have a winner!
Williams, of Cortland,
was the first to identify the engine in our Motohistory
Quiz #50 as a Royal Pioneer, built in Worcester,
in 1909 and 1910. Only about 500 were built, and there
was not even a full 1910 model year, since the factory
burned to the ground in March, 1910. The first Pioneer
motorcycle, designed by Emil Hafelfinger, was introduced
in 1901, but taken off the market in 1903. It was a diamond-frame
single similar to the Indian, but its engine was not a
stressed member of the frame. In 1907, the Pioneer reappeared
with a larger engine and front suspension. Two years later,
the radically different
and highly-advanced Royal Pioneer was introduced, boasting
an overhead-valve engine with hemispherical combustion
chamber and an exhaust system that routed into the frame.
It also had four twist grips, one each for gas, air, spark,
and compression release.
a rather complex valve train of rods (they were actually
than push-rods) and
rockers, it was not a high-speed engine, but is reported
to have produced four to five horsepower from its 500cc
capacity. This example is owned by Bruce Linsday of Chagrin
and is currently on display at the National
About the overhead-valve configuration (shown here), Linsday
says, “This was a highly-advanced design for its time.
If they had just tilted the valves about 45 degrees into
the hemispherical combustion chamber, they would have
had a truly modern engine design.” Linsday reports
that only three complete Royal Pioneers, plus a partial
bike, are known to exist. For another photo of the Royal
Pioneer on the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum site, click
Bruce Williams now joins the elite list of double-winners
of our Motohistory Quiz, having identified a rare Windhoff
motorcycle featured in our quiz on April 26, 2007. Congratulations,
Bruce, your Motohistory Know-It-All Diploma is on its
to Bruce and Inga Linsday for providing the cutaway drawing
of the Royal Pioneer engine.
Los Angeles Police Department has one of the largest motorcycle
squads in the world. Numbering around 400, the brands
of motorcycles used by the Department have varied over
the past twenty years, but it wasn't always so. When I
joined the Traffic Enforcement Division of LAPD in 1961,
the only bike available to motor cops was the Harley-Davidson.
Over the years, Harley had been the mainstay for police
bikes around the country to such a degree that most police
agencies had developed specifications for purchasing police
motorcycles that were literally Harley specs. Several
other companies tried to enter the market in the early
60s, but failed to overcome the Harley advantage. Foreign
makes such as Triumph, BSA, BMW, and Honda all made bids
for the job, but failed to meet the requirements of the
LAPD. In addition, a law still existed on the books in
that prohibited agencies from buying foreign-made vehicles
for government use. Other reasons for their failure were,
they were “too small” or “under-powered” or they just
didn't “look” like police bikes.
1967, Berliner Motors, the Moto Guzzi motorcycle distributor
for the US
market, approached the LAPD with a proposal. They would
build a police unit to the specific designs of the department!
Having gained the interest of the LAPD, the Guzzi distributor
then set to work to overcome the law prohibiting the purchase
of foreign vehicles. Once that obstacle was eliminated,
the LAPD decided to take Moto Guzzi up on the proposal,
and began testing their vehicles for performance. After
the first stock Moto Guzzi loaners were tested by the
street cops, an experienced motor officer and a representative
of the Motor Transport Division were selected to travel
where the Moto Guzzi factory was
located, and advise the designers of the requirements
for the new police bike. There were many obstacles to
overcome. First, there was no current motorcycle produced
by Moto Guzzi that even came close to what was needed.
So, they made one from the ground up!
“Scotty” Henderson (pictured to the right in Italy and
below during testing in Southern California), the Traffic
Enforcement Division officer chosen for the mission to
said, “They literally designed a bike right before my
eyes. When we got to work with the design engineers, we
were given Carte Blanch for ideas on how to make the motorcycle.”
Since many of the “Harley oriented” specifications still
existed (and many still exist today), some original designing
was done. “We had to have a foot shift on the left side
and the rear brake pedal on the right side. Many European
bikes still shifted on the right at that time,” Henderson
related. “They designed
a linkage so the shift lever and the rear brake lever
could be reversed. Of course, that made the bike shift
up into first gear and down into the other three gears.”
It was decided that the direction of shifting was not
that important, so they proceeded. Handlebars, side stand,
foot boards, seat and all other parts of the machine were
and fit around the 750cc V-twin Moto Guzzi
engine. After several weeks of design and redesign, testing,
and hassles between Moto Guzzi executives, the final product
the summer of 1969, ten LAPD motor officers were called
to a meeting attended by police management and representatives
from the motorcycle company. I, and the other nine officers
were assigned the first foreign-made police motorcycles
used in Los Angeles.
Most of us were excited and pleased to get off the, shall
I say, less agile Harley-Davidsons. Some of the old-time
officers mis-pronounced the name as “Moto Goosey,” and
the bike soon was nicknamed “The Goose.” It handled beautifully,
had more ground clearance than the Harley, and a drive
shaft. The new bikes were also equipped with Pirelli tires
that seemed to enhance the bike's capabilities on the
street. The “Goose Patrol” gave the new bikes rave notices
and the city bought a large number of the Moto Guzzi “Police
Special,” a model that later appeared on the public market
as the Eldorado. The Gooses rewrote the book for police
motorcycles and made it possible for Kawasaki,
BMW, and Honda (for a while) to get into the police market.
Wikipedia's history of Moto Guzzi, click here.
To reach the Moto Guzzi National Owners Club web
site, click here.
To reach the LAPD web site, click here.
For Wikipedia's report on the LAPD, click here.
Smith is a retired LAPD officer who served 23 years on
the department and 16 years on the motor squad, compiling
over 300,000 miles on motorcycles in the line of duty.
He worked 18 years with American Honda Motor Co., during
which time he served on the Board of Trustees of the American
Motorcyclist Association. He is now semi-retired and helps
manage the Honda Hoot Motorcycle Rally in Knoxville,
Smith started riding in 1950, and off the job has owned
a Triumph, a Suzuki, a Guzzi, and five Hondas. He currently
rides a 2002 Gold Wing.
provided by Gary Smith.
kids, it's time for another Motohistory Quiz.
move to the top of the class, tell us the brand of this
engine and its nation of origin. The first person to give
us the correct answer will received a personalized Motohistory
extra credit, tell us its year of production (plus or
minus a year) and the name of the designer of this unusual
engine, and we'll send you a Motohistory winter cap.
rush to your keyboard and send your answers to Ed@motohistory.net.
MZs at Sinsheim
during the year-end holidays, I had an opportunity to
visit a special exhibition entitled "MZ Racebikes"
at the technical museum in Sinsheim, Germany. This
is not strictly a motorcycle museum, but includes a broad
range of technology, such as aircraft, military equipment,
and automobiles. The special exhibition of motorcycles
included eight different MZ two-stroke racing motorcycles
from the era of renowned engineer Walter Kaaden (pictured
here), from 1955 through 1975.
the spring of 1953, MZ technical chief Alfred Liebers
was lucky enough to hire Kaaden to be manager and chief
engineer for a newly-created racing department.
Liebers was impressed with the results that Kaaden had
achieved as a privateer with his homemade 100cc DKW RT3.
