Do you remember this guy? In fact, do you know either guy, come to that? In case you don't, the one on the left is Mr Ed, the talking horse in the 1960s US TV show. The other guy is actor Alan Young as Wilbur Post (Ed's owner) who has died at the grand old age of 96.
Young was an English actor born Angus Young. His birth town was North Shields in Northumberland, but his family moved to British Columbia, Canada (by way of Edinburgh, Scotland), when Young was a child.
As a teenager he had his own radio show on CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation), then later served in the Royal Canadian Navy and fought in WW2. The story goes that the navy preferred him to write morale-boosting comedy skits rather than man the guns. And that didn't suit Young who resigned and tried to join the Canadian Army—who rejected him due to his childhood asthma.
▲ Alan Young (right) and Rod Taylor in The Time Machine (1960). Young's English accent sounded cheesy in this US production, but he was in fact an expatriate Geordie Brit who found fortune in America.
In the 1940s and 1950s Young appeared in various US movies alongside stars such as Shirley Temple and Natalie Wood, and if you remember The Time Machine (1960) starring Rod Taylor, you might remember Young as the British army officer who appears as both father and son (David Filby/James Filby).
American TV viewers will be far more familiar with both Alan Young and Mr Ed. The series was quickly syndicated and aired across numerous Stateside networks. The production was first aired in 1961, and eventually hitched its wagon to the re-runs carousel alongside shows such as My Favourite Martian, My Three Sons, The Munsters, The Dick Van Dyke Show, The Addams Family, The Beverley Hillbillies and that old favourite, I Love Lucy.
Mr Ed was also aired right here in the UK. If you're of a certain age (i.e above 60) you might have been a viewer. Generally, the running gag saw Wilbur Post (Alan Young) being embarrassed or humiliated or just confounded by the wit and mere existence of Mr Ed (who never explained how it was that he had learned to think and talk like a human, yet had no aspirations to do anything other than stand in a stable eating hay and offering pearls of wisdom.
The show was the high spot in Young's career. After the series ended in 1965, he became involved in a church, and he later returned to acting taking on small parts and providing TV and movie voice-overs. But he wasn't short of a few quid. Young had been canny enough to own a slice of Mr Ed, and he's reported to have made a fair amount of money in royalties.
He was also a regular attendee at comedy conventions and suchlike, sometimes in the company of a Mr Ed lookalike. But in 1973, the original Mr Ed died suddenly in California and was cremated.
Alan Young married twice and is survived by four children.
Today is Saturday 28th May 2016, which makes tomorrow Sunday 29th, and that's your last chance to visit the May 2016 Bikeshed Show at Tobacco Dock, London.
Organised by Anthony van Someren (aka "Dutch"), the show is promising 150 shed built bikes, plus motorcycle art, clothing, apparel, food and drink. You can also expect to find a working barbershop and three tattooists.
Some folk feel that this scene is becoming a little stale and burned out. The same old ideas repackaged and even regurgitated. However, we think there's life yet in this kind of homespun motorcycle craft and art. But don't take our word for it. Get along there yourself and see if it really is art, or just kitch. Or even a little of both.
Tickets are £15 advance (bit late for that if you haven't already got yours) or £18 on the gate—and that's a huge jump from 2013 when the entry was just a fiver. Opening hours are 10am to 8pm on Saturday, and 10am to 6pm Sunday.
— Big End
Like scooters? We do, especially when they're British. And that's not to say that we've got anything against the scooter output from other nations. It's just that the British never really seemed to have got it right. Instead, the Anglo-Saxon designers came up with ideas and creations that were almost so right, but somehow never quite had the classic style and pizzazz of Vespa or Lambretta.
Are we deriding homegrown scoots? Not at all. We just think the British carved some interesting new shapes, many of which went against the grain but came out looking ... well, interesting (think of the cars from Bristol, Allard or Jowett). And we love 'em. Check out the details of this new British scooter exhibit here if you're likeminded.
Mr Peter Allan, from Surrey, is the winner of the National Motorcycle Museum's latest Spring Prize Draw, a 1959 Triumph Bonneville T120, variously described as a "Tangerine Dream" Bonnie.
The hackneyed epithet aside, this is obviously a pretty cool prize, so all the more kudos to the NMM. The winning ticket was drawn by Steve Parrish & Steve Plater at the International Classic Motorcycle Show at Stafford on Sunday 24th April 2016.
Yes, this story is a little dated, but we were busy gallivanting around the USA on and off Route 66 when it happened (as you'll read at the top of this page), but we've managed to deal with it now.
Peter Allan's winning ticket number was: 1010699. The second prize went to J Higgins from North Yorks who won a 1966 Triumph Tiger Cub. The third prize (a luxury weekend break for two) went to Edward Kirkby of Derbyshire.
The details of the summer raffle are as follows:
1st: a 1990 588cc Norton F1 Rotary (value £22,000)
2nd: a 1951 500cc Norton ES2 (restored and with matching numbers)
3rd: a luxury “classic” weekend break for two people
Once again, the ticket prizes haven't been announced. But we think they're still two quid each. They'll be distributed soon in various ways, or you can follow the link below.
— Big End
Harley-Davidson has posted details of its new flat track competition platform. Based upon the current 750cc Revolution X Street 750, you can check out the details (such as they are) on Sump's mainstream motorcycle news page. [Sump May 2016 Motorcycle News]
— Queen of Sump
A petition aimed at newly appointed London Mayor, Sadiq Khan (and 4 others), has been launched. The petition's author is M Jones. The title is: "Take immediate action against the motorcycle theft epidemic in London".
So what's prompted this protest? Well, Home Office figures suggest that bike thefts in the capital increased by 44 percent between 2012 and 2014. According to Jones:
"This epidemic of theft seems to have no signs of abating as thieves become more brazen, acting with impunity and no fear of being caught to the extent that they are happy to capture their crimes on film."
And he adds:
"Even when the crime is caught on camera the Metropolitan Police have no interest in pursuing or investigating the case, often closing it due to "insufficient evidence". If a thief were to walk into a Post Office or bank and take £5,000; or were that value of goods were [sic] to be stolen from a business, action would no doubt be taken. That it is not in the case with motorcycle thefts is appalling."
And he continues...
"This can be combated by making motorcycle theft a priority for the Met Police and giving them the proper resources to investigate motorcycle crime and offenders."
Well good luck to M Jones with all that, because as much as we sympathise with his complaint (and as much as we loathe bike thieves and feel they should be paired up with suicide bombers), the hard fact is that the Metropolitan Police are simply not going to put motorcycles on any high priority policing list, not for more than a token press briefing, anyway.
