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Motohistory Quiz #36:

We have no winner.

(3/31/2007)

 

Sanglas MotorcycleMotohistory Quiz #36 (posted 3/29/2007) was our second quiz in a row with no correct answers. The motorcycle is a Spanish-built Sanglas. Shown here is the advertisement from which the image was taken, published in Cycle Sport in July, 1968.  It was provided by Carl Hess, who once submitted stories and photographs to that magazine.

 

Sanglas, founded in Barcelona in 1942, manufactured motorcycles until 1981, building a durable four-stroke single sold mostly to the Spanish police. Two-strokes were added to the line in 1962, using Zundapp and Spanish-made Villiers engines. The company became affiliated with Yamaha in 1978 and was acquired by the Japanese firm in 1981, at which time the Sanglas brand ceased to be.

 

Carl Escherich:

the “German Champion”

(3/29/2007)

 

Escherich head shotRecently, I had the good fortune to study a collection of photographs and clippings owned by the heirs of Carl Escherich (pictured here), a notable board track racer who was born circa 1892 and competed mainly in Wisconsin. Although one clipping from September, 1915 describes Escherich as a “Milwaukee boy,” promoters billed him as “the German Champion from Berlin.” Descendants who remember him report that he spoke with a pronounced German accent, and they believe he immigrated to America in his late teens.  Records indicate that a Karl Escherich, age 18, arrived at Ellis Island from Wegscheid, Germany in 1909. There was also a Carl Escherich, age 20, who arrived from Weysheid (sic) in 1911.  Our hero might have been either of these men, though his heirs recall that he was still in his teens when he arrived. In this case, he would have been the former, despite the difference in the spelling of his forename.  At any rate, he must have arrived with significant racing credentials, because he was able to secure rides on both a Escherich and Eight-valvefactory eight-valve Indian and a Cyclone. He competed against such top-tier riders as Otto Walker, Joe Wolters, Bob Perry, and Glen Stokes. Within the memorabilia collection is a panoramic photo from the Madison Race Course – a dirt track – depicting Escherich with these and other top riders.

 

It is known that he worked at the Wisconsin Motorcycle Company, an Indian dealership, in 1913, and that he negotiated a ride on the Cyclone team in 1915. Below is a photograph of Escherich, posing aboard a Cyclone. After his racing career he took a job a chauffer for one of the Briggs and Stratton families, although his descendants do not know which fEscherich on Cycloneamily he worked for. He later owned the Blue Danube Tavern in Milwaukee and died on June 15, 1969 at the age of 77.

 

We want to thank Dave Larsen, Bill Roseman, and Herb Wagner for providing information on Escherich. Others who have any documents or information about his life and career are encouraged to E-mail Ed@motohistory.net.

 

Motohistory Quiz #36

(3/29/2007)

 

Quiz 37This image is taken from an advertisement that appeared in the United States. What is the brand, where was it built, and when was it available for sale?

 

Be the first to name the bike, its nation of origin, and when the ad was published (plus or minus three years), and you will win two tickets to The Legend of the Motorcycle International Concours d'Elegance taking place May 5 at the Ritz-Legend LogoCarlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California. In addition, you will win a much-coveted, personalized Motohistory Know-It-All Diploma. Send your answers to Ed@Motohistory.net.

 

New exhibit will honor

Malcolm Smith

(3/28/2007)

 

The Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum has announced "Malcolm!," a new exhibit scheduled to open July 26 that will honor the career of legendary off-road racing champion, movie star, motorcycling ambassador, philanthropist, and mega-dealer Malcolm Smith.  The dedication Malcolm Smithceremony will be preceded by a special June 7 exhibit preview and Museum fundraiser at Smith's Riverside, California dealership. "Malcolm!" will be sponsored by Tucker Rocky Distributing Company.

As one of the most multi-faceted competitors ever to take to the dirt, Smith excited fans for over three decades with numerous trips to the victory podium. His racing career included six Baja 1000 victories, four Baja 500 wins, eight gold medals at the International Six Days' Trials, and a string of four-wheel victories. However, it was his co-starring role in the 1971 film “On Any Sunday” that earned him national recognition.  Produced by Bruce Brown and Steve McQueen, the movie introduced Smith to thousands of new fans.  Ever active and passionate about motorcycling, today he continues his work as an industry ambassador and successful multi-line motorcycle dealer.  He also donates his time to give back to the country where he made such an impression as a racer through support of an orphanage in
Mexico.

"Malcolm!" is the fourth in a series of “Legends exhibits” at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum.  Curated by long-time friend and colleague Tom White of White Brothers Performance, the exhibit will feature machines and memorabilia from Smith's own collection.  Significant motorcycles will include his first racing bike, a 1950 Matchless, the Husqvarna 400 Cross he rode in “On Any Sunday,” his first two-wheeler, a Lambretta scooter, and the 1967 Husqvarna on which he earned his first ISDT gold medal.


Collectors wishing to lend their Malcolm Smith bikes or ephemera in support of the exhibit are invited to contact Museum Executive Director Mark Mederski. Call 614-856-2222 or E-mail mmederski@motorcyclemuseum.org. To read Malcolm Smith's Motorcycle Hall of Fame bio, click here. For more information about the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum, click here.

Photo courtesy of Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum.

 

Together again:

Don Emde and his BSA dirt tracker

(3/28/2007)

 

Emde at AscotDon Emde, who won the Daytona 200 in 1972 aboard a 350cc Yamaha, first earned national prominence aboard a BSA. Emde recalls, “It was a great bike for the time. It had a Trackmaster racing frame with Ceriani forks, and the 650cc A65 motor was spec'd out for us by Tom Sifton. We used all his stuff: cams, pushrods etc, and we would send our cylinder heads to him to be polished and packed with his valves and springs. My father Floyd knew Tom from his racing days on Harleys, but Tom was right on top of what the BSAs needed when AMA rules let us go from the 500cc to 650cc engines in 1969. That was the year Jim Rice won six Nationals for BSA with Sifton equipment.”

