have a winner!
engine depicted in our Motohistory Quiz #48 is that of
a 1939 DKW SB500 Luxus Model. The SB500, a two-stroke
twin, was built from 1934 through 1939. It was the top
of the DKW line at the time, featuring high quality and
excellent fit and finish. During the era of the SB series,
DKW was the largest motorcycle manufacturer in the world,
and a significant contributor to the German economy. In
addition to its place as a major manufacturer of street
machines, DKW had the largest racing department of any
motorcycle manufacturer, employing 150 people. To read
a history of MZ/DKW, written by Leo
Keller, go to Motohistory News & Views 4/10/2007.
motorcycle used for our quiz is owned by DomiRacer in
Cincinnati, Ohio, a leading supplier of British and European
vintage parts and accessories. For more images of the
DKW SB500, click here
To reach DomiRacer's web site, click here.
first person to correctly identify the photo as a DKW
was Sid Biberman of Louisville, Kentucky (pictured here).
Biberman, better known to his friends as “Big Sid,” is
a widely-known and respected historian and tuner of Vincent
motorcycles. Motohistory has carried several stories about
Big Sid, including first coverage of his famous Vincati
hybrid (see Motohistory News & Views 6/4/2005). Congratulations,
Sid, and Happy New Year! Your Motohistory Know-It-All
Diploma is on its way. Readers who would like to check
out Big Sid's web site should click here.
year has rolled past for Motohistory. We want to wish
all of our readers and contributors our best wishes for
the season, no matter how you choose to celebrate it.
Our friend Juris Ramba, organizer of the Round Kurland
Rally in Latvia,
has sent us a greeting we would like to share. This gathering
of two and three-wheelers was photographed at the 2007
Rally, which drew
participants from ten nations. Ramba informs us that he
will be taking a break in 2008, and that the next Round
Kurland Rally will take place in 2009. Still, its web
site will be updated throughout the year with news about
the 2009 event. To stay in touch, click here.
all you readers who have been bad this year, Santa and
Mrs. Claus send you a stinky Christmas, courtesy of Carl
Hess, our Eastern Pennsylvania photohistorian. More photos
of the Clauses, with and
without the skunk, can be found at the Schaeffer's
web site, where they presided over the annual Christmas
party. To check it out, click here.
Leo Keller puts us in a Merry Motohistory mood with his
recreation of a greeting card containing a Christmas greeting
nine languages, sent originally by Hercules to its customers
in the 1960s. From
Reese Dengler, our expert on all things Czechoslovakian,
we have a CZ motocrosser in festive form. To czech
out Reese's Czechpoint web site, click, here.
And Jeff Yost of the Vintage BMW Motorcycle Owners has
sent us a nice New Year greeting. To reach
the BMWVMO web site, click here.
What is it the British call the day after Christmas?
"Boxer Day?" No, maybe I'm confused about
has been a very busy year for Motohistory. We have published
over 105,000 words of text, over 685 images, and more
than 565 links to other web sites. So much of what we
publish brings informative, interesting, and educational
feedback from our Motohistory readers, and we are very
grateful for this opportunity to continue to learn and
share the reasons we all love motorcycles and motorcycle
history. To our readers and contributors, we hope 2008
will bring you joy, peace, and much more Motohistory.
kids, here's your last Motohistory Quiz for the year.
Be the first to tell me the brand of this motorcycle and
you will receive a personalized Motohistory Know-It-All
Diploma. In addition, if the winner can tell me the model
designation of the motorcycle and its model year, within
a three-year margin of error, we will also send you a
Motohistory winter cap.
rush to your keyboard and send your answers to Ed@Motohistory.net.
Vetter: 470 mpg”
October 20, 2007,
Craig Vetter delivered the wrap-up presentation at the
International Conference of the Industrial Designers Society
of America and the International Council of Societies
of Industrial Design, held at the Fairmont Hotel in San
has just completed a video of that presentation on DVD,
and Motohistory was given an opportunity to review it
prior to distribution.
the DVD, Vetter (pictured below outside San Francisco's
Fairmont Hotel) opens his discussion by establishing his
credentials. He describes his career in the motorcycle
industry, tells how he built a manufacturing company that
was, at the time, second only to Harley-Davidson in sales,
how his accessories influenced the design of the modern
touring motorcycle, and why he sold his company to focus
on his family and gain more freedom to study and dream.
Vetter's dreams of a
more environmentally responsible culture and sustainable
life style led in 1981 to his creation of the Craig Vetter
Fuel Economy Contest. That project lasted five years,
the rules were set to test street legal motorcycles designed
for practical use (not Bonneville-type vehicles), and
what was learned became the basis for Vetter's presentation
to the leading designers of the world.
emphasizes the importance of streamlining to achieve greater
efficiency and lower fuel consumption in everyday vehicles.
He presents an overview of the history of streamlining,
showing how it emerged from the aeronautical industry
during the 1920s and ‘30s, and how it has been applied
and misapplied in various fields of industrial design.
Through a year-by-year summary of his Fuel Economy Contest,
Vetter describes what its leading and most successful
participants learned, and the results achieved are quite
astonishing. For example, from one year to the next, some
contestants improved their performance by as much 100
mpg with essentially the same motorcycle, simply by refining
their streamlining. In 1985, Matsu Matsuzawa became the
all-time champion with a streamlined motorcycle that achieved
470 mpg! Matt Guzetta, after earning high scores every
year at the Economy Contest, followed up on his own by
traveling from Los
Angeles to Daytona
Beach on only ten
gallons of gas. And tests conducted by Cycle Magazine
on some of the Contest motorcycles proved that with
proper streamlining, a motorcycle needs only 3.3 horsepower
to travel at a highway speed of 60 mph. A number of engineering
improvements can lead to better fuel economy, but nothing
else one can do even comes close to the importance of
effective streamlining, which Vetter breaks down to two
very simple rules: 1) the teardrop shape of round in the
front and pointed at the rear is the only truly effective
shape in the speed range we use for day-to-day travel,
and 2) the smaller the frontal area, the more efficient
it gets. With real streamlining, much less horsepower
is needed to achieve results, and less horsepower equals
less fuel consumption.
points out that while these principles have been known
for three-quarters of a century, post-modern design has
gone wrong by turning streamlining into a cliché,
misapplying its principles for the sake of style and fashion.
With one image after another, he drives home the comic
absurdity of “streamlined” refrigerators, baby buggies,
cameras, radios, clothes washers, and even buildings.
