtiss Marvelquiz.  It has been on display at The Art of the Motorcycle Exhibition in both Orlando and Memphis, where this picture was taken.

Our quiz winner is Dale Walksler, who responded with the correct answer within about two hours of our posting the quiz.  It should be no surprise that Dale would get this one right since he is the owner and curator of the Wheels Through Time Museum, the home of one of the nation's best all-American motorcycle collections.  For more information about the Wheels Through Time Museum, click here.  Congratulations, Dale, and thanks for all who participated in our Motohistory Quiz. 

 

“Mastery” speeds on to Vermont

(6/17/2006)

 

On June 10, the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum officially closed “Mastery of Speed,” an exhibit about the history of high-performance BMWs that has been on display since mid-July 2005. The exhibit, curated by collector and pre-war BMW expert Peter Nettesheim (pictured below), featured rare BMWs from his collection supported by artifacts on loan from BMW AG in Germany. BMW enthusiasts and history buffs who missed the exhibit, however, will have a second chance in July. The Mastery of Speed, sponsored by BMW Mobile Tradition, will now move to Essex Junction, Vermont where it will become the core of a much larger display at the BMW Motorcycle OwneNettesheim and exhibitrs of American International Rally under the title “ BMW Mobile Tradition Center.” The Rally will take place July 20 through 23.

 

Nettesheim explains, “We're shipping the motorcycles and graphic components of the Mastery of Speed Exhibit to the BMW MOA Rally where they will be integrated with many more motorcycles and artifacts to compose and complement a very significant indoor display in more than 12,000 square feet of space.”  Nettesheim reports that the new BMW Mobile Tradition Center will include 27 motorcycles from his own collection as well as fixtures and artifacts from BMW AG and BMW of North America. The Center will provide ample space for private collectors to display their prize BMWs around the perimeter of the exhibit hall. He adds, “Also, to remind people that motorcycles are the masters of speed, we will have a historical diorama where visitors can sit in a vintage BMW car and have their picture taken while being given a speeding ticket by a mid-1960s BMW-mounted motor patrolman. We expect this to become one of the most popular features of the rally.”

 

Entitled the BMW Mobile Tradition Center, the exhibit will be sponsored by the BMW Motorcycle Owners of America and BMW Mobile Tradition. For more information about the BMW Mastery of Speed Exhibit at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, click here. For more about Peter Nettesheim and his remarkable collection, go to Motohistory News & Views 12/12/2005. For more information about the BMW MOA International Rally, click here.  For more infomation about vintage BMWs, click here and here.

 

 

Motohistory Quiz #23

(6/17/2006)

 

Quiz 23Okay, kids, it's time for another Motohistory Quiz. I haven't stumped you in a long time, and this one probably won't either. The first person to give me the correct name of the motorcycle that this engine belonged to will win a valuable prize: your choice of a Motohistory cap or a video of one of the curator's tours from the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. Here's a hint:The high flyer who designed this engine also invented the twist grip. You could link this engine with two different brand names, but I want you to tell me both. Send your answers to Ed@motohistory.net.

 

VJEMC to VMD

(6/16/2006)

The Vintage Japanese and European Motorcycle Club is planning a big exhibit at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days in July and is appealing to its members to bring out their collectible machines for display.  For more information, write to info@northamericanyouthsports.org.

 

So this is a podcast

(6/15/2006)

 

I've done radio and I've done television, but on the evening of June 14th I had an opportunity to talk about old bikes through new technology. Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum Quaker Stake PodcastExecutive Director Mark Mederski and I were guests on a one-hour podcast taped for worldwide internet distribution. The event took place at Columbus, Ohio's Quaker Stake & Lube, where Wednesday evening Bike Nights draw upwards of 3,000 riders. Sponsored by A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson & Buell, produced by COW TV, and promoted by ColumbusBiker.com, the service, known as Cyclecast, will create additional shows throughout the summer that can be downloaded through your computer or I-pod. Our inaugural show, hosted by Darris Blackford, was mainly about the history of motorcycling in America, its current popularity, and how a growing number of museums and motorcycles-as-art gallery shows are contributing to its respectability. To access this and future shows, click here. To learn more about A.D. Farrow, click here. To access ColumbusBiker.com, click here.