 

As an Amateur, Emde won many main events at Ascot aboard the BSA, plus the Amateur National at Oklahoma City and the California State TT Championship at Ascot. He is pictured above flying off the jump with the late Tod Emde with dirt trackerSloan at Ascot in 1970. Don says, “While I never won anything big on it my Expert year, I credit this bike for earning me a spot on the BSA factory team in 1971.”

 

Emde has just been reunited with the motorcycle, which he found surprisingly close to the condition in which he last rode it 37 years ago. He explains, “I got a call from my sister Nancy who had been notified by a friend that the bike was on eBay. When I showed my wife all the little things on the bike that my dad made by hand back when it was new, she convinced me we should go for it.” You can tell by the smile on Emde's face that he is pleased to be reunited with his old two-wheeled friend. He says, “It was a great moment to have the old steed back in my barn.” To read Don Emde's Motorcycle Hall of Fame bio, click here.

 

Photos provided by Don Emde.

 

Motorcycles show at Saratoga

(3/27/2007)

 

Saratoga MuseumOn March 18 the Saratoga Automobile Museum of Saratoga Springs, New York opened a new exhibit entitled “Born 2 Ride: America on Two Wheels.” The display, which is scheduled to run through July 22, contains a diverse array of motorcycles ranging in age from 1914 to the present, including land speed record, touring, track racing, custom, road racing, scooter, sidecar, and motocross Saratoga Exhibitmachines. The 21-motorcycle exhibit explores the cultural influence of motorcycling, often through the trend-setters and important people who rode them. The motorcycles owned by famous Americans are sometimes depicted by replicas or similar models, such as those ridden by Elvis Presley or Rollie Free, but often the true pedigreed machines are on display, such as Joe Petrali's speedway bike, Cal Rayborn's Bonneville streamliner, Dot Robinson's Harley/Hannigan sidecar rig, or Von Dutch's customized Rayborn LinerTriumph. The displays are enhanced by giant graphics of some of the celebrities and sportsmen and women associated with the motorcycles.

 

The Saratoga Automobile Museum, opened in 2001, is located within the expansive pine forest of Saratoga Spa State Park in a former water bottling plant built in 1935 in the Georgian Revival Style by architect James F. Friedlander. In addition to thoroughbred horse racing, Saratoga Springs is noted for its pure spring waters and was at one time a favorite summer resort for the rich and famous. While “Born 2 Ride” is the current feature exhibit of the museum, a display of famous racing cars and automobiles manufactured in New York can also be seen on the upper level of the museum. For directions and more information, click here.

 

Exhibit interior photos by Steve Potter, Saratoga Automobile Museum staff.

 

St. Louis Moto Museum opening in April

(3/26/2007)

 

Steve with MaicomobileSt. Louis, which already has two outstanding motorcycle collections open to the public, will soon have a third when Moto Museum, located at 3441 Olive, near St. Louis University, opens in April. Featuring the collection of Steve Smith, its 15,000 square feet of exhibit space will include approximately 100 motorcycles by 75 manufacturers from 20 nations. Open exhibit spaces with high ceilings will be divided by brightly-colored banners into seven “halls,” each representing a geographical region of the world. With a focus on rare and vintage bikes manufactured before 1975, the collection features many brands not commonly seen in the United States, such as the Hungarian Panonia (shown below with a Duna sidecar), the AdlerBelgian Sarolea, the French Alcyon (bottom photo below), the Polish Junak, or the German Adler (pictured here).

 

Smith, pictured above with a Maicomobile in the process of restoration, is an active motorcyclist whose interests are as diverse as his collection. When not pursuing his day job or working on his museum, Smith likes to cruise on his Harley, partake in spirited street riding aboard his MV Agusta, or ride off-road with his KTM. In his day job, incidentally, he is CEO of the St. LouPanoniais office of The Lawrence Group, one of America's largest architectural, interior design, and urban planning firms. It is apparent how Smith has applied his professional knowledge and skills to the conversion of a formerly distressed inner city property into housing and a public attraction that will enhance the whole neighborhood. And for anyone who would love to live around beautiful and rare vintage motorcycles, Smith's development will offer loft apartments on Alcionthe upper floors of the Moto Museum facility.

 

Smith is kicking off the opening of Moto Museum with an International Motorcycle Festival in downtown St. Louis April 26 through 29. Admission for the festival, which will feature vendors, outdoor bike shows, food, music, and movies, will include admission to the Moto Museum. For more information about Moto Museum, click here. For information about the St. Louis International Motorcycle Festival, click here.

 

 

It's turbo month at Solvang

(3/25/2007)

 

Honda TurboApril will be Turbo Month at the Solvang Motorcycle Museum in Solvang, California. Some of the turbos on display will include CX500 and CX650 Hondas, a Yamaha Seca Turbo, and a Suzuki XN650. Anyone who arrives at the museum aboard a turbo will get in free. To read our story about Virgil Elings and his Solvang Motorcycle Museum, go to Motohistory News & Views 3/12/2006). For more information about the museum, click here.

 

Fred Ham Celebration Ride set for April 4

(3/24/2007)

 

WTTM Ham BikeMotohistory recently reported on a plan by the Wheels Through Time Museum to race a 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead (pictured here) for 24 hours to commemorate the 70th anniversary of Fred Ham's historic marathon record run at Muroc Dry Lake. For more details see Motohistory News & Views 3/10/2007). We have just learned that April 4 has been confirmed as the date when the event will take place at Talladega International Speedway. Rider Wayne Stanfield will take the green flag at 4 p.m. on the afternoon of the 4th and hopefully ride to the checkered flag at 4 p.m. on the afternoon of the 5th.  For more information about the Wheels Through Time Museum, click here.

 

 

Spanish brand shootout planned:

Aldana expected to ride

(3/22/2007)

 

Gary Nixon and Dave Aldana are expected to be on hand at the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association double-header national championship that will take place at Square Deal Raceway in Harpursville, New York June 29 and 30, and it is rumored that Hugh's Bultaco is preparing an Astro for Aldana to ride. In addition, there will be a 250cc support class both nights for all Spanish brands. More information will be provided on the Metro Racing web site as plans are developed. To reach Metro's site, click here. For directions to the Square Deal Raceway, click here.