And he reminds us how scientific aeronautical concepts
have been bastardized into styling elements for perfectly
silly automobiles that have air-grabbing scoops over their
headlights, huge fins that only disrupt air flow, and
streamlining's signature teardrop shape installed sideways
and backwards in total nonsense, all in the name of “fashion.”
regard to the absence of design efficiency in modern motorcycles,
Vetter puts much blame on the FIM which, in 1957, actually
banned true streamlining to make racing motorcycles go
slower. As a result, today we buy motorcycles that imitate
the lines of modern racing machines, which we think are
streamlined, but actually aren't. With statistics from
Bonneville, Vetter proves that the modern, FIM-dictated
racing design is utterly ineffective, and he charges that
the only reason for bodywork at all is to provide display
space for commercial sponsors.
while few people remain unconvinced that our resources
are not infinite and that waste and over-consumption have
dire consequences, we still have not begun to behave as
if we understand this. While we give lip-service to conservation
and actually brag that our motorcycles get 30, 40, 50
mpg, we still behave like we worship more power and greater
consumption. If a properly designed motorcycle can maintain
highway speeds with less than 10 horsepower, why do we
need 100? Vetter does not argue that a commercially-available
motorcycle should achieve 300 to 400 mpg like his economy
contest machines, but he does assert that there is absolutely
no reason that 100 mpg or more is not attainable if today's
designers were working responsibly rather than following
this 48-minute presentation was created for a meeting
of design professionals, there are important lessons in
it for anyone who cares about our future. It is informative,
often amusing, but also sobering and very thought provoking.
I recommend it highly to any Motohistory reader. It is
available from Vetter for $25, delivered by priority mail.
To order a copy, click here.
For more information about the Industrial Designers Society
of America, click here.
provided by Craig Vetter.
unveils new painting in
David Uhl unveiled a new painting in his Harley Woman
Series at Bruce Rossmeyer Sunrise
Harley-Davidson in Sunrise, Florida on December 28. The
series, begun in 1998, has resulted in Uhl's most popular
works of art. An original work is added to the series
no more frequently than every other year. Uhl reports
that the new painting, shown here, was inspired by a visit
to the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North
Carolina, which currently features an exhibit about the
history of women in motorcycling. For more about David
Uhl's fine art, click here.
To reach Bruce Rossmeyer Harley-Davidson, click here.
To reach the Wheels Through Time Museum web site, click
provided by David Uhl.
days and counting
in Blue Island,
on January 16, 1958,
Jeff Fredette has a father who was actively involved in
off-road motorcycle competition, so it is not surprising
that Jeff would take an interest. “My father, Wayne, rode
mostly enduros and trials, and a little motocross,” Jeff
explains. “He had Pentons and Hodakas, and I would ride
passenger on road enduros and off-road when the event
offered a buddy class.” Jeff adds, “My mother, Lida, was
very supportive of our hobby, except for motocross. She
thought it was dangerous, and when I started riding on
my own, she kind of put her foot down against my riding
motocross.” But in Illinois,
there were plenty of riding opportunities without motocross.
Fellow Illinois ISDT rider Ron Ribolzi, whom Fredette
says he chased through the woods on a regular basis while
still an up-and-coming amateur, explains, “We were in
a hotbed of enduro activity. The clubs in AMA District
17 hosted 13 to 15 enduros a year, and we had great role
models in guys like Bill Baird, Bill Maxey, and Don Rosene.”
Ribolzi adds, “I knew Jeff's father, and I recall the
time I met Jeff. He was about 14 and came to an off-road
poker run, riding a 125cc Honda trials bike. He rode the
entire event standing on the pegs.” Jeff had begun his
career riding observed trials at the age of 12 with the
inauspicious honor of coming in last at his first organized
whole family, including his younger sisters Cindy and
Kim, got involved in off-road activity. Jeff recalls,
“We had a Volkswagen Bug. Dad fabricated a rack on the
back to carry his motorcycle, and our family of five would
travel to enduros with all of our gear packed up front.”
Incredibly, the Volkswagen transported the five Fredettes,
a motorcycle, and all their gear as far from their Chicagoland
home as Stone Mountain,
a distance of 700 miles. Jeff laughs and says, “Today
you think you need a big motor home, towing an enclosed
trailer full of motorcycles. Back then, you traveled with
what you had and what you needed.”
It was in that Volkswagen, at a drive-in movie, where
Jeff had a life-changing experience. “All five of us,”
Jeff Explains,” piled into the Bug to go see ‘On Any Sunday.'
I watched Malcolm Smith riding the Six Days in Spain,
and it became my dream. I wanted more than anything to
ride the Six Days, just once!”
soon as Jeff got a driving license in 1974, he began to
attend national enduros and Six Days qualifying events,
and in the winter he went to ice races every weekend to
stay in shape and hone his riding skills. His first sponsored
ride was a Penton in 1977, for which he had dealer support.
With the Penton brand being replaced in America
by KTM in 1978,
Fredette got factory help, but found the experience unsatisfactory.
The new KTM organization was just finding its legs in
market, and often the racing effort was disorganized.
Jeff recalls, “Sometimes I would go to a national event,
and no support crew from KTM would even show up. It was
too unpredictable, and I was often on my own.”
Fortunately, Suzuki manager John Morgan saw Jeff's potential,
and recruited him to join its factory off-road team. From
1979 until the company ceased its off-road team in 1982,
Fredette rode Suzukis. With a move to Kawasaki
in 1983, Jeff formed
a lasting relationship that has stuck with him throughout
the remainder of his career.
years after beginning his enduro career, Fredette got
an opportunity to fulfill his childhood dream by riding
with the American team at the International Six Days'
Trial in Sweden in 1978, where he earned a gold medal.
Little did he know that it would be the first in three-decades
of Six Days competition during which he would never fail
to finish the grueling event and earn a medal. From 1978
to the present (2007), Fedette has ridden every ISDT and
ISDE except for three, which he did not enter due to injuries.
He did not ride in 1982, 1990, and 1996, but even when
he was injured and unable to compete, he supported the
American team as a chase rider in both 1990 and 1996.
And with 27 events under his belt, he has earned ten gold
medals, 16 silver medals, and a single bronze medal. Only
Herbert Schek of Germany
and Jaun Maso Blasco
have even come close to Fredette's amazing record of longevity.
Each of these men has ridden 25 ISDT/Es,
but Schek failed to finish six of his, and Maso has failed
to finish five times. With Jeff still running
strong with no failures to
finish, it is highly probable that no one will ever surpass
his record of achievement. Given this record, there
is little wonder he has been inducted into the Motorcycle
Hall of Fame (2002).
up in Tinley Park
and later South
Jeff learned early the maintenance skills that would serve
him well during his long and successful off-road riding
career. He explains, “Dad was a machinist, and very resourceful
at solving problems and making things from scratch. I
was always around welding equipment and a lathe, so I
learned how to fix things and keep a motorcycle running.”
In addition, Jeff augmented what he learned at home with
shop classes at school, developing an understanding of
machinery that would contribute to what is arguably the
most successful international motorcycle enduro career
in history. Gunny Claypool, who has supervised the American
effort at the International Six Days' Enduro and represented
the U.S. on its international jury, says, “Jeff's long-term
success at the Six Days can be attributed to his understanding
of his motorcycle and his ability to find ways to keep
it going, no matter what. Other riders call him ‘MacGyver'
because me comes up with such creative ways to fix problems
on the trail.” Ribolzi confirms, “Jeff's talent benefits
the whole American effort. He really cares about the team,
and the way he explains to other riders how to overcome
bike problems is always very clear and easy to follow.