 

 

Euros gather at Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum

(6/14/2006)

 

Euro Day BSATo American motorcyclists, B to V used to mean Barstow to Vegas. At the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum on June 9 and 10 it meant Bimota to Vespa as British and European motorcycle enthusiasts gathered for the Museum's second in a series of three special interest weekends. The prior weekend had been Japanese Motorcycle Saturday, and on August 19 the feet-forward crowd will gather for Custom and Cruiser Culture Saturday.

Despite rainy weather, approximately 300 owners of Brit and European bikes turned out for tire kicking, camaraderie, an unjudged bike show, and seminars. For more about British and European Weekend at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, click here.

 

Coming to America:

The Motocross des Nations

(6/12/2006)

 

The American Motorcyclist Association has just announced that the 62nd Annual Motocross of Nations will be held at Budds Creek Motocross Raceway in Maryland, September 21 through 23, 2007. This marks only the second time the U.S. will host the Motocross of Nations, and the event's fourth appearance outside of Europe. Begun in 1947, the Motocross des Nations has seen several format changes over the years, and today is based on three-rider teams racing three motos. The United States has won the event sixteen times and is the current defending champion. In my opinion, one of the most exciting upsets in the history of the international motorcycle sport was when a young American “B Team” gave the United States its first win in 1981, launching a string of 13 consecutive victories. In November 2004 I wrote a story about that great moment for the AMA Pro Racing Motocross website. To read it, click here

 

 

From the web

(6/12/2006)

 

For photos of the Corsa MotoClassica held recently at Willow Springs Raceway, click here. Vintage Views editor Mat Benson is the guy behind the camera.

 

In conjunction with Hodaka Days 2006, Strictly Hodaka is raffling off a restored 175SL to benefit the Ohio Make-a-Wish Foundation. At $5.00 per chance, you can order your tickets on-line. Just click here to learn more about Hodaka Days 2006.

 

Check out the beautiful vintage BMWs that appeared at the 23rd Alex Silvero Memorial Picnic June 11 at Vasona Park, Los Gatos, California. To see these photos by Marco Hyman, click here.

 

 

More fast footage from Duke

(6/10/2006)

 

For road racing enthusiasts, Duke Video has added two new DVDs to its catalog. “Saarinen: Against the Odds,” is a historical film created for Yamaha after Jarno Saarinen's tragic and untimely death at Monza in 1973. It follows his brief but brilliant career with footage from his victories at Daytona, Imola, and the French and Austrian GPs, punctuated by interviews with his wife and fellow riders, including Phil Read and Charles Mortimer. There is no footage of the crash at Monza that killed Saarinen and Renzo Pasolini. Rather, the story is told with still shots of the newspaper photos and headlines at the time. This video captures nicely the flavor of diversity that existed during the brief heyday of Formula 750 when many brands and nationalities on both two and four-strokes ranging from 350cc to 750cc gathered under one exciting umbrella of road racing competition.

 

TT: A Film Documentary” is not a historical video. Rather, it consists of modern footage brilliantly directed by Andrew Strickland to convey the flavor of the Isle of Man TT today, as it approaches its 100th year. The history of this legendary event is covered with brief black and white footage from the past, plus cameo comments by Geoff Duke, but otherwise this DVD has the flavor of a promotional film sanctioned by the Isle of Man Tourist Board, intended to make you want to attend the races today. In my opinion, it succeeds in that purpose with convincing images and interviews that convey the excitement and madness of the fortnight of the TT. As Geoff Duke points out, even after the loss of its world championship status, the TT has continued as arguably the most popular motorcycle race in the world, for riders and spectators alike.  If you can't make it to the TT in person, this video is the next best thing.  Both DVDs -- about Jarno Saarinen and the Isle of Man TT -- are available from Duke Video. For more information, click here.

