He was barely known by the general public, if known at all. But Andrew McLaglen (sometimes credited as Andrew V McLaglen) who has died aged 94, was one of the great movie directors of his era; a man who directed the likes of John Wayne, James Stewart, Maureen O'Hara, Richard Burton, Kirk Douglas, Dean Martin, Gregory Peck, Angie Dickinson, Roger Moore, Trevor Howard, James Arness, Charlton Heston, George Peppard, Clint Eastwood and James Coburn.
He was born in Wandsworth, London, the son of actor and boxer Victor McLaglen. As a child, he moved to Hollywood and grew up on and around movie sets, finally breaking into the industry as an adult with the support of the legendary John Ford who appointed McLaglen assistant director on The Quiet Man (1952).
In 1956, he directed his first film, Man in the Vault (1956). Soon after came Gun the Man Down (1956). Notable other movies included:
Shenandoah (1965) Highly recommended
The Rare Breed (1966)
The Way West (1967) Highly recommended
The Devil's Brigade (1968)
The Undefeated (1969)
Cahill U.S. Marshal (1973)
The Wild Geese (1978)
The Sea Wolves (1980)
Return from the River Kwai (1989)
McLaglen, a six feet seven inch golfing enthusiast who famously partnered James Stewart, was also an accomplished TV director and worked on classic shows included Gunsmoke, Have Gun Will Travel, Wagon Train, Perry Mason, Rawhide, and Banacek. Clearly, westerns were his forte closely followed by war movies, but no great accolades ever came his way.
His style was generally solid, straight-to-the-point, Boys Own story telling without flamboyance or pretence. He had some notable highs with Shenandoah and The Way West, but some notable lows that are best forgotten. He worked repeatedly with John Wayne, and in later life was also involved in theatre.
Four times married, McLaglen retired from films in 1989. He is survived by two daughters and a son.
His passing might be only briefly noted in the mainstream media, but his films, we're sure, will endure for a long time to come. Some of them are small masterpieces of taut and economical direction.
— Big End
We're referring, of course, to the Harley-Davidson Panhead chopper (above) as used in the seminal road movie Easy Rider, and not any of the "Liberator" bikes ridden in the Captain America superhero films.
It's by no means our favourite motorcycle, cinematically speaking or otherwise, but it is unarguably the world's most instantly recognisable two-wheeler and a counter-culture icon that immediately conjures up music tracks by Steppenwolf, Smith, The Byrds, Jimi Hendrix, The Holy Modal Rounders and The Electric Prunes (among others).
Apparently two of these 74-cubic inch Panheads (as ridden by Peter Fonda) were built for the classic 1969 movie, and two more Panhead "Billy bikes" were built (for Dennis Hopper).
If you stayed awake until the end of Easy Rider, you'll know that Fonda's bike caught fire after a crash (seems that a bunch of rednecks didn't like the movie much either and took umbrage with a gun). The other three bikes were, apparently, stolen sometime after the completion of shooting. Camera shooting, that is.
This survivor, now restored, is going under the hammer courtesy of California-based auction house Profiles in History. As for its provenance, who knows if it's the real McCoy or another fake/homage?
Well fellow actor Dan Haggerty does actually, or says he does. Apparently he worked on he bikes in the film and has signed a letter telling it like it is. This is the right Harley, he claims. And Profiles in History, which specialises in movie memorabilia, is satisfied.
The glitzy-gaudy Panhead will be sold at the Hollywood 65 Auction to be held on the 17th, 18th and 19th October 2014. The venue is 26662 Agoura Road, Calabasa, California, CA 91302. Tip: you can learn to speak Russian while you wait for their catalogue to download.
So what's the estimate? $1,000,000 to $1,200,000.
— Big End
This is still at the "discussion" stage, but it could lead to more classic vehicles becoming MOT exempt. Following an EU directive, the UK Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is considering allowing vehicles over 30 years old to become MOT-free and subject to self-inspection provided they have not had "substantial changes".
At present, only vehicles manufactured before 1960 are exempt (note that some specialist vehicles, some farm equipment and military vehicles are already also exempt).
By 2018, the government will need to update the current MOT law, so it's asking everyone and anyone with a classic vehicle to make their views known asap.
The ethos, we hear, is to "support [the government's] aims for better road safety" and "support [the government’s] aim for better regulation that minimises the burdens on vehicle owners and businesses".
To that end, the DVLA has launched a website that will be open until the end of October 2014.
— Del Monte
Okay. Quick one here. New variation on a tried and tested Bonneville theme. Triumph Thruxton Ace. Special Edition. Officially sanctioned by the world's most famous petrolhead cafe (officially sanctioned by Triumph too). Basically a stock Thruxton blinged up a little differently. Oxblood seat. Bar end mirrors. Handlebar plaque. "Edgier" exhaust. Just 100 will be made. At the dealers this December (2014). No prices yet. Possible future classic? Maybe.
