If you're a regular visitor to Sump, you might remember these guys. Last October (2013), they staged their Vintage Car Boot Sale on the Thames Southbank in Central London. That event was, we're told, such a success that they're at it again.
The date is 15th & 16th March 2014, which makes this a two day sale. Whether that's wise remains to be seen. Certainly, two day events have a habit of diminishing—or at least diluting—interest thereby offering two weaker days rather than one strong day.
But what the hell do we know?
Either way, entry to the general public is just £4, which is very reasonable. This ain't no muddy field in Essex, you understand (no disrespect intended to the aforementioned great county). This gathering is right on the riverside adjacent to Waterloo Bridge and overlooking Westminster. So expect a few celebs to show up if that helps float your boat.
Traders with pre-1989 vehicles are invited to attend, and you can sell your wares direct from your car boot, vintage truck, classic camper, sidecar outfit or whatever. And dressing up a little is welcomed. This looks like a cool event, and someone has clearly thought it out properly and has no doubt built on their experience of the last outing. We don't have details of trade stall/car boot pitch prices. So you'll have to make your own enquiries.
Meanwhile, if you're likely to find yourself in that neck of the woods come March, tell it to your diary. We might even see you there.
— The Third Man
When was the last time you went here? For some of you guys and girls, it's probably years. For others, it's probably never. But if you want to make this particular pilgrimage again/before you die, you'd better move it like Elvis because Wandsworth Council want to see this particular tea stall consigned to the great dustbin of history.
For generations of classic bikers, hot rodders, vee-dubbers, scooterists, biker gangs—plus the odd Rolling Stone and Beatle—the Chelsea Bridge tea stall has been a right-of-passage as well as a convenient place to wet your whistle with a brew.
In the 1980s and 90s, this hallowed plebeian beverage bunker on Queenstown Road, Battersea was one of the key vantage points from which to watch the famed Chelsea Cruise. But times have changed. Gentrification has got a grip. New neighbouring riverside apartment blocks have sprung up like weeds. And riff-raff like us are personas non grata. So the tea hut is for the chop—unless we do something about it.
To that end, yet another petition has been launched, and it requires your moniker poste haste. These appeals can work, take note (see the Brighton Speed Trials Petition further down this page). And remember that when it's gone, it's gone.
You can understand the concerns of the local residents, mind. Nobody wants a crowd of hooligans under their windows revving up their motors and hollerin' at each other week after week. But hey, who the hell was there first? Moreover, the social disturbance isn't as bad as some would have you believe, and places such as this add to the richness of life in God's own capital.
Anyway, here's the Chelsea Bridge Tea Stall Petition. You can make up your own minds if you want to lend some weight to this.
— Big End
At school, we were all pretty useless at Latin. Actually, come to think of it, it might have been French we were useless at. Or was it German? Either way, languages never were our strong suit, except when it comes to the usual, all-purpose, gutterbound Anglo-Saxon euphemisms and insults.
But when we were cobbling together our latest Café Racer T-shirt (image above), we once again felt that a little something extra was required. A strapline, for instance. A memorable quote. Or a famous saying. But nothing came to mind, so we eventually fell back on the old British habit of hijacking a few words from someone else's lingo. And so we latched onto Latin.
Call it artistic licence, if you like. Or call it pretentiousness, if you must. But once we popped some beer tabs and worked out the archaic Romanseque argot, patois and vernacular, the rest came easy. And we soon decided that actually it had a certain esoteric appeal.
Moreover, if Dieu et mon droit is good enough for the Queen, and if Ich Dien is good enough for Prince Charles, we figured that a little Vivo ergo veho wouldn't go amiss on common folk like us.
It translates as: I live, therefore I ride. And that's a motto that everyone who regularly visits these hallowed pages can adopt. We ride our bikes because we don't know how to live our miserable lives without riding them. And seeing as café racers are in fashion, and have never really gone out of fashion, and seeing as how we've got one of them in the garage just waiting for the rain to stop, we figured that a Sump café racer T-shirt was overdue.
If you want one of these two-tone second skins (and why would you not want one of these ultra-cool cotton creations?) we're asking £15.95 plus postage and packing. The shirts are available in the usual four sizes (S, M, L and XL), and we'll send them anywhere in the world where there's a letterbox to receive them.
