Sunday, October 29, 2006

2006 49 MILE RIDE, Part 3

49-Mile Ride; bikes coming down Lombard St ('crookedest street in the world', but not the twistiest in SF!), Reggie with dyed beard and Knucklehead, awesome homemade custom moped! Note serious lack of brakes.

49 MILE RIDE, 2006, pt 2

49-Mile Ride; Kim Young rode The Mule as her '30 KSS Velo is broken, and she didn't flinch at how filthy the KTT has become, even in her white leather jacket. Lower pic shows some of the variety of machinery; tasty purple/white Knucklehead chop with Kawasaki H3 in the background.

49 Mile Ride, James and Kumi

Kumi and James outside Cafe Trieste. I do believe James is a Sartorialist.

2006 49 MILE RIDE, Part 4

More pix from the 49 Mile Ride; Jeff Wu on his incredibly oily and scruffy '40-ish BMW - an interesting bike, with an ex-military R75M engine (750cc) in a civilian chassis. As-found! Your scribe on his 'Beam, wearing a WW1 pilot's leather jerkin.

2006 49 MILE RIDE, Part 1

49 Mile Ride! Almost 160 bikes arrived at Cafe Trieste this morning, of all varieties. Top photo shows a fellow (sorry no name) who rode a Ural with sidecar, who said his outfit was inspired by his great-grandfather. It's hard to see but he's got pinstripe slacks under chaps - something I've never seen before, which gave him a real old-west air. Lower pic shows James and Kumi on their Royal Enfield and Ariel, as always looking stylish.

Ferrari F430@Bahrain

Friday, October 27, 2006


The Legion of Honor museum in SF held an 'Art Deco Day', in honor of their show of Art Deco jewellery and art. The Art Deco Society was invited to grace the opening day with their cars and lavish costumes, and they had a parade of cars across the Golden Gate Bridge to the museum. I 'crashed' the party, being the only motorcyclist present, but at least I had the correct period gear and bike. All the drivers/passengers with the cars were done up in 20's style, with a lot of period extras like gramophones playing, wicker picnic baskets, etc; note the fellow in the tux attending a '34 Talbot Lago, in the background of the Sunbeam photo. The '26 Rolls Silver Ghost is my idea of a good time on four wheels. It sounded fantastic driving down the road.


A friend just found this pic of Evel Knievel jumping what looks like a late 60's Triumph in the Civic Center of San Francisco!

BMW @ Night

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Formula Nippon 2006

New Car: 2007 Fiat Bravo

On January 29, the new Fiat Bravo will be presented to the international media in Rome, going on the market all over Europe in the following weeks.The model is built in the Piedimonte S. Germano plant (Frosinone), and aims to become a benchmark in the most important segment of the European market. To achieve this goal, the Fiat Bravo has been designed and developed as the ideal synthesis of Beauty and Substance.Beauty as the most up-to-date expression of Italian styleDeveloped by the Fiat Style Centre, the exterior design of the model is unmistakably �Italian�, another step forward in the development of the brand�s new stylistic identity.

The new Bravo arouses emotions at first glance, and it welcomes driver and passengers aboard in a passenger compartment where they will appreciate the quality of the materials and the care dedicated to even the smallest detail.The Fiat Bravo cleverly combines a compact five-door body with an extraordinary amount of interior roominess: it is 434 centimetres long, 179 cm wide, and 149 cm high, with a wheelbase of 2.6 metres, and a loading capacity of 400 litres that tops its class.Substance in the form of an innovative, reliable, quality car The Fiat Bravo aims to be a car of �substance�, thanks to a lavish array of technological features and quality standards worthy of a higher class where safety, comfort and driving enjoyment are concerned.

The Fiat Bravo is an agile car that is entertaining to drive in every situation, thanks in part to the wide choice of engines, which include the popular turbodiesel 1.9 Multijets (120 and 150 bhp), the 90 bhp 1.4, and a new family of turbocharged T-JET petrol engines (120 and 150 bhp 1.4 Turbo) that now make their debut, combining low consumption and outstanding performance.

Don't Break Down

This is what REALLY happens at an old bike rally... some unfortunate sod has a difficulty with his motorbike, and is anxiously attending his 1915 Harley, while several of his friends stand around and make jokes at his expense, and jibes at his improvised solutions. And he takes it all in stride. Note the doctor's bag on the rack, which was full of tools and spares, which he used! Pre-16 Rally, Atascadero, May 2006.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Larini im Regen

911GT2 discovering the NS

Next gen Fiat Doblo caught!

The facelifted model of the Fiat Doblo is on sale now in the UK and Europe but already a replacement is planned.

The commerical van will be designed in Turkey, Bursa and could be built there too.

Prototypes have already been running around in Italy and Turkey.

Judging by the spy picture it will have a curvy front end like the Renault Kangoo and similar radiator grille to the Fiat Grande Punto.

It will be growing in size but should be a similar size to the Renault Kangoo, VW Caddy and Citroen Berlingo.

2007 Skoda Octavia Facelift

It looks like the Skoda Octavia will go under the knife again for its 2nd facelift as this grainy picture shows when the vehicle was parked unattended in a car park in Czech Republic. The current facelifted model came out early this year.

Revised lights, bumpers and grilles will be part of the facelift.