 

 

New David Uhl painting to be unveiled at

Legend of the Motorcycle International Concours

(3/20/2007)

 

This year's Legend of the Motorcycle International Concours d'Elegance, scheduled to take place May 5 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel at Half Moon Bay, California, should be a spectacular event, based on current planning. Over 200 rare and collectible motorcycles will be on display and a lifetime achievement award will be presented to Willie G. Davidson. The commemorative marques are Vincent, Excelsior, and Henderson. Among the special Vincents committed to appear are the 1946 1X prototype, the first Vincent built after the Second World War, the John Edgar Black Lightning on which Rollie Free traveled across the Bonneville Salt Flats Legend of Bob Perryat 150 miles per hour to set an unstreamlined speed record, and two motorcycles – a 1947 Rapide and a 1949 supercharged Black Lightning – on which Marty Dickerson set speed records.

 

There will be an auction by Bonhams, and the Concours judges will include Bud Ekins, Pierre Terblanche, Erik Buell, Oriol Bulto, Marty Dickerson, Mert Lawwill, Craig Vetter, and Wayne Rainey, headed by Ed Gilbertson, the chief judge at the legendary Pebble Beach Concours. In addition, celebrated artist David Uhl has created an original 24 x 30 inch oil-on-linen painting (pictured above) depicting Bob Perry and the overhead cam Excelsior on which he met his untimely death at Ascot Park in Los Angeles early in 1920. It will be sold at auction to the highest bidder, but limited framed prints of equal size will be available.  Paul Brodie is expected to have a running example of his Excelsior OHC recreation ready in time for the event. To read Daniel Statnekov's account of Bob Perry and the Excelsior, click here. For information about the Legend of the Motorcycle International Concours d'Elegance, click here. To reach artist David Uhl's web site, click here. To read about Paul Brodie's Excelsior recreation, go to Motohistory News & Views 8/22/2006 and 8/29/2006.  To read about the project on Brodie's Flashback Fabrications web site, click here.

 

Image of Bob Perry and 1920 OHC Excelsior provided by David Uhl.

 

 

A scrambler for the street:

More photohistory by CHess

(3/19/2007)

 

This time our chronicler of the 1960s amateur racing scene, Carl Hess, provides us a nice photo of a Honda Scrambler at speed. Honda introduced its 250cc CL72 in 1962 and its 305cc CL77 model in 1965, and they were offered through 1968 as ready-to-race motorcycles Honda Scramblercomplete with small tank and high exhaust pipes. But the bike came also with full lighting, indicating that Honda may have been hedging its bets as to its true competitive ability.

 

The four-stroke Honda Scrambler arrived when the two-stroke was coming to the fore, and while many – like the rider in our photo – took the bike's name at face value and tried to race it on the scrambles track, it did not take long for most to discover that it was too heavy and unresponsive to be a consistent winner. Still, that brutish styling was so cool, and its even-more-brutish sound was even better, so the “street scrambler” was born. They came with red, blue, or black frames with silver sheet metal. The red-framed bike was most appealing in its sheer unorthodoxy. Despite its queMungenast at Riverdalestionable racing pedigree, the Honda Scrambler was enormously popular, especially on college campuses where long rows of them could be seen parked along the curb outside the classrooms by day and the bars by night.

 

While the CL models were not competitive bikes for the average amateur scrambles rider, in the hands of accomplished racers they had some notable achievements. For example, Dave Mungenast gave Honda its first AMA national championship title aboard a CL72 at a 24-hour marathon held at Riverdale Speedway near St. Louis in 1964. Pictured above is Mungenast on the occasion of his Riverdale victory, with pit crew Pat O'Mara and Jim Hardie.

 

 

From the Web

(3/17/2007)

 

Old S'Cool restorer Eric Johnson reports that he has just completed a year-long restoration of a Rex Staten Yamaha YZ250 owned by Cody Tellis. To check out the project, click here.  Johnson has also created a web site about Staten. To visit it, click here.

Historian Tim Pickering, a Kiwi who lives in Fiji, has created a very informative web site about Charles Franklin, the man who designed the legendary Indian Scout.  To learn about Franklin, click here.

Our Motohistory links page now has over 260 sources of history, wit, and wisdom.  Click here.

 

 

The Vincent lives!

(3/15/2007)

 

Irving Vincent at speedOur ultimate Vincent fan, Big Sid Biberman, reports that during the Barry Sheene Memorial Race held at the Eastern Creek International Raceway in Australia March 9 through 11, Craig McMartin of New South Wales (pictured here) rode his K.H. Equipment Irving Vincent to six victories in six starts, defeating single and double overhead cam Hondas, Suzukis, Kawasakis, Yamahas, and Ducatis. Biberman writes, “The single Vincent entry won all six races it entered. A friend Irving Vincent enginewho was racing a Ducati in those events told me, ‘This Vincent is indeed the fastest classic racing motorcycle in the world.' He watched it pass him on the track and described it as ‘scary fast.'”

 

Sid also informs us that his Vincati hybrid (pictured below), first seen at Motohistory (see Motohistory News & Views 6/4/2006) and later featured in Cycle World, will be featured again in the March issue of Great Britain's Classic Bike Magazine.

 

VincatiFor more information about the Irving Vincent, click here. For information about the Post Classic Racing Association of New South Wales, click here. For more information about the Barry Sheene Memorial, click here. To reach Big Sid Biberman's Vincent web site, click here.

 Photos provided by Sid Biberman.

 

 

Feedback

(3/14/2007)

Triumph in Timonium

Recently, we published an article about Triumph Corporation, known as TriCor, the brand's eastern U.S. distributorship located in Timonium, Maryland, a Baltimore suburb (see Motohistory News & Views 2/28/2007). Our story ended when Norton-Villiers-Triumph consolidated all U.S. operations at Duarte, California. Seth Dorfler writes with more interesting information about the ex-TriCor facility:

 

Hello Ed, just a small foot note to your article regarding the history of Triumph in America. Don't know if you are aware that the Berliner Brothers, Joe and Michael, were the last to own the Triumph facility in Baltimore. I was working for Berliner/Premier Motor Corporation when I traveled with Michael and other Berliner employees to Baltimore.  Our job was to clean out the building Freddy and Renoand close it down. As a side bar, the Berliners were also the last owners of the Indian factory in Springfield, Massachusetts.