The reality, as ever, is that the Met is up to its ears in terrorism crimes, political assassinations, everyday murders, rapes, historical sex crimes, serious assaults, major robberies, arson, burglaries and suchlike. Therefore it has enough to contend with without worrying about a few bikes. And it is just a few, relatively speaking.
Currently, the Met employs 31,100 police officers, 13,000 civilian staff, and
2,500 police community support officers. That total comes to 46,500, and the force operates with a budget of £3.5 billion.
These numbers compare reasonably well with, say, New York which employs 49,000 staff (including police officers and support personnel) and operates on a £3.2 billion budget ($4.8 billion).
In fact, it looks like New York gives you slightly better value for money, but there may be other factors involved here that give the NY rozzers a distinct budgetary advantage. On the other hand, the London coppers might simply be sloppier in how they spend the ratepayer's money.
And there's the rub. Once again we come back to how much we're willing to spend on policing (check Sump's bike burglarly story further down this page). As much as we love our wheels, we simply have to get used to the idea that to the wider world, motorcycles just ain't that important.
Tip 1: Fit a tracker, double lock your bike, stay insured, buy a baseball bat.
Tip 2: Be prepared to pay more income tax.
Tip 3: Get over it.
Sign the Bike Theft Petition
— Sam 7
Is there no stopping the Empire? The latest news is that Mortons Media, owners of almost all the UK classic bike rags and most of the major classic bike events has now gawn and bought the long-established Kempton Park Bike Show and Autojumble.
More than once we've caught a glimpse of the Mortons Men sniffing around the stalls and Kempton, and it's well known that the Empire was very interested in acquiring this London(ish) based event which has long been a second home to thousands of scraggy blokes like us ever on the hunt for that elusive bargain.
▲ Have cash, gotta dash. Actually, Eric Patterson held out for a very long time before flogging his Kempton Park venture. The show was his baby until the baby snatchers came a-callin' and finally made him an offer he couldn't refuse. Way to go, Eric.
Eric Patterson established the show around 30 years hence. Aided and abetted by wife, Cathy, Eric consolidated his grip on this sector of the classic bike community (in this area at least) and has built up more goodwill than Santa Claus.
But Vincent and Brough-Superior man Eric is approaching 70. He's as sprightly as a pogo stick and is still a very active motorcycle sprinter, not least on Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah, USA. However, there comes a time in every man's life when he simply has to surrender to the overwhelming forces of ... well, hard cash, and we have little doubt that Mortons paid a hefty chunk of change to get its hands on Eric's piece of the action.
▲ Nick Mowbray (left) and Andy Kitchen (right). When the Mortonites come around, put up a brave (and expensive) fight before surrendering.
So how much did the Empire pay? Eric's not saying. He's an honourable bloke, and part of the deal is that he keeps his gob shut. Also, he's agreed not to launch any other event for the next five years. "Not that's I'd want to," he said when we spoke to him.
But Elvis isn't yet leaving the building. He'll be hanging around for the next year helping oversee Kempton and helping facilitate a smooth transition. That's also part of the deal.
For its part, Darth Morton has promised to maintain the status quo and not do anything precipitous (never mind that the Empire is risking a lot of dosh and goodwill). Mortons' Nick Mowbray would normally be the bloke handling things at the Empire's end. But as we understand it (which is journo code for "we ain't sure about this"), Mortons' Andy Kitchen will be the bloke to chat to if you've got any enquiries.
Now is it just us, or are some of you guys suddenly having the same misgivings and wondering if Kempton is going to remain a fixed date on your calendar? Mortons, as ever, will do what empires do, which means accruing more and more territory. And like all empires, it will sooner or later fall. But don't hold your breath.
Meanwhile, good luck to Eric (and Kathy). Seems to us that he did the right thing at the right time. Shame that another independent classic bike event has been swallowed up.
Update: Mortons has just sent us a press release advising that the next Kempton Park Autojumble will be held on Saturday 23rd July 2016.
Has Harlow Council in Essex brought an injunction to prevent the otherwise lawful gathering of motorcycles? Well yes, actually. But apparently it's not as simple as that. The word on the street is that from Saturday 21st May to 31st March 2017, two or more riders enjoying an unauthorised ride on any piece of public land or strip of tarmac within the town or its environs between 10am and midnight is liable to prosecution. Or persecution, depending on how you look at it.
However, poor old Harlow Council has issued a statement claiming that although the strict wording of that injunction is correct, the underlying spirit is completely different. The idea, we're told, was to prevent a mass ride out on Saturday 21st May. The legal bombshell was aimed specifically at that event, and that event alone. And why? Because a similar unauthorised ride out last year led to hundreds of complaints from Harlow's ratepaying residents.
Of particular concern was the younger, hooligan element riding untaxed, uninsured and unregistered machines, and without a licence. The wider biking community was not the fundamental problem, it seems, but the members of this community were likely to give cover to the usual teenage yobbos.
So Harlow spoke to the rozzers, got an agreement with them, and then doorstopped a judge, and now unauthorised ride-outs are subject to a injunction which will last until next year.
Since the announcement of the injunction, and faced with complaints from hundreds if not thousands of UK bikers, Harlow Council has back-pedalled a few yards and reckons that we should all calm down (our words, not theirs). A statement said that "anyone riding bikes lawfully in Harlow on the road; anyone driving in a convoy or through the town; anyone learning to ride or teach others, or anyone taking part in a charity event" will not be troubled by the fuzz.
Also our words.
▲ Royal visit to Harlow in 1958. Once known as Harlow New Town, this post-WW2 construction was a wildly optimistic and straight-off-the-drawing-board experiment in social planning. Built adjacent to the Old Town, the UK government was keen to clear the London slums and put some money in the pockets of friendly developers. On paper, there's much to be said for Harlow. But in practice, it has its intractable problems including high unemployment, serious and petty crime and the occasional low flying injunction. You've been warned.
But the hooligan element had better watch out because Uncle Bill is coming to get you. We're still puzzling over why it needs an injunction to get the coppers to do what needs to be done. Hooligan bikers are a perennial problem, and there's no mention of more resources being given to the police. So presumably, where an ASBO, taser, a few dozen criminal laws and a good kicking behind a police van have failed, an injunction will do the trick.
Still, that's how it works when a local council runs out of cash and ideas; they look for a bigger hammer to crack whatever nuts are driving 'em crazy. We do have sympathy for Harlow residents, of course. But it looks like Harlow Council ought to have dealt with this one a little earlier in the year rather than play this particularly onerous trump card. Then again, we're seeing this thing only from a distance, so there might well be more to it than is immediately apparent (and we have heard that the run organisers were difficult to contact, which may or may not be true).