— The Third Man
Twenty-eight bikes are being fielded; a fair mix of British, German, Japanese and Italian machines. There's nothing really outstanding, but there are a few very nice lots including the above (and immediately below) 1962 Triumph Trophy TR6 carrying an estimate of £8,000 - £10,000, which sounds about right to us.
Then there's the one-owner-from-new 1972 Norvil Commando (below) with an estimate of £14,000 - £16,000. The bike is one of 116 made, and we think H&H has got this motorcycle pretty much on the nose too. This bike has the third highest estimate in the sale, by the way (second is a 1933 Excelsior, estimated at £18,000 - £20,000; see below).
However, the highest expectations are for the 1981 Kreidler GP Works Racer (immediately below). H&H are anticipating £23,000 - £28,000. We've got no idea how realistic that is (Kreidlers ain't our strong suit). But we'll have someone there on the day to find out.
We're often reminding Sumpsters that Duxford is a wonderful auction venue. It's part of the Imperial War Museum, and is by far the greatest aviation museum in Europe and bears repeat visits.
An H&H catalogue is free to anyone who registers with the firm, or will cost you £10 on the day (and will in either case get you access to the museum at no extra cost).
You can find Duxford easily at the top of the M11 motorway in Cambridgeshire, England. If you're an European visitor (or, for that matter, if you hail from further afield), Stansted Airport is about 10 miles further south.
▲ 1933 Excelsior C14 IOM Special. This 497cc JAP single, we understand, won the Brooklands Clubmans event for 1936, which makes this a nice little piece of between-the-wars motorcycle racing history, and a very pretty motorcycle to boot.
▲ Here's a closer look at that Excelsior's engine. If you're a JAP man, you'll know it right now because your heart is skipping the odd beat, you're filled with desire to have your wicked way with it, and you could be experiencing various other ... metabolic changes. Well join the queue and take a number and control your metabolics. There will be a lot of interest in this one.
▲ ... it looks pretty good from this side too. Coventry-based (British) Excelsior is often credited with being the first motorcycle manufacturer in the UK (1896). The firm relocated to Birmingham post WW1. They also built cars for a while, and closed in 1965.
We can't give you lot numbers for any of the bikes, incidentally. The numbers have not yet been published. But check the online catalogue and see if there's anything you fancy. It's not a bad time to buy at auction—as long as you're not in a great rush to get your money back or turn a small profit.
Over the next few days, more motorcycle lots are expected to be added to the sale.
— Del Monte
▲ Virginia McKenna and Donald Sinden in The Cruel Sea. Can there ever have been two more decent, honest, upstanding British characters in the history of war movies? If so, we can't find them. Nicholas Monsarrat wrote the book from which the movie was made, by the way.
He was a great all-rounder. That probably sums up Donald Sinden who has died aged 90. He began his career in the theatre, moved into films, radio and TV and was once one of the most recognisable celebrities in the UK, not least for his distinctive plummy voice with that trademark nasal growl mixed with a booming bass. There was no one who sounded quite like Sinden, although a lot of people tried.
Born in Plymouth, Devon he first trod the boards in Brighton, West Sussex. In 1953, along with Jack Hawkins, Sinden starred in The Cruel Sea, a savage tale of war in the North Atlantic aboard the fictional corvette, Compass Rose. The movie was a huge success, and catapulted Sinden into the world of cinematic stardom—and saw the Rank Organisation offer him a seven movie contract.
But he was far more interested in theatre, and despite being a long-time member of the Royal Shakespeare Society, he displayed a penchant for English farce in the shape of productions such as:
There's a Girl in My Soup (1966)
In Praise of Love (1973)
An Enemy of the People (1975)
Present Laughter (1981)
The School for Scandal (1983)
The Scarlet Pimpernel (1985)
Major Barbara (1988)
Diversions and Delights (1989)
That Good Night (1996)
The once essential Doctor series of film comedies (but now dated) saw Sinden playing the part of Tony Benskin, an irredeemable womaniser, the character of whom stayed with him for much of his career and, for better or for worse, helped typecast him.
Nevertheless, his professional persona was generally that of a fundamentally decent British type for which the struggling home grown movie industry had less and less use for as the 1960s rolled on into the 70s and 80s.
He enjoyed roles in two popular TV sitcoms and was almost always working and popping up on TV and radio as a must-have celebrity foil. He married in 1948, fathered two children (both boys), and ended his days in Romney Marsh, Kent.
Significant film milestones in his long career included:
Above Us the Waves (1955)
The Black Tent (1956)
Doctor at Large (1957)
The Captain's Table (1959)
Twice Round the Daffodils (1962)
The National Health (1973)
The Day of the Jackal (1973)
Father Dear Father (1973)
The Island at the Top of the World (1974)
The Canterville Ghost (1996)
Alice in Wonderland (1999) (Voice of the Gryphon)
The Accidental Detective (2003)
Run for Your Wife (2012)
Donald Sinden never took himself too seriously, and neither did the general public which, arguably, later marginalised him as simply that "old comedy actor".