These are classy shirts, take note, and not yer usual oily rags. The first batch has just arrived, and these tees are going to sell faster than you can start your motor. So better make your move while stocks last.
Vivo ergo veho. I live, therefore I ride. S'wonderful when you can speak a foreign language, innit?
Take me to the Cafe Racer T-shirt buying page...
— The Third Man
▲ Triumph Thunderbird for 2014. Once more, in the over-500cc UK bike sales category, Triumph is the firm to beat.
Hinckley Triumph sold 7,524 bikes here in the UK in 2013. That might not sound much compared to the glory days of the British motorcycle industry, but in the current over-500cc category, Triumph is outselling all other motorcycle manufacturers and has consolidated its grip on the sector.
What makes this news that much sweeter is the fact that it's the third year in succession that Triumph has taken the biscuit. Moreover, Triumph also recently won the Motorcycle Franchise of the Year Award organised by leading bike trade publication, British Dealer News.
Seventy-year old John Bloor, the man who in 1983 brought Triumph back from total collapse, was in 1995 awarded an OBE. The only place left to go now is a knighthood and then sainthood, and there are plenty out there who would lend their support to both.
Here at Sump, we're none too impressed with the current state of the British honours system, not least due to the increasing number of people who really don't appear to have done very much to deserve one. But we figure that 7,524 bikes, and all the jobs and export dollars that go with it, is a pretty good award to hang on your chest and worth more than anything the British establishment can offer.
Triumph currently builds around 50,000 motorcycles per annum.
But British. Buy Triumph.
— Big End
Signing petitions doesn't always work, but occasionally it draws blood. It seems that Brighton and Hove Council has relented in its plans to cancel the illustrious Speed Trials and has put them back on the annual entertainments menu—and not just for this year, but for the following two years, subject to unspecified health and safety conditions.
12,000 people responded to a Brighton and Hove Motor Club appeal and lent their names to the campaign, and yesterday the Green Party controlled council approved the event which will next take place on 6th September 2014.
Last month (December 2013) Sump ran a piece on this issue and highlighted the Save the Brighton Speed Trials back story. But why the change of heart? Was it really just people pressure? Or does the fact that the event carries a large hire fee (that goes into the council coffers) have a bearing? Your guess is a good as ours. The main thing is that the trials are going to happen, and your signature (if you were one of the respondents to the appeal) didn't do any harm.
The first Speed Trials took place on Madeira Drive way back in 1905. Long may they continue.
— Del Monte
We've been waiting a long time to see this particular pint get pulled, but now it's on the bar and ready to drink.
Pub and restaurant chain J D Wetherspoon has opened its first watering hole on a motorway service area amid the kind of controversy we'd love to have attached to us here at Sump, if only we could figure out how.
The pub is called the Hope & Anchor, but as far as the Royal Automobile Club (RAC) and BRAKE (the UK road safety charity) is concerned, it might as well have been called the Crash & Burn or the Wreck and Ruin. It's located at Junction 2 of the M40 at Beaconsfield and will be open 7 days a week from 4.00am to 1.00am. But you won't be able to get a drink there until 9.00am (and being a motorway service area, we daren't even ask the price of a pint).
The pundits are predicting a social disaster. But J D Wetherspoon see it differently. They figure they can make a few extra quid by serving meals and drinks to non-driving travellers and they've liaised with the police and the local planning department, and have no doubt consulted a press agent and ran a few surveys to check what the fallout might be. Then they went ahead with the £1.2 million plan.
But why this particular site? Apparently, it's part of the old London to Oxford stagecoach route, so the notion of weary, God-fearing travellers having a quiet brew at the side of the King's Highway probably appealed (and it can only be a matter of time before we "enjoy" motorway brothels—or have we already got those?).
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the RAC says that in a poll of 2,000 people, only 12 percent supported the pub venture (no word about brothels).
You can understand their concerns, of course. No one—not least bikers— likes having half-cut drivers, never mind full blown drunks, out on the road. But you have to keep these things in perspective and trust people to behave responsibly even when there's (quote/unquote) a "terrible temptation" at hand. So we're trying to stay calm here until there's strong evidence against Wetherspoon.