 

 

found in print

(6/9/2006)

 

BMW at ISDTMany of us think of BMW motorcycles as the world's best pavement burners, and when we associate them with off-road riding we think of the GS, introduced in 1980. However, BMW's off-road tradition dates back to 1923 when its first motorcycle underwent off-road testing, then just three years later the marque earned its first gold medal at the International Six Days Trial. Issue 26 of VMX, the high-quality vintage motocross and dirt bike quarterly published in Australia, presents the first of a two-part series about BMW's long-time involvement in Gelaendesport. This well-researched story is illustrated with wonderful historical photos from the archives of BMW AG. One is of Hitler and Hess drooling with Fatherland pride over the 1935 ISDT Trophy. For more information about VMX, click here.

Photo of BMW off-road provided by BMW AG, courtesy of VMX.

 

Telemotojournalist Dave Despain, host of SpeedTV's popular “Wind Tunnel,” writes in the June 7 issue of National Speed Sport News about how the economic model for motorsports has changed since the advent of television, which has turned racing into an advertising medium for commercial sponsors, and in turn made racing dependent upon the whims and largesse of outside corporations. In describing how racing used to be, Despain invokes the name of Bill Boyce, a long-time racing director for the American Motorcyclist Association who characterized professional motorsport as a three-legged stool where the legs were the interests of the promoters, the competitors, and the fans. Under this business model, it was the role of the sanctioning body, through rules and enforcement, to keep the stool sound and relatively level. If one leg failed or was neglected, the whole thing fell down. Satisfied fans actually paid the freight, providing enough to keep both promoters and competitors in the game. No one got very rich, but survival was possible without becoming dependent on the generosity (or tyranny) of outside sponsors.

Reading Despain's column reminded me of the wisdom and straightforward approach of Bill Boyce. Though short on formal education, he had deep experience that earned the respect of those he dealt with, both competitors and promoters. He was an honest man who assumed the same about others until they proved him wrong. He lacked pretense, yet achieved enormous status in the international motorcycle sport through many years of dedicated service on committees of the FIM. I worked with Bill for more than 25 years, and learned so much from him. When he died shortly after his retirement, Dean Adams, editor of Superbikeplanet.com, asked my to write a tribute. If you want to read why I respected Bill Boyce so much – and I think I am not out of line in saying that Despain had equally high regard for him – click here.

 

Motohistory Quiz #22

We have a winner!

(6/7/2006)

Calthorpe 500ccDave Price of Dunstable, Massachusetts was the first reader to correctly identify our quiz photo as a Calthorpe.  Panther and BSA were the most common incorrect answers.

 

The sloping, twin-exhaust cylinder shown in Motohistory Quiz #22 belongs to a 1935 500cc Calthorpe Ivory Major, a British brand that probably never got the credit for quality and value that it deserved. Calthorpe was founded (some authorities say 1909, some say 1911) by George Hands, and offered motorcycles built around JAP, Villiers, and Blackburne engines until 1925. At that time, Calthorpe began to manufacture its own engines in 350cc and 500cc capacities. Its Ivory model, so named for the color of its tank and fenders, appeared in 1929, featuring an overhead valve, twin port engine noted for its remarkable torque, claimed to be capable of lugging along at 15 mph in top gear. It was a well-developed and finished machine at a very low price. However, the company did not chase notoriety at Brooklands and the TT like other British brands, and its motorcycles never earned the following they deserved. Calthorpe went into receivership in 1938 and was acquired by Bruce Douglas, a member of the Douglas motorcycle family. He produced a few more under the label with Matchless engines, but ceased production with the outbreak of the Second World War. Following the war, remaining assets were sold to the DMW factory.

 

The photograph in our quiz was provided by Virgil Elings, curator of the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum. For a picture of the Calthorpe Ivory Major, click here. To learn more about the Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum, click here. Congratulations again to Dave Price for winning our Motohistory Quiz, and thanks to everyone who participated.

 

Sun shines on

Japanese Motorcycle Saturday

(6/7/2006)

 

Japanese MC Day 1Japanese Motorcycle Saturday, held June 3, was graced by brilliant weather following a week of torrential rains in Ohio that organizers feared might extend into the weekend. It is a new fixture in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum's calendar of special events that will include British and European Bike Weekend June 9 and 10, and Custom and Cruiser Culture Saturday August 19. Sponsored by the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, Japanese Motorcycle Saturday featured an unjudged bike show, seminars about acquiring, preserving, and restoring vintage Japanese motorcycles, vendors, and admission to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum at no additional charge.