Since 1951, Kaaden's bike had featured a custom-made cylinder
and a tuned exhaust system. Lieber was especially interested
in this feature because DKW had begun to experiment with
exhaust tuning for more power prior to the Second World
War. Kaaden was one of the pioneers who tuned expansion
chambers not only by trial and error, but with scientific
method. Thanks to his development of the expansion chamber,
and his use of rotary- disc valves, Kaaden became the
undisputed father of modern two-stoke technology.
motorcycles on display at the Sinsheim Museum, in chronological
order, were the following:
oldest machine of the show was a 125cc single that delivered
13.5 horsepower at 9,500 rpm (pictured above). With a
four-speed gearbox, it
was capable of 94 mph. The motorcycle was built
in 1955 for MZ factory team riders Siegfried Haase, Erhart
Krumpholz, Bernhard Petruschke, and Horst Fügner,
who won the German Democratic Republic National Championship.
The engine of this bike is air-cooled and is one
of the first designs to feature a rotary-disc valve mounted
on the side of the crankcase. This design was invented
by Daniel Zimmermann and kept secret until the end of
1952. An additional unusual feature is the twin
exhaust port with two separate pipes without end cones.
second-oldest bike on display was a 1958 racing prototype
(pictured here) with a sloping 125cc single cylinder,
which Kaaden developed in 1956 and '57, and which was
never rolled to the starting grid. The bike on display
has the by-now typical rotary-disc valve on the side of
engine, axiel-mounted and driven from the crank.
But there was also a rotary-disc valve type with the disc
located on the upper cases, driven by a 90-degree screw
worm. This design, however, was not successful because
the drive mechanism generated too much heat at high speed.
Typical for MZ is the execution of the pipe directly from
the rear of the cylinder, but now the exhaust features
a resonating expansion chamber. This air-cooled
engine has a maximum power output of 22 horsepower at
there was the RE 250cc two-cylinder, two-stroke, air-cooled
model from 1961 (shown here). It was the first version
fitted with a telescopic fork with forged sliders (shown
below), which replaced the Earls-type fork used previously.
It followed the design of the famous Norton Roadholder
fork. The motorcycle features a single backbone frame,
tended to show signs of exessive flexing during competition.
The motorcycle on display has the pipe flange on the rear
of the cylinder. There were also versions with the pipe
flange on the front of the engine, intended to improve
cooling. But these were not successful. Perhaps
better cooling was won at the expense of more erratic
carburetor performance, and the front-exiting exhaust
may have destabilized temperature in the expansion chamber.
At any rate, the design was unreliable and disappointing.
As a result, Kaaden turned back to his first design with
rear-mounted exhaust flanges. At the beginning of
the 1961 season, this machine produced 47horsepower at
10,500 rpm. MZ's team riders on the RE250 in
pursuit of the World Championship were Ernst Degner and
on display was the tiny RE50 from 1962 (shown here). This
bike was used only for a short time in the newly-created
50cc World Championship class. Its early withdrawal
from competition was not for lack of power. However,
with such a small motorcycle, a small rider and excellent
streamlining are essential, and neither was available
to MZ at the time. MZ had underestimated the speed
of Kreidler's new double rotary-disc design with rider
Hans-Georg Anscheidt aboard. Furthermore, with
Degner's defection and move to Suzuki, the new Suzuki
RM62, with MZ's stolen technology, became the main rival.
At any rate, the motorcycle demonstrated its potention
in the hands of Günter Hilbig, who had good results
later in the GDR National
Championship. The RE50 engine had a power output of 10.8
horsepower at an astonishing 13,400 rpm and was endowed
with an eight speed gearbox.
in order, one could gaze on the 1963 RE125 (shown here),
still owned by Siegfried Merkel from Zwickau, who raced
it as a novice in 1967 and 1968. Previously, the
bike was owned by
the MZ works team and participated in the World Championship
series. The 125cc engine has a watercooled head and cylinder
for the first time, and generated 26 to 28 horsepower.
It has a six-speed gearbox and could achieve 116 mph.
Its single cylinder no longer has a double exhaust like
the earlier MZs.
came the 1969 MZ 125 RE II (shown below). This bike features
for the first time a tandem design, with two cylinders
located in a front-to-back configuration. It
was put into service in 1970 in the 125cc World Championship.
Its greatest achievement was a third place at the Isle
of Man TT, earned by factory rider Günter Bartusch.
The following year, MZ withdrew from FIM World Championship
125cc class. The development cost of the highly
specialized engines was too much for Walter Kaaden's budget
to bear. He just could not get the funds he needed
from the MZ board. The specifications are: two-cylinder
two-stroke, 43mm x 43mm bore and stroke, 34 horsepower
at 11,500 rpm, six-speed gearbox, and top speed of 128
1971 MZ RE 125 (shown below)was the second bike in the
exhibit owned by of Siegfried Merkel. It was raced
by him in World
Championship competition in Brünn, Salzburg, and
Hockenheim, in addition to international races that took
place in Eastern Germany. The engine is nearly the
same as the 1963 model's power plant. Both use a single-cylinder,
two-stroke with rotary-disc valve, though by 1971 the
power had been increased to 34 horsepower at 12,000 rpm.
Its main dimensions are 54mm x 54mm for bore and stroke.
The gearbox is six-speeds, and the top speed was 131
mph. The frame has a completly new design, differing from
the 1963 model with a double-cradle loop.
last machine presented in the display was a 1975 RZ 250
works racer (shown here) ridden by Finnish rider Tapio
Virtanen in 1975 and 1976. Its maximum power is
an unblievable 64 horsepower at 11,500 rpm. With
the help of a six-speed gearbox, it was capable of 150
mph. Today, it is still ridden by Dieter Krause in historic
races. In 1977, MZ did not enter the
World Championship anymore, but this bike was assigned
to the West German Kuma racing team. The machine
was carefully crafted and had more than 60 horsepower.
The front fork was made by MZ, and the rear shock absorbers
were gas-pressurized Bilsteins. The engine cases are sandcast,
split horizontally, with attached gearbox by stud bolts.
With 54mm x 54mm bore and stroke, it has liquid-cooled,
aluminum alloy cylinders, and features center-drive from
the crankshaft. Recirculation of the cooling fluid is
by the thermosyphon principle. It has 34mm Mikuni
carburetors and a Kröber magneto ignition.
learn more about the technical museum at Sinsheim, click
a brief overview of the history of two-stroke technology
(with music), click here.
To read a history of DKW/MZ written by Leo Keller, go
to Motohistory News & views 4/10/2007. For another
history of MZ, click here.
For MZ links, click here.
To read the remarkable story of Ernst Degner's defection
with MZ's two-stroke trechnical secrets, click here.
For a bio of Walter Kaaden, in German, click here.
For more about Walter Kaaden and MZ, click here.
photos by Ralf Kruger.