And you really do have to watch these things carefully. The next thing you know, they'll be opening pubs at the side of country A-roads and B-roads and flogging cheap lager in the supermarkets.
It's a thought, huh?
These don't come around too often, and when they do, you have to be pretty quick if you want to bag one. Burton Bike Bits, however, is now offering these to order at £950 unpainted, and £1,200 painted, plus VAT.
As with the originals, these tank units are manufactured in the UK from fibre glass (using a genuine Hurricane original as a mould). But unlike the originals, the internal fuel tank is formed from aluminium (as opposed to steel), thereby saving weight.
Naturally enough, these units (original part number 83-4265) are designed to fit the X-75 Triumph Hurricane. But they can be adapted to fit other bikes—not least T140s or oil-in-frame BSA A65s, upon which they look pretty good. But how you adapt them is your business. Burton is offering these only for the Triumph X-75.
Note that there is a 6-10 week lead time, so factor that in. Keep in mind too that Burton sells a lot of other parts for the Hurricane, including seats, silencers, stanchions and decals. UK shipping is just £8.50. Talk to Burton for carriage costs to anywhere else in the world.
— Del Monte
Sumpster Andrew from New Jersey has tipped us off about this beautifully restored 982cc Matchless-engined 1936 Brough Superior SS80 that's currently (as of 20th January 2014) on sale on eBay. As the moment of writing, there's 1 day and 17 hours to go (22nd Jan 08.35 PST).
The Brough, we hear, was found in a sorry state inside a storage locker somewhere in Texas back in the autumn of 2009. The storage locker actually included 40 bikes, but it seems that this Brough was the prize. Fortunately, although the bike was largely disassembled, most of the parts were present and correct
Big D Cycles in Dallas are the guys behind the restoration. The engine was stripped completely, cleaned, inspected, fitted with a new ground camshaft and rebuilt. Ditto the gearbox. The magdyno was also refurbished.
[more on this Brough Superior SS80]
Remember General Jumbo? This was the schoolboy character in the illustrious Beano comic; the kid with a private army controlled by a wristband gadget bejewelled with push-buttons and sprouting a permanently buzzing aerial.
Well we've long been looking for an excuse to remember Alfie "Jumbo" Johnson. And here it is. But the real story is actually about internet hackers who, similarly techno-armed, could soon be hacking into the computer systems of our cars and trucks and buses and, like Jumbo, taking control.
Sounds unlikely? Well according to "infotainment" and vehicle audio systems manufacturer, Harman, the risk is very real and immediate. Modern cars, say the firm, are equipped with dozens of ECUs (electronic control units) that do pretty much all the on-board things that the average driver can't be bothered to do. Such as opening windows, or adjusting the air-con, or jacking back the seat, and looking after more important control functions such as the fuel injection, the power steering and the anti-lock brakes.
But as in-car (and even in-bike) systems develop, and as vehicles become increasingly hooked into the www, so the cyberheads will gain access and could take control with possible fatal consequences. So far there's not much evidence that this scenario is actually happening. But, like alien invaders landing in Hyde Park/Central Park, it could happen. Theoretically speaking. And to counter this potentially devastating threat, Harman is developing a software barrier that will keep the hacker at bay and save life on earth (as we know it).
Meanwhile, the next time you're riding your classic heap down the road and you see someone steaming towards you like he's driving along in some kind of videogame, you might not be far from the truth. Watch out, huh?
— Big End
The VMCC has issued a press release advising us that the 2014 Festival of 1000 Bikes will not be happening.
Why? The official line points the finger at Mallory Park (the current "spiritual home" of the Festival) which fell into administration last year. An outfit known as Real Motor Sport Ltd has recently been announced as the new operator, but the VMCC say that there's simply not enough time left to organise the Festival for 2014, so they've pulled the plug.
However, it's worth looking at this news is a wider context.
Firstly, in November 2013, James Hewing announced that after nine years in the job, he was stepping down as CEO of the VMCC. There's no doubt that Hewing brought a lot of much needed changes to the organisation, albeit not without a lot of old guard resistance. And clearly, not everyone at that august organisation was exactly crying when he departed.