 

RC161About the event, Museum Executive Director Mark Mederski said, “We're certainly going to do this event again. The participation was great, including visitors from several neighboring states. The pre-1980 Japanese makes on display were beautiful, and some near-100 point restorations and excellent originals represented a nice range of brands.” Mederski added, “Participation in the seminars tells me we picked good, popular topics, so a lot worked well for a first time event.”

 

VJMC President Pete Boody echoed Mederski's remarks, stating,“I feel this is truly the beginning of a grand relationship with the Museum. Our organization's goal is to present an awareness of vintage Japanese motorcycles, and judging by the interest and attendance Japanese Motorcycle Day 2at the seminars, we were able to show some folks real value in owning and restoring one of these great machines.” Boody added, “I look forward to next year's gathering at the Museum with great anticipation of another successful event.”

 

Special attraction of the day was a rare Honda RC161, pictured above with Mederski and Boody. About the bike, Mederski said, “The Honda RC161 shone brightly and many marveled at its appearance here, and its wonderful design. This bike will be a significant attraction for visitors to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in the coming months.” For more information about the RC161, see Motohistory 5/24/2006, or click here. The motorcycle, on loan from the Henry Ford Museum, will be on display at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame for the coming year. For more about Japanese Motorcycle Saturday, click here. For information about the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, click here. For information about the VJMC, click here.

 

Motohistory Quiz #22

(6/7/2006)

 

Quiz 22Be the first to correctly identify the brand and the nation of origin of this motorcycle, and you will win a Motohistory cap.  Here's a hint: It's a single sloper.

Send your answer to Ed@motohistory.net .

 

 

 

SuperMann coming to Plan

(6/6/2006)

Mann HelmetMotorcycles and artifacts have begun to accumulate in the storeroom of the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in preparation for the assembly of SuperMann, an exhibit that will celebrate the career and accomplishments of Dick Mann, scheduled to open on July 27. The exhibit, organized in three segments, will include motorcycles that Mann rode as well as non-pedigreed machines chosen as accurate replicas of significant motorcycles in his career. The three groupings will depict Mann's racing career, the period he contributed to product development at Mann LeathersYankee Motors, and examples the motorcycles he has built for vintage competition over the last two decades.

 

Motorcycles actually ridden by Dick Mann during his racing career will include the G50 Matchless, his BSA triple, and the Triumph dirt tracker he rode during his final professional season in 1973. Accurate replicas of his competition machines will include a BSA Gold Star dirt tracker, an OSSA Stiletto scrambler, and an OSSA Desert Phantom similar to the bike on which he earned a bronze medal at the IntOSSA DMRernational Six Days Trial in 1975. His racing career will be described also through photographs, a video presentation, a historical time line, and artifacts, including three sets of his leathers, his steel shoe, and a rare prototype Bell Helmet he wore in the late 1960s and early ‘70s, pictured above.

 

The segment of the exhibit about Mann's work with Yankee Motors will include a Yankee, a rare Wildfire SS street scrambler, and an OSSA DMR short tracker (pictured here), all of which he helped develop. Mann designed the chassis for the 500cc twin-cylinder Yankee, he executed the styling treatment for the Wildfire SS street scrambler, and he built the original OSSA short tracker for his own racing career, which Yankee later began to build at its Mann Gold Starheadquarters in Schenectady, New York. All three motorcycles were built in limited quantities and have become prized collectibles.

 

Mann's contribution to the vintage motorcycle movement in America will be illustrated with three of his exquisite creations, including a Gold Star scrambler (pictured above), a BSA 441 vintage enduro bike, and a BSA B40-powered observed trials machine. Mann has hand-built approximately 200 such machines over the last twenty years. They are highly valued and rarely change hands in the field. Consequently, MaOSSA ISDTnn still has a waiting list of more than a year for such motorcycles. As for his personal creations, the exhibit will include a rare 1936 BSA Y13 that Mann constructed for himself. Only 1,600 of these overhead valve 750cc V-twins were built between 1936 and 1938.  There will also be an original OSSA Desert Phantom ISDT bike (pictured here with its owner Karl Heise) that was ridden by Don Cutler at the Isle of Man in 1975.  It is a twin to the machine on which Mann earned a bronze medal at that event.