Cannonball Baker, Part One
up on our previous stories about Erwin “Cannonball” Baker's
attempts to develop a revolutionary rotary-valve engine
(see Motohistory News & Views 9/12/2007 and 12/7/2007)
before and after the Second World War, Motohistory went
looking for patents Baker might have obtained in connection
with this project. What turned up was a double surprise,
first because of the number of different patents Baker
obtained for his rotary-valve ideas, and second because
it was discovered that Baker had other engineering pursuits
that we had not been aware of. As it turns out, Baker
carried on development of the rotary-valve concept for
almost 25 years, but he also pursued inventions aimed
at improving fuel economy throughout the 1940s, the era
when wartime rationing first taught Americans that petroleum
products can become a dear commodity.
pictured above after a transcontinental record ride in
1914, began development of a Cross-type rotary valve in
1929, a few years after Roland Cross began work on the
concept in England (we have not yet discovered any documented
contact between Baker and Cross), and he demonstrated
the viability of the design with a trouble-free transcontinental
crossing aboard a motorcycle with a prototype rotary-valve
engine in May, 1941. Baker continued his work on the design
at least as late as 1948, and the prototype engines he
built in 1941 and 1948 still exist. Between 1934 and 1948,
Baker obtained four patents for rotary-valve designs and
supporting components that will be described below.
attraction of the rotary-valve concept is that it eliminates
the reciprocating motion of a conventional valve train,
including valves, push rods, and rocker arms. However,
the advantage of a conventional valve is that the greater
the cylinder pressure, the harder the valve is pressed
into its seat, thus eliminating any possibility of leakage
from a properly-seated valve. To the contrary, because
a rotary-valve sits on the outside of the combustion chamber,
compression tries to push the valve away, causing leakage,
and the higher the pressure the bigger the problem. Thus,
the valve must be held tightly against the port in the
cylinder head, and the tighter it is held, the more friction
is created by the rotating cylinder. And, lubrication
to overcome this friction can be scraped off into the
combustion chamber, contaminating the combustible gasses
in the chamber to create smoke and residue.
first patented design (#1,969,734, shown here) was intended
to overcome these problems. In application for the patent,
he wrote, “It is my object to produce a mechanism in which
the rotary valve will adequately confine the gases (sic)
under pressure in the engine in order to prevent
leakage and loss of power; in which the valve will at
all times run freely without scoring in the casing which
encloses it; and in which oil will be definitely excluded
from contact with the gases that pass through the engine,
whereby to prevent the formation of smoke resulting from
burning or heating of any such oil.” Tangential to Baker's
expressed purpose for this patent, his text and drawings
reveal some additional novel ideas for rotary valve design.
For example, he writes about a single rotary valve that
has channels carved into it for both intake and exhaust,
or two separate rotary valves that handle intake and exhaust
separately. In addition, each of these can have one or
two channels. With two separate valves, Baker is able
to reduce the valve's rotational speed by half in relation
to crankshaft speed, and with two channels in the twin
valves, he is able to reduce valve speed by half again,
the valves turn at one-quarter crank speed, thereby greatly
reducing friction and lubrication requirements. Secondly,
with this patent application, Baker reveals what may have
been his greatest technical breakthrough in the development
of his rotary- valve, and this is the use of porous carbon,
rather than metal, for the valve cylinder.
this case, the carbon valve cylinder (shown here) is not
perfectly round. Rather, it has sides that are very slightly
flattened so that it actually functions like a cam. The
reason for this is that Baker has provided a spring-loaded
roller (shown below)that presses the cylinder against
the port in the combustion chamber. The cam action of
the cylinder it timed so that itreciprocates
very slightly, pressing hard against the port only when
pressure is needed to maintain compression, but relaxing
and backing away slightly when compression is not taking
place. As a result, the valve cylinder is not constantly
grinding hard against the port or the head. Baker explains,
“I have found that in a rotary valve of the type described
the amount of wear and any tendency to score
may be materially reduced by reciprocating the valve axially
as it rotates.”
1939, Baker obtained a patent (#2,156,749, shown here)
for an idea that takes an ingenious and non-mechanical
approach to modulating the pressure on the rotary valve
against the combustion chamber port. Rather than springs
and rollers, this time he proposes a hydraulic method
to apply pressure against the rotating valve, controlled
by a pump, driven by the crankshaft,
increasing and decreasing the pressure, as needed with
each stroke of the piston. The metering of the pump to
modulate hydraulic pressure inside a flexible-walled chamber
eliminates the need to shape the valve cylinder like a
cam, and with no springs and rollers, there will be less
a third patent, obtained in 1945 (#2,370,283, shown here),
it becomes clear why Baker has chosen carbon, rather than
metal, for his rotary-valve cylinder. This patent is for
a pressurized oiling system that actually lubricates the
valve from the inside out, forcing oil into the center
and through the porous carbon cylinder so that lubricant
constantly flows outward toward the surface that turns
metallic cylinder head and port. Baker claims that his
experiments have revealed that, with running, the surface
of the valve actually “builds up” rather than wears down,
improving its compatibility with the channel in which
the valve rotates. He states in his patent application,
"A further feature of the invention is in employing
a lubricant having carbonaceous elements, whereby when
subjected to heat, a film will be carbonized or baked
over that portion of the face of the valve coming in contact
with the heat resultant from combustion within the motor
and thus providing a smooth glazed substantially non-wearing
surface around the valve.
fourth and final patent obtained in 1948 (#2,437,181,
shown above and below) embodies Baker's rotary valve research
in its complete and refined form. Now, rather than attempt
to press a rotating
valve against a stationary head and combustion chamber
port, Baker has created a cage in which the valve rides
under adjustable spring pressure, and the entire cage
reciprocates slightly toward and away from the mouth of
the cylinder of the engine, thereby absorbing the force
of compression while the rotary valve is free to turn
under a nearly-constant and controllable pressure not
affected by the changing pressure of combustion. The drawings
submitted with this patent are so complete and detailed,
it is clear that this is no mere theoretical design. In
fact, it appears that these may be the actual engineering
drawings for the 1948 Bakery rotary-valve prototype
that currently resides at the Wheels Through Time Museum
in Maggie Valley, North Carolina, pictured here.
For more on this motorcycle, see Motohistory News &
reported above, discovered with Baker's patents for rotary-valve
designs were other Baker patents related to his ideas
for improving fuel economy. These will be addressed in
Part Two of "The mechanical mind of Cannonball Baker"
in a future Motohistory Update.
Baker's mechanical mind
a little help from our friends:
are grateful to Johnny Sells, owner
of Vintage Motorcycle Works, for his assistance with research
into the patents applied for by Erwin Baker. Sells (shown
here) is the undisputed patent research guru in the American
vintage motorcycle community. Under the title of “History
of Motorcycle Design,” he has reproduced many volumes
of patents that we believe are essential to the library
of every American motohistorian. Even if you don't need
them for frequent reference, they are so beautiful to
look at! To read our report about Sells' series of patent
facsimile books, go to Motohistory News & Views 8/1/2005.
To learn more about Sells' work, click here.
of Baker rotary-valve motorcycle provided by the Wheels
Through Time Museum.
American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association Legends
Group has announced its honorees for the 2008 Legends
of Motocross Vintage National Series and Legends of Cross
Country Vintage National Series. They include Chuck Minert,
Bud Ekins, Chuck Sun, Bill Baird, Dick Mann, Steve Stackable,
Jack Penton, Marty Tripes, Sonny DeFeo, Marcia MacDonald,
Don Cutler, Mike Bell, Gary Bailey, Paul Hunt, and Preston
Petty. Pictured here are the late Bud Ekins and Chuck
Minert, photographed on November 4, 2006 at the White
Brothers World Veteran Motocross Championship at Glen
Helen, in California. To reach the AHRMA web site, click
provided by Tom White.
is back for vintage
ago, the Badger Racing Association, based in Wisconsin,
offered a non-AMA alternative for dirt track racers in
the upper Midwest. It has just been announced that Badger
is back, primarily to promote vintage dirt track racing,
though modern classes may be included as well. Badger
says it will generally follow the class structure and
format used at the vintage dirt track races held annually
at the Davenport AMCA National Meet. Badger will host
the Buzz Simmons Memorial Race – named for the man behind
the original Badger organization – in Seymour, Wisconsin
on August 15, 2008, in conjunction with the International
Vintage Motorcycle Show and Swap Meet. To learn more about
Badger on line, click here.
view the historical motorcycle photos in the archives
of the Minnesota Historical Society,
reach the Mobile Bay Vintage Motorcycle Club,
has created what he bills the largest Suzuki
fan site in the world, containing information on practically
every two-wheeler Suzuki has ever built. Check it out
see Alan Wickstrand's photos from “Throwback
Night” at the Anaheim Supercorss,
January 19, where fans were encouraged to wear motocross
apparel from the 1980s, and teams put ‘80s works bikes
on display, click here.