But he was always respected and liked, not least among his peers and the British establishment, and earned numerous awards and titles. In 1979 he was made CBE, and in 1997 was given a knighthood.
Following his death, numerous London theatres dimmed their evening lights as a mark of respect for one of their brightest.
He is survived by his son, Marc.
Apparently, there's some kind of Hybrid Gel Technology at the bottom of this (pun intended). But we haven't graced these saddles with our illustrious nether ends, so we can't comment on how good they are. Or not. However, British Customs in Gardena, California has sent up a press release, and we're happy to pass on the details and help ring their cash registers.
These saddles are designed for Hinckley Triumphs. The price is $329. And British Custom (BC) have advised us its all part of their Integrated Comfort System (ICS) or something. But does anyone really care about these sophisticated acronyms dreamed up by the marketing people?
The firm added, "As we developed this system and BC exclusive technology, we focused on eliminating distractions to help our riders enjoy the adventure and go farther."
Anyway, the firm has numerous "Integrated Comfort System" designs in a variety of colours, so you can take a look and see if you like anything. Meanwhile, check here for more on British Customs as reported in Sump December 2013.
— Del Monte
In March 2011, Bristol Cars—one of the world's most iconic luxury automobile manufacturers—went into administration with the loss of twenty-plus jobs (See Sump March 2011).
But the firm didn't entirely vanish. Instead, Bristol Cars, founded in 1946, focussed its efforts on rebuilding and restoring existing models for its loyal customers whilst quietly looking for a new buyer or a fresh seam of finance.
Well now we hear that Bristol has indeed moved the game forward and is preparing to launch a new model in 2015, codenamed Project Pinnacle. Details are thin. But the firm is talking as if the new steed will be something special, as all Bristol's are and should be.
Bristol was bought in April 2011 by Kamkorp Autokraft, an Anglo-Swiss combine which is part of the Frazer-Nash Group. Frazer-Nash, which produced cars between 1922 and 1957, is working in the area of electric vehicle technologies, so start your own rumours (Hint: a hybrid engine has already been mooted).
Guys like us are never going to sit behind the wheel of a Bristol let alone own one. But these classic thoroughbreds make Rolls Royces and Bentleys look common and vulgar, and there's not much else on the planet that can do that. Long may they continue to burble along at indifferent speeds and soak us bikers and pedestrians with passing puddles (who says the English class system is dead?).
Meanwhile, if you've got deep pockets and a hankering to be differently different, and if you can't wait until 2015, you can buy a fully rebuilt Bristol 411 (image immediately above) for around £100,000.
Of, if you prefer, that's POA.
— Girl Happy
Actually, we hesitate to use the word "free" because there is a cost involved. What's happening is that on Saturday 20th and Sunday 21st September 2014, the Classic Car Boot Sale enjoys its third outing. This time (if you've been keeping up with Sump's news and events pages) you'll know that it all happens at Stratford, East London; specifically at the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
As if classic cars, classic bikes, classic trucks, classic vans, Yankee muscle iron, vintage clothing stalls, nosh wagons, old bicycle sales, upcycled accessories, Victorian antiques, 1940s, 50s, 60s and 70s collectibles, old records, etc, wasn't enough, boot sale visitors can find a perch in the VUE Cinema and watch vintage British movies for no extra charge (that's the questionable "free" bit). But you have to get in early because it's first-come-first-served.
Being aired are such gems as Whisky Galore; Kind Hearts and Coronets; Passport to Pimlico; Ice Cold in Alex; The Lavender Hill Mob; The Railway Children; Quatermass and the Pit; The Servant; and The Man Who Fell to Earth.
So okay, that last one isn't exactly vintage. But it is (sci-fi) classic and recalls an earlier David Bowie (in his first starring role) who arrives on earth as a parched Alien desperately looking to export water (look out for great supporting roles courtesy of Rip Torn and Candy Clark).
Yes, you can rent or buy any of these cinematic gems pretty much any time you want. But this is a big movie experience (although there are no details of the exact dimension of that screen).
The Classic Car Boot Sale is a great experience. It's a bit trendy, and maybe even a bit twee, but nobody seems to take it too seriously. Maybe that's what makes it seriously good fun. We don't recommend many events, but this one is worth a visit if it's reasonably accessible for you.
Tickets are £5 before 11.00am, and £4 thereafter. Gates open 10am - 6.00pm. When it comes to promotion, content, pricing, style, class and cool, these guys are second to no one.
See here for Sump's news report of the Classic Car Boot Sale.
— Big End
Whatever happens on the 18th September 2014, the Scots ain't gonna get independence. We can all disabuse ourselves of that idea. It's a myth. A fiction. A fancy. A fable. And a fabrication.
It's Scotch mist.
If they stay with the union, they'll ultimately have their leads jerked by Whitehall, just like the rest of us. And if they vote to leave the union, they'll have their leads jerked by Brussels, also just like the rest of us.
Beyond that, Germany will be jerking Brussels around whenever it needs to. Meanwhile, China, India, the United States, Japan and Russia will be jerking a few leads of their own.