The rules will not allow him to fix another person's machine,
he can explain a fix in a way that others can readily
understand.” Claypool adds, “He is one of the few riders
who will stay
at the impound at the end of a tough day, and help other
riders as they come in. He's still in his riding gear,
hot and tired, but he takes the time to hand over tools
and advise other riders on how to fix their bikes.”
to Hugh Fleming, who supported the American Six Days effort
for a quarter-century during his long career on the staff
of the American Motorcyclist Association, Jeff's resourcefulness
is not limited to the trail. Explaining that Fredette
often dismantled his motorcycle to ship overseas as luggage,
Fleming says, “One of my favorite stories was when Jeff
was collecting his luggage at the airport, and while leaving
baggage claim, his engine fell off the top of his luggage
cart, cracking the lower engine cases. Because he was
unable to repair the damaged engine, he found a local
rider and rented his stock engine for the ISDT.” Fleming
adds with a laugh, “He returned it slightly used!”
who know their ISDT history know that no matter how long
Fredette's career may be, he is not likely to ever face
rougher conditions than he did in 1993. Jeff reflects,
“The hardest medal I ever earned was that bronze, in Holland
in 1993. It poured
rain every day, and the first day I lost so much time,
I figured it was over. I was feeling like I had failed
until I arrived at the impound at the end of the day.
There were so few motorcycles there, I realized I had
done very well. That raised my spirits and I starting
feeling pretty good. I started working on my motorcycle
for the next day.” The trial was so difficult that the
International Jury relaxed the rules and gave riders until
to return to the impound at the end of the first day,
but the constant rain and sand of the Dutch terrain destroyed
most of the motorcycles. Jeff says, “I went through three
sprockets during the week, and I had to rebuild the upper
end twice.” He relates that during one hasty rebuild he
forgot to install the reed cage in his cylinder and was
forced to run the whole day with his motorcycle unable
to perform beyond half-throttle. Still, by the end of
the week he had not only survived, but had gotten his
bike running so well that he won his moto in the final
special test. He reports, “It was the only time I ever
won a special test moto at the end of the ISDT, and on
the first day I though I was done.” He adds, “It pays
never give up.” About his tenacity
and success at the ISDT/E, Jeff says, “I attribute my
success about 50 percent to ability and 50 percent to
hard work. I've always been able to keep my bike going.”
would seem that a man with Fredette's record would be
a person who sets and pursues goals, but he denies it.
He says, “I had a dream in the beginning, and that was
to ride one ISDT, but since then I have never had a goal.
I have never said, ‘I am going to do 10, or 20, or 30.'
I just take them one year at a time, and I will continue
so long as I am still having fun and not getting in the
way of a younger rider who deserves to be on the team.”
Fredette's ability to prevail against younger riders may
be attributable to his own youthful attitude. Despite
the fact that his salt-and-pepper hair is moving toward
a consistent gray, Jeff smiles easily, has a sparkle in
his eye, and often breaks into a laugh that is more a
child-like giggle. He is fit and trim and stays in shape
through physical labor and riding almost every weekend,
year-round. He says, “Except for the times I was in physical
therapy from injuries, I have never exercised. I just
work hard in the shop every day and ride almost every
chance I get.” Even in his non-motorcycling activity,
Fedette maintains a competitive attitude. For example,
he and his son Eric have twice entered the grueling Great
American Race in a 1933 Ford pickup truck (pictured above),
earning Top Rookie honors and a 17th overall in 2005,
and 11th place in 2006. Jeff also entered the Last Man
Standing motorcycle competition in 2007. He says, “I hung
in there to the last 18 guys, but dropped out during the
night. My eyes don't seem to work so well for the night
has parlayed his long relationship with Kawasaki into
a profession, having founded Fredette Racing Products
in 1985, two years after he began to ride the brand's
KDX models. The company is an authorized Parts Unlimited
dealer (Jeff is pictured above in his office), has a line
of off-road accessories personally developed by Jeff,
and offers tuning and engine rebuilding services. To reach
the Fredette Racing Products web site, click here.
He is also an advisor to Kawasaki's Team Green, helps
Kawasaki with public relations, and assists with new model
announcements for the company's off-road product line.
On the wall of his shop, high above the door, is a long
row of helmets and KDX front number plates (pictured above).
These speak to his incredible record as the world's most
experienced ISDT/E competitor, but one gets the idea that
his achievements come not only from experience but also
from a pure joy of off-road riding that remains unabated
after so many years. As he closes in on his 50th birthday,
there is no sign that Jeff Fredette is ready to trade
his green machine for an easy chair. Standing beneath
the trophies from 162 days of world-class competition,
he grins and says, “How long am I going to keep riding
in the dirt? I plan to tear it up until it covers me up!”
Fredette head shot provided by Dick Lague.
of Fredette riding provided by Jeff Fredette.
has announced that on January 5 it will open “Masters
of Speed and Sport,” its eighth annual motorcycle exhibit.
The exhibit, which will run through May 31, will feature
thirty vintage racing and high-performance motorcycles.
Beginning in February, the Museum will also offer educational
seminars on motorcycle restoration and preservation.
Motohistory was invited in early to get some photos during
the installation of the exhibit. Shown here are
curators Daryl Timko and Bruce Williams with Williams'
1936 NSU 501OLS Sport. For more information about
the National Packard Museum, click here.
have carried several stories lately about Floyd Clymer's
ventures with Munch in Germany and Tartarini in Italy
in the late 1960s to create a new line of Indian motorcycles
(See Motohistory News & Views 11/14/2007, 7/20/2007,
7/9/2007, and 6/30/2007). In Tartarini-framed machines,
Clymer offered 500cc, 600cc, and 750cc engines from Velocette,
Horex, and Royal Enfield respectively. In the Velocette-powered
machine, the customer had a choice of a standard Venom
engine for $1,450 or a Thruxton engine for $1,550, which
was about $300 above the price of the comparable Velocette.
These two models differed in that the Venom had a compression
ratio of 8.75/1, a 1 3/16 inch Amal carburetor, and was
rated at 34 horsepower while the Thruxton had
a compression ratio of 9/1, a 1 3/8 inch Amal GP carburetor,
a sodium-filled exhaust valve, an improved head, hotter
cams, and was rated at 42 horsepower.
here is a publicity photo used by Clymer in late 1968
to announce his 1969 Indian product line. On the left
is the Velocette Thruxton-powered model, and on the right
is the Horex-powered machine. Both of the motorcycles
shown in the photograph are prototypes. Among several
revealing details, the most conspicuous is the flat side
panel with a hole cut in it for the battery on the left
side of the machine (as shown below). And on the Thruxton
there is no panel at all on the right side, exposing the
standard Velocette oil tank with its characteristic perforated
metal heat shield. Production models had tidy fiberglass
side panels with a raised oval similar in shape to a number
plate that hid both the battery and the oil tank.
our November 14 story about Clymer's 1969 Indian line,
motorcycle collector Don Biltz, of Middletown, Ohio (pictured
above), contacted us to report that he had recently acquired
the actual prototype of the Thruxton-powered Clymer Indian
(pictured above and below), and we made an appointment
to meet at DomiRacer in Cincinnati so I could have a look
at the machine. It has original paint, is complete and
in very good condition, carries engine and frame numbers
VMT748, and has only 44 miles on the clock! Though Biltz
does not have a complete paper trail leading back to the
motorcycle's origin, he does have documents
that reveal that it was originally sold through an Indian
dealer in Los Angeles, and that he is the fifth owner.
