So okay, it's a basic Triumph TR5C that wouldn't draw much more than a passing glance on pretty much any street on the planet. Except that this TR5C was painted by legendary Kustom Kulture SoCal artist and pinstriper, Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard (1929-1992).
Following Howard's death, the Von Dutch name was sold to a fashion house and was quickly adopted by celebs such as Justin Timberlake (who's he?), Madonna (who's she?) and someone name Britney Spears (we've got a vague idea who she is). [More on the Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard Triumph/Steve McQueen Indian story]
Bonhams is flogging this fine piece of artwork at its Las Vegas Sale on 9th January 2014, and they're expecting £1,800 - £3,100 to change hands. The painting, with its title "Santa Rosa Mile" depicts 23-year old Jim Rice winning the 1970 race on a BSA triple. That flat track race was run for three years only (1968, 1969 and 1970). But following a series of crashes, the fun came to an abrupt end.
This was the Golden Age of riders such as Dick Mann, Gary Nixon, Freddie Nix and Chuck Palmgren. Forty two years later, the action was restarted, with Rice attending to help close the circle. Robert Carter, noted automotive artist, has truly captured the mood and spirit of that era.
The painting is Lot 61. The dimensions are 48-inches x 60-inches. That's a fair size piece of cloth, but it's one that you're never likely to grow tired of looking at. We're watching this auction closely. More stuff from the Bonhams Las Vegas Sale further down this page...
— The Third Man
Here's a reminder that the government's deadline for its local authority parking consultation ends on 14th February 2014, which is, of course, Valentine's Day.
That's an ironic date by which to pop these particular questions because there's little love lost between most British road users and the parking Nazis currently infesting British towns and cities and making life a misery for half the nation.
These increasingly militarist guys and girls, we're told, hand out eight million penalty tickets each year netting £1.3billion. And naturally enough, most British councils are perfectly happy with them. [More on this camera car story]
Brighton and Hove City Council are set to meet on 23rd January 2014 to decide on whether the famous Brighton Speed Trials should be cancelled.
Why? Well, some of it has to be general health and safety concerns/hysteria. But it's also connected to Charlotte Tagg who was killed in September 2012 whilst racing at Brighton as passenger on a Honda outfit. As a direct result of that incident, the 2013 Trials was cancelled.
Brighton and Hove Motor Club are the organisers. The ePetition was launched by committee member Ruth Reynolds and began on 19th December 2013. But Tony Johnstone is perhaps the man to talk to, if you need to talk.
However, if you just want to lend your support to an event that's been running at full tilt on Madeira Drive since 1905, you know exactly what you have to do.
Brighton and Hove ePetition
Please DO help if you can. Note that it isn't just this event that's at threat. Cancelling Brighton simply adds fuel to the safety fascists's bonfire, and that puts a lot of other public motorcycle events at risk. So let's try and put this fire out before it spreads.
Meanwhile, you might be interested to hear the Brighton and Hove City Council, run by the Green Party with the Tories trailing, was recently permanently banned from accessing the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency database for chronic misuse. This, therefore, sounds like another UK council that likes to play dirty. Keep that in mind, if you will.
Charlotte Tagg story on Sump
— Girl Happy
You're not supposed to speak ill of the dead, but it's hard to find anything nice to say about serial chancer Ronald Arthur Biggs who has died aged 84. Born in South London, Biggs rose to notoriety in 1963 following the British Great Train Robbery in which a gang of thieves sensationally robbed a Royal Mail express of £2.6 million (said to be worth around £46 million today).
The Tory establishment of 1963 was very unpopular, thereby helping prompt much of the UK general public into viewing the robbers as latter day heroes who had daringly executed the crime of the century—with most people overlooking the fact that train driver Jack Mills was viciously coshed by Biggs and Co and left with serious injuries that quite possibly shortened his life (Mills was born in 1905 and died in 1970). [More on this Ronnie Biggs story]
You don't have to be stinking rich to buy necessary stuff at Bonhams' auctions (but naturally, it helps). Instead, little people like us can get our mitts on some pretty cool collectibles that will, in all probability, only rise in value whilst covering that nasty stain on the wall.