Fact is, in the modern world there is no real independence. As Bob Dylan said, things have changed. What's really being offered north of the English border is the cosy illusion of self rule, and unfortunately there are plenty of Scots willing to pay a ridiculously high price for that.
The old argument that Scotland is being ruled by a bunch of Tories doesn't wash. The Caledonians already have the kind of devolutionary powers that other regions of the British Isles can only dream of.
Ask Cornwall how it feels about being ruled by Whitehall, 300 miles away. Ask the Northumbrians, also 300 miles away. Ask the Welsh. Ask the Scilly Islanders. Ask pretty much anyone from outside of the Home Counties.
The simple truth is that the British government has to be someplace, and for the independence-at-any-price Scottish nationalists, 400 miles is a round enough number.
But if Whitehall happened to be one inch over the Scottish border, many Scots would still resent it, on general principle. As with the folks who live in Essex, or Sussex, or Worcestershire, the Scots want as much control over their lives and destinies as possible. That's normal enough, especially if you're young enough and naive enough to believe the myth of true national freedom.
However, the Scots have no special right to that control. Why not? Because Scotland doesn't belong exclusively to the Scots. It's a national possession, in much the same way that the Scots can also lay claim to England and Wales and Northern Ireland.
That's what a union means. Joint possession. Common ownership. Everything in the one pot. Shared property. And as far as we're aware no pre-nuptial agreements were signed when the Acts of Union were laid down in 1706 and 1707.
What that means is that the Scots, having "enjoyed" centuries of British investment and influence across the border, simply don't have the right to carve off a slice of Caledonia. And by the same standard, the English don't have the right to cut Scotland loose and set it adrift headed towards whatever future awaits it. The Scots have invested here too.
Nevertheless, David Cameron, Prime Minister of Great Britain, has allowed himself to be painted into a tartan corner, and he can now do nothing but throw himself, and the rest of the UK, at the mercy of the hardline Scots who'd love to see a little Tory blood on the steps of Holyrood.
▲ Hey Jock, fancy a bit of cheap independence? Talk to Alex-the- Spiv-Salmond. Low taxes. Social harmony. Self determination. Free currency. Cheap drinks. And full employment. He's got the lot (fell off the back of an English lorry).
For what it's worth, and for what difference it makes, Sump is definitely in favour of maintaining the union. The love-hate relationship between the English and the Scots is, after all, nothing but an amusing piece of affectionate nationalistic whimsy that's no different to the supposed Anglo-French discord or the mutual British-Australian irreverence.
When it comes to values, attitudes, habits, ideology, social mores, customs, fears, ambitions and hopes, there's no significant difference between the Jocks and the Sassenachs. But Alex Salmond, Scottish First Minister (and at times a very sinister minister), is so far doing a pretty good job of stoking up much the same kind of nationalistic fervour that gave rise to Nazism.
No, we ain't calling the Scots Nazis. But we are suggesting that Salmond is hitting the same soft-spots that Hitler exploited so effectively.
If Scotland breaks with the union, the country will survive. So will England. So will Wales. So will Northern Ireland. But all of us will be the poorer for it, both economically and socially. The Tories in Whitehall will ultimately be replaced by another kind of Tory, except that these new conservatives will be home grown in Edinburgh or Glasgow or Aberdeen. Why? Because Toryism isn't an exclusively English phenomenon. It exists everywhere that a privileged class can take root and wrest control. Just give it a few decades. The familiar patterns will emerge.
If Scotland breaks with the union, there will still be governmental incompetence. There will still be national debt, and taxation woes, and social problems and all the other convoluted issues with which a nation has to contend. To quote an old saying: It doesn't matter who you voted for, the government still got in.
And even if fifty-one percent of the Scottish electorate votes to leave, or, for that matter, votes to stay, what kind of irresponsible mandate is that? Were such a split legally or morally justified, you'd expect a more decisive win. Say, 80-20, or 70-30 or even 60-40. But it's first past the post. A single percentage point will shape it either way, and that's the greatest national scandal in our lifetimes.
Now, it's well known that the Scots have a very high (some would say over-inflated) opinion of "their" country, not least those members of that society who have barely been born into it and tend to have a very short view of the future. And Scotland really is a great nation and has produced some remarkable engineers, doctors, scientists, politicians, philosophers, and so on.
But let's not forget that England is a great nation too, certainly as great as Scotland. Let's not forget that the United Kingdom has been one of the world's greatest successes, not one of its greatest failures. Let's not forget that the Scots have grown fat on it, and so have the English. And as it stands, it ain't so broke that it needs to be fixed.
Lastly, it would be a shame (and possibly a new sin) to break the bonds that have held so well and for so long in exchange for a bogus independence and a decent celebratory piss-up on Princes Street, Edinburgh (above) which you can already have on pretty much any night of the week that suits you.
Firstly, here's a direct quote from Paul Stroud, Director of Sales and Marketing at Triumph Motorcycles.