Either way, we're advised that Harlow bikers can still move around freely in groups and otherwise conduct business as usual. But if you engage in anything that looks like an unauthorised run (whatever that looks like), you risk having your collar felt.
— Big End
Here's another great metal sign to brighten up your garage or shed. Designed right here in the UK by your favourite motorcycle magazine, we opted for a 650cc Triumph TT image because we figured that pretty much everyone who loves Triumphs would agree that this is a pretty cool motorcycle (even though some folk will wonder what the hell is cool about a bike with no headlight, no tail light, no silencers and a potentially ankle-breaking kickback—but if you've ever ridden a TT, you wouldn't wonder for very long).
It vaguely crossed our minds to have this sign artificially aged with rust streaks and maybe one or two gouges and perhaps a bullet hole or something. In fact, we were even thinking of leaving the entire stock in a nearby ditch for a month or two and then flogging 'em with that time worn patina beloved of so many classic petrolheads.
But then we thought WHOAHH! That was then, and this is now. And you can do your own ageing by hanging one on a convenient wall and enjoying the view as the years slowly attack the steel and eat away at the ink.
These signs are printed the traditional way, which means direct to metal, ink to tin. They're good quality. But they're metal signs, remember, and not photos. So don't expect ultra high resolution prints on acid-free art paper and environment-hugging ink and all that fancy stuff. Just click on the image for a closer peek. You'll like what you see.
These signs ain't available elsewhere (or else). The size is 300mm x 400mm. They're drilled ready to hang. We'll ship 'em pretty much anywhere the world's postmen go. And the price is £14.99, plus P&P.
Ya know ya want one, so you'd better get one while it's going...
Take me to the Triumph: World's Coolest Motorcycles metal sign
Five times machine of the year, 1968 - 1972. That's some achievement. And even decades on, the Norton Commando is a fantastic bike to ride— but you have to have it sorted or it will make you cry. Fortunately, the Commando experts and aficionados have long since solved all of the inherent problems with the design, and these guys have introduced dozens of upgrades making the bikes better than ever.
Consequently, we wanted to add a Commando metal sign to our collection, and the above S-Type was arguably the obvious choice. Well, it was either that or the Roadster. But we opted for the S-Type simply because of those flashy high-level silencers that speak of the exuberance of the era when this bike hit the street.
Like the Triumph metal sign further above, this one is printed direct to metal (steel actually). And like the Triumph sign, we didn't try and artificially age it. The size is 300mm x 400mm. The design is all ours and owes nothing to anyone else. We've got them in stock ready to ship. And the price is £14.99 plus postage and packing.
If you like that aged look, hang it on the outside of the garage door for a while and/or run over it with the family hatchback. Alternately, wax it and hang it somewhere appropriate.
Want to take a closer look before buying? Okay, click on the image and it will explode in your face. Meanwhile, check out our Norton Commando Buyers Guide and see exactly what all the fuss is about with these bikes. But get yourself inoculated if cash is tight. These bikes are infectious.
Take me to the Norton Commando metal sign
— Big End
The best accounting numbers ever posted by Royal Enfield India. That's the official word from the Chennai-based manufacturer of the seemingly timeless 500cc Bullet and 500cc Continental. But Royal Enfield, owned by the Eicher Group, builds hundreds of thousands of smaller bikes for its domestic market, and it's largely these machines that are responsible for rising sales.
Nevertheless, Royal Enfield reckons that in the 12 months to March 2016, the firm's revenue jumped by 55.7% to £543.9million. This, we hear, is due to sales of 508,099 machines which is a 53.4% increase. The operating profit was 74.5%, or £141.58million. The company's net profit rose to £105.8miliion (66.1%).
Currently under the shrewd and watchful eye of chief executive and hands-on-handlebars Siddhartha Lal, Royal Enfield has been investing heavily in developing new machines and consolidating its position as a manufacturer of alternative/cool/classic motorcycles for the style-dude and dudess about town. The company is busy developing a new R&D facility in Leicestershire and is rumoured to be working on new and more radical models.
Last year, Siddhartha Lal was anticipating sales of at least 450,000 units. It seems that that number has been safely passed. The firm is now setting its sights on sales of 675,000 motorcycles for the 2016 - 2017 financial year.
— Queen of Sump
This is a new event backed by three organisations, specifically the British Motorcycle Federation (BMF), Aero Legends, and WW2 Headcorn Aerodrome. At the time of writing, it's not clear which group, if any, is driving this show. But at a practical level, it doesn't make much different.
It's called Merlins & Motorbikes which is a pretty clunky title, but if you're interested in both, or either, you've probably already get the general idea. Headcorn Aerodrome is in Kent. It's now a private field located 32 miles south east of London. During WW2 it was known as RAF Lashenden. Opened in 1943, Lashenden was built as an ALG (Advanced Landing Ground) which meant that it was intended to be used during the D-Day landings as a support airfield, specifically for the Yanks who flew P51 Mustangs under the auspices of the 354th Fighter Group.
The Mustang was built by North American to a British specification. The aircraft originally used an American Allison engine. But it was the fitment of the British Merlin that, so to speak, gave the Mustang wings. And altitude. Regardless, the Mustang was a superlative piece of Yankee engineering and for the first time gave allied bombers a fighter escort all the way to Berlin and back.
▲ When it comes to superlative WW2 aircraft, the North American P51 Mustang was up there with the Spitfire and Hurricane, albeit with the advantage of being a later generation design. It last saw action in the 1950 Korean War finally giving way to the stunning F-86 North American Sabre.
It's not clear if a Mustang will be present at this event (despite an image of the Mustang being pasted on the website). But you will be able to put your peepers on a brace of Merlin-powered Spitfires, one of which will be enjoying a 1,200 metre drag race with a motorcycle.
Sound daft? Of course it is. That's what most fun is all about. But if you're looking for something a little more down to earth, we're advised that there will be more than 100 trade stalls, an autojumble, live bands, an aerial display, various exhibitions, a best-in-show competition, food, drink and plenty of classic and modern bikes to gawp at.
The date is set for Saturday 11th & Sunday 12th June 2016. Tickets are £12 adult, £8 senior, £5 child (up to age 14). BMF members can expect a discount. Check the website for camping details and/or a web ticket discount. Good enough for you?
— Del Monte
For questioning, that is. But the coppers haven't (yet) actually marked him down as a suspect. He's just someone they'd "like to have a word with" regarding a bike shop burglary that happened in Braintree, Essex on the night of 14th-15th September 2015.