Such as what? Well, biking movie posters. Yes, some of these are strictly low-brow, trashy B-movie flops and gems. But as cultural signposts, they're wonderful and timely markers to a different age that's slowly being bulldozed by the passage of time. [Read more about Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale, 2014]
Built in 1947 as a Vincent HRD Series B Rapide, this bike won the 1950 Isle of Man Clubman TT in the hands of Alex Phillip. Later, the Vinnie was bought by another kind of hero, this being Lt Colonel “Mad Jack” Churchill, a WW2 commando famed for his daring and eccentricity.
At some point (which isn't clear from the press release), the Vincent was upgraded to Black Lightning specification and, in the words of Phillips, "went like a rocketship".
On January 9th 2014, the Rapide will be auctioned at the Bonhams sale at Bally’s Hotel & Casino, Las Vega, Nevada, USA. There's no word yet on the estimate. Images are courtesy of Bonhams.
— Big End
▲ "It's business, not personal." That's the underlying message of any trade show. It's all about staying focussed, keeping networked, and making people offers they can't refuse. The Motorcycle Expo is a must for serious bike dealers. 19th - 21st January 2014 at the NEC.
If you're in the bike trade, classic or otherwise, take a tip and make tracks for the NEC between 19th and 21st January 2014. That's a Sunday through to Tuesday. The event is the Motorcycle Trade Expo Show organised by British Dealer News, the UK's leading motorcycle trade rag.
Tickets are FREE. Parking is FREE. And there's no doubt that you'll come away a lot wiser, and eventually a little richer, than you are at the moment.
Attending celebs include MotoGP riders Bradley Smith and Scott Redding who'll be pressing flesh and pumping arms, while Steve Parrish will be master of ceremonies. Also expect to examine thousands of leading brands and discover dozens, if not hundreds, of new product launches.
If you're not in the trade, it's a no go, so check Sump's motorcycle events listings to see what else is happening. This show is strictly for dealers, traders, importers, manufacturers, etc. And it's essential.
In the modern world, networking is everything.
— Del Monte
Well we got this one wrong—but so did a lot of people. Usually it's either excess alcohol or stupidity (or a combination of both) that leads to our screw ups. But on the occasion we're blaming figures drawn from the Financial Times that have proved to be incorrect (and we've no idea who the Financial Times is blaming).
The upshot is that Triumph Motorcycles did NOT make a £12.8 million loss in the financial year to June 2013. Instead, the operating loss before taxes and interest was just £100,000 (down from a £15.7 million profit in 2012). And that's a fair result in view of the money Hinckley is currently investing in numerous foreign markets, and is therefore something to celebrate.
The company's market share during this period also increased six percent.
You can find the original [inaccurate] story further down this page. So apologies and congrats to Triumph for doing so well in a very tough market. Meanwhile, everyone here at Sump has been sacked, and we're all going for a ride on our bikes instead.
Hey, we don't even smoke, but such is the power of advertising and the innate need to, whenever possible, look as cool as a polar bear's Whitworths, we've recently latched onto this new lighter from Zippo (left).
Since 1932, Zippo has been manufacturing and marketing these essential "guaranteed windproof" devices for the smoker and pyromaniac alike.
The company got the idea from an Austrian firm and brought it home to Bradford, Pennsylvania, USA where they've been made ever since.
But why "Zippo"? Seems they just liked the sound of the name or something. And now they tell us that over 500,000,000 have been produced, which is enough for half the population in China.
The one at the top is a twist on Zippo advertising everyone else's product in favour of lighting its own candle, so to speak. It's yours for £32.