“Following a review we have placed the 250cc bike project on hold for strategic reasons relating to its specific segment.
"During an exciting period for the brand, Triumph continues to invest and expand its model line-up and enter new markets, as demonstrated with our successful launches into Brazil and India.
"Through our expanding market presence and model offer we will continue to evolve our product range to reinforce our position as a premium motorcycle manufacturer and answer the requirements and demands of a global motorcycle audience with exciting and innovative products.
We look forward to unveiling our MY15 ranges at Cologne and Milan this autumn.”
So if you were looking for the spiritual successor to the once ubiquitous Triumph Tiger Cub, you'll have to wait a while longer.
We're speculating here, but it seems Triumph has bitten off a lot more than it can chew with its rapid expansion over recent years and evidently isn't quite as flush, or at least as confident, as it would like to be. So okay, the firm is still selling lots of bikes, but as ever, that's only half the picture. Until you examine the company books and see what the profits and losses are, you can never tell how secure a business is.
We think that a 250cc Triumph is long overdue.
— Big End
It was last on the road in 1964/65, has been kept in "dry storage" ever since, and is therefore a waste of what was probably once a perfectly good 1951 Vincent Comet.
It's a familiar tale, and one that makes you wonder how Vincents can possibly be the ultimate classic bike riding machine if almost nobody actually rides 'em and prefers instead to squirrel them away for a variety of reasons. Phil Vincent and Phil Irving would roll over in their graves.
Nevertheless, at Bonhams' Sale at Beaulieu, 2014, this 499cc Vincent Comet (Lot 270) fetched £13,800 including buyers premium. It was sold as a project and carries the registration number: LYW 761. The frame number is: RC/1/8500. The engine number is: F5AB/2A/6600.
If you haven't ridden a Comet, you might be pleasantly surprised. You can view them as half of a Vincent twin if you want. But that's unfair. With their Girdraulic front fork and hydraulic dampers fore and aft, the Series C Comets are more like three-quarters of a Vincent twin.
The gearbox, however, was a cheaper Burman unit (as opposed to the standard Vincent built gearbox), and the clutch was a cheaper wet multiplate Burman unit (as opposed to the self-servo, and puzzling, "centrifugal" clutch of the big twins).
The Comets will hit around 90mph on a good day, are lighter than the twins, are arguably more flickable, stop a little shorter, and aren't too thirsty. And they're cheaper to buy. But the bikes weren't popular in their day, and that's reflected in current prices. The last Comets were built and sold in 1954.
Beyond this, the Bonhams Sale at Beaulieu 2014 was respectable, but hardly exciting or startling. We counted 35 bikes, including 1 scooter, plus a Steib sidecar. Five machines didn't sell, and one was withdrawn. So overall, Bonhams pretty much cleared its deck. But it wasn't a very big deck, was it?
— Del Monte
Yeah, we know that headline is daft (everyone is perfectly aware that Elvis is actually on Mars with James Dean, Marilyn Monroe and JFK). But we think that our headline makes about as much sense as telling you that this is the new Matchless Model X as conceived by Franco Malenotti, the Italian fashionista who converted the humble Belstaff jacket into something you might want to wear whilst strolling down Savile Row.
Why? Because Matchless, as we understand it, is every bit as dead as Elvis, and sticking a Matchless badge on a computer-generated image and telling us that it's got a 100bhp S&S motor and a combined frame/oil tank (etc) fails to impress.
The Malenotti concept is actually called the Matchless Model X Reloaded, as if that makes a difference. This resurrection of the dead was fun at first, but it's all got a little tiresome now with everyone and his aunt dragging some old brand from the junk box, dusting it off, adding a little Steampunk and parading it as the next big thing.
Don't get us wrong. We love Matchless. And we love new bikes. And we love industry, new and old. Except that very little, designwise, is actually new at all. It's largely the same stuff regurgitated. A big proprietary V-twin motor, a single perch to park your rear end on, low tech forks with a high tech twist, a bucketful of bling and an exclusive price tag.
▲ Franco Belstaff Malenotti the First and Elvis-on-the-moon-Presley the First and Last. What's in a name when you want to make a few bob, huh?
So okay, someone wants to make a little money, and that's okay by us. We do too. But at Sump, what we also want is something genuinely new rather than a sad parody of a defunct motorcycle marque pretending to be something that it ain't.
And get this line taken from the press release: "The project has collaborated with the family of Henry Collier, the original founder of the marque, 'to understand and comply with the spirit and tradition of Matchless'.
Henry Herbert Collier popped his clogs in 1926, three years before the original Model X was launched. And when the Colliers founded Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) in 1938, the Matchless brand was already a dead man walking.
Anyway, the above computer rendering is supposed to be unveiled as a real singing and dancing motorcycle at the EICMA (Milan) show in November 2014. Of course, the big M badge on the tank can just as easily stand for Malenotti, which is what it is.