It is certainly the same motorcycle as pictured in the
promotional photo above, except that the seat is different.
The seat on Biltz's machine is more like that used on
the Venom-powered production models whereas the seat shown
in the photograph appears to be ill-fitting and unlike
that seen on any production machine. It was probably just
perched on the motorcycle for purpose of the photograph.
the motorcycle's Arizona
that it is a 1966 model,
even though Clymer did not start building the Tartarini-framed
Indians until 1968. At this time it was possible for unsold
motorcycles to be “re-titled,” and it was not unusual
for a dealer to offer a “new” machine that had actually
been sitting on his floor for a couple of years. The 1966
date on the title may hint at how slowly the Velocettes
were selling in the declining days of the company, and
that products non-current by two years or longer may have
been available for Clymer to buy at a good price.
his research on the motorcycle, Biltz learned that at
one time a Velocette Venom-powered prototype still existed
and had been sold to a private party. Imagine owning both
of these prototypes! Biltz is on the hunt!
portrait from "A Treasury of Motorcycles of the World"
by Floyd Clymer. Bonanza Books, 1965. Image
from Clymer Indian promotional brochure provided by Don
Cseh on the
of the Penton
the Penton Owners Group will hold its Annual Meeting at
the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum in Pickerington,
kicking off a year of celebration of the 40th anniversary
of the Penton motorcycle and the 10th anniversary
of the POG. Kalman Cseh (pictured below), a long-time
employee of KTM who was significantly involved in the
birth of the
Penton, will be a special guest at the meeting. Mr. Cseh
kindly granted Motohistory an interview prior to his upcoming
visit to the United
Here's what he told us about the origin and impact of
the Penton motorcycle.
Cseh, everyone who loves Pentons is very excited about
your plan to attend the annual meeting of the Penton Owners
Group, coming up in February. Motohistory is very
pleased for the opportunity to learn more about you in
anticipation of that meeting. First, tell us a little
about your life, education, and business experience
prior to the time you joined KTM.
was born in 1944 and raised in Mattighofen, Austria, where
I also spent my first eight years of basic school education.
I left school when I was just about 18 years old when
I graduated from commercial high school – what we called
"Handelsakademie" - in Salzburg in June 1962.
the period from summer, 1962 until November, 1965
I worked in the travel agency business, first in
Austria until April, 1964 and then in London, England,
from May, 1964 until October, 1965. During my stay in
I met my wife, Renate, fell in love, and planned to get
married, which we did in November, 1965. We both planned
to return to Austria,
and so I started to work for KTM in Mattighofen on
December 1, 1965. KTM was looking for someone who
had the knowledge of foreign languages, and for that they put
me in charge of export sales, which was not very well
developed at that time.
What was KTM like when
you joined the company?
that time, KTM was producing bicycles and mopeds,
mainly for Austria, Germany and Switzerland. However,
already in these days KTM had a small sports department which
was involved in the national and European enduro championships,
what was then known as "Gelaendesport." They
were competing in the 50cc, 100cc and 125cc categories,
using Sachs engines, and were quite successful in the
national racing scene. As far as I remember, KTM had about
180 people employed at that time.
us about your first meeting with John Penton. What
were your first impressions of the man?
first time I met John Penton was in fall of 1967
at the International Motorcycle Show in Milano, and
as far as I can remember, he was returning from the International
Six Days' Trial in Zakopane, Poland. He visited our booth
at the show. Apparently, he was talking to one of our
riders, Sigi Stuhlberger, who was also involved on a KTM 50cc
bike at the Six Days event in Zakopane,
who told him that we would be in Milano at the show and
he could meet us there. I remember very well that day
when John showed up at our booth, wearing a blue jacket
with a U.S.A. badge. I am not sure if Erich Trunkenpolz
was involved in this first meeting we had at the booth or
not; however, we did have a meeting in Milano with Mr.
Trunkenpolz, John, and myself, during which John explained
what he was looking for.
had the impression that John knew exactly what he was
talking about when he explaining to us in detail what
type of motorcycles he was looking for and how these motorcycles
should perform. He was talking about 100cc and 125cc off-road
bikes for enduro and motocross use. He was so convincing
that Erich Trunkenpolz promised to prepare a prototype
of such a bike by the end of the year. I think it was
around the Christmas holidays of 1967 when John came to
visit us at the factory to have a look at the prototype.
Penton gives you enormous credit for the creation of the
Penton motorcycle. He says you traveled with him
in Europe and opened many doors for him as he began to
develop his business. Can you tell us some of the
things you and John did together to bring about the birth
of the Penton?
Cseh: Sure, I was involved from the
beginning in my function as the sales coordinator for
all our exports, including the new contact with Penton
Imports. Due to the fact that I was one of the
few people who spoke English in these days at KTM,
I was involved in all matters John had
to discuss with Erich Trunkenpolz, the technicians in
R&D, or whoever else was involved. John
had other contacts in Europe at that time which all had
to do with the Penton motorcycles or other products for his
business. For example, the Fichtel & Sachs company
in Schweinfurt, Germany at that time was the engine suppliers,
and we visited them regularly to complain about problems
like the extensive wear of the shifting key, or the insufficient
clutch, or the Bosch ignitions, just to name a few. Other
suppliers we visited frequently were Ceriani
for the front forks, Marzocchi for the rear shock absorbers,
or Alpine Stars, who produced the Hi-Point boots.
Especially with the suspension companies, John always
had things to propose to improve the quality, reliability, and
functionality of the products.
forty years ago, no one could have envisioned the big
player KTM would become in the global motorcycle
industry. Now that it is a big company that has
built up its own great traditions, do you think people
at KTM remember the Penton? Do you think there
is a spirit in the company and the product today
that can be traced directly back to the Penton?
a matter of fact, there are very few people still in the
company who knew or ever worked with John Penton
personally; however, the involvement and the growing enthusiasm
for motorsports in general surely has its roots in these
early days when KTM and John Penton were developing sport
motorcycles for the U.S. market. This enthusiasm became
a general ingredient of KTM's company philosophy, and
has been continuously developed to the present day.