The event featured a replica of the 1986 Anaheim
track, celebrating the epic battle between Honda riders
David Bailey and Rick Johnson. In what is considered the
greatest supercross race of all-time, Bailey went on to
win the race and Johnson captured the championship.
that beautiful 2 x 3 foot
poster with all of the great historical Harley-Davidsons
that came out when Harley-Davidson was celebrating its
100th anniversary? That was created by Carl
Hungness, and he's done it again with a wonderful
Vincent poster, just in time for the
centenary of Philip Vincent's birth. They are $10
each and can be laminated for an additional $10.
To order the Harley or the Vincent poster, just click
And, if you want to celebrate the car that almost obsoleted
the motorcycle for good, Carl has some nice Ford posters
check out Scott Jacobs' Harley-Davidson
and motorcycle racing fine art, click here.
For Tom Fritz's motorcycle fine art,
curious and thought-provoking observations about the motorcycle
in modern society, check out The New Café
(Racer) Society blog. Just click here.
believes that web video is the future
for classified motorcycle sales. Check out his web site
He plans to have a section for vintage motorcycles.
find out how much money you saved by not attending the
recent Las Vegas Mid-American Auction,
a photo gallery of classic motorcycles
in Germany, click here.
images by Pete Wells from the Inter-Am
international motocross series in 1970 and 1971,
links to wide-ranging news about the vintage motorcycle
scene, check out the Old Bike News web
site. Click here.
show entry forms and vendor applications for AMA
Vintage Motorcycle Days, to be held at the Mid-Ohio
Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio
July 25 through 27, are now available on line. Click here.
2008 schedule of events for the Indiana
Vintage Off-Road Motorcycle Enthusiasts has
been posted on line. To check it out, click here.
photos from the Southern California vintage bike
meet held at Huntington Beach, January 13, click
information on the 21st Annual S-K Service Swap
Meet for Japanese, European, and British motorcycles,
scheduled to take place May 2 and 3 in Hatley, Wisconsin,
Day planned at Daytona
First Annual Daytona 200 Monument Day will take place
March 5 on the boardwalk on the beach side of the Hilton
Hotel at 100 North Atlantic Avenue in Daytona Beach, Florida.
This year's special honoree will be Floyd Emde, who won
the Daytona 200 60 years ago. His son Don Emde, also a
Daytona 200 winner, will have a replica of Floyd's 1948
Indian Big Base Scout on display. All are invited to enjoy
the many racers, old and young, who will be on hand for
photos and autographs. To learn more about plans for the
event, click here.
to be honored
Legend of the Motorcycle Concours
world champion Giacomo Agostini, pictured here after his
Daytona 200 victory in 1974, will be presented the Legend
of the Motorcycle International Concours Lifetime Achievement
Award on May 3 during this year's event at the Ritz-Carlton
Hotel in Half Moon Bay, California. MV Agusta, the brand
with which Agostini was most closely associated throughout
his career, will be the featured marque, along with Norton.
For more information about the Legend of the Motorcycle
International Concours d'Elegance, click here.
we were preparing our recent story about Six Days legend
Jeff Fredette (See Motohistory News
& Views 12/28/2007),
Leo Keller was working on a similar
feature for the German magazine Enduro.
That article has just appeared. Keller explains that
laufenden Band,” is an allusion to a popular German television
same issue also contains a bio by Keller for Helmut “Speedy”
Clasen, a former German off-road champion who now lives
and is a regular participant at the American ISDT Reunion
Ride. Keller reports that Norbert Bauer, the editor of
Enduro, has a soft spot in his heart for history,
and regularly publishes articles about the vintage enduro
scene. To reach the Enduro web site, click here.
March 2008 issue of IronWorks
features one of the more unusual recent acquisitions at
the National Motorcycle Museum in Anamosa,
an authentic and unrestored Harley Knucklehead
dragster campaigned in the 1950s by Bill “Pearshape”
Pearson, of Kansas
City. Pearson set
a quarter-mile record on this motorcycle in 1955, running
fuel and achieving 126.76 mph. The most interesting feature
of the motorcycle is how Pearson riddled it with
holes to make it lighter. Even the springer front fork
contains more than 70 holes, which may be why they didn't
call him Bill “Mr. Safety” Pearson. To reach the IronWorks
web site, click here.
For more information about the National Motorcycle Museum,
years of worldwide touring is described in “101
Road Tales” by Clement Salvadori,
just published by Whitehorse Press. The
book is an anthology of 101 columns selected by Salvadori
from the 225 he has written in Rider Magazine
since 1989. Salvadori began riding over
50 years ago, when he was 16 and living in Rome, and his
first motorcycle was an NSU Max. He toured extensively
in Europe on the NSU, then loaded it on a ship to America.
Since then, he has ridden in more than 70 countries on
six continents. This book is a hefty 383 pages in hard
cover, illustrated with cartoons by Gary Brown. To acquire
it from Whitehorse Press, click here.
Illustrated Encyclopedia of Motorcycles” by Erwin
Tragatsch, the most comprehensive and useful
motorcycle brands reference book in the world, has been
reprinted by Quantum Publishing, London.
Originally published in 1977, then updated in 2000, the
book contains a 56-page summary of the history of motorcycling
and a 56-page chapter on the great classic brands. What
follows then is an alphabetical listing of more than 2,500
worldwide brands of motorcycles with useful information
on the history of each manufacturer, plus an extensive
glossary of terms. I found a new copy of the new edition
at Costco for $12.95. An amazing value, for sure! To reach
the Quantum Publishing web site, click here.
is launching in April a new magazine entitled Motorcyclist
Retro, celebrating the bikes, riders, and
motorcycling culture of the 1960s, '70s, and '80s.
Editor Mitch Boehm adds, however, that earlier periods
will be addressed as well, depending on reader interest.
An announcement of the new publication states, "Every
issue will be pressure-packed with cool, classic-era content:
Features on collectors and collections, racers and race
bikes, readers' back-in-the-day photos and stories, news,
event coverage and much more -- all of it researched,
written, and photographed in Motorcyclist's credible
and attractive style." Motorcyclist Retro
will begin as a quarterly, then increase frequency to
a bi-monthly in 2009. The first issue will appear
in national outlets, such as Borders or Barnes & Noble.
To obtain more information, E-mail email@example.com.
to host motorcycle
and restoration seminars
National Packard Museum, which has just opened its eighth
annual motorcycle exhibit entitled “Masters of Sport and
Speed,” is planning to host a three-part motorcycle restoration
seminar series on the third Saturdays of February, March,
and April. The first workshop will be about winter and
long-term storage and insurance. The March workshop will
cover the search for parts and convey information about
the Antique Motorcycle Club of America judging system.