 

Dick Mann will be present for the exhibit's official ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 27. A special leather-bound, numbered, limited edition of “Mann of His Time” has been produced by the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum to defray the costs of the exhibit. Only 40 copies exist and are selling to fans and collectors for $1,000 each. Each copy will be signed by Mann and the author. More than half of the books have already been sold. For more information, contact Museum Executive Director Mark Mederski at MMederski@motorcyclemuseum.org . For more information about the SuperMann exhibit, click here.

 

Dick Mann as America's G.O.A.T:

A Motohistory Commentary

(6/6/2006)

 

Mann head shotG.O.A.T. is not a derogatory term. It means, “Greatest Of All Time,” a speculative and illusive concept that has led to countless debates by followers of every kind of sporting activity. Just this week, the stick-and-ball commentators have been driven into a frenzy of opinion by the fact that Barry Bonds has finally hit more homeruns than Babe Ruth. Now, we don't know what kind of metabolic boost the Babe might have gotten from all those hot dogs he ate, but Bonds' achievement has been challenged for the fact that it was possibly chemically assisted. The point being: the title of GOAT can only be conferred through speculation since, over time, circumstances change. Replicable laboratory conditionsMann and Matchless just don't exist in the world of sport, so the data between any two performers is never comparable. Bonds and Ruth might each be revered in his own right, but comparing their achievements – or the achievements of any other two athletes from different eras -- will always amount to comparing apples to oranges. Still, fans will never stop arguing about who is the GOAT, and to support their beliefs they will site broken records, statistical evidence, and the length of one's career. Yet, there is another metric by which to identify the GOAT, and thisMann on dirt tracker is versatility. This is the basis on which I would argue that in American motorcycling, the title of GOAT goes to Dick Mann.

 

Dick Mann began his racing career in 1952 and earned his AMA Expert license in 1955, finishing the season 29th in the nation. The following year he was given his first National Number – 64 – and improved his standing to 15th in the nation. In 1957 he broke into the top ten, a status he would maintain sixteen of the next seventeen years, slipping to 12th in 1966 when he withdrew from competition for much of the season. He won his first National Championship at the Peoria TT in August, 1959. When DickMann and Honda Klamfoth retired in 1964, Mann was assigned National Number 2, which he carried for the remainder of his career except when he was AMA Grand National Champion, and during 1971 when the AMA moved for one year only to a new numbering system that proved exceedingly unpopular. Over his Grand National career, he won 24 championships, including eight TTs, 12 road races, two half miles, one short track, and one mile. This alone speaks to his versatility since he was the first person ever to win Nationals in all of the five types of competition included in the AMA Grand National Championship schedule. And though he was well beyond his prime when motocross gained popularity in America during the 1960s, he proved himself capable of championship performance in that form of competition as well. When AMMann on TT bikeA District 36 organized a district championship motocross in 1960, Mann won all three heats. While most of his racing peers did not have the slightest interest in motocross, Mann began to carry a motocross bike around the country with his Grand National equipment, looking for any opportunity to compete. When the AMA sanctioned its first professional motocross in 1970, Mann was there, winning – at the age of 36 -- the 250cc class over Husqvarna development engineer and international star Gunnar Lindstrom.

 

Mann's GrandMann posed National career spanned eras. When he won the Daytona 200 in 1970, he did it aboard the first Japanese motorcycle to win the event. The following year he won again, this time aboard the last British machine ever to win the Daytona 200.  In this respect, he closed one great era and opened another.  His two Grand National Championships came eight years apart, in 1963 and 1971. Ironically, his championship victories came to an end right where they started, at the Peoria TT, which Mann won as his last National in 1972. In the latter years of his professional racing career, Mann found time to start riding International Six Days Trial qualifying events, aiming toward another of his great ambitions: to ride the ISDT. After qualifying for the American team in 1973 and 1974, in 1975 he rode a factory-backed OSSA at the Isle of ManMann on DMR and finished the event to earn a bronze medal.