John's advertising slogan back in 1968 was "Built
for Champions," and Stefan Pierer's slogan today
is "Ready to Race,” so one can clearly see that John
Penton's original spirit has never been given up, but
definitely has been maintained for the benefit of
the brand image and the commercial success of the company.
what is going through your head as you prepare to come to
America to help John Penton and the Penton Owners
Group celebrate the 40th anniversary of the birth of the
of all, I consider it as a great honor to be invited to
this anniversary, and I am very much looking forward to
meeting again with John himself and people around him,
of whom I may know quite a few. Looking through our archives,
I have sorted out photographs from these early days, and
I have prepared a DVD with which I will make a historical
presentation, starting with the Six Days' Enduro in San
Pellegrino, Italy in 1968. I hope this presentation will
stimulate a lot of discussion about the history of the
Penton and how it has contributed to motorcycling.
Annual Meeting of the Penton Owners Group has become a
very popular winter
fixture at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. Mr. Cseh's
presence, his presentation, and the opportunity to have
him and John Penton – and other original Penton Imports
employees – together to discuss the history of the Penton
motorcycle will surely make this meeting a landmark event.
In addition, it will be a final opportunity to see the
Motocross America Exhibit, since it is scheduled to be
taken down by March, 2008. For more information about
the Penton Owners Group, click here.
provided by Kalman Cseh.
we conducted a pre-publication review of “Motorcycle”
by Steven E. Alford and Suzanne Ferriss (See Motohistory
News & Views 6/27/2007), describing it as one of the
most extensive, perceptive, and rewarding inquiries we
have seen yet into the role of the motorcycle in our culture.
Now the book is available in soft cover, published in
London by Reaktion Books Ltd. Printed on a semi-glossy,
high-quality stock, and with over 100 illustrations (50
of which are in color), the physical book is equal to
its outstanding content. To reach Reaktion Books, click
has arrived, as rich in content as we have come to expect
from this off-road riders bible, published down under.
Featuring a Penton Berkshire on the cover, it contains
an interview with the late Bud Ekins conducted by Rick
Sieman in 1998, feature stories about the 1970 Penton
Berkshire, Andre Malherbe's 1981 RC500 works Honda, the
1980 John Banks Replica Mugen Honda, the 1981 Suzuki RM250Z,
and reports on vintage enduro activity in Europe, Australia,
and the United States. There are stories about Gabriel
Beltran's and Alain Goffart's museums, and Part Two of
Leo Keller's history of how MZ became a world-beating
brand in off-road competition. To subscribe to the rich
and beautiful VMX, click here.
new Spring 2008 Motorbooks Catalog contains
promises of much new motohistory in the coming year. New
titles will include “Derek Minter: King of Brands” by
Mick Walker (June 2008), “MotoGP in Camera: The Official
Portrait of the 990cc Era” by Julian Ryder (February 2008),
“World Superbikes: The First 20 Years” by Ryder and Kel
Edge (April 2008), “The Motorcycle World Champions: The
Inside Story of History's Heroes” by Michael Scott (March
2008), “The Magic of the TT, Century Edition” by Mac McDiarmid
(February 2008) “Moto Rumi: The Complete Story” by Riccardo
Crippa (February 2008), “Moto Guzzi: The Complete History
from 1921” by Mario Columbo (February 2008), and a whole
string of titles by Peter Henshaw, including books about
the BMW GS, the Honda CBR900RR, the Triumph Bonneville,
the BSA Bantam, and BSA's 500 and 650 Twins. To reach
the MBI Publishing Company on-line, click here.
Productions has just released “BackTrack,”
nostalgic video containing vintage motocross footage and
retrospective interviews with Billy Grossi, Kent Howerton,
Gary Jones, the late Jim Pomeroy, and others. A full review
of this 55-minute video will appear in an upcoming edition
of the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies.
To reach Taylor
productions, click here.
To access the International Journal of Motorcycle Studies,
coming to the
Hall of Fame Museum
Motorcycle Hall of
Fame Museum has announced that its next major theme exhibit
“Motostars: Celebrities + Motorcycles,” will open in March.
Assembled in the facility's 8,000 square-foot gallery,
the exhibit will replace “Motocross America,” which has
been featured at the Museum for the last three years.
An official grand opening and dedication of the new exhibit
will take place on June 28, 2008. For more information,
Lambert & Butler's
are more motorcycle cards, distributed with Lambert &
Butler's cigarettes in the United
Kingdom in 1923,
from the Ken Weingart collection.
in a series of 50:
text on the back of the card reads:
h.p. sports model combination, three-speed countershaft
gear, chain drive; engine “V” type twin, detachable head.
749.75c.c., side-by-side valves, drip feed lubrication,
B. and B. carburetter, internal expanding brake on both
wheels, adjustable footrests. Four British and world's
records established at Brooklands by Mr. R.E. Dicker,
a Bradbury 5 h.p. sports model.
in a Series of 50:
text on the back of the card reads:
Brough Superior is the highest priced machine on the market,
due to the fact that its specification has been worked
out without having regard for initial cost. Each machine
is guaranteed to do over 80 m.p.h. The engine is an 8
h.p. JAP “V” twin. It has a three-speed gear.
to feature at
Hall of Fame breakfast
customizer and 1992 inductee to the Motorcycle Hall of
Fame Arlen Ness will be the headliner at the 20th Annual
Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum Friendraising Breakfast
on March 7 at the Hilton Daytona Beach Oceanfront Resort
in Daytona Beach, Florida. Tickets are $49 per person,
and all proceeds will go to the support of the non-profit
Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. For information on how
to acquire tickets to the event, click here.
by Michael Lichter.
chosen for VJMC magazine
Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club
of North America has announced that Brendan Dooley
has been named as editor of the club's bi-monthly membership
magazine. Dooley, who was founding editor of Vintage
Motorcycle Price Guide, said about the move, "I
look forward to producing a quality publication for this
enthusiastic group, and hope that I can contribute to
the continuing growth of the VJMC.” Dooley succeeds Jason
Roberts, who will leave the post in March. For more information
about the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle Club, click here.
provided by Brendan Dooley.
a recent story about the Bud Ekins memorial (See Motohistory
News & views 12/5/2007),
we published a photograph billed as the Triumph motorcycle
from “The Great Escape.” Several readers wrote to ask
whether this was a replica or the actual motorcycle used
in the film. We could not think of a better authority
to turn to than Bud's younger brother, Dave. Here is what
Dave told us:
the Great Escape Triumph, here is the story, and I know
because I was working at Bud's shop at the time.
Bud sold four new 1962 TR6s to the studio.
They had to look “Germanish,” so Von Dutch, who was also
working there at the time, did all the work and paint
required to make them look the part. Two of the
bikes were attached to sidecars and two were not.
Steve McQueen and Bud drove the sidecars during filming,
dressed in appropriate German uniforms. If you look
closely you can recognize Bud and Steve chasing themselves.
At the end of the film, Bud bought the bikes back from
the studio and sent them back to his shop in Sherman Oaks,
California where Dutch, using parts he had saved, returned
all four bikes to original condition. They were then sold
as “one owners” machines. The bike shown at Warner
Brothers for Bud's memorial event is one of several replicas
that Sean Kelly has built.