 

Michael Berliner is still with us and a wonderful source of American motorcycle history. Joe Berliner has passed on, and their sister, Rose, who worked for her brothers just passed away a few weeks ago. Just think about what the Berliners have done for Motorcycling in the USA, including the importation of Zundapp, Jawa, Sacks, Norton, Matchless, Ducati, Moto Guzzi, and Metzler and Pirelli tires. And did you know that the Berliners supplied Knievel with Nortons, and provided a Norton for the movie “Bye Bye Birdie?” Also, the Berliners gave many young riders the opportunity to ride great equipment. This included Freddy Spencer, Frank Scurria, Mike Baldwin, Jimmy Adamo and many more. Michael is not getting any younger, and I for one think it is time the Motorcycle Hall of Fame recognize what these two Hungarian emigrants did for American motorcycling.

 

Seth included a wonderful picture of a very young Freddie Spencer with Reno Lioni (above), and a photo of Michael Berliner with Dr. Fabio Taglioni and the famousTaglioni and Berliner Imola winning Ducati ridden by Paul Smart in 1972, shown here. He also sent us a photo of Cook Neilson and Old Blue taken at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days two years ago (below). If you have not read our interview with Neilson, click here.

 

This is as good a time as any to say something to American Motohistory readers about the U.S. Motorcycle Hall of Fame nomination process. The process, described on the Hall of Fame web site, is no great secret, and it is as straightforward and non-political as such a process can be. I frequently have people say to me, “Why isn't so-and-so in the Hall of Fame,” or “So-and-so should be in the Hall of Fame.” Well, folks, it begins Cook and Old Bluewith you. Anyone can nominate anyone to the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, but it takes a nomination to get the process started. Just click here, review the instructions, sit down and explain in writing why someone should be placed in nomination, and buy a stamp. Or, forget the stamp and submit your proposal electronically. Granted, getting inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame is not easy, but the nomination process is, and that's what has to come first. If you are aware that someone has been nominated, but has not yet been voted into membership, then write a letter of support. It cannot hurt.

Photos provided by Seth Dorfler.

 

Motorcycles and appliances

About our commentary on the art of Michael Ulman (Motohistory News & Views 3/6/2007), Mark Begin writes,

Electrolux MotorcycleOh, how your piece on the Electrolux-inspired sculpture of Michael Ulman made me chuckle.  The familiar tank of the household convenience seems to make perfect sense in the architecture of the sculpted side hack.  So glad you were able to “steal a look” for the rest of us.

But somehow this association of vacuum cleaner and motorcycle is more than sculptural.  How weird is that?  Your mention of the Electrolux/Husqvarna union reveals the symbiotic attraction of the vacuum manufacturer to the two wheel convenience – err, sorta.  Perhaps the best example of that uniquely Scandinavian vision is in the Danish Nimbus.  This fabulous four-cylinder machine was built for 26 years by Fiskar & Nielsen, manufacturers of the famous (in Europe ) Nilfisk vacuum cleaner.  Not only did the Nimbus feature a four cylinder, overhead cam engine with hemispheric combustion chamber and aluminum head, but also a telescopic front fork (sorry, no damping).  The motorcycle is resplendent in cheerful colors and engineering delights. Although it is not a marque particularly well known in the States, it was sold here and is certainly an important piece of motohistory.  After all, it was made by a guy named Nielsen!

Sure do enjoy your news and views, Ed.

Thanks, Mark. We all enjoy a little whimsy, but I hope you noticed that in my original story I scrupulously avoided the old joke about the difference between a Hoover and a Harley (Oh damn, there I did it!). Readers who want to see a nice profile picture of a Nimbus, click here. For more information about Nimbusses (Nimbi?), click here.

 

Cook Neilson remembers:

A Motohistory Interview

(3/12/2007)

 

Neilson at DaytonaCook Neilson, Princeton educated, passed up a career on Wall Street to go to work for Cycle Magazine in 1967, advancing to the position of Editor in 1969 at the age of 26. Through editorial innovation and selection of good talent, including Phil Schilling, he took Cycle to the top of its field, pushing circulation to nearly a half-million readers. Perhaps his success was earned in part because he stayed in touch with motorcycling on a personal level. He road raced, campaigned a Harley-Davidson drag bike, and set speed records at Bonneville in 1966 and ‘69. He and Schilling were not only aces on the editorial desk, they were also a successful team on the race track where they raced a Ducati named “Old Blue,” tuned by Schilling and ridden by Neilson to victory in the Superbike class at Daytona in 1977, pictured above.

Then, suddenly, just when he was at the top of his game, Cook Neilson resigned from Cycle. He and his wife Stepper moved to Vermont, seeming to leave the motorcycle industry behind for good. But in his time at the helm of Cycle Magazine, Neilson left too much of a legacy to be forgotten. Recently, his past has come back to haunt him, though in positive ways. Cycle World has called upon both Neilson and Schilling to pen historical or nostalgic features.  During 2006 both were inducted into the Ducati Racing Hall of Fame, and last October Neilson was inducted into the prestigious U.S. Motorcycle Hall of Fame. In addition, Ducati has introduced, with much fanfare, “New Blue,” a state-of-the-art tribute to Neilson's Daytona-winning superbike.

 

Cook Neilson might have been happy to live out his days away from the limelight, but his friends and fans appear unwilling to let that happen. He is a significant person in American motorcycle history, and he deserves to be celebrated as such. We contacted Cook late in February and asked if he would share some time with our Motohistory readers. He readily agreed, and the 6,000 word interview he gave is far too comprehensive to publish in whole in our News & views section. Rather, we have published it as a special Motohistory Feature. So click here and read on as Cook Neilson remembers.