 

No one would argue that there have not been better dirt trackers (Scott Parker or Chris Carr) or road racers (Kenny Roberts or Miguel DuHamel), but for longevity and versatility, none of these can rival Mann's achievement. In the annals of American motorcycle competition, one has to look back to the 1930s to identify someone who is arguably Mann's rival for the greatest of all time. This would be Joe Petrali, whose record for 49 AMA National Championships was not exceeded until Scott Parker won his Mann motocrossing50th 55 years later. In Petrali's day, there were essentially only two forms of competition – track racing and hill climbing – and in 1932, '33, '35, and '36, he won both national titles. He also set land speed records, and, like Mann, could win aboard any brand of machine that a sponsor chose to stick under him.

 

Yet Mann's greatness goes beyond his racing career. He stood up for safety and the rights of riders to earn a decent wage, proving instrumental not just in changing rules, but in revolutionizing the way that the AMA wrote rules and governedMann mature shot competition. He was suspended twice by the AMA for standing by his conscience in violation of the rules. He helped launch the modern American vintage motorcycle movement and served on the board of the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association for more than 15 years. Over his career, he was one of the best innovators and chassis builders in the field, and today he continues by building the most exquisitely beautiful vintage racing motorcycles in the world. Given this lifetime of achievement both on and off the race track, it seems to me difficult to identify another American rider whose record will challenge Dick Mann as the GOAT, the greatest of all time.

Photo credits, top to bottom:

Mann head shot by Rick Kocks

Mann on Matchless G50 by Jerry West

Mann dirt tracking by Rick Kocks

Mann at Daytona, Honda photo courtesy of AMA archives

Mann TT racing, BSA photo courtesy of AMA archives

Mann as Grand National Champion, BSA photo courtesy of AMA archives

Mann short tracking courtesy of John Taylor

Mann motocrossing courtesy of John Taylor

Mann head shot by John Gola

 

History at the Hoot

(6/5/2006)

The Cycle World Vintage Concours will take place Saturday, June 24 in Knoxville, Tennessee, and the Honda Hoot.  Hoot organizer Charlie Keller reports that Baja and Six Days legend Malcolm Smith will be the Grand Marshal for the event.  He states, "We had some great bikes there last year and it is a fine ride for all.  This year Malcolm will ride a restored street-legal 1971 Husqvarna 360."  "On Any Sunday," the movie that made Smith a household name, will be screened on Thursday evening at the historical Tennessee Theatre, and proceeds will go to Casa De Nino, Malcolm Smith's adopted orphanage in the Baja.  For more information about the 2006 Honda Hoot, click here.

 

Old MJ will be commentator

at Monterey Classic Bike Auction

(6/5/2006)

 

Mike JacksonMike Jackson, known to his friends as “Old MJ,” has been invited by Monterey Classic Bike Auction co-founder Gavin Trippe to provide color commentary at this year's event, scheduled to take place at the Portola Plaza Hotel in Monterey, California July 20 through 22. Jackson (pictured here), a former racer and distributor of Norton and AJS motorcycles in America, retired from selling new motorcycles in 1995 only to find himself in high demand as a judge, writer, and appraiser in the world of old motorcycles. He has consulted for Southeby's in Chicago, Cheffins in Great Britain, the Guggenheim, and the Louis Vuitton Concours, and recently served as head judge at the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours d'Elegance. Trippe says, “Anyone who has seen or heard about Old MJ's involvement in a show or auction can tell you that he just transforms the atmosphere of the event. Not only does he know his stuff, but he brings an element of entertainment that creates a memorable experience.”

 

While Jackson's presence may bring excitement to the event, bidders do not in fact have to be present to participate, since an online simulcast bidding program will enable prospective buyers to bid in real time at their computer screens from anywhere in the world. Last year, a third of the successful buyers were bidding offsite via the internet. A registration fee of $250 will be waived for all bidders who register prior to June 23. To obtain a registration form, click here.