Secondly, it's widely rumoured that the last two Festivals, organised during Hewing's stewardship, left the VMCC with scorch marks on its fingers (we'd be very interested to hear from the VMCC that that's not the case)
Thirdly, the usual date for the Festival of 1000 Bikes is July, which would give the VMCC a reasonable six to seven months to get its act together if it was determined to do so.
There are, of course, other intrigues behind the scenes, and we've got no doubt that a very large number of VMCC members will be very unhappy with this cancellation decision; possibly the same members who have been increasingly discontented with (a) the way in which the Festival has been organised lately, and (b) the charges levied upon them for participating. But naturally, we'll take the VMCC at its word.
Meanwhile, you guys out there can make up your own mind. But if the VMCC needed an excuse for cancelling the event, the Mallory Park problem has comfortably provided it.
James Hewing, meanwhile, has recently been announced Director of Operations at the National Motorcycle Museum. So good luck to him.
— Big End
Transport for London (TfL) has warned of a new London congestion charge "con" that's been doing the rounds and effectively swindling thousands of motorists out of their money. Except that TfL can't call it a con, because technically (and legally) it amounts only to "sharp practice". And maybe not even that. But mostly of us will see if very differently.
Put simply, various companies have established pay-the-congestion-charge websites and are acting as bona-fide pay portals. The companies in question are paying Google and Co for higher page rankings, and that puts them above the official TfL website, thereby in pole position.
Unsuspecting motorists come along online and pay the fee, but with an extra charge going to the unofficial site. The sites aren't acting illegally, note. They're simply operating as referral agents and are adding £6 to the legitimate £10 per day payment.
But the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) is unhappy about the presentation of the sites, and it's unhappy about the misleading information published. Consequently, the offending sites have been told to clean up their act.
Meanwhile TfL (the biggest swindlers of them all in creating an unnecessary zone in the first place) have reminded us to use the official TfL site when paying the charge.
Fortunately, if you ride a motorcycle, the congestion charge doesn't apply. But plenty of us occasionally need to drive into the capital and risk being overcharged. So watch out.
— Girl Happy
Thursday 9th January 2014, Bally's Hotel and Casino, saw Bonhams' 4th Annual Sale turn over $3.3 million and, according to the leading auction house, set new records for Ducati, Indian and Harley-Davidson motorcycles.
Here are those claimed world record details:
An "untouched" 1978 Ducati NCR from the famed Silverman Collection which sold for $175,500 (£106,950).
A 1940 Harley-Davidson EL from the Pierce Family Museum Collection which sold for $159,000 (£96,895). See image above.
A 1973 Ducati 750 Super Sport "Green frame", also from the Silverman Collection, which made $137,000 (£83,488).
Beyond that, a Von Dutch TR5C Triumph didn't sell, while a 1923 Indian Big Chief c/w Princess sidecar, formerly owned by Steve McQueen and restored by Von Dutch, sold for $126,000 (£76,435). The same American buyer/collector also purchased for $80,500 (£48,834) a 1935 Indian Chief owned by McQueen (image immediately below).
Meanwhile, a 1949 Triumph 6T bobber painted by Von Dutch (image immediately above) sold for $32,200 (£19,822).
And this looks like a bargain (above). An unmolested 1973 X-75 Triumph Hurricane which sold for $17,825 (£10,862). That would sell for around £15,000 or so on this side of the pond.
Overall, Bonhams did exceptionally well at this sale and fielded some exciting and rare lots, one or two of which were eye-wateringly low for the British market. We'll be analysing the results more over the next few days.
Lastly, Bonhams will next be at Paris on 6th February 2014 for its Grand Palais Sale. After that, the auction house will be once again at Stafford in April. We'll be watching that one with particular interest to see how the UK classic bike scene is holding up in the current economic climate that's showing no sign of easing despite government propaganda.