It seems that on that occasion 12 bikes were nicked. Among the haul were 9 x BMW S1000RRs, 1 x BMW HP4, 1 x BMW S1000R and 1 x KTM RC8. Also nabbed was a large selection of bike gear which included 44 tyres, various crash helmets, a pocketful of cash and suchlike. And during the crime, £50,000 worth of damage was said to have been caused to the family-run business.
Two blokes, aged 23 and 46 respectively, have been arrested and bailed until 5th July 2016. The guy in the image above has not been identified, so the police want some help in that regard. A couple of the bikes have since been recovered, and police are forensically testing the machines looking for larcenous DNA.
What immediately puzzled us was how the thieves managed to boost so many motorcycles without being apprehended. Shifting a bike from a shop and chucking it onto a van/truck (or two or three van/trucks) has to take around three minutes. Therefore, we're looking at maybe 36 minutes to move the lot. Then there's all the bike gear, the tyres, the lids, and the smashing of windows and doors and whatnot. And all this while a couple of alarms are ringing out bloody mayhem (one silent and connected to a 24/7 monitoring service).
But wait! It appears that the robbers broke in earlier that night without setting off the alarms, and they shifted all the bikes near to the doors. Then they returned in a couple of Ford Transit vans and completed the task while the bells were waking the neighbourhood (most of which is actually an industrial estate).
▲ BMW S1000RR. Is this the ultimate getaway machine? Nine got unlocked and loaded while the whole planet was looking the other way. In a high-tech world, it makes you wonder how it happens. But of course, that high-tech world is filled with low-tech people. Like us. So what can you do?
Nevertheless, there's (a) the theoretical threat of the cops themselves arriving both swiftly and mob-handed and feeling some collars, and (b) the threat of the owners showing up with baseball bats hoping to find out why two of three of their smart phones are telling them that there's something fishy going on down at the depot that they might like to know about.
Except that evidently didn't happen, so we can assume that whatever alarm system was installed, it was hopelessly inadequate. It certainly allowed some form of basic break-in without tipping anyone the wink. Or was all this, at least in part, an inside job (i.e a disgruntled ex-employee who knew the layout and knew how to silence the alarm)?
Well of course we don't know either. It's all idle speculation. But it makes you wonder about who was pulling the strings at Cannon Motorcycles to let this kind of theft happen on his or her watch (actually, it was Bill Cannon, aged 64). Then again, what the hell? This is only a quarter of a million quid's worth of motorcycle hardware.
Of course, it's easy to be wise after the marriage. But still...
Meanwhile, if you recognise the bloke above, you might want to call Crimestoppers on 0800 555111, or phone the rozzers and spill the beans. But don't count on anyone answering the phone, not for a few days at least. This is the modern world, and we get the policing and alarm systems we pay for, and deserve.
We have it on pretty good authority that everyone at Bonhams' motorcycle department is ten-tenths happily drunk tonight having today achieved a record price at the firm's Sale of Important Collectors’ Motorcycles at Stafford. That went down today, Sunday 24th April 2016, and it further consolidates Bonhams' position as the guys to talk to when you're looking for extra big money.
Eight Brough Superiors that had been stored in barns for over half a century went under the hammer. Bonhams, which supplied these images, achieved a 100 percent sale and flogged the lot. The total price for all eight bikes was a whopping £752,625.
Lot 296, the ex-Hubert Chantrey 1932 Brough Superior 800cc Model BS4 Project (image immediately above) was perhaps unsurprisingly the highest selling lot. Bonhams is claiming a new record price for a British motorcycle sold at auction, and that price was £331,900. Meanwhile, the total amount of money raised by this sale was £3,454,501.
Other top selling bikes include:
▲ Lot 313, 1939 Vincent-HRD 998cc Rapide Series-A Project, £270,300
▲ Lot 312, 1929 Coventry-Eagle 980cc Flying-8 OHV, £163,900
▲ Lot 311, 1938 Brough Superior 982cc SS100, £219,900
Ben Walker, International Director for Bonhams Collectors’ Motorcycle Department, has been quoted as saying: “The Broughs of Bodmin Moor are the motorcycle discovery of the decade. They’ve caused quite a stir in the saleroom, with each one far exceeding estimate, allowing us to break our own world record for a British motorcycle sold at auction, the 1938 Brough Superior 750cc BS4 (actually 797cc, therefore nominally an 800) selling for £331,900 to a German bidder in the room.”
Jonathan Vickers, Bonhams West Country motoring specialist, added: “Having been housed in a Cornwall barn for so many decades, we’re delighted to have brought these machines back into the spotlight. They’ve sold phenomenally well, cementing Bonhams highly successful record breaking reputation in the collectors’ motoring industry.”
Click here for more on the Bodmin Broughs
— Del Monte
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek. Now is the time for change".
— Barack Obama, December 2008
first election campaign
“We’ve come this far as a nation, now is NOT the time to change".
— President Barack Obama October 2012
"And I always believed in what Martin Luther King Junior called the fierce urgency of now. We should not fear change, we should embrace it."
— President Barack Obama,
"I think it's fair to say that maybe some point down the line there might be a UK-US trade agreement, but it's not going to happen any time soon because our focus is in negotiating with a big bloc, the European Union, to get a trade agreement done. The UK is going to be in the back of the queue."
— President Barack Obama
April 2016, addressing the UK prior to a British In/Out EC referendum
"I have said repeatedly that I will close Guantanamo, and I will follow through on that."
— President Barack Obama, November 2008
The top selling lot at H&H Auction's Duxford Sale on 19th April 2016 was the (immediately) above 1959 Matchless G50. This original machine (Lot 25) carries a matching engine and frame number and was restored in 2007 by G50 expert, George Beale. New parts include a big-end assembly, con-rod, main bearings, and gearbox mainshaft. The clutch, brakes and wheels were also reconditioned. The hammer came down at a creditable £39,950 which underlines the ongoing interest in these bespoke classic Matchless racers.
The G50 wasn't, however, supposed to take the top position at this sale. That spot had been reserved for Lot 42, a 994cc JAP-engined 1930 Brough Superior SS100 Grand Alpine combination (images immediately below). But the Brough, saddled with a hefty estimate of £280,000 - £350,000 didn't sell.
Apparently, this 86-year old unrestored bike was made to order and was supplied with the sidecar. Features include a Bentley & Draper spring type frame and a later (post 1933) 4-speed gearbox (as opposed to the standard 3-speed 'box). This, we understand, would most likely have been fitted at the factory in Nottingham.