Dave, for clarifying the history of the “Great Escape”
Triumphs for our Motohistory readers.
by Ron Huch.
have a winner!
Quiz #47 taught us that there are a lot of Greeves experts
out there. We got many answers idenfiying the photo
as the cylinder and carburetors of a 1963 Greeves twin-carb
Starmaker, pictured below. The first reader to give
us this correct answer was Rokon Ron Sutton of Alton,
Illinois. We also had many respondents who guessed
that it might be a Puch, another brand that produced the
unusual configuration of a twin-carb,
single-cylinder two-stroke. The Puch, however, came
along more than a decade later, and was used by Harry
Everts to win the 1975 250cc motocross world championship.
usual, our knowledgeable quiz respondents sent us some
additional interesting information. ISDT veteran
and two-stroke expert Carl Cranke explained that the linkage
on the Greeves was set up so the second carb came in when
the first was three-quarters open. The
oddly-shaped box sitting above the inlet tubes contains
this linkage. And our German correspondent Ralf
Kruger sent us a photo of Everts' 1975 Puch works bike
with twin carbs (pictured here) for comparison.
more than 100 of the special Greeves twin-carb scramblers
were built. They produced 25 horsepower. The
motorcycle photographed for our quiz is currently on display
at Classic Motorcycles LLC in St. Louis. To access
the Classic Motorcycles web site, click here.
Rokon Ron, your Motohistory Know-It-All Diploma and winter
hat are on the way. Readers who would like to check
out Rokon Ron's Vinduro web site can click here.
we have a twin-carb, two-stroke single. Be the first Motohistory
reader to tell us what brand it is. Also, if you can,
tell us when it was manufactured. The first person to
submit the correct answer will receive a personalized
Motohistory Know-It-All Diploma. If the winner can give
us also the correct year of manufacture, he or she will
also receive a Motohistory winter cap.
your answer to Ed@Motohistory.net.
it on Willis
next time you get pulled over by a smiling Ponch or Jon
aboard a motorcycle with red and blue flashing lights,
blame it on Willis Seaman, a fellow from Nassau County,
New York who is credited with issuing America's first
speeding ticket by a motorcycle-mounted officer of the
law. This claim is made in an article that appeared in
the January 26, 1959 edition of The Daily News,
which states, “The motorcycle roared and bounced along
a rough dirt road in Nassau County, engulfed in a cloud
of dust. The cop peered through the dust at the rear of
the auto he was chasing. He quickly overtook his prey,
pulled alongside, and ordered the motorist to stop. The
cop wiped streaks of dust from his face, dismounted and
stood for a moment beside the auto, scribbling on a pad.
He tore off the sheet and handed it
to the motorist. The cop was Willie Seaman and the paper
was the first traffic summons ever issued in the U.S.
The year was 1908.” With this story was a photo of Seaman
astride an Indian twin that appears to be a 1907 or 1908
model, as shown here. The fellow with the dubious honor
of earning America's first speeding ticket from a motorcycle
cop was Charles R. Jones, a resident of Cold Spring Harbor,
New York. He was traveling at the breakneck
speed of 39 mph! Below is another picture of Willis Seaman
(on the right) with a motorcycling friend and his Harley-Davidson,
article goes on to explain that no one knew the exact
date of this historic event, but it credits an earlier
article from The New York Daily World supporting
the claim that it was Seaman who originated a traffic
ticketing system that was later adopted by New
City Police Commissioner
Frank S. Waldo, a friend of Seaman. It reports that before
Seaman retired from his duties as Nassau's
first traffic cop, he was credited with issuing more than
10,000 citations, including speeding tickets to noted
racing drivers Louis Chevrolet, Ralph DePalma, and Ralph
Mulford. The hapless scofflaws apprehended by Seaman had
the pleasure of appearing before Mineola,
New York Magistrate Franklin P. Seaman, his uncle.
the Seamans were prominent in the region. In fact, their
lineage can be traced back to Captain John Seaman, who
was deeded Jones
by the English Crown
in the 17th century. He later sold it to the State of
for $500, which was a considerably higher price than the
State had paid for Manhattan
Willis was born in 1891, and by his teenage years had
become a dedicated motorcycle enthusiast. Future speeders
would have no chance against him, because it was rumored
his Indian could achieve 90 mph. He spent 16 years serving
as Nassau County's
motorcycle cop, and was generally regarded a colorful
character. He even received national notoriety when he
eloped with his wife, Helen, aboard a motorcycle. The
Daily News story states, “It was probably the
first motorcycle elopement in history.” Seaman died in
in 1957, survived by his son Anson, of Mineola,
and his daughter Joan, of Levittown.
Police Motorcycles,” by Buck Lovell (Wolfgang Publications,
2002) does not confirm that Seaman was America's
first motorcycle cop, yet there is nothing in the book
that would deny the claim. Its first chapter, “In the
Beginning: Motorcycle Cops Take to the Streets,” is a
general treatment of the subject without specific dates
or footnoted sources. It includes photos of “a local Constable”
aboard an Indian that looks to be a 1908 model, and of
a policeman aboard a belt-drive Excelsior single, which
may be a 1908 as well. These photos are not dated, so
we are unable to link their currency with the model years
of the motorcycles. They may have been taken later. There
is also a photograph of San
posing with a Thor, which may be as early as a 1907 model,
but, again, the photograph is undated. A second photo
of San Diego
motorcycle cops is reported to be from 1910 or 1911. So,
lacking additional evidence to the contrary, the next
time you are pulled over by a motorcycle cop, you may
as well blame your misfortune on Willis Seaman.
thanks to Bruce Seaman (grandson) and Melissa Seaman Atkinson
(great granddaughter) for providing the source material
for this story.