The final workshop will be about wheel building and maintenance.
Attendees should pre-register, since refreshments and
training materials will be provided. To reach the National
To read Motohistory's story about the new exhibit, go
to News & Views 12/27/2007 and 1/10/2008.
for Vincent centenary
celebrate the centenary of Philip Vincent's birth, the
Vincent Publishing Company, founded in 1974, will produce
a limited edition of 100 numbered vellum-bound copies
of Vincent's “Tales of the Snarling Beast,” originally
published in the 1960s. In addition, the volume will include
Roy Harper's interview with Vincent, plus further recollections
by Harper. Among its 192 pages will also be 32 pages with
rare drawings by Phil Vincent. The limited edition book
is priced at £298 with a special price of £283
if ordered by Vincent Owners Club members prior to March
31. A cloth-bound edition with laminated dust jacket will
be available for £29.95. For details on how to order,
Harper at firstname.lastname@example.org.
International Rally coming to IOM
45th International BSA Rally will be held August 16 through
23 on the Isle of Man. The BSA Owners Club has arranged
for discounted ferry rates for BSAOC members, and members
flying from overseas who want to camp can rent tents,
complete with cots, pillows, and outside cookers. The
rally fee is $125 per person, $65 for ages 12 to 15, and
children under 12 are free. Reservations should be made
prior to April 15. For more information and reservation
forms, E-mail Lannis Selz at email@example.com.
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:
Chater-Lea 2 ¼ h.p. Sports motor cycle is designed
to meet the growing demand for a solo machine of a really
fast sporting type. Either overhead valve or side valve
engines are supplied; and specification includes all-chain
drive, shock absorber, three speed gear, handlebar controlled
clutch, &c. Both wheels can be instantly removed without
touching either brakes or chain, a great convenience for
in a Series of 50:
text on the back of the card reads:
8 h.p. Clyno spring frame combination, with wind-screen
and storm-proof apron; luggage grid, with carrier underneath
for petrol can and took kit. The Clyno was chosen by the
British War Office for the Motor Machine-Gun Outfits.
The three-speed gear box is of the constant speed sliding
dog clutch type. The sidecar is exceptionally comfortable.
The spring shock absorber is a Clyno patent.
reading our story about Japanese motorcycle collector
Roger Smith (See Motohistory News &Views 1/14/2008),
Dave Ekins wrote:
is a photo of one of six Suzuki X6 Scrambler prototypes
converted at Products Testing R&D, a company
Jack Krizman and I created. We also developed the
Yamaha Big Bear Scrambler and the Harley-Davidson
Baja 100. I was taken by surprise
when I saw the X6 Roger Smith had restored and, doubly
surprised when it was mentioned he has a Big Bear Scrambler
also. These were the “stop gap” models rushed into
production by Suzuki and Yamaha while they tooled up to
make their off-road 250 singles. The photo was taken
at the 21st High
Enduro near San Louis Obispo, California.
our Feedback item from Mick Duckworth with the photo of
Floyd Clymer and associates in the Canal
(See Motohistory News & Views 1/1/2008),
motorcycle historian Jerry Hatfield
Ed, Jerry Hatfield here. As an air force officer, I was
stationed in the Panama
from 1969 through 1973. I met Clois Duffie,
shown in the photo on your site. Clois worked at the Canal
Zone water works in Balboa, C.Z. He started his Velocette
LE, which I couldn't hear running. I bummed a ride on
his Velocette MSS 500cc single, which convinced me to
order a new Velocette in early 1971. I received a letter
stating the factory was no longer making motorcycles,
and I got my money back. There couldn't have been many
Thruxtons that were shipped to Panama
or the Canal
So the Velocette Thruxton in the picture
may be the same Thruxton I borrowed for another Canal
ride one day.
world, huh Jerry?
response to our story about BMW scooter development (See
Motohistory News & Views 1/13/2008),
Tosh Konya wrote:
BMW Model 210B shown in the story about BMW scooter development
reminded me of the retro look of the Suzuki SW1,
which was for domestic sale in Japan
sent us a photo of the SW1, shown here. The motorcycle
was introduced in Japan
in 1992. It had weak sales, but has since become a sought-after
collectible. For additional photos and specifications,
click here and
have a winner; two, actually!
are going to award two winners of our Motohistory Quiz
#49 because correct answers came in from Jean Roquecave
and Jerry Ficklin within a second, illustrating again
the wonders of the World Wide Web since Roquecave, a motorcycle
journalist, is in Sainte Soulle, France, and Ficklin,
the owner of Vintage Motorcycle Supply, is in Sheridan,Indiana,
USA. Both realized that the object of our quiz is not
a motorcycle chassis, but a tool used for moving and storing
dismantled Vincent components.
Vincent does not have a conventional frame. It has a strong
“bracket” mounted to the top of the engine to which the
front and rear suspension components are bolted. Thus,
the engine itself is the main structural component of
the motorcycle. When a Vincent is dismantled, one ends
up with front and rear suspension components that are
hard to handle and awkward to store. Sid Biberman, a builder
of many Vincents over the years, designed this frame-like
tool in 1955 to solve the problem. Biberman writes, “Working in
a cramped garage mostly meant space was limited, so this
idea was born.
Instead of two ungainly, crippled sections, here was a
way to take up no more space than a normal bike, and which
could then be rolled outside.”
Biberman showed me the photo, this idea seemed so fundamentally
useful that I asked if it was a factory tool supplied
to Vincent dealers. Biberman replied, “I never saw the
idea repeated elsewhere, and it was not offered to dealers.
Certainly, a few others must have felt the same need and
come up with a similar fixture, but I have never seen
another one like it.” Above is another photo that
I chose not to use for our quiz because I thought all
the Vincents in the background might be a dead give-away.
known to his friends as “Big Sid,” is also a Motohistory
Know-It-All, having won our Motohistory Quiz #48. Congratulations,
Jean and Jerry, your Motohistory Know-It-All Diplomas
are in the mail.
the summer of 1969, the temperatures in Detroit soared
into to high 90s while the Viet Nam war raged on 10,000
miles away. Young men knew they had a high likelihood
of being called up to serve, and, at 19, I was in the
prime group of probable recruits. But the battle
on the streets of Motor City was between the Hemis, 409s,
and other big-block muscle cars produced by all of the
domestic manufacturers. It was the pinnacle of America's
street and drag strip racing era. Blue Sunoco 260
was the gasoline of choice, its advertising warning: “Power
to be used, NOT abused!" And at 21 cents a
gallon, how could we go wrong? The streets of southeast
Michigan boomed with the sounds of Motown Records and
ground-shaking vehicles on warm summer nights.
Japanese were gaining a strong hold on the motorcycle
market. It wouldn't be long until the powerful Kawasaki
triples and Honda
fours would arrive, but until then the smaller displacement
models had their day in the sun, often capable of giving
the bigger Brit bikes a worthy challenge. There
was no Internet, Ebay, or even personal computers, so
we would scour the used motorcycle ads in the Sunday newspapers
for good deals. I had already owned a 1966 Suzuki
X-6 Hustler and a T500, so I knew something about two-stroke
technology. When I found an ad for a Yamaha 305
dragster for sale (pictured above), it caught my eye.
made a call to my motorcycle riding friend Jim "Hazard"
Moore, and we were off in his 1956 Ford F100 pickup
truck to take a look at this "dragster."