 

 

The invasion of the hand-shifters

(3/11/2007)

 

AussiesUndoubtedly, Daytona has not seen so many hand-shift motorcycles since the late 1940s, thanks to a contingent of 28 Australians who arrived with eleven Harley-Davidsons and seven Indians to participate in vintage races organized by the American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association. Prior to their arrival in Daytona, the group visited the Wheels Through Time Museum in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, then traveled on to Savannah, Georgia where they raced at Roebling Road. Tony Blain, chief organizer of the invasion, says, “There is just nothing quite like Wheels Through Time, and we could not have asked for better hospitalityAussies 2 than Dale [Walksler] provided. We were there until two or three in the morning, starting motorcycles, riding them around, and having a great time.”

 

At Roebling Road the Australians took eight of the top ten places in their class, then Robbie Hermans, their best rider, won the first day of vintage competition at Daytona. Blain explains, “We're like vintage racers everywhere. Some of our group are very good, but for most of us it is 80 percent enthusiasm and 20 percent talent. We‘re doing it for the fun, and as for me, well, just one lap of Daytona made the trip more than worthwhile.” Blain runs a vintage motorcycle parts business in Sydney and has a personal collection of 40 motorcycles, all Harley-Davidsons. The gem of his collection, he believes, is the 1973 ex-Cal Rayborn XRTT road racer that he bought at the J. Wood Auction during Daytona bike week in 2006. To read more about the invasion of the Aussie hand-shifters on the AMA web site, click here.

Photos by Peggy Cozart/AHMRA

 

Oldest Harley dealer becomes new

(3/10/2007)

 

A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson and Buell of Columbus, Ohio is the oldest Harley-Davidson dealership in the nation, having been founded by Alford D. Farrow in Nelsonville, Ohio on February 26, 1912. Farrow moved his shop to Columbus in 1924, and after his untimely death in 1925, his wife Lillie continued to run the business as one of the first female motorcycle dealers in the nation. The dealership grew Farrows NorthStarinto several locations in Columbus, ending up near the center of the city on West Broad street in 1941. It has been in that location ever since.

 

This month, in celebration of the dealership's 95th anniversary, a second location – called A.D. Farrow at NorthStar -- was opened on Interstate 71 just north of Columbus near the town of Sunbury. In acknowledgement to the Motor Company's great tradition, the new 30,000 square foot facility on 18 acres is designed to reflect the architecture of Harley-Davidson's red brick factory – now its corporate headquarters – on Juneau Avenue in Milwaukee. Farrow's Principal owner Bob Althoff says, “There is no greater icon in American motorcycling than Harley-Davidson, and for fans of the brand the Milwaukee factory is sacred. I can think of no greater way to honor the Motor Company and to celebrate our 95 years in business than to create our new NorthStar facility in a style reminiscent of the headquarters.”

 

The new dealership's large acreage will allow for special events and includes a Rider's Edge motorcycle training range. The grounds include a five-acre lake and a pavilion for gatherings and picnics. Althoff explains, “Owning a Harley-Davidson is more than just owning a mode of transportation. It is also admittance into an elite fraternity, a membership card to a worldwide travel club and membership in a huge family. It is only fitting that America's oldest dealer has created a place that is a clubhouse for this fraternity, a training and resource center, and a kind of ‘kitchen table' around which the family can gather.” For more information about the world's oldest Harley-Davidson dealership, click here. For more photographs of the new NorthStar facility, click here.

Photo provided by A.D. Farrow Harley-Davidson and Buell

 

 

Wheels Through Time Museum to celebrate

Fred Ham's endurance ride on 70th Anniversary

(3/10/2007)

 

Fred Ham and CrewOn April 8, 1937, California motorcycle patrolman Fred Ham (pictured here) rode his Harley-Davidson Model EL “Knucklehead” a distance of 1,825 miles on a five-mile circular course at Muroc Dry Lake, averaging 76.62 mph and smashing 44 separate speed and endurance records held by the Indian brand since 1922. Ham's feat helped establish the reputation of the new Model EL as a superior high-performance motorcycle that would carry the Motor Company out of the Great Depression and establish Harley-Davidson as America's leading motorcycle brand.  On April 7, 2007, a team from the Wheels Through Time Museum will celebrate Ham's record-setting ride at Talladega Motor Speedway, using a 1937 Harley-Davidson Knucklehead similar to the motorcycle used by Ham seven decades ago. Dale Walksler, owner and curator of the Wheels Through Time Museum, prepared the motorcycle and will serve as crew chief for the effort. Wayne Stanfield, 59, of Santa Ana, California, will ride the motorcycle, hoping to travel over 2,000 miles in a 24-hour period.

 

Walksler and Stanfield are veterans of the Great American Race, both as competitors and teammates. After meeting each other while competing on different teams, in 1995 Walksler fielded a 1937 Harley-Davidson that Stanfield rode from Ottawa to Mexico City, finishing 5th out of 95 teams in the Great American Race and becoming the only motorcyclist to complete the event that year. In 1996 Stanfield rode the Wheels Through Time Harley-Davidson from Tacoma to Toronto, finishing second overall and missing victory by only one second. In 1997 they set a cross-country record aboard a 1917 Henderson motorcycle. Walksler says, “Wayne and I have a lot of experience working together. I've proven that Wheels Through Time caWalksler with Ham Biken field a motorcycle that can go the distance, and Wayne knows what it takes, both mentally and physically, to successfully complete an extreme endurance test.”

 

The new Harley-Davidson EL that Ham rode in 1937 was basically a stock motorcycle, prepared by Bill Graves. The cases, piston rod, and crankshaft of the engine were polished to reduce friction, but otherwise the motorcycle was unmodified, except that a small windscreen was added to protect the rider and a special induction tube was mounted on the carburetor to keep the abrasive dirt from the surface of Muroc Dry Lake out of the engine. Walksler has prepared the Wheels Through Time motorcycle (pictured above) in a similar way. He explains. “It is all Harley-Davidson. I have polished internal parts just as Graves did, but that's it. There are no non-stock high performance parts incorporated in the engine.” Walksler reports that the motorcycle has performed well in over 800 miles of testing. He says, “I think we will demonstrate what a superb machine the Harley-Davidson Knucklehead was and is. Though it is now 70 years old, I have every confidence it can achieve what it did when Ham rode it new in 1937.”