early as the mid-1930s, BMW was working on a boxer twin
in the 250/350cc range. 350cc prototypes were seen being
tested on the highway between Munich
but at the end of the decade, development of these engines
ceased. However, by the early 1950s, 250cc motorcycles
were becoming more popular in a post-war world that needed
economical transportation. Some German manufacturers –
BMW included – wanted to build for a quality
niche with a better product than the cheap 100 to 175cc
two-strokes that emerged after the war. The first dream
machines of this modern layout were the twin-cylinder
Adler and the overhead-cam NSU Max, which appeared in
was well-known in the 250cc class with its R25, but the
company wanted to catch up with a more modern and impressive
design, and what better way to do this than with the boxer
twin, which was the age-old trademark of the brand. In
1955, a design team headed by Alex von Falkenhausen (pictured
here) undertook a project designated RS250-M207 that was
intended to bring forth a high-performance engine capable
of challenging the racing dominance of Hermann Paul Mueller
his NSU Sportmax. According to this plan, a top-tier racing
machine would be developed first, then a road-going version
would soon follow, competing in the serial-production
market with the 250cc Max. The team wanted a small bike
with terrific handling, so they needed a compact engine
that could compete also with the ever-improving lightweight
two-strokes of the era. To achieve the power required,
a high engine speed would be necessary, and the best path
at hand was to adopt a single overhead-cam layout (pictured
above) with shaft drive and bevel gears similar to the
double-cam design that had proven itself so well in the
500cc RS54 racing model. This engine had demonstrated
its potential when Walter
Zeller won the German National Championship in 1954. In
addition, it had begun to utterly dominate world-class
avoid crankshaft flexing at high engine speeds, the RS250
design included a central ball bearing with roller bearings
on the ends (pictured here). Not only did this mean
the crankshaft had to be a “built-up” type, but the cases
had to be split horizontally to facilitate installation
of the crank. For lightness, these cases (pictured
here) were cast in magnesium alloy. The cylinders were
chrome-plated and sunk deep into the cases to reduce the
overall width of the engine. Full-skirted pistons used
two compression and a single oil ring, and their wrist
pins were pivoted in bronze bushings. The bearings on
the big ends of the rods were needle roller type. Fuel
injection was planned for the racing engine, but the road
version would have carburetors. Ignition for the racer
would be by magneto while the series production road machine
would use battery/coil ignition. The bore and stroke of
the engine were 56mm x 50.6mm, and the racing version
was expected to achieve 32 to 34 horsepower.
retrospect, it is sad that this exciting and promising
baby boxer was never put into production. The financial
situation at BMW had become strained, and anticipating
a declining motorcycle market, the company decided to
concentrate resources on its established model line. Thus,
to address the 250cc niche, the R25 was succeeded by updated
but heavy and underpowered singles: the R26 and later
the R27. The dreams of BMW's customers who awaited a boxer
twin in the 250/350cc range were never fulfilled.
provided by Ralf Kruger.
Honda artifact collector Steve MacMinn sent us a photo
of a tool he had picked up in a pile of Honda shop tools
(See Motohistory News & Views 11/16/2007).
It has a hollow outer shaft with a slot near the end,
and an internal shaft controlled by the upper end of the
handle, as pictured here. While it came from a Honda shop,
was not a Honda tool, and MacMinn did not know what it
was for. So we made an inquiry to Motohistory readers,
and answers came back promptly from several. It is a gasket
removal tool. A removable blade fits in the slot at the
end of the tool, and the internal shaft screws down tight
to hold it in place. With blade in place, it cane be used
to scrape gasket material off of metal surfaces. Thanks
to our Motohistory readers who responded to this inquiry.
provided by Steve MacMinn.
great majority of cities in America do not have a motorcycle
museum, though over the last decade several have seen
temporary exhibits assembled in leading galleries and
art museums. A permanent motorcycle exhibit in a major
city is an oddity, and two would be unheard of, except
in the case of St. Louis, where there are three! Well-known
Gateway City motorcycle dealers Carl Donelson and Dave
Mungenast created museums
open to the public more than a decade ago, and with the
opening of the Moto Museum last year, St. Louis
now has exhibits in north, south, and center regions of
this city of 3 million. And all three museums are growing
or expanding their operations.
Smith's Moto Museum, at 3441 Olive, adjoining the St.
Louis University campus, held its grand opening last April
28 (To read our first report on The Moto Museum, go to
Motohistory 3/26/2007). Since then, several bikes have
been added to the collection that now numbers over 90.
The most impressive of these is a Bohmerland (pictured
above with Smith), one of the most unusual motorcycles
of all time. Produced in Czechoslovakia
from 1925 through
1930, and powered by a 598cc Liebisch single-cylinder
engine, the Bohmerland featured an
enormously robust frame, aluminum disc wheels, and twin
fuel tanks mounted outboard
the rear of the motorcycle. Only
two of these rare motorcycles exist in the United
States: at Moto
and at the Barber
Smith plans to open a restaurant adjoining the Moto
next year. He says,
“It will not be a motorcycle-themed restaurant, but its
patrons will be able to tour The Moto Museum before or
after their meal." For hours and location of The
Moto Museum, click here.
Cycles, at 9851 St. Charles Rock Road, has a diverse collection
that leans toward American dirt track motorcycles, including
one of the best collections of BSA Gold Star dirt trackers
that one can find in a single location (To read our first
report on Donelson's, go to Motohistory News & Views
1/14/2004). Carl Donelson (pictured above) has recently
acquired adjoining property and during the winter will
the size of the museum. When expanded, there will be more
than 50 motorcycles on display. For more information about
Donelson Cycles, click here.
Motorcycles LLC (pictured on the left), the museum founded
by the late Dave Mungenast at 5626 Gravois Road in South
St. Louis, has expanded its floor space recently, and
its collection continues to grow while displays have been
changed and upgraded on a regular basis (To read our first
report on Classic Motorcycles LLC, go to Motohistory News
& Views 2/8/2004). Now with over 170 motorcycles on
display – 140 of which are owned by members of the Mungenast
family – recent acquisitions include a 1961 Parilla Wildcat
scrambler, a 1963 Greeves Starmaker, a pair of Jawa speedway
machines, a 1957 BSA Gold Star dirt tracker, a rare 350cc
BSA DB32 Gold Star, and a 1929 Henderson KJ Streamliner.
For hours and times for Classic Motorcycles LLC, click
about Cannonball Baker's
we reported on Erwin “Cannonball” Baker's efforts to develop
a revolutionary rotary-valve engine, a prototype of which
he tested with a record-breaking coast-to-coast ride in
May, 1941, when he was 60 years old, as pictured here
(see Motohistory News & Views 9/12/2007). According
to a report written by Baker's nephew, Clarence -- corroborated
by an article published in the June issue of The Motorcyclist
penned by editor Chet Billings -- the engine, mounted
in an Indian Scout chassis, performed flawlessly, carrying
Baker from Los Angeles to New York City in 6 days, 6 hours,
and 25 minutes without breakdown or mishap under a wide
range of weather and riding conditions. Baker's design
was the Cross-type rotary valve, originally
designed by Roland Cross in England
in 1920, and his
successful cross-country test would suggest that he achieved
better results than his British counterparts, who continued
to develop the design without much success into the 1960s.
After his successful ride in 1941, Baker hoped to find
backing to put his rotary-valve engine into production,
but that never happened, at least in part because technical
development and financial
resources were at that time shifting toward the military
requirements of the Second World War.
Baker rotary-valve test bike still exists, in original
condition, and is owned by the Indianapolis
However, there also exists at the Wheels Through Time
Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, another motorcycle
that proves that Baker
continued his research after the Second World War. It
is a 125cc two-stroke CZ (pictured above), converted to
a rotary-valve engine similar in design to the motorcycle
at the Indianapolis
(as pictured on the left).