To our surprise, it looked really good! The owner had
stripped down a Yamaha Catalina and constructed a drag
bike with all the excess weight removed. It had
a tiny lawnmower fuel tank strapped to the frame backbone,
and its rear shocks had been replaced with struts.
The engine had been bored out, and it had tuned pipes
with matching carbs. He rolled the red-framed dragster
out of the garage for us to see, hopped on, started it
with one kick, and promptly roared down the subdivision
street, wide open, to prove that it ran. Boy, was
that low-slung Yamaha fast! And I still remember
the sound of those two un-muffled expansion chambers ripping
the air! Even more exciting was the price.
The guy only wanted $125. SOLD! All the way home,
my friend Jim did his best to convince me that I could
make a quick $25 dollars by selling it to HIM for $150.
Yamaha gave us many hours of fun and excitement when we
would tow it to the Detroit Dragway on Saturday nights.
Twice the 305 Yamaha set State Class E records, with runs
of 105 mph and 109 mph in the quarter mile. I credit
that Yamaha for setting the records, because all I did
was hang on for dear life! As the announcer repeatedly
commented on how little the bike was, I wondered
what I was doing going 100 miles per hour on that creation!
I sold the Yamaha before I left for the Army, but
my memories of that motorcycle will always be alive. Memories
of driving home with a trophy in the front seat. Memories
of the dragster I bought for $125!
Smith is emblematic of the kind of person driving a new
wave of motorcycle restoration and collecting as the Japanese
brands stir up nostalgic feelings among
their first generation of owners. Born April 27,
1950, Smith came of age in the post-war era when hot cars
and hot motorcycles were the object of a young man's fancy.
Smith enlisted in the Army in 1969, but was fortunate
enough to draw stateside duty and avoid service in Viet
Nam. Many of his era got out of motorcycles to raise
families and build careers, then returned to drive the
recent boom in the American motorcycle market. Smith,
however, has remained involved with motorcycles his whole
life, and has also cultivated an interest in ultarlight
aircraft. His exquisitely restored Japanese motorcycles
are consistent class winners. In 2006, he won first
place at the Gilmore Concours with his Suzuki X-6 Hustler
(pictured below), then in 2007 took first and second with
Suzuki and his Yamaha Big Bear
Scrambler. He also won his class in 2006 at the
Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum Concours. Smith retired
in 1999 after 25 years of service as a detective for the
Pontiac, Michigan Police Department. Today he serves on
the board of directors of the Vintage Japanese Motorcycle
Club, for which he is also Public Relations Director.
He apparently is good at his task, having recruited talk
show star Jay Leno to join the VJMC. For more information
about the VJMC, click here.
provided by Roger Smith.
help me out here, kids. What is this? There does not seem
to be room for a very big engine, so I wonder what this
is and what it's for? All I can tell you for sure
is that this is a one-off design.
first person who can tell me what we're looking at in
this picture will receive a Motohistory Know-It-All Diploma.
So rush to your keyboard and send your answer to Ed@motohistory.net.
BMW built a scooter
the nations of Europe
began to rebuild
their shattered economies following the Second World War,
people were in dire need of economical transportation.
The great luxury automobiles of the 1930s were no longer
an option, and for many, the motorcycle, with its dirty
and high-maintenance chain drive, astride riding position,
and lack of weather protection, was not a viable choice
either. A new concept in personal transportation was required,
and the solution was found in 1946 when Piaggio engineer
Corradino d'Ascanio created the Paperino, a forerunner
to the Vespa. Scooters had existed before,
but they were little more than crude platforms with primitive
engines and small wheels. Drawing on the aeronautical
design concepts that had advanced so rapidly during the
war, D'Ascanio delivered a highly-sophisticated vehicle
that was light and easy to operate, featuring a monocoque
chassis incorporating good weather protection, a fully
enclosed engine and drive train, and single-sided suspension
for easy wheel removal and repair. With smooth and quiet
operation and a pleasing,
it expanded the two-wheel market by appealing to women
and young people.
motor industry throughout Europe reacted quickly to this
new idea as companies from Czechoslovakia to the British
Isles began to develop modern and stylish scooters aimed
at getting a piece of the fresh, new market opened by
Piaggio's Vespa. BMW was no exception. The Munich-based
company began as early as 1950 to develop the 210B (pictured
at the top of this story), powered by a 200cc four-stroke
overhead-valve single. This early project was abandoned,
but as Zundapp and Heinkel began to enjoy good sales of
their Bella and Tourist
scooters throughout Germany, BMW renewed development in
1953 with models designated the 210C and 210D (the pair
of scooters pictured above), both 175s with different
engine designs. As 210D's engine grew to 200cc by the
end of 1954, it was re-designated 210E (pictured above).
of BMW, the prototypes featured shaft drive (pictured
here), so the engine was mounted more toward the center
of the vehicle, unlike the Vespa with its engine mounted
outboard of the rear wheel. Reportedly, this contributed
to very good handling and road-holding characteristics.
It was characteristic of the German scooters, such as
the Zundapp Bella, the Heinkel Tourist, and the Maicomobile
(See Motohistory News & Views 10/11/2007)
to be larger, more robust, and more “masculine” in styling
than their Italian
counterparts. This was true of the BMW as well, which
had a fairly long wheelbase.
early 1955, pre-production models had been assembled and
mass production was ready to begin. However, the company
remained wary of entering the scooter market, and production
was never begun. With very limited resources, three major
development projects were abandoned by BMW in 1955. These
were the 210E scooter, the RS250 high-performance boxer
motorcycle (See Motohistory News & Views 12/11/2007),
and a new automobile engine. Rather, BMW, like many European
companies, decided to go the way of the micro-car, turning
its resources toward the Isetta (pictured above). Clearly,
the Isetta served BMW well during
a difficult time in its history, but one might still argue
scooters was a strategic mistake, since Zundapp went on
to manufacture and sell 130,000 Bellas over the next decade.
last, with governments turning their attention toward
environmental issues and urban congestion, in 1992 BMW
returned to the scooter by introducing the innovative
and unorthodox C1 (pictured here). With excellent weather
protection, a bucket-type seat, safety belts, and a roll-cage
enclosing the operator, the C1 may prove to be a breakthrough
concept as revolutionary as the Vespa scooter. For more
information about the BMW C1, click here.
provided by Ralf Kruger.
of BMW 210B and 210E from BMW. Photo of BMW 210C
and 210D from Motorrad.
at the National
has just acquired two collectibles that are about as different
as two vehicles can be and still be called motorcycles.
One is a 1903 Indian with “Tri-Car” chassis (pictured
here). The other is a streamliner built and piloted by
Rick Vesco at Bonneville in 1970.
Indian Tri-Car chassis appeared in Indian's 1906 catalog;
however, it could be installed on any of the early diamond-frame
motorcycles, including those manufactured prior to 1906.
The Tri-Car attachment was designed for various fixtures,
including a bench-type seat for a passenger and a small
van body or trunk, as pictured above. It was variously
called a “Triplet (when used with three passengers),”
a “Van,” a “Tri-Car,” or a "Tricycle.” This example,
now on display at the National
was restored by Yellow Spear Restoration of Merrill, Wisconsin.