 

When Fred Ham prepared for his record run in late 1936, he swam daily at a local YMCA, reducing his weight from 210 to 180 pounds. Stanfield is already at fighting weight at 180 and reports that his preparation is primarily mental. He says, “I know what it takes to do this kind of ride. I am already in good physical condition, and I am mainly working on mental preparation. I have been going to bed at midnight and getting up at 4:30 a.m., learning to function with a minimum of sleep.” He adds, “I am studying diet and making adjustments that will improve my stamina and mental alertness. We will be stopping the motorcycle every 90 minutes for fuel and servicing, and at those times I will probably walk around and stretch my legs, but I do not intend to sleep during the 24 hour period.” Stanfield explains that if the ride can be completed without mechanical incident, the Wheels Through Time team should easily surpass Ham's record because the original team lost a full hour to replace and repair damage caused by a stretched primary chain.

 

As for their personal histories, there are interesting similarities between the riders, Ham and Stanfield. Fred Ham established his reputation as a winner of California's grueling Big Bear Enduro, and before his 24-hour run at Muroc he set several over-the-road records including the Three Flags Run from Canada to Mexico. Stanflield's motorcycling experience also includes off-road enduro competition plus his over-the-road Great American Race achievements. Ages, however, are significantly different. Ham made his 24-hour endurance ride at the age of 29, 30 years younger than Stanfield.

 

Walksler is quick to point out that while approaching or surpassing 2,000 miles in the 24-hour period is a goal, the effort is by no means intended to upstage Fred Ham. Walksler says, “He was one of the greatest endurance riders, and no one will ever surpass his feat of 44 records at Muroc Dry Lake. Besides, that was then and this is now. He was on a hard dirt surface and we are at a paved super speedway. And although we have tried to duplicate his motorcycle in mechanical detail, it is a fact that lubricants and tires are far superior today, and all of these factors will give us an advantage.” He explains, “Our effort is to honor Fred Ham, celebrate his accomplishment, prove what a fine motorcycle the Harley Knucklehead was and still is, and publicize the unique nature of Wheels Through Time among America's leading motorcycle museums.”

 

The unique quality of Wheels Through Time is characterized by its slogan, “The museum that runs.” Over 98 percent of the more than 250 antique motorcycles and automobiles on display in the Maggie Valley Facility are kept in running order and are often started and operated for the enjoyment of visitors. Walksler says, “This is a true museum piece with which we will celebrate Fred Ham's ride. If it were not for the fact that Wayne Stanfield will be storming around the banks at Talladega Motor Speedway at speeds approaching 100 mph, it would be sitting quietly on display –- but ready to run -- at the Wheels Through Time Museum.”

 

The 70th anniversary Fred Ham celebration is being documented in detail in video and will be available through The Time Machine, a video series accessible through the Wheels Through Time web site. Walksler reports, “Throughout engine assembly, machine preparation, and testing we have already completed ten shows for The Time Machine. By the time we have finished our endurance run at Talladega in April, we will create perhaps a dozen more shows. Subscribers to the Wheels Through Time's Time Machine will be able to enjoy every aspect of this historic effort. It will surely leave them with a better understanding of the wonderful accomplishment of Fred Ham and the Harley Knucklehead seven decades ago.”

 

Adamec's Harley-Davidson of Jacksonville, Florida will be an associate sponsor for the Fred Ham Celebration Ride. To read Fred Ham's official Motorcycle Hall of Fame bio, click here. For more information on the Wheels Through Time Museum, click here. To read about The Time Machine, click here.

Fred Ham photo from the Don Emde collection.

 

 

“World's Fastest Motorcycle” now on DVD

(3/9/2007)

 

World's Fastest DVD“The World's Fastest Motorcycle,” which aired to rave reviews in the United States on SPEED Television in December is now available on DVD. The show chronicles the three best motorcycle streamliner teams in the world going head-to-head at the International Motorcycle Speed Trials by BUB at Bonneville in September, 2006 where the 16-year-old world record for motorcycles fell several times. This two-hour DVD, produced by Ignition3 and Chet Burks Productions, captures the unprecedented three-way battle for the record, using helicopters, on-board cameras, and film crews assigned to each of the key teams. Dave Despain narrates this compelling story with the knowledge and understanding of a seasoned Bonneville expert. Bonus material includes an Easyriders documentary about setting the record in 1990. “The World's Fastest Motorcycle” is available at motorcycle dealerships and all major DVD websites for $29.95. To order a copy click here.  Or, you can acquire it at Letsgoracing.org.  Click here.  For more information about Chet Burks Productions, click here.

 

 

Father of Supercross

sentenced to life in prison

(3/8/2007)

 

On March 1, Michael Goodwin, the man credited with the creation of the sport of Supecross, was sentenced to spend the rest of his life in prison for the 1988 murders of his former business partner Mickey Thompson and his wife Trudy. The Thompsons were shot in the driveway of their California home by assassins who fled on bicycles and have never been caught. The prosecution maintained that Goodwin Michael Goodwinhired the killers after losing a series of legal battles to Thompson. Declaring his innocence, Goodwin told the judge before being sentenced to two consecutive life terms without the possibility of parole, “I can't apologize because I am not guilty of this crime.”

According to the Associated Press, Collene Campbell, Thompson's sister who has worked relentlessly for over 18 years to bring the killers to justice, said, “Michael Goodwin is a coward and a bully who hired and arranged for shooters to kill Mickey and Trudy. I just hope that he hurries up and dies.” Deputy Public Defender Elena Saris argued for a new trial, saying that the judge's rulings denied Goodwin the chance to put on an adequate defense, and that his right to a speedy trial had been denied since he was held in jail without parole for five years. Her motion for a new trial was denied, but Saris says Goodwin will appeal his conviction. To read a report published by ABC News, click here. To read a story published in the Orange County Register, click here.