The D-Segment car will take on the Volkswagen Passat, Toyota Avensis, Honda Accord, Vauxhall Vectra etc.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006


Two more pix from the Legends Concours. Top pic is Alfredo Orzi from Milan, who is touching a Brough Superior SS100! More importantly, his outfit; he told me it was bespoke, made from an old design, for motorcycling. Love the socks! He is a delightul character, who had flown from Italy just to attend/participate in the event.
Lower pic shows Jared Zaugg, who with wife Brooke organized the Legends, two years in the planning, and financially guaranteed with his personal credit cards! That's committment. He's wearing a great vintage-y outfit with those spectator shoes, and looking pretty darn good for a guy who hadn't slept in a couple of days. I'm wearing a vintage Dunhill coat, one of the few items of clothing I've bought on ebay, but I needed a blue jacket for judging duties. A polka-dotted necktie is doing double-duty as my pocket square, which matches my ca 1970 Sears polyester shirt. Yes!


A nice pic of Paul Zell and one of his amazing Zellocettes; this one is the MeSS, with around 700-odd cc's of raw power, utilizing a special cylinder head/barrel/piston to create shocking stomp on the road. He regularly humbles riders of new machines, and this bike has proved to be fairly reliable, after much experimentation on earlier versions of 'bigger banger' theme.

His previous Velo special, the monstrous 780cc Thruxton (featured in Cycle World), produced amazing power, but was prone to mechanical gremlins. At this point, Paul is reverting to a standard 500cc engine in his Thruxton, as he's tired of chasing the weaknesses in an overstressed engine. But, the MeSS has been going strong for a couple of years now.

For a short video of what you can expect from a potent Thruxton, watch this video!

Monday, October 23, 2006


Goodwood Revival, Sep. '05. Cars, planes, motorcycles, people in period dress, great photo ops, a Veuve Clicquot tent, you can even buy a bespoke tweed suit (special 'Goodwood' weave) by Lord March's personal tailor, or get a haircut and shave while watching the races in an old leather barber chair. Top pic shows a Spitfire and attending crew, listening to a gramophone, before scrambling and taking off in the plane! Center pic shows a Rolls 'howdah' (maharajah's hunting jitney) with prey, pardon the paper bag in my hand but if you buy a program, you get a lot of goodies, including a single-earpiece radio to listen to the commentary (otherwise inaudible due to the racing). I think the bag also held my lunch, which was brought to me by Peter Miles (thanks Peter!). Third photo is a random shot by the race staging area; everyone looks the part. The cars are Formula 2, with Ford 4-cyl engines. The video shows these cars taking off for the race - if the film had been in black and white, it might be 1964!

Sunday, October 22, 2006


Summer Rally '06, Crater Lake. Ken Vincent of Perth, Australia, rode my KTT for a day, and my '60 Velo the rest of the week. He's pictured in the middle of that 48 mile dirt stretch, feeling manly! If you look closely at the top pic (click on it for a better view), you'll see a 'Velocette' written in the snow bank - man was my hand cold... Bottom pic is the bike on the edge of Crater Lake proper; such a beautiful park. Bottom pic is the '60 Clubman (w/Jeff Scott's '59 Venom in all black) on THAT road.

Brooklands again, in front of Malcolm Campbell's workshop, preserved today as a museum of racing machines. Campbell was known for his land speed record 'Bluebird' cars and boats. The '27 Velo KSS/TT I'm riding is owned by Ken Boulter, a good friend from Chiddingly, seen in the lower photo contemplating the bike the prior day. Ken has an ex-Brooklands Norton with sidecar inside the museum, which he rides on track days, although his health isn't so good and this is the only time he rides.


This is the Legends of the Motorcycle overall Concours winner, a Crocker with a near-perfect restoration. The photo was taken the following weekend in May, on a pre-1916 ride (I know, it's later than that, but I was on a post-16 as well) near Pozo. The owner rode the machine, scraping the footboards on the twisty roads (guess all those 'fast Crocker' stories were about straight-line races!), and generally enjoying the heck out of his historic machine. Not all show winners are trailer queens!

ETCC 2003

Thursday, October 19, 2006


Dai Gibbison, David Vincent, moi, at Brooklands Reunion Sep '05. David Vincent won a Gold Star (100mph lap in a race) on a '34 Velo KTT, in 1936. He was inspired to begin racing after his friends tired of being blown off by his fast riding, and insisted he take it to the track; he thrashed his ride-to-work KSS in the very first Clubman's race at Brooklands, netting a lowly position, so immediately sought out a real racing machine. He purchased the ex-Lamacraft Velo mkIV KTT, two years old, and within a few races had gained the coveted Gold Star (not many were awarded for 350cc machines). His bike was the same model as mine (see below), and I can attest to the speed possible - it was clocked at 105mph and rising.
Lower photo shows David with his actual Gold Star medal; says he, "Gold Star, pah! It's brass!"

Okay, talk about Vintage Gear; this is the Goodwood Revival, England Sept. '05. A huge vintage car/motorcycle/plane weekend at Lord March's estate, with racing all day on his private racecourse, and the car park (pictured) has hundreds of amazing vehicles which on any other day would have BEEN the show. Best aspect of the event; you're expected to wear 'period' (30's - 50's) clothing! So almost everyone does in fact. Peter Miles gave me a ticket on short notice (usually 100 pounds), so I had to scare up an outfit pronto. I found a tiny vintage shop in the village of Louth where I was visiting Rob Drury, and the fellow had a wool tweed suit, detachable-collar shirt, wing-tip shoes, plaid tie, and 'flat hat', all of which fit me, for 100 pounds. The pants were a little tight, but the fellow advised skipping a meal before the event!
The bike is a '38 BMW R51 racer, an example of which has been sitting in boxes in my garage for 19 years!