The next time you gaze up at the moon, don't be surprised if you see 100 Japanese Elvis Presleys strutting their Hound Dog stuff and cavorting with Monroe. It's the future.
Actually, it's also the late "outlaw" country superstar Waylon Jennings' Ariel, because Jennings was given the bike in 1979, 20 years after Buddy Holly was killed in a plane crash in Iowa, USA.
On October 5th 2014, this 1958 650cc Cyclone (essentially a hopped-up, 40hp Ariel Huntmaster) will be going under a hammer wielded by Guernsey's Auction House. The venue is the Musical Instrument Museum in Phoenix, Arizona.
Here's the story of how Buddy Holly acquired the bike:
Early in 1958, Holly and two of the Crickets (band mates) finished a successful world tour and visited Ray Miller's motorcycle shop in Dallas, Texas. Miller was fairly new in the bike business. Legend has it that Holly and chums had been pretty much thrown out of the other neighbourhood motorcycle shops. But Miller recognised the trio and dusted off a few saddles.
Holly bought the Ariel. Joe Maudlin (bass player) bought a Triumph Thunderbird. Jerry Allison (drummer) bought a Triumph Trophy. The three musicians then, we hear, rode the bikes back home, a 350 mile journey through a Texan rainstorm.
▲ Left to right: Joe Maudlin, Jerry Allison and Buddy Holly in 1958. The hats and denim jackets were purchased with the bikes in a moment of teenage exuberance. A year later, it was a storm rather than a Cyclone that brought down Holly. That's Mrs & Mr Miller in the background.
By February the following year, Holly had dispensed with the original Crickets and formed a new backing band with Tommy Allsup (guitar), Waylon Jennings (bass), and Carl Bunch (drummer). These guys were also credited as The Crickets. A new tour was underway, and Holly chartered a plane to ease the journeying.
J.P. Richardson (The Big Bopper) and Richie Valens were also travelling with Holly and Co. But places on the aircraft were limited to just four. So Jennings and Allsup agreed to drop out. Bunch joined them and the three travelled by bus.
Then the plane crashed in a snowstorm, and the rest is history. Waylon Jennings gave up music for a few years, largely out of misplaced guilt after exchanging humour with Holly and making a quip about the plane crashing.
The Holly family sold the Cyclone in 1970s. Members of the original Crickets bought the bike in 1979 and presented it to Waylon Jennings for his 42nd birthday. Jennings died in 2002, and now his estate (largely musical instruments) is being auctioned.
▲ Buddy Holly, left, Waylon Jennings, right. Both were legends in their own lifetimes and were connected by music and a motorcycle. Along with Willie Nelson, Kris Kristofferson, and Johnny Cash, Jennings was famously a member of The Highwaymen.
No one appears to know what happened to the fabled Triumph Thunderbird and the Triumph Trophy, but the Buddy Holly/Waylon Jennings Ariel is exactly where the auctioneers want it. So what will it fetch? We've been hearing all kinds of big numbers. Stay tuned...
▲ Ariel was claiming this was the highest compression bike they'd ever produced. Basically a Huntmaster, it came with a 40bhp lump, a Burman gearbox, and full width hubs. It had "power to flatten the steepest hill."
The engine number of the bike is CNLF 4510. The chassis number is CAPR 1069. The mileage on the clock is around 4,000.
It's not clear how many Ariel Cyclones were built. We've heard the number 21, and we've heard the number 200. But right now, the world is focussed on just one of them.
— Girl Happy
If you're getting a little tired reading about new acquisitions by Mortons Media, we can tell you that we're getting tired writing about 'em. But that's the news, so don't shoot the messengers.
However, the Horncastle Empire has just announced the purchase of the Bristol Classic Car Show, but the rumours had been circulating for a few weeks.
Actually, there are three shows in the Bristol "family" of events, all of which are held at the Bath and West Showground in Shepton Mallet, Somerset.
The shows are:
The Footman James Classic Vehicle Restoration Show, 1-2 Nov 2014
The Footman James Great Western Autojumble, 14-15 Feb 2015
The Footman James Bristol Classic Car Show, 13-14 June 2015
It's Mortons' first foray into the car world, as far as events are concerned. But they've got three motoring titles on their racks: Classic American, Heritage Commercials and Old Glory, and it's fair to assume the firm has got its beady eyes on one or two other automotive magazines or newspapers to add to its portfolio and use as event marketing platforms.
It's clear that the Lincolnshire media giant feels that this is a very exciting time. But from where we stand, it feels more like depression—not least because this news comes just a week or two after Mortons announced that it had bought the Classic Dirtbike Show at Telford and had acquired Fast Bikes magazine (see further down this page for details). And this is on top of all the other shows and magazines that the Empire has gobbled up in what feels more like a feeding frenzy than healthy growth.
There are currently one or two independent bike shows in Mortons' gunsights. The firm is certainly after Eric Patterson's Kempton Park autojumbles, and it's probably just a matter of time before they get what they want. To quote from their website this evening: "Mortons Media Group Ltd have a policy of expansion ..."