We can be certain this example represents post-war development
because the CZ motorcycle Baker used was not imported
into the United States
until 1948. After
the Second World War, both Indian and Harley-Davidson
hoped to capture an economy market by adding small two-stroke
road bikes to their product lines. Harley-Davidson introduced
in 1948 its 125cc Model S, commonly known as the Hummer,
based on a much-copied DKW design, and Indian began to
import a 125cc CZ, which it did not at first brand as
an Indian, but marketed as “the Chek.” Pictured here is
the first advertisement to appear for Indian's Chek, which
was published on the back cover of the March, 1948 issue
of American Motorcycling. For its 1949 model
year, Indian continued to import the CZ, but rebranded
it as an Indian. Based on the CZ logo on its tank, it
would appear that Baker developed his second rotary-valve
prototype from the 1948 model.
CZ-based rotary was purchased by motorcycle collector
and swap meet organizer Buzz Walneck from a niece of Cannonball
Baker for $700, then later sold to Dale Walksler, curator
for the Wheels Through Time Museum. Along with it came
a box of parts, including a spare rotary valve. Baker's
secret to overcoming the lubrication problems that plague
rotary valve designs was to construct the valve drum from
carbon, or what his nephew described
as “oil-impregnated graphite.” There are reports that
two of the CZ-based prototypes were built, but it is not
known where a second example is today.
the Wheels Through Time Museum owns another rotary-valve
engine for which it has absolutely no history and documentation,
but one might speculate that it may have been a test bed
built by Baker. Pictured above, this engine is quite crude
and has a single cylinder installed on an Indian Four
crankcase. It clearly is not intended to power a vehicle,
but may have been constructed as a test bench model for
the purpose of developing a rotary-valve upper end. Indians
and Indian parts figured so prominently in Baker's rotary-valve
development, the use of an Indian Four crankcase might
hint as his involvement as well. We hope to one day learn
more about the original owner and purpose of this curious
engine, and we will continue to seek information on Cannonball
Baker's fascinating rotary-valve project.
provided by the Indianapolis Motor Speedway Hall of Fame
and the Wheels Through
the eldest of John Penton's sons, has launched his own
blog. To check it out, click here.
Scroll down and you will find vintage motorcycle photos
from his personal archives.
Hall of Fame Museum Executive Director Mark Mederski
will be the guest speaker at the 2008
Randakk's International Vintage Honda Rally.
Mederski, who is himself a collector of vintage Hondas,
has promised to bring along a Vincent. Go figure! For
more information on the rally, click here.
to listen to the sounds of great
classic motorcycles? Click here.
Evel Knievel's last interview, click
reports that a buyer's guide on BSA twins
will be coming soon. For more information, click here.
2008 International Six Days' Trial Reunion Ride
will be hosted by the Tulsa Trail Riders at
the John Zink Ranch in Sand Springs,
Oklahoma October 31 through November 2. To reach the TTR
web site, click here.
web site of the Indiana Vintage Off-Road Motorcycle
Enthusiasts has just launched a forum. To check
it out, click here. To
reach the main IVORME web site, click here.
celebration of Bud Ekins' life was held December 2 at
the Warner Brothers Burbank movie lot. The event included
a film retrospective and guest speakers Donna and Susie
Ekins, brother Dave Ekins, Keith Mashburn, Skip Van Leeuwen,
Nellie Adams (McQueen), Cliff Coleman, Jerry Weintraub,
Jay Leno, Chad McQueen, and others. On display were the
Triumph from “The Great Escape” (pictured here) and two
Mustang automobiles from “Bullitt.” Ekins worked as Steve
McQueen's stunt double in both films. For a mini-bio of
Ekins, click here. To
access the Bud Ekins tribute web site, click here.
provided by Ron Huch.
are more motorcycle cards, distributed with Lambert &
Butler's cigarettes in the United
Kingdom in 1923,
from the Ken Weingart collection.
in a series of 50:
text on the back of the card reads:
BAT Motor Manufacturing Company were early makers of motor
cycles, the first machine being produced in the year 1901.
It was the first machine fitted with a vertical engine
and to dispense with pedals. Three machines are now marketed
– the 21/4 h.p., 5 h.p., and 8 h.p. heavy combination.
The machine can always be recognized by the French grey
finish and the cylindrical tank.
initials “BAT” were for “Best After Test.”
in a series of 50:
text on the back of the card reads:
steel frame model, fully sprung on the cantilever principle.
The engine is a “Precision” 41/2 h.p. single cylinder,
four-stroke; A.C.U. 5'98 rating; cylinder is detachable.
Petrol tank – capacity two gallons – is of steel, and
forms part of the frame; automatic lubrication; external
contracting band brakes; all-chain drive; Dunlop light
car tyres. Constructed for heavy touring purposes, either
as solo or sidecar machine. Made at King's Norton, Birmingham.
Smith was Executive Secretary of the American Motorcycle
Association from 1928 through 1958. At some point during
his tenure – probably in the early 1930s – Smith issued
exclusive membership cards made of brass to the leading
personalities and supporters of the Association. It is
not known how many such cards were issued, but it may
have been as many as 100. The AMA has no records that
tell us to whom these cards were issued, though
we do know the following: Joe Petrali #1, Walter C. Davidson
#10, Herb Reiber #11, Red Wolverton #28, Horace Fritz
#77, Jules Horky #88.
Vanino, former promoter and AMA Referee, has sent us a
photo of the card issued to Wolverton (pictured above),
who was Vanino's father-in-law. We hope any Motohistory
reader who knows of the existence of any such membership
cards will send us the name and number. Send this information
We would like to create a listing that is as complete
response to our story about the Kawasaki development project
run by Jack Penton and Dane Leimbach in the early 1980s
(See Motohistory News & Views 11/13/2007), motojournalist
Larry Smith of Youngstown, Ohio writes:
usual you have brightened my days. Thanks again
for your web site. The story of Jack Penton
memories. I was called in
of 1978 by Cycle News' Gary Van Vooris to see how close
MC I was located and if I wanted to go down and see about
their "high dollar" winter hare scramble series.
had, over the years, attended flat track during the summer
at the facility. So I headed out to see what a hare
scramble was about. It was 8 degrees out when I
got out of the truck that Sunday morning. The snow
was hard packed on the surface and about 16 inches deep,
having drifted to several feet in sections. Over
a hundred bikes were on hand.
went to work, but none of the riders knew me as I had
been spending my time writing about the road
races at Nelson Ledges. Near the half-way point
of the race, a young rider pulled up and said, "go
to the jump!"
followed the course, jumping off into the deep snow each
time bikes came along. After coming out of a heavily
wooded section, I climbed a steep hill. I turned
upon hearing a bike approach at speed. Before I could
get my camera up to my eye, the bike with the young rider
flew over my head. He waved.
was my introduction to Teddy Leimbach. Through his friendship,
I got to love covering hare scrambles and the great folks
at Hi-Point. Here are two photos of Teddy. It is
a shame motorcycling lost him when he was so young. He
was a great ambassador.
Leimbach was the brother of Dane Leimbach and cousin to
the Penton boys. Like the other young men in his
family, he was a world-class off-road competitior.
Three weeks before the 1980 ISDT in France -- for which
he had qualified to ride -- he had an automobile accident.
He died on the opening day of the ISDT.