Currently owned by Frank Solano, one-time president of the Brough club, this OHV between-the-wars gentleman's cruiser is said to have clocked up miles in Austria, Switzerland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Norway, Sweden, Portugal and the UK. But clearly, the expectations were too high, and that perhaps helped dampen interest.
▲ 1934 Ariel Square Four (Lot 56). This 600cc bike was restored in 2014/2015 and is said to be better than original. But can any restored motorcycle really improve upon the patina of dignified old age? It sold for £25,760.
▲ Ariel Square Four (also Lot 56) panel tank view, and all correct in every detail. These early bikes, we think, are the best of all the Squariels. Edward Turner's greatest achievement? Or is that accolade reserved for the 1938 Speed Twin? Certainly, the Square Four was more original.
▲ 1954 Vincent Rapide Series C. Lot 68. Sold for £36,160. Restored in 1999 by Steve Tonkin Restorations. Spent a good few years in a museum (for shame, for shame, etc). The price looks on the money for a Rapide.
Finally, this rare 1967 175cc Bridgestone Hurricane Scrambler (Lot 35, image above) isn't exactly our favourite biking brew, but we can see the appeal. This example, missing its left hand silencer, was found languishing in a barn and was sold as "requiring re-commissioning". The sale price was just £610 which must have delighted the new owner.
Features of the 50mm x 45mm, 9.5:1 twin-cylinder Hurricane (which is actually 177cc) include rotary disc inlet valves (as opposed to a contemporary run-of-the-mill piston port design), automatic engine lubrication, quality roller and needle-roller bearings in all the key areas, chrome cylinder bores and twin carburettors. You have to work hard to keep a Hurricane on the boil. But the 20hp @ 8,000rpm and 5-speed 'box helps make for some exhilarating riding.
Actually, the gearbox is both 4-speed and 5-speed. How so? It's because normally you change up through 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 - 5, then come back down in the usual way. But the Hurricane has a selective gearbox feature that allows you to change up through 1 - 2 - 3 - 4 and then hit NEUTRAL before prodding it onward and straight on to 1.
Weird? Potentially dangerous? Regardless, that was the thinking back then. The fifth gear, therefore, acts as an overdrive. This bike is capable of a fairly constant 65 - 70mph on the flat.
Said to be tough and reliable, these Bridgestones were also expensive to manufacture and sell, and due to inadequate marketing and distribution in the UK (and possibly elsewhere in the world), they weren't easy to get hold of. But if you hunted about a little, and didn't mind travelling, and haggling, you could get astride one. It's doubtful that bike dealers had much of a margin with these.
Finally however, the Bridgestone accountants pulled the plug, and the company ceased production and focussed on its tyres and other rubber products.
Overall, H&H did okay at Duxford, particular on the car side which saw some new records, but the firm was no doubt very disappointed by the failure to sell that Brough.
— Big End
If you're looking for a Sportier Sportster, Harley-Davidson reckons that its new 1200cc Roadster with up-rated suspension, steeper steering geometry and improved braking is just what you're looking for.
"The Roadster," says Harley-Davidson, "is a mash-up of styling genres, but the intent was to build a rider’s motorcycle, a Sportster that’s lean and powerful and connects the rider to the road."
"Mash up?" Is that like a "lash up", or a "balls up" or a "screw up" or even a "f— [Don't say it. This is a family magazine - Ed].
From where we're sitting, this looks like a confused motorcycle that doesn't really know what it wants to be. But what do we know? Check the link below to switch over to our general news page for more on this bike. You can make up your own mind.
2016 Harley-Davidson Roadster
— Queen of Sump
It costs £45. That's the bottom line, but if you're restoring a 1960s/1970s air-cooled 750cc Triumph or BSA triple we think it's forty-five quid well spent.
Our copy arrived about a week or so ago, and we've been quietly thumbing through the pages—and at times getting pretty well stuck in.
The author's name is Chris Rooke. He hails from Sheffield (by way of Oxford), and it's clear that this is no bluffer's guide. Here at Sump, we've got some familiarity with Tridents/Rockets, but evidently not as much as this bloke. He owns two of 'em (a T150 and a T160), and he's restored them both, and that's what this volume is all about. Two accounts in one.
He's not claiming that the book will replace a Trident shop manual, or a Trident parts manual, or even a Haynes manual. Instead, it's a supplementary work intended to flesh out the more established bones that are already rattling around on the market, and you can never get enough alternative info when you're working on a motorcycle.
Like most if not all Veloce books, the design is pretty uninspiring and run-of-the-mill, but it's kind of appropriate too given the subject matter. In other words, you're not going to spend any time admiring the typesetting or waxing lyrical over the font choice. Instead, you're going to get straight into the meat of this particular pie and simply eat.
The photo quality isn't fantastic either, but it's nowhere near as bad as the author thinks. It seems that he had a camera failure about halfway through a rebuild and switched temporarily to an inadequate back-up device. But don't get thinking that you'll be faced with page after page of blurry, poorly-framed images, because that ain't the case. It's simply that here and there the resolution could be a little higher, and the contrast might be improved. That's all.
What we especially like is the friendly, everyday tone. The author's voice is as neutral as a road sign. He's never superior. And he's never patronising either. He's not clever. Or comical. Or dry. Or wet. Or dull. Or sharp. Or academic. Or wordy. He just gets on with the business of transferring his information into your head as painlessly as possible.
There's a nice intro detailing his biking background and explaining how he got into Tridents, and there's also a helpful "Lessons learnt" recap at the end of each section designed to help cement in your mind the most important points.
We can't see that Chris Rooke has missed out very much, if anything. Engine, gearbox, clutch, cycle parts, electrics, special tools, and suppliers; it's all here in over 200 pages. The size is slightly larger than A4. The pictures are colour throughout. And here's a book number: ISBN 978-1-845848-82-8.
The £45 price tag is inevitably going to drop. But we haven't even looked to see what's on offer. The author has clearly earned his pay, so if you can afford it, don't be cheap.
It's said that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing. Well if so, you're in pretty safe hands here. Recommended.
Triumph T150 - Sump buyers guide
Trident T160 - Sump quick review
That, we're told by a recent survey, is the amount of time that the average Briton spends sitting in his/her car/van/truck going nowhere and staring at a red traffic light.
Apparently, there are now 33,800 sets of traffic lights on British roads; up from 23,480, or 23 percent, since 2013.
This recent survey also reckons that 29 percent of road users have at one time or another accidentally driven through a red light, while 32 percent admit having done it deliberately.