 

 

The Thumperdämmerung:

More photohistory by CHess

(3/7/2007)

 

ThumperdammerungWhile shooting the 500cc Expert class at a TT scrambles hosted by the Keystone Motorcycle Club of Emmaus, Pennsylvania on May 19, 1968, Carl Hess captured the kind of transitional drama that was taking place at race tracks throughout America at the time. It was the End of Days for the big British four-strokes as they faced defeat at the hands of two-strokes of smaller capacity. Here, Bob Sweeten, riding a 350cc Bultaco, battles with the Royal Enfield of Dave Knowles.

 

On the world championship level, the era of four-stroke domination effectively came to an end after Jeff Smith won his second motocross world title in 1965. The process of change began in the early 1960s when MZ engineer Walter Kaaden discovered the principle of the expansion chamber, developing a two-stroke machine that came within one race of winning a road racing championship in 1961. But Kaaden's rider, Ernst Degner, sacrificed the title to defect to the West, taking MZ's secret with him to a new job with Suzuki. Within 24 months, what Kaaden knew was understood by every motorcycle manufacturer in the world, launching a two-stroke revolution. It is a story of Cold War intrigue, betrayal, and industrial espionage that was told in detail by Dean Adams in July, 2006 at SuperbikePlanet.com. To learn more, click here.

 

And, speaking of MZ, Leo Keller, Motohistory contributor from Germany, reminds us that 2007 is the centenary of the brand which was founded by Joergen Skafte Rasmussen in Zschopau on April 13, 1907. Keller has written a history that will appear in the German press in May, then be translated into English for publication in VMX later in the year.

 

The fantastic art of Michael Ulman:

A commentary

(3/6/2007)

 

Electrolux MotorcycleI recently came upon the sculpture pictured here at a gallery in Grandview Heights, Ohio, featuring artists who work exclusively with found objects, more commonly referred to as “junk.” Luckily, I managed to bang off a photo before I was informed I was not permitted to do so. Initially, I was attracted by the whimsy of this creation built around a derelict Electrolux vacuum cleaner, and I could not help but think of the fact that in 1986, the Swedish company Husqvarna was acquired by Electrolux. This only added to my amusement toward the sculpture. As it turns out, Electrolux wanted Husqvarna for its line of appliances and quickly sold the motorcycle division to Cagiva in Italy, so they never had an opportunity to build a motorcycle with their vacuum cleaner technology, which presumably would have resulted in something like this.

 

The work is by Michael Ulman, a Boston-area artist, and while it still makes me smile, the more I looked at it the more a found in it the beauty of a well-executed artistic vision. I had to know more about the man who created this art, and I tracked down Ulman on the Internet. My E-mail through his web site was promptly followed by a returned phone call and a very enjoyable conversation. Ulman, I learned, is in fact a motorhead. He is between rides at the moment, but his most recent bike was a Buell. As a child, he apprenticed to his artist father, and about his own work he says, “As my own art developed, an obsession with motorcycles would become apparent in my life and work. Powerful motors are the central force behind my work. My challenge is to create static sculptures that evoke the sound, movement, and raw power that inspire them. When people look at them, I want them to hear the throaty roar of the exhaust as they are drawn into my world.”

 

Indeed, I was one of those drawn into Ulman's world with fascination for his Electolux-based sidecar machine. Then when I perused his web site, I was simply overwhelmed by the power, beauty, grandeur, and even humor inherent in his work. To me his work is fantastic, both in the vernacular and correct meanings of the term. During our phone conversation he told me that someday he wants to build his own functioning motorcycle from scratch. When that happens, I expect it will be truly astonishing. To enjoy the mechanistic yet dreamlike creations of Michael Ulman, click here.

 

Penton biography to be republished

(3/6/2007)

 

“John Penton and the Off-Road Motorcycle Revolution,” published by Whitehorse Press in 2000, went out of print in late-2006 after several printings. Now the book will bePenton Book republished in a hard-cover edition by Motohistory in collaboration with the Penton Owners Group. POG President Paul Danik says, “Because the first shipment of Pentons arrived in America in March, 1968, 2008 will be the 40th anniversary of the Penton motorcycle. The POG is planning several special events and publications to celebrate this landmark year, and a new 40th Anniversary Edition of John Penton's biography will be just one part of our program.” Individuals interested in acquiring the new hard-cover edition, which will still be priced at $19.95, will be advised of its availability soon through the POG web site. For more information on the Penton Owners Group, click here.

 

 

Indy party draws off-road's history makers

(3/5/2007)

 

Indy PartyCharlie Williams, National Affairs Editor of Trail Rider Magazine, reports to Motohistory that the publication's annual Indianapolis trade show reception was a big success. He writes, “We had a good turnout of ISDE veterans such as John and Jack Penton, Mike Lafferty, Ray Munganast, Ron Ribolzi, Tom Buckles, Kevin HInes, Dane Leimbach, Dwight Rudder, Scot Harden, Jimmy Lewis, Fred Hoess, Bill Berroth, Drew Smith, Jeff Fredette, and others.” Pictured here are Trail Rider Editor Paul Clipper and Fred Hoess. The party, which started seven years ago as a casual affair in Williams' kitchen, was held in the Stutz Automobile Museum in the building where the original Stutz Bearcat was built. Williams says, “It's a really cool place for a party and I want to thank Trail Rider Magazine, Motorcycle Product News, and Repairmanual.com for sponsoring the event. If it were not for their support, we might still be holding the party in my trailer home.” For more information about Trail Rider Magazine, the primary sponsor of the gala, click here.

Photo provided by Charlie Williams.

 

New vintage off-road club formed in Indiana

George Eddy has recently formed a new club called the Indiana Vintage Off-Road Motorcycle Enthusiasts. The club plans to host two AHRMA Great Lakes Regional Series events in 2007. For more information, click here.