— Del Monte
This is something and nothing really, but it made us stop and think for a moment. We were trawling the Triumph Motorcycles website this evening and saw that as of, 7th January 2014, the firm is currently advertising no less than 20 vacancies. The jobs that need to be filled are:
Accessories Design Engineer/Senior Design Engineer
Buyer - Accessory Purchasing
Design Engineer/Senior Design Engineer (Chassis)
Design Engineer/Senior Design Engineer (Powertrain)
Development Technician (PT Test Cells)
Export Sales Regional Manager – Asia Pacific
Industrial Placement - Accessories Sales and Marketing
Industrial Placement - Assembly
Industrial Placement - Digital Marketing
Industrial Placement - Finance
Industrial Placement - Human Resources
Industrial Placement - IT
Industrial Placement - Purchasing and Logistics
Industrial Placement - UK Sales
Workstream Manager - Sales and Marketing Process
So nothing earth shattering. But what's reassuring is that at a time when the government is frantically spinning the truth about the state of the UK economy, when British unemployment is realistically actually way beyond 2.3 million and more likely up at around the three million mark (and beyond when you factor in nonsense job training schemes and zero hour contracts), Triumph Motorcycles is still hiring and continues to move from strength to strength and expanding further into the worst recession/financial low ever recorded around here.
We don't know how many of these jobs are for the home market and how many relate to Triumph's activities in Thailand, India and Brazil. Nevertheless, John Bloor's Hinckley based outfit is still on the move up. It's a small comfort at a time when a growing number of people are headed for poor street. Check with Triumph if any of these jobs interest you.
As ever, buy British whenever you can.
— Girl Happy
Huddersfield-based Kawasaki dealer, Earnshaws, has released details of its new cafe racer creation based upon the popular Kawasaki W800. The dealership has also revealed a new in-house street trials machine. As far as we can tell, the modifications are largely cosmetic and involve changes to the pipes and bars. [More on this Kawasaki W800 cafe racer]
It's easy now to overlook the influence that Phil & Don, the Everly Brothers, had on the world of pop music. But back in the late 1950s, theirs was the sound that set millions of teenage hearts throbbing and influenced a generation of musicians to follow their close-harmony style and angst driven melodies.
The brothers Everly (Phil, left), hailed from the American Mid-West. Phil was born in Chicago but, together with brother Don, was partly raised in neighbouring Iowa where their father and mother ran a radio show. The Everly Family became something of a celebrity act and later travelled widely to promote their music and sell records in the burgeoning post war era where a new generation of teenagers was rapidly discovering itself and offering the record companies a growing and lucrative market.
The brothers occasionally sang on the family radio show, which in fact gave them their public musical baptism. Later, country singer, producer and legendary guitarist, Chet Atkins, became a friend of the Everly Brothers who were now working as a musical duo. Buddy Holly was also a close friend and associate who, it's said, offered them the song Not Fade Away (which they rejected, suggesting that Holly could best perform it himself).
In 1957 they recorded Bye, Bye Love (written by noted songwriting team, Felice and Boudleaux Bryant) which went to number two in the charts. Wake Up Little Susie; This Little Girl of Mine; and All I Have to Do Is Dream followed and consolidated their success.
In 1959, Don Everly wrote Cathy's Clown, another success. In 1960, three more hits followed: Walk Right Back; Ebony Eyes; and Temptation. But already, their sound was fading. Within just a few years, the duo would be overtaken in popularity by the likes of the Beatles, The Kinks, the Rolling Stones, The Byrds and The Beach Boys.
In 1973, their relationship came to a crashing public halt involving an on-stage spat in which Phil smashed his guitar and stormed off stage. There was a reunion in 1983, and the brothers enjoyed various "come back" appearances much to the delight of their loyal fan base.
Phil was the younger of the two brothers and a lifetime smoker, a habit that's said to have contributed to his death. He was 74.
It was on the box over Christmas, so naturally we had to get in a few extra crates of suds, snip the phone wires, switch off the mobile, execute the cat, and make ourselves comfortable for the best 98 minutes of the season. [More on Vanishing Point (1971)]
These guys from Los Angeles have been building and selling petrol- powered bicycles for a while now, so it was perhaps inevitable that sooner or later they'd move onto electrics. Their latest creation is the e-bike. It's available in three options: [More on this board track bicycle]
Big Brother Watch, the campaigning organisation that's keeping tabs on the people who are keeping tabs on us, has issued a press statement claiming that thousands of school kids in the UK have illegally had their smudges smudged by their schools.
Since September 2013, it's been explicitly against the law to fingerprint kids without parental approval. Nevertheless, many schoolchildren are being routinely dabbed using biometric technology designed to monitor access to school meals. [More on this illegal fingerprinting story]