It's interesting to note too that Mortons is currently running a commercial strapline that reads: The independent publishing people.
Are they kidding? Apparently not.
Regardless, we ain't losing a wink of sleep over this. And neither should you. There are still plenty of other things to do at the weekend if Mortons' shows ain't your style. See Sump events page for details.
— The Third Man
That's largely what we're hearing from numerous visitors and a couple of Sump people who attended the 21st Netley Eurojumble sponsored by Carole Nash Insurance.
The jumble took place on Friday 5th and Saturday 6th September 2014 and featured pretty much the usual mix of fair-to-good quality classic spares (used, NOS and repro) and general domestic and foreign tat.
Except that the event is, as ever, overshadowed by the Beaulieu International Autojumble which takes place on Saturday 6th and Sunday 7th September. Indeed, Netley was created (by Eric Patterson and John Budgen) to "cash in" on the popularity of Beaulieu and hack off a few chunks of the action over that busy weekend.
Nevertheless, continuing the trend that's been gathering pace for a while, it appears that more and more traders are buying large jobs-lots on the Friday to either immediately resell at nearby Beaulieu (the following day), or remarket online via eBay.
That's just business, you might say. Get over it. Only, that kind of hard nosed "spivvy" trading, as we're being increasingly reminded, spoils the atmosphere and the fun of a jumble thereby helping kill grassroots support and making it hard for the average biker to directly get the parts he or she needs. In particular, many of these Beaulieu/eBay traders had, once again, booked stall space for the Friday and Saturday, but left the Saturday "slot" vacant thereby displacing other traders who might have taken that spot and got some use from it.
▲ If ever a man goes well-equipped to trade, it's "Bantam" John Phelan trading as Sheffield Motorcycles. He's moved well beyond purely BSA Bantam spares and has massive stocks of Brit bits and pistons and knows his onions. Like Mortons, he's got his share of friends and enemies. He's not online, but he answers the phone. Try: 01246 290021
"Maybe Mortons [which runs the show]," said one visitor who prefers to remain anonymous, "should shift its dates to the Thursday and Friday to prevent the Beaulieu overlap. That would help ensure a proper two-day jumble at Netley instead of the effectively one-day event that we have now. Either that, or Mortons should penalise the absent traders come the following year."
Sounds a bit totalitarian to us. Maybe Mortons could just kill 'em. But we take the point. That said, Mortons has been known to warn early-departing traders that "their places at Stafford can't be guaranteed". So the Empire is, apparently, on the case.
Generally speaking, it seems that the Friday was (as usual) very busy at Netley, but the jumble died a sudden death come Saturday. Trading was either "not bad" according to some dealers, but "pretty awful" according to others.
"It's the worst ever Netley," said one regular jumbler. "Yes, it's okay for hooking up with people and handing over items that were recently ordered, but it's hardly worth the bother anymore if you're looking to do serious business on the day."
▲ Is Netley still a great bike jumble? Or is it just trading on its reputation? Opinion, not for the first time, seems divided. Certainly Mortons might benefit from a rethink and try and get some more friends onside.
No doubt, the current economic climate has played its part. And in fairness to Mortons, these shows are always very subjective, the reviews of which depend upon which bargains have been snagged (or not) by the visitor or complainer.
Regardless, we'll be adding to this story over the next few days as more information comes in from regular Sumpsters. But at present, the general feeling we're picking up is that Netley 2014 wasn't anything like it used to be in its heyday. But didn't they say that last year? And since when was anything like it used to be?
There was also a lot of general dissatisfaction voiced about Mortons' handling of the event. But we're not going to go into the details of that because these things are often a can of worms that we don't really want to open (but hey, we will if we have to. We love worms).
Generally speaking, Mortons would do well to listen to the dissenting voices and sharpen its PR pencil. Just a thought, you understand. Who the hell listens to us anyway?
— Big End
UPDATE: Evan Cosmo from Cosmo Classic Motorcycles in St Leonards, East Sussex reports a good show. "I took three bikes," said Cosmo, "and sold three and bought one. Some people were complaining that there was too much Japanese stuff there, but that's the way the market is headed. I thought security was pretty good too, both coming in and going out. And yes, on Saturday it is quieter as dealers move on, but they're businessmen. You go where the trade is."
Andy Tiernan, meanwhile, reports that it wasn't a bad show. "But it's really just meet-and-greet for me. A chance to catch up with news and see familiar faces. I wasn't really trading there."
From 1st October 2014, the paper road fund licence, commonly referred to as the "tax disc", will disappear. And by now, that should be fairly common knowledge.
But what's perhaps not such common knowledge is the fact that payment by direct debit will become an option. Three choices will be available; annually, bi-annually, or monthly.
At present, if you buy your road tax every 6 months, you'll pay a 10 percent surcharge (overall) each year (when compared to buying 12 months tax). But from October 2014, that surcharge will drop to 5 percent (overall) if you pay by direct debit. Alternately, you can pay in monthly instalments, also with a 5 percent surcharge (overall).