 

Coming up

(3/4/2007)

The 23rd Annual Arizona Antique and Classic Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet will take place at the El Zaribah Shrine Auditorium in Phoenix on April 1.  For more information, call Mike at 602-841-6064 or Karen at 627-849-3049.

April 6 through 8 are the dates for the 2007 Bench Mark Works Vintage BMW Motorcycle Rally in Sturgis, Mississippi.  For details, click here.  

The Ohio Valley BSA Owners Club has announced its schedule of events for 2007.  It will include the Spring Classic June 2 and 3, its 26th Annual British and European Rally on August 10 and 11, and the Pyle Driver Ride in October.  For more information call Clark Francy at 740-544-5984 or Bud Kubena at 724-945-6018.

The Third Annual Wild and Wonderful Mountainfest will take place in Morgantown, West Virginia July 26 through 29.  For more information click here.

The Oregon Vintage Motorcyclists will host their 4th Annual Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet at Skagit County Fairgrounds, Mt. Vernon, Washington on April 21.  For details E-mail waffleiron@peoplepc.com.

The Perkiomen Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America will host its annual national meet at Oley, Pennsylvania April 27 through 29.  For more information, call Doug Strange at 610-683-5855, or E-mail AMCAdoug@aol.com.  For a complete listing of upcoming AMCA meets and road runs, click here.

The St. Louis International Motorcycle Festival featuring the newly-opened Moto Museum will take place April 26 through 29.  For more information, click here.

 

 

Wayne Rainey to be inducted into

International Motorsports Hall of Fame

(3/4/2007)

 

Wayne RainerWayne Rainey, winner of AMA Superbike championships in 1983 and 1987, and three consecutive 500cc road racing world championships from 1990 to 1992, will be inducted into the International Motorsports Hall of Fame at Talladega, Alabama on April 17.  Rainey, who was on his way to a fourth world championship when his career was ended by injury, was inducted into the Motorcycle Hall of Fame in 1999. For more information about the International Motorsports Hall of Fame, click here. To read Rainey's official Motorcycle Hall of Fame bio, click here.

Rainey photo courtesy of American Motorcyclist Association.

 

 

“Motodrom” wins mention at Sundance

(3/3/2007)

 

Motodrom“Motodrom,” a documentary short film made in 2006 by German director Jeorg Wagner, has received an honorable mention at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. One review states, “'Motodrom' stylishly captures the atmosphere in beautiful black-and-white imagery using energetic camerawork and pulsating sound. A dying fairground attraction portrayed in a thrilling homage at 5000 rpm.” For a short review of this short film (nine minutes), click here.

 

 

Grand Marshals named for

AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2007

(3/3/2007)

 

SpringsteenWillie G. Davidson (below) and Jay Springsteen (left) have been named co-Grand Marshals at AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2007, which will take place at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio July 27 through 29. The Harley-Davidson Sportster will be the "Featured Marque" at the event. Introduced as the XL in 1957, the Sportster celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. An AMA news release states, “This landmark line of motorcycles, like Willie G. and Springer, has become Davidsonan indisputable icon in American motorcycling and has had a significant impact on American culture.”

In addition to the XL, AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2007 will honor the Sportster's siblings, including the K, KK, KH, KHK, KR and XR models. Owners of these motorcycles are invited to bring their machines to AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days 2007 for display in the Sportster Corral. A select group of early and significant examples will be chosen for a special Marque of the Year display. For more information, contact Will Stoner at wstoner@ama-cycle.org or call 614-856-1900 ext. 1227. For more information about AMA Vintage Motorcycle Days, click here and here,

Springsteen and Davidson photos courtesy of American Motorcyclist Association.

 

 

Speedway riders feted

(3/2/2007)

 

Mike BastThe USA Speedway National Awards Banquet and Team USA Speedway Testimonial was held aboard the Queen Mary in Long Beach harbor January 27 and 28. Special honorees included Scott Autrey, Mike Bast, Barry Briggs, and Cordy Milne. Greg Hancock was named Rider of the Year, presented by former two-times world champion Bruce Penhall, and Bill Hancock received a Lifetime Achievement Award. A display of 18 vintage and special interest speedway motorcycles included bikes provided by Rick and Pat Newlee's Arizona Speedway Museum and from the collection of Gary Bultaco Grass Trackand Sandy Hicks. Among the motorcycles on display were Mike Bast's first speedway bike, a 1947 JAP in a Rudge chassis (pictured above), and an unusual Bultaco-powered grass track machine (pictured here). For more photographs of the event, click here. To see more bikes from the Arizona Speedway Museum, click here. For more information about USA Speedway, click here.

Photos provided by USA Speedway.

 

Motohistory Quiz #35:

We have no winner!

(3/1/2007)

 

It looks like Quiz #35 surpassed the assembled wisdom of our Motohistory readership. I think this is the second time it has happened in over four years. We had only two guesses, which were SWM from Italy and Islo from Mexico.

 

Quiz 35The motorcycle pictured in our quiz is a Flink, built in Sweden in the mid-1960s. Gustav Flink was the owner of a machine shop in the town of Amal, north of Goteborg. He was one of several people who built high-performance parts – including intake manifolds, cylinder, and heads – for the 175cc Husqvarna Silverpilen. In addition, he designed and built his own 250cc engine. Eventually he also designed an entire monocoque frame in aluminum, and this is the bike pictured in our Motohistory Quiz. It was built to accept Husqvarna suspension parts and wheels, and could accept Flink's engine or a Husky engine. The example pictured in our quiz contains a CZ engine retro-fitted by a private partyFlink Chassis. Just as the first ten bikes were completed, Flink became ill and died, taking the project with him to his grave. A drawing of Flink's innovative chassis is pictured here.

 

We are indebted to Swedish motorcycle industry experts Tosh Konya and Gunnar Lindstrom for providing graphics and history on the Flink. Lindstrom reports that at least six Flinks are known to survive. Interestingly, Flink is not a unique brand name. There was also a Flink built in Germany – a 150cc two-stroke – from 1920 to 1922. This company has no historical connection with the Swedish project, and was acquired in the formation of BMW in 1923.