Mike Jackson photo provided by Monterey Classic Bike Auction

 

Gagan at Greenfield Village

(6/5/2006)

Gagan and CopelandAntique Motorcycle Club of America President Peter Gagan, picturted here with his replica Copeland steam motorcycle, will provide commentary for the motorcycles entered in the Father's Day Motor Muster at the Henry Ford Museum at Greenfield Village on June 17 and 18. The annual event caters to lovers of classic four-wheelers, but there will also be more than three dozen motorcycles and bicycles to pass in review.  For more information, click here.

Photo provided by Peter Gagan

 

Fastest Indian going to Pomona

(6/4/2006)

Cycle News reports that Burt Munro's Indian streamliner will be part of a new exhibit running June 10 through August at the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum in Pomona, California. In addition to the Munro liner, the exhibit will include other vintage Indian racing motorcycles. For more information about the Wally Parks NHRA Motorsports Museum, call 909-622-2133. 

 

New on DVD

(6/3/2006)

Duke Video has just released “Honda: The TT Golden Years,” a historical survey of Honda's achievements at the Isle of Man from 1959 to the present. Some of the best footage comes from Honda-produced documentary film made when the brand launched its first serious Grand Prix assault in 1961. Also of note is coverage of the 1967 Diamond Jubilee as well as Joey Dunlop's spectacular rides on the Island. As a special feature, you can hear the howls of fours and sixes, as well as the throaty little GP Honda 50 in an audio-only segment called “Sounds of Honda.” To order it from Duke Video, click here.

In 2005, KTM held its national dealer convention in Columbus, Ohio, in close proximity to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. This created a special opportunity for KTM dealers and Penton fans to step back in time at a special event hosted by the Museum and the Penton Owners Group. On the occasion of John Penton's 80th birthday, 80 Pentons and early KTMs were brought out for display. “POG at the 2005 KTM Dealer Meeting” captures the moment, including interviews with John Penton and Malcolm Smith. In addition, POG President Al Buehner talks about the rare Kenny Roberts-framed Penton/KTM short tracker, Dane Leimbach reviews the history behind the limited-production 125cc Hiro Penton, Paul Danik describes riding Pentons at the ISDT, and Doug Wilford explains KTM's history in the bicycle and moped business, before and after the arrival of John Penton. To order this entertaining DVD from the Penton Owners Group, click here.

 

From the Web

(6/2/2006)

We have often reported stories about efforts to resurrect defunct brands such as Indian, Norton, Vincent, and Excelsior-Henderson, to name a few. Now Can Am is back, but this time it will not be affixed to a motorcycle, but rather on Bombardier's 2007 line of all-terrain vehicles. Explaining its resurrection of the name, a company statement said, “The Can Am name recaptures the spirit of unequalled performance, superb handing, and advanced design that are unique in the industry.” Rumors persist that motorcycles will be next. For the whole story, click here.

While we are on the subject of great off-road bikes of yesteryear, click here to see photos of the beautifully-restored machines on display at the recent Hemet, California Vintage Motocross Show .

We noted previously that Duane Ausherman has a cache of pre-1985 BMW literature for sale. Some is still available. For a list, click here.

Scott McLemee, writing in the “Intellectual Affairs” column of the web journal “Inside Higher Education,” has penned an interesting and generally laudatory review of the “ International Journal of Motorcycle Studies.” Equally interesting are comments by readers who have blogged in following McLemee's column. To read it, click here. For access to the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, click here.

 

There's more than one way to be obsolete

(6/1/2006)

 

Rob Iannucci, the founder of the American Historic Motorcycle Racing Association, whose Team Obsolete campaigned BSA Rocket 3s and Matchless G50s from 1978 through 2002, has now formed Fleet Obsolete, an enterprise that currently owns PT728, PT615, PT459, a 1955 Army ST tugboat, and a 1957 Chris Craft. When discussing the ownership and maintenance of 60-year-old wooden-hulled, high-performance boats, Iannucci has some cautionary advice for vintage bikers: “You think it is expensive to keep a G50 on a competitive edge? You have no idea!” For more about Fleet Obsolete, click here.