But you WON'T be able to buy road tax month by month. This point isn't made clear in the current government information. But that's the position as we understand it. It's either an annual tax disc, or bi-annual.
The UK Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) clearly thinks that it's doing everyone a favour with these moves, but in view of other changes taking place, we're not so sure.
For instance, at present it's effectively the VEHICLE that's associated with the "tax disc". That means that any number of owners can buy and sell that vehicle in the course of a year, all of whom might "share" whatever tax has been paid and is remaining. The disc, remember, stays with the bike or car.
But from October, the "tax disc" will effectively transfer to the OWNER. That means that every time the vehicle changes ownership, it will have to be re-taxed. However, refunds will be given only for complete unused months.
So if you're a bike dealer, and if you want to offer road tests to the public, you'll need to use trade plates. Or if you don't have trade plates (which is the case with many dealers), you'll need to re-tax a vehicle regardless of whatever tax has been paid by the last registered keeper. That will also mean that you'll become a registered keeper of that vehicle until you re-sell, thereby adding to the number of previous owners/keepers.
Additionally, you won't any longer be able to include road tax with the sale price because the tax will become invalid once you dispose of the bike.
Want more? Okay, here it is. If a dealer taxes a bike for a year on, say, 1st January and sells it three weeks later, he can claim for the remaining unused 11 months of that year.
However, the new owner will also be obliged to buy road tax backdated to 1st January. Why? Because you can only buy road tax for COMPLETE months. And that means that under this example, the DVLA will be paid twice for January.
Concessions are now being worked out for vehicles that are "in trade", but the ramifications of this new DVLA taxation regime aren't clear. Moreover, of the tens of thousands of vehicles currently in dealer hands and carrying unspent tax discs, who will get the rebate?
But why is the government doing this anyway? Well, various reasons have been cited including saving money, saving resources, saving time, saving Private Ryan, and saving grace. But it won't help save any jobs, and it probably won't save temper.
It's also no doubt to do with the ordinary steamroller of progress in the shape of ANPR camera (on board number plate recognition systems) and similar handheld devices.
However, clamping down on uninsured drivers is also at the root of it. This works (to some extent) because you can't get a digital tax disc without having insurance and an MOT certificate. But no doubt, there will soon be various dodges to circumvent this.
Overall, it looks like another governmental dog's dinner at the moment, and there are bound to be more unintended (or possibly intended) consequences. Watch this space.
— Del Monte
The Metropolitan Police has served an anti-social warning on the Ace Cafe. Under new powers created by the Anti Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, the coppers now have the authority to close establishments that they believe contribute to or create a public nuisance. These closures can last between 24 and 48 hours.
Additionally, the Courts have the powers to confiscate items (i.e. motorcycles) used to create a nuisance. The new powers are pretty sweeping, and at Sump we're still studying them and trying to work out the all-important minutiae.
In the meantime, all visitors to the Ace (on two wheels, four, or whatever) are cordially invited TO KEEP THE BLOODY RACKET DOWN. And that also means capping the wheelies, stoppies, drifting antics and suchlike. If not, where a nuisance is detected, the Ace will voluntarily close early for the day/night.
▲ So when exactly does social become anti-social? Ask these guys, and then compare notes with local residents...
In an effort to calm matters, Mark Wilsmore, head honcho at the world famous North London venue, is busy talking to the police, Brent Council, Transport for London and as many bikers, hot rodders and motormaniacs as possible. So help him out and cool your rubber, will ya?
And while we remember, the consumption of alcohol within the curtilage of the Ace is illegal, and Brent Council generally has a low tolerance approach to drinking in the street with numerous controlled zones.
Theoretically, the Ace could be forced to close permanently. Or so it's been suggested. But it hasn't come to that yet. Take note that new traffic calming measures are being considered including speed cushions and rumble strips.
— Del Monte
A new importer for IKON shock absorbers/dampers has been appointed.
IKON? In case you're way behind the news, it's an anagram of KONI which was once the only combined shock absorber/damper choice for thousands of bikers. KONIs were famed for being well-built, leak free, multi-adjustable and rebuildable, and they effectively kept your rear end from bouncing around too much when on the move.
But the KONI Group, a huge multinational company based in the Netherlands, gave up mucking about in the motorcycle market to concentrate on automotive and railway equipment. However, the KONI rights, equipment and designs were bought by an Australian firm, and you can figure out the rest.
Currently, the top of the range units are the 7614 Series. They cost £372 a pair. At the other end are the Basix units at £189 a pair. The firm also produce a range of progressive fork springs from around £94 (per pair). Their products fit any number of bikes from T140 Triumphs to Norton Commandos to BMW Boxers twins, etc.
At Sump, we've never bought or used IKON shocks, but we've bought KONI units (and are still getting good service from them after a decade or so). If you want to check 'em out, call 01926 430562. But if you're a strictly BUY BRITISH kind of guy or girl and want that classic Girling look, don't forget Hagon.
— Girl Happy