These stats actually tell us little about road user behaviour, but they do underline how unreliable surveys are when the pollsters ask us to tell 'em the truth. We figure that nearer 100 percent of road users have accidentally driven through red, and more like 75 - 80 percent have done so on purpose (especially in the major cities where it's nearer 100 percent).
But what the hell do we know? From Sump HQ, the nearest set of traffic lights is ten miles away, and we avoid most of these by taking to the back roads.
Meanwhile, we hear that most motorists reckon they spend their traffic light downtime by fiddling with the stereo (59 percent), or adjusting the air-conditioning (38 percent), or eating a snack (36 percent).
We can think of one or two other things that drivers routinely do at traffic lights, but let's not go there. And we also note that the survey press release made no mention of drivers checking emails, surfing the net, fiddling with satnavs or reading newspapers. But maybe we received the abridged version.
Respected British Journalist (Sir) Simon Jenkins, who's also the current head of the National Trust, is still lobbying for a 90 percent switch-off for the UK's traffic light network and reckons that we can simply fight it out according to the Highway Code "right of way" rules. At Sump, we're still broadly in support of that notion even though it's counter-intuitive. Jenkins reckons that traffic lights are just another way for the government to exercise control over us, which is true, but is not necessarily as ominous as it might sound.
However, until the big national traffic light cull happens, the current minimum penalty for jumping the lights is a £100 fine and 3 penalty points on your licence.
If you're not used to riding in British cities, take note that in many areas jumping the lights is a local requirement. Failure to do so can result in a tail-end shunt and short (or even long) trip in a vehicle flashing another set of coloured lights.
See Sump October 2014 Classic Bike News for more on this story
— Big End
Don't forget that this weekend (16th - 17th April 2016) the Kickback Show kicks off at Stoneleigh Park, Warwickshire. Expect flat trackers, street trackers, drag bikes, chops, bobs, brats, cafe racers and more.
Here are the opening times:
Foyer cafe demo Hall: 11am
Main show hall: 1pm - 7pm
10am - 5pm
Kickback is being organised in association with Covec, Bull-it Jeans, Michelin, Sinroja Motorcycles (see BMW custom immediately above), 100% Biker magazine and Krazy Horse. Ticket prices are £8.95 (advance), or £10 (gate).
— Queen of Sump
We first reported on this outfit in Sump December 2014. Back then, the sole production bike was billed as a Sterling Autocycle flat tanker (by the Black Douglas Motorcycle Company). Well this is the new Sterling Countryman Deluxe Mk5 (image above). The retro machine was then selling for (or at least carried an asking price of) £6,170 (€7,900) and was powered by a Honda CB 125cc (or optional 230cc) clone manufactured by Zongshen in China.
We're pleased to say that these guys, based in Milan, Italy, are still campaigning the concept. But according to the latest press release, the price has risen to £7,500 (€9,480) for the 125cc version, and £8,671 (€10,950) for the 230cc. And there's no mention of Zongshen now, except to say that the Honda engine is built "under licence".
But otherwise, the bike appears much the same. Still, you've got to admire Fabio Cardoni who, we believe, is still driving (or riding) the project. But that engine, although a very worthy pushrod design, just looks and feels wrong for this. And the price is now arguably way too high. To get volume sales, this motorcycle really needs to be below £6,000, and closer to £4,000. But is that missing the point?
— Del Monte
"HELP US CHALLENGE THE INVESTIGATORY POWERS BILL." That's the heading on a recently received email from Big Brother Watch regarding an advertising campaign that the organisation is supporting. It's part of a coalition entitled: DON'T SPY ON US.
In March 2016, the second reading of the 245-page bill was voted on in the House of Commons. It was passed by 281 votes to 15 votes. That means it's further down the road and is well on the way to be written into law.
[more on this Big Brother Watch story]
This book was first published in 2012, so some of you out there might have seen it, and even bought a copy.
But we're told that it sold out, and there was still a demand for it. So it was reprinted.
We missed this book first time around. We don't know why. Just looking the other way or something. Or out riding maybe. But we're looking the right way now, and we can start by saying that this is a very interesting tome.
It's no lightweight, however. You don't exactly have to be an academic to read it. But you will need to be sober, and wear your best specs, and find somewhere quiet.
The author is a guy named Steve Koerner. He got a BA in history from the University of Victoria (Canada), and a PhD in Social History from the University of Warwick (England). More importantly, he owns a 1958 500cc Matchless G80, a 1974 850cc Norton Commando, and a 2000 Harley-Davidson Road King. He lives in British Columbia, Canada, and he's obviously shed fifty gallons of blood to get this written.
His book is packed with information and insights into the demise of the British motorcycle industry. Some of the material we've seen before. Actually, we've seen a lot of this material before. But mere facts are never enough. It's the analysis that counts, and Koerner has delved deeply into the root causes of the collapse of AMC, Ariel, BSA, Norton, Triumph et al, and has presented his arguments in an intelligent, readable and coherent way. There's plenty of boardroom intrigue and political machinations. And we're taken repeatedly into the filing cabinets and tool rooms and exposed to the atmosphere of an industry that, in hindsight, ultimately had nowhere to go but down.
We should mention now that we haven't finished the book. These days, there aren't enough quiet places and peaceful moments in the world to settle down with a book such as this; not on demand, anyway. So we're working through it as and when, and we're about halfway through.
What we especially like is (a) the hard numbers backing up the aforementioned facts, and (b) the contextual information. In other words, this book gives you an all-important sense of time and place, and it highlights many other key issues around the country (and the world) that impacted on British motorcycle manufacture. Actually, there's one other point here worth mentioning. The book has hundreds of notes and references intended to underpin the facts and highlight the sources, and that naturally adds authority to this work.
The narrative isn't written in a linear way. Rather, it flits back and forth as and when required, and that's perhaps the only way to deal with so much material. We wouldn't call it an enjoyable read. There's no humour here. No witticisms. No wry observations. It just gets on with the fundamentals and leaves the drollery and facetiousness to the usual journos. Such as us.
There are many interesting industry pictures in this book (all black and white, and many unseen by us before), and we counted 350 pages. The book dimensions are 165mm x 240mm. The covers are soft. The information is hard. The publisher is Crucible Books, an imprint of Carnegie Publishing. The price is around £20.
— Big End
Most of you Sumpsters will know this man better by his professional name, Thunderclap Newman. He was the pianist whose fingers underpinned that evocative and near-timeless piano solo in the 1969 hit song Something in the Air.