Vesco streamliner (shown here being unloaded), built on
a 22-inch aircraft drop tank, is powered by two supercharged
650cc Yamaha engines. Builder Rick Vesco explains, “My
brother Don was a Yamaha dealer and had been racing the
350cc Yamaha two-strokes at Bonneville. One problem with
the two-strokes was that they didn't have much torque,
so when the overhead-cam four-stroke came out in 1969,
I thought that two of these, supercharged (as pictured
below), might provide the kind of power we needed.”
Vesco campaigned the liner only one season, crashing it
in 1970 at over 175 mph. With a short wheelbase and no
stabilizing fin, the streamliner was not
stable. Vesco attributes the problem in part to incorrect
tire selection. He says, “I had no money to put a lot
of work into it, so we never rebuilt it or ran it again.”
Riches, owner of Airtech Streamlining, bought the derelict
streamliner for $1,500 from Bonneville veteran Ron Secor
in 2001. He says, “It was mostly just the chassis. Most
of the body panels were gone, but Secor actually had the
original molds. The engines and engine plates were missing
also.” Amazingly, Riches discovered that Rick Vesco still
had the engines, and Don Vesco had the plates. One blower
was missing, but was discovered in the possession of a
man who had bought it from Vesco in 1974. He sold it back,
and with all of the critical components in hand, Riches
made new body panels and restored the machine to better-than-new
Parham acquired the vintage liner for display at the
Museum (as pictured here with technician Jeff Wiley).
more information on Airtech Streamlining, click here.
For information about the current activities of Team Vesco,
To reach the National Motorcycle Museum, click here.
bikes at the
Hall of Fame
motorcycles with special history have been placed on display
at the Motorcycle Hall of Fame Museum. These are the 1972
Harley-Davidson on which veteran, adventurer, and author
Dave Barr – a double amputee – traveled 83,000 miles around
the world; Doug Henry's 1997 Yamaha motocross bike that
ushered in the current four-stroke era (shown here), and
a concours-winning Rickman CR750. To read the whole story,
the Eighth opens
January 4 the National Packard Museum in Warren, Ohio,
the home of the legendary Packard luxury automobile, opened
its eighth annual motorcycle exhibit. Entitled “Masters
of Speed and Sport,” the exhibit, curated by Daryl Timko
and Bruce Williams,
presents 26 motorcycles ranging from a 1909 Royal Pioneer
to a 1984 Yamaha RZ350. Some of the more notable
bikes in the exhibit
include an 1898 Columbia bicycle with 1913 Shaw Clip-on
engine, a 1927 Raleigh 350 Sport, a 1948 Moto Guzzi Airone
Sport, a 1950 Horex factory racer, a 1974 Laverda SFC
(pictured below), and a 1981 Ducati 900SS. Many
of the motorcycles provided
for the exhibit came from members of the Lake Erie Chapter
of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.
Packard Museum's annual motorcycle exhibit becomes more
popular every year, and this
time over 200 guests packed the facility for the opening
reception. The wide range of motorcycles displayed among
magnificent Packard automobiles – plus a monstrous PT
boat engine and other Packard artifacts – provide something
to run through May 31, the exhibit is sponsored by Warren
Harley-Davidson, Little Wings Café, and the Trumble
County Tourism Bureau. For more information about
the National Packard Museum, click here.
Packard exhibit 1950 Horex racer:
Williams (pictured below) has owned his prized Horex works
racer for almost 20 years, but only recently
finished restoring it just in time for the Packard exhibit
opening. In fact, the tank insignia were installed
only after the motorcycle was placed on its display stand.
About this rare motorcycle, Williams explains, “The allies
had imposed a ban on German motorcycles larger than 250cc
after the Second World War. This restriction was lifted
in 1949. The Horex was built for the 1950 season from
a mix of prewar and current Regina
parts. The frame was modified to become a full cradle,
double down-tube style to fit non-unit engine components.
The top end is a 1950 single-port alloy sport head on
cylinder, with spacer to allow mating to 1933 cases.
It has a KS high-compression piston, and they variously
Burman, and Norton transmissions. This example has the
Norton gear box, sitting vertical. The carb was a 1-5/32
Amal 10-TT-9, and the magneto is Bosch. It has Avon
3.50 x 19 racing
tires on Weinman alloy rims. It was built with help
from Herr Kleeman, the owner of the factory. Gas
tanks were available in different sizes and changed to
suit the length of the race. The Germans were not
allowed to compete internationally until 1951, so this
bike was only raced in Germany.
Friedel Schoen won the German national road racing
championship in 1950 on this kind of motorcycle.
One other of this 1950 model existed, but was destroyed
by fire in Europe.
For 1951, the new OHC Schnell-Horex appeared, making
the old pushrod motor obsolete. The engine in this machine
is rated at about 25 hp – eight horses more than the stock
motor -- and it had a top speed of around 100 mph. The
fenders, oil tank, chain guard, and rims are alloy.”
Ducati firm has made history by defeating the mighty Japanese
companies in both MotoGP and World Superbike. Its
story, “Ducati MotoGP and World Superbike: The
Official Yearbook from Ducati Corse,” is now
available in the United
States from Parker
House Publishing. In 12 x 12 inch format, this hardcover
book contains 230 color photos. To order your copy E-mail
Publishing Ltd. Has released “Hold On!,”
the autobiography of world championship sidecar rider
Stan Dibben, a book in which he describes
his experiences of hanging on the edge at 150 mph. Even
more amazingly, before achieving fame in the chair of
a motorcycle sidecar, Dobben had already been a professional
trumpet player, electrician, and sailor, as well as a
highly respected GP motorcycle racer. The publisher states,
“With 113 illustrations on 128 pages, this is a book that
will not just fill you with wonder, but one that will
also open your eyes on a now rapidly fading era.” For
more information, click here.
For those who would like a copy autographed by the author,
Dibben will be signing books at the 28th International
Classic Motorcycle Show in Stafford, Great Britain, on
April 26 and 27.
Since 1950,” by Steve Wilson, is also newly available
from Panther Publishing Ltd. Panther, which ceased
production in 1966, was one of those British makers of
motorcycles that produced surprisingly good machines that
often outlasted many of the better-known brands.
In a reprint of his work, originally published in 1992,
Wilson provides a comprehensive history of this Yorkshire
company. The book is 48 pages with 46 illustrations.
To order it from the publisher, click here.
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:
B.S.A. 6 h.p. twin-cylinder combination has an engine
capacity of 770 c.c., three-speed gear, clutch, and kick-starter,
while both front and rear brakes act on special brake
rims. The tank holds 1 ¾ gallons of petrol and
2 ½ pints of oil. The sidecar shown is well upholstered,
roomy and efficiently sprung, and has a large locker at
in a series of 50:
text on the back of the card reads:
lightweight fitted with a specially designed two-stroke
engine which embodies a number of novel features. A detachable
cylinder head is a feature not often found in engines
of this type, and tends to increase efficiency. The model
shown is the all-chain drive three-speed, which is capable
of extensive touring, and which scales barely 150 lbs.
The carburetter is made throughout by the manufacturers
of the motor cycle, and designed to secure the maximum
efficiency from the engine.
an outstanding list of American restoration services.
To check it out, click here.
and often surprising, Cyril Huze's blog
frequently touches on custom motorcycles, vintage, and
that interesting world of retro-vintage that fills the
gray areas between, such as Stellan Egeland's creation
pictured here. Check it out here.
is noted for its land speed and drag racing bodywork.