If you were around in 1969 you might remember the impact that song had. It was released by Polydor in June that year, and by July was at the number one spot in the UK charts where it stayed for three weeks. By December, over one million copies of that record were sold. Every radio station between Earth and Mars picked up that platter and spun it over and over again. And every pub and cafe in the country kept a copy on the jukebox.
Rebellion was firmly on the agenda in 1969. The movie Easy Rider (July), the Woodstock Festival (August), and Newman's anti-establishment anthem conspired against the forces of contemporary social mediocrity and gave a generation of counter-culture vultures a sense of direction and purpose which, okay, ultimately had little at its core except the spirit of non-conformity.
Andy Newman didn't write the words to that song. Those came courtesy of fellow band member John "Speedy" Keen who happened to be Pete (The Who) Townsend's chauffeur.
In fact, it was Townsend who helped form the band, Thunderclap Newman. As we understand it, John "Speedy" Keen was, when not chauffeuring, a drummer with musical ambitions. Townsend recognised his talents and brought Keen and Newman together. Jimmy McCulloch, a bass guitarist from Glasgow was also recruited, and the nucleus of youthful (session) musicians was backed by Townsend himself.
"Call out the instigators
Because there's something in the air
We've got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
And you know that it's right..."
Newman was born in Hounslow, West London. He attended Ealing Art College and worked as a GPO (General Post Office) engineer. But when Something in the Air hit the airwaves, everything changed. For a while, anyway. Thunderclap Newman were suddenly in demand and began gigging and touring, later with Leon Russell and Deep Purple.
Off-record, Newman cut a curious figure with his beard, glasses, trilby and trademark bow tie. In an age of rampant flower power, he was definitely a pretty "square" looking dude. However, the strident sound he made on the ivories was worthy anything by The Beatles and helped elevate the band to the top of a wave that's still rolling, and for the rest of that summer, he was da man.
▲ John "Speedy" Keen, Andy Newman and Jimmy McCulloch, aka Thunderclap Newman, aka the sound of 1969.
Unfortunately, follow up hits eluded the band, and with two albums and three less successful singles in their back catalogue, the group split in 1971. Newman made a solo album, and he played for a while with the Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band. McCulloch later hit some notes for John Mayall and Paul McCartney's Wings, but in September 1979 he died of a heroin induced heart attack. Speedy Keen worked for a while as a record producer (notably for Motorhead) and died in 2002.
"Hand out the arms and ammo
We're going to blast our way through here
We've got to get together sooner or later
Because the revolution's here, and you know it's right
And you know that it's right..."
In 2010, Newman enjoyed something of a comeback, albeit with a new band (which included Pete Townsend's son, Josh). This new combo released the album Beyond Hollywood.
But Newman's great moment was that one song that's still a familiar sound on the airwaves and TV commercials all around the world. Pretty much everyone knows the lyrics to the first verse. But how many know the second? And what the hell is an "instigator"? And does it matter?
Andy Thunderclap Newman was 73. He is survived by a brother.
The biker in the picture above—or, rather, not in the picture—is Graham Butcher from (we think) Lincolnshire. He was (recently?) a victim of a Sorry-mate-I-didn't-see-you accident and suffered injuries that "impacted his life significantly".
It seems that he contacted Minster Law, a firm of solicitors with offices in York, Wakefield and London, and they took on his case (the details of which are not forthcoming).
Since then, Butcher has been spearheading a motorcycle awareness campaign backed by the aforementioned law men. To illustrate the campaign's core problem, a photo of Butcher was taken by an unknown smudger. Then the image was doctored by an outfit called VIZard.
Now, Butcher and Minster would like everyone reading this news story to get on board the campaign and send the image across social media sites reminding them of the importance of looking out for invisible motorcyclists. And naturally, you might, in passing, want to mention Minister.
We don't understand social media (and don't really want to understand it), but apparently you need this hashtag:
Grammatically speaking, that tag needs to be punctuated with a question mark. But we can pretend that that's invisible too. Anyway, if it sounds like something in which you want to get involved (and why wouldn't you?), please do get involved.
And if you need a solicitor (which in our experience is almost as bad as a road accident), Minster claim they've been doing a stand up job since 2003 when the firm was founded. In the past ten years, they say that 23,000 bikers have benefited from their involvement, and therefore (not having any information to the contrary) we'll take 'em at their word. The firm also reckon that they handle 20 percent of all UK motorcycle personal injury claims. And being upstanding members of the legal profession, would they lie?
Lastly, reading between the lines of the (clumsy) press release, it looks like Graham Butcher has indeed taken a pretty serious knock. So naturally, we hope he's on the mend and we wish him well.
— Del Monte
Is your new Street Twin on fire? Chances are that it isn't, but you'd better have it checked over because Triumph Motorcycles, we hear, has identified a problem on some models and has issued a recall.
Acknowledgement of the problem has been made by the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and the UK DVSA has also been so advised. That's the word on the street, anyway.
The bikes under scrutiny are Street Twins manufactured between 7th September 2015 and 21st November 2015. The problem is said to be the wiring harness in the fuel tank. Specifically, some kind of faulty manufacturing issue has, in a few instances, led to a leak that can send the fuel down through the harness allowing it to drip over the engine.
Anyone familiar with riding classic bikes and tickling carburettors are probably used to dealing with the odd petrol weep and probably won't be too panicked. But it's obviously a potential danger and needs fixing.
Triumph has apparently been working with the supplier of the faulty component, and a modification is available. So contact your local dealer if you think you're in the firing line.
Note that some reports are stating that the new T120 Bonneville is also affected by the recall, except that the T120 hasn't actually been launched yet. Not in the UK, anyway. We checked with Triumph's press office, and they confirmed that the T120 isn't yet available in any market worldwide. But interestingly, the press office didn't know about the recall notice either.
We then checked with Jack Lilley Motorcycles in Romford, and they knew nothing about the recall. And we spoke to Webb Triumph in Lincoln, and they confirmed that the T120 won't be launched in the UK until later this month (around 23rd April 2016).
It's possible that the T120 is in fact now available in the USA. But overall, it's not clear (to us, anyway) what bikes are affected in what markets. Our advice is to take a peak under the fuel tank, have a sniff, and (if it looks and smells okay) just ride on.
— Big End
If you're into DOT Motorcycles, the chances are that the name Roy Dickman is a familiar one. He's been flying the DOT flag for decades, sells spares, and is a mine of information. Well, Roy's business was raided over the recent Easter holiday (Saturday 26th March to Tuesday 29th March 2016), and up to £25,000 worth of bikes and equipment has been stolen.
As ever, it isn't just the monetary cost that's at issue here. The three motorcycles all had sentimental value, and it's hard to put a price on that.