However, the company also produces a vintage product
line. For more information, click here.
we linked to SoCalMotorcycle.com for
a bio of Bud Ekins. However, there is
much more to enjoy on this web site. To read more, click
a lot to enjoy on the Blue Moon Cycle
web site, such as a virtual tour of their Norcross, Georgia
shop. For more about Blue Moon, click here.
Thaw coming up
1974 BMW R75 (pictured here) will be raffled off at the
6th Spring Thaw Bike Show and Swap Meet, scheduled for
March 29 at the Calsonic Arena at Shelbyville, Tennessee.
A new feature of the meet will be an auction, sponsored
by Bumpus Harley-Davidson. For more information, click here.
birthday coming in March
March 14 approaching as the centenary of the birth of
Philip Vincent, David
Wright reports that the Vincent HRD Owners Club newsletter,
has put out a call for submissions relevant to the historic
event. Other Vincent fans who are aware of special
celebrations can send
information to Ed@Motohistory.net.
To reach the Vincent HRD Owners Club, click here.
like we are getting enough feedback about Floyd
Clymer to start a new web site called TalesofFloydClymer.com,
or something like that. Responses from Motohistory
readers who knew Floyd Clymer continue to roll in. For
example, our sometimes contributor from England, Mick
Ed. Seeing the piece about Floyd Clymer on your latest
update (Motohistory News & views 12/26/2007)
reminded me that some years ago
I was lent some photos taken when he visited the World
Wide Motor Cycle Club of Panama in 1966. The attached photo shows Clymer (middle) with
Clois Duffie and Bill Weigle (on his Velocette Venom
Thruxton) at the Miraflores Locks Wall. I understand that
Bill Weigle, who apparently still owns this machine,
talked to Clymer on this occasion about how the Velo needed
a more modern and lightweight frame. I have not been able
to trace Mr. Weigle to return the photos to
him, and wondered if any of your readers might be able
to help? Best wishes for 2008.
Motohistory readers, can anyone tell us the whereabouts
of Bill Weigle? If so, please contact Mick Duckworth
addition, Southern Californian Richard Ong, who lived
only a couple of blocks from Floyd Clymer's office, writes
about his use of Velocette engines and what happened to
the Tartarini-framed Indians after Clymer's death:
was already in receivership, and Clymer bought the last
batch of 100 to 150 500cc engines and had Tararini in Italy build the frames. Cylmer died only a year or so after
the bike was introduced, and the remaining bikes were
bought by Shell Thuet's bike shop in South
and sold at a discount. I almost bought one for $350 back
in 1974, but passed because it was in a rough condition.
My friend Bill McNulty did buy one in a basket, and sold
it before he finished the bike, but it gave me a good
look at the construction, which wasn't as well made as
an original Velocette. The frames were made of thin wall
tubing that was prone to crack, and the fiberglass side
covers would fall off. Mainly, I didn't like the bike
because it sat so tall, but it did have excellent brakes
and forks. The Thruxton engine models were rare, and I
only saw one that was ridden by Steve McQueen at the Visalia Rally.
I do know that Velocette guys were upset at this abortion
of a bike with their favorite engine, and most wouldn't
even think of having one, other than to strip the engine
and keep it for spares.
Don Brown, who worked for Clymer as the Editor at Cycle
Magazine, writes about Clymer and the 1954
Mexican Road Race:
remember when Floyd Clymer got himself into trouble by
actually convincing the Italian driver Piero Taruffi
that he would sponsor him in the Mexican
Road Race. By then Taruffi was slightly ageing, but still a
greatly respected and competent driver (he won the Traga
Florio in 1954 and the Mille Miglia in 1957, at the age
of 51). Floyd had actually entered a nearly-dead Ford
Six in the event (it was the same car we used to pick
up up the mail), and as the race date approached, we all
wondered where the famous car was that Floyd kept telling
Taruffi about. Then movie stunt man and racing car driver
Bob Feuerhelm came to the office on Pico
Boulevard to take the Ford to Denver to have it prepped for what was one of the most grueling
races in the world. He got there just soon enough for
them to overhaul the suspension and the engine upper-end,
install tires, brakes, and internal safety bars, and that
was about it. None of it was very special stuff. Then
Bob drove the car all the way to Mexico
City to meet Taruffi personally.
and Taruffi tested the car together before the
race, and despite the fact that it proved to be one of
the slowest cars one could possibly imagine, the Italian
was so polite he would not reveal that fact to any of
the other drivers who believed that Taruffi actually had
a secret power plant in that Ford. There was a story that Lincoln sent word to Taruffi that he could have the pick of their
factory cars if he wanted to switch, but he said, "No,
my friend Mr. Clymer has gone to a lot of trouble to get
the car down here. I promised my friend I would drive
it, and I will keep my promise!" He did, and he actually led
his class for a while through the most winding parts of
the course, and he finished third, I believe!
Bob and I were in Dodge
the races being promoted by Floyd, and he asked us to
drive the same car back to Pasadena.
We decided that if we had to drive that car some
1,800 miles, we would go all the way, non-stop. We took
turns driving and made it in record time, according to
Bob, who had done this a couple of times before. On the
way we picked a few races, but lost none, especially through
the mountains! And would you believe we did not pick up
even one highway patrol during our road racing stunt?
Sadly, Bob was later killed in a filming accident.
was a complex personality. Many believed he was
a bit nutty, and in some ways he
might have been. But the more I think about it the more
I believe he was truly an intellect with an outward demeanor
that was sufficient to be misleading for many. He once
fired me because he found out I was racing with a helmet
brand that was not the one he was selling. I ignored him
and came to work the next morning, and he never said another
word to me about it.
Note: In 1950, Floyd Clymer published a book
about the Mexican Road Race. With an original cover price
of $2.00, it now sells for $100 on the use book market.
To get your copy, click here. For
more information about Piero Taruffi, click here.
Thanks again, Don, Richard, and Mick, for more Floyd Clymer
lore. Any of you want to become the editor of TalesofFloydClymer.com?
following came from Dave Armbrust in response to our story
about Jeff Fredette (Motohistory News & Views 12/28/2007):
your article about Jeff Fredette, you mentioned a German
rider named Herbert Schek. The attached photo of
Schek hangs in my den, and I believe is my favorite from
the 1972 ISDT in Czechoslovakia.
I followed Ed Schmidt and Dave Mungenast around the
local enduro circuit and to the Six Days in 1972, '73,
and '74. However, I was a better photographer than I was
an enduro rider.
Dave, for the fine photo of Herbert Schek. This giant
German, who could manhandle a BMW like it was a Whizzer,
was always a great friend and favorite of the American
ISDT riders. In my book about Dave Mungenast (“Take
it to the Limit: The Dave Mungenast Way,” Motohistory,
2006) I tell how Mungenast broke his foot at the ISDT
in Italy in 1974. He wanted to continue, but his foot swelled so
badly he could not possibly get his boot on. So Schek
loaned Dave one of his huge boots.
American motocross star Mike Runyard sent us a wonderful
photograph from the late 1960s when Europe's
best came to the United
States to ride Edison
Dye's Inter-Am Series. Shown here left to right are Mike
Runyard, Joel Robert, Dave Bickers, Godfrey Runyard, Roger
DeCoster, and Ken Runyard. Godfrey Runyard, who is now
102 years old, once maintained the Brough Superior owned
by T.E. Lawrence (of Arabia).
Thanks, Mike, for sending this historic photo.