Specifically, a 1955 DOT Mancunian 197cc worth around £4,500 has been lifted. Also taken was a 1925 350cc BSA worth around £7,500; a 1962 500cc Triumph Tiger 100A worth around £7,500; around £1,000 in tools, and the wheels of a very rare and historic 1908 DOT Peugeot which, we hear, won the first motorised (twin cylinder) Isle of Man TT in 1908. The rider was Harry Reed.
The raid happened at Roy's business premises which is the old DOT Motorcycle factory in Ellesmere Street, Hulme, Manchester.
We're guessing that at least two thieves were involved, and more likely three or four. And there has to be some fairly serious motorised transport involved. So it's not likely to be kids. In fact, we figure that there's a good chance the bastards are members of the classic bike community, albeit possibly in a fringe way. Monkey see, monkey want, monkey take.
If you've got any information about this raid, or if you're offered any of the bikes, spill the beans to the Manchester coppers. If it makes any difference (which it shouldn't) Roy is now 76 years old and is in failing health. He's looking to retire this year and would very much like the bikes returned. So all eyes open for these being offered or sold in suspicious/unlikely circumstances, please.
The machines might not come onto the market for a while, so perhaps you'll try and stay as alert as possible for the next few months. It's Roy's bikes today, and ours next. The incident reference number is: 290316/549
— Queen of Sump
Martin Lampkin has died aged 65. Most closely associated with Bultaco, he was always a popular figure on the British and European trials scene. In 1973, he won the European Trials Championship. Two years later, that championship had been expanded globally, and Martin walked away with the top prize making him the first FIM Trial World Championship winner.
Lampkin is also credited as a four-time winner of the Scott Trial (1977, 1978, 1981, 1982); a three-time British trials national championship winner (1973, 1978, 1980) and a three time winner of the Scottish Six Days Trial (1976, 1977, 1978).
Born and raised in Yorkshire, the Lampkin family has long been deeply entrenched in motorcycle sport. Martin's brothers, Arthur and Alan Lampkin, were successful members of the BSA factory racing team during the 1960s. His son, Dougie, is a 12 times World Trials Championship winner.
In 1982 Martin Lampkin retired as a professional rider. Thereafter, he was regular seen at sporting events and spent the greater part of his time supporting his son, Dougie.
For the past year, however, he had been battling poor health and finally succumbed on 3rd April 2016. He is survived by his wife, Isobel, sons Dougie and Harry, and will be hugely missed by friends and fans.
— Del Monte
Okay, here's the third T-shirt in Sump's "Blueprint" range designed and printed for all you hardcore Norton riders, many of whom already bought our existing Norton tee (thank you very much) and then had the temerity to ask if there was anything else on the way. Well there is, and this is it, and we think it looks pretty damn cool.
We might have made this Norton "Blueprint" T-shirt more model specific (i.e. Commando or Atlas or Dominator, etc), but after some head-scratching and a couple of bottles of beer we decided that a more generic design was more appropriate. After all, although the big Norton air-cooled parallel twins from Bracebridge Street and Plumstead are all very different in feel, performance and temperament, they share common genes courtesy of the late, great Mr Bert Hopwood. And if you're a Norton man (or woman), you'll appreciate how this design gets right to the heart of the mechanical matter and reflects a common heritage.
As for a slogan, we opted for THE WHOLE IS GREATER THAN THE SUM OF THE PARTS which is exactly what we feel about Norton, a very special motorcycle dish best served hot.
These quality 100% cotton pre-shrunk silk-screened tees are in stock now, fresh off the presses and printed right here in the UK. They're priced at just £15.99 plus P&P. The colour is white on Blue Dusk which (if you want to get technical) roughly translates as Pantone 7546C, a vaguely metallic hue intended to reflect Norton's engineering excellence.
The tees are available in M, L, XL and 2XL sizes.
BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt
Triumph "Blueprint" T-shirt
Norton "Blueprint" T-shirt
— Big End
See what we mean? You stick three little dots in the heading of a news item and people start to wonder if you've got some kind of agenda here or are simply falling back onto lazy cliché.
Well the truth is, it's the latter. Lazy cliché. It's dumb really, and we apologise, but it all comes down to the entrenched and bigoted notion that the good men and women in Bulgaria couldn't possibly be interested in anything but revolution and farming and busting into the EC and starting a new life.
But the fact is, the Bulgarians love their cars and motorcycles as much as anyone else. And if you're a petrolhead, that's your international passport into the world of speed, travel, filthy hydrocarbons, hot rubber, bugs in your teeth, etc.
Actually, the Eastern Europeans are often even more enthusiastic about their wheels because they don't take them for granted, which is easier to do on this side of the Channel than the far side of the Adriatic.
So we shouldn't be at all surprised by this new online Bulgarian art shop which, we understand, is dedicated to capturing in pen and ink the excitement of car culture, and then printing it on high quality art paper.
We don't see any motorcycles on the list, but no doubt that will come sooner or later. This is, after all, some kind of artist's cooperative that invites submissions from similar minded scribblers hoping to capitalise on their talents. And plenty of bikers are into cars too, classic, sporting or otherwise. We certainly are.
With this new site, you can expect to find images of racing classics, hot rods, cars for the well-heeled, and cars for those who prefer sandals. It all looks pretty serious stuff, but until you've got an example hanging on your living room wall, you're not going to get to know. Sometimes you just have to take a chance.
The prices are typically around €25 - €40. There's a wide range of print sizes, and many of the works are limited editions. But you'll have to check the site for yourself if you want the full picture, no pun intended. And if you're an automotive artist looking for some extra exposure, maybe there's something here for you.
And while we remember, the top picture is Jim Clark at the wheel of a Lotus 33 Climax. Meanwhile, German racer Wolfgang von Trips is pictured piloting a Ferrari 246 F1. Lastly, does anyone need to be told that the third image is the tail fin of a 1957 Chevy Bel Air?
No, we didn't think so.
— The Third Man
We don't know what the deadline is for this, but don't hang around. The word is that a TV company or similar is looking for a rider with a sidecar outfit for some kind of job. Apparently, the rider must like dogs and not be allergic to them because the mutt will be riding in the chair. And both of you will be on screen. Or on a poster. Or whatever.
The shooting takes place in Scotland and kicks off on 17th April 2016 and will last at least until 21st April 2016. As for payment, the successful candidate will earn £5,000. Your licence and insurance must be up to date.
Sound like your kind of thing? Okay. Follow the email link below, and make sure you do it quickly. We can imagine a very long queue forming for this one.
One final thing, include a photo of yourself and your outfit.
— Big End