The one on the right hasn't actually yet gone into production (and probably won't until we convince Zippo that you can't get much cooler than Sump). So if when you pick up your Zippo, you might want to put in a word or two for us.
We'll do the same for you someday.
— Girl Happy
What's happening to classic prices?
We're not supposed to say this for fear of starting a sugar panic or something, but a recent day out at Eric Patterson's Southern Off Road Show and Jumble (Saturday 7th December 2013) confirmed what all the other signs have been telling us for months. Which is? That the recession (or whatever the government prefers to call this perpetual black hole economy) has finally caught up with the classic bike world. [More on this classic bike prices story]
These, we're advised, haven't been available as new for many years. But now they're back in stock.
Made from steel tubing, the bottom two holes are drilled ready-to-fit. But where the steel is swaged for the top mounting bolts, they've been left undrilled.
Why? Because of usage/wear/age variations, and through simple manufacturing differences That means that the bolt holes can be misaligned by perhaps an 1/8" to 1/4". So you'll need to fit, measure, mark and drill. And then paint.
The part number for the BSA B31/B33 mudguard stay is 65-6839. For the M20/M21 mudguard stay, it's 66-6884. And the price? £19.50. Bargain.
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Actor Peter O'Toole has died in London at the age of 81. His was a long and tumultuous career with spasms of theatrical and cinematic greatness interspersed with moments of comedic—if not at times pathetic—personal and professional farce fuelled by an inherently self-destructive nature and an awful lot of alcohol.
Most famous for taking the leading role in the film Lawrence of Arabia, O'Toole's real life persona is/was easily and frequently confused with the character he played making it at times difficult to know where one begins and the other ends. And although he was not motorcyclist, classic or otherwise, the association between O'Toole and Brough Superior is now an indelible part of popular culture. [More on Peter O'Toole's death]
A couple of months back we featured on Sump this cool looking bobber-styled 500cc Sunbeam S8 built by Ian Spinney from Glasgow. It's currently adorning the display window of a trendy Belstaff store in the same city and, as is the way of things, the bike is now up for sale for £6,500.
Apparently, the total outlay was £8,500 which includes a full overhaul, a new Amal carb, all cables, all paintwork, stainless steel wheels, a new air filter, new wiring, a recon speedo, a new toolbox, etc. The list goes on. The original (painted) mudguards and saddle are included in the sale.
▲ 2013 Triumph Bonneville "Dark". We tried to come up with a worse name for a Bonneville model and decided that "Turnip" was probably slightly worse. But Triumph seems to be doing okay without our help, so we're leaving this one well alone.
Last year, Hinckley Triumph was £2.7 million in the red. This year, it's got smoking pockets and a big black hole where almost thirteen million pre-tax quid fell through. The figures are for the year ending 30th June 2013 [More on this story about Triumph Motorcycle losses]
The word is that the last Holden car to be built in Australia will happen in 2017, and that's a bitter blow for the workforce of the plants at, respectively, Elizabeth (assembly plant) in Adelaide, and Port Melbourne (engine manufacturing) in Victoria, both in South Australia.
Holden was founded in 1898 by James Alexander Holden, an emigrant from Walsall in the West Midlands of the UK who settled in South Australia and founded a saddlery business. Edward Holden (grandson) joined the firm in 1905, and in 1913 the company branched out into the manufacture of motorcycle sidecar bodies. [More on Holden cars to end production story]
It started out as a 2009 Triumph Speedmaster, but British Customs from Gardena, California had other ideas about how this bike might look, and so they conceived and crafted the above "Vintage Vendetta".
The Triumph Speedmaster, says the firm, is an ideal foundation for re-interpretation, not least due to its 270-degree crankshaft that gives it exactly the kind of offbeat vibes and feel demanded by red-blooded custom bike engineers looking for both poise and poke. [Read more about British Customs' Vintage Vendetta Speedmaster]
He was never a household name like pianists Dave Brubeck, Thelonius Monk, Oscar Peterson or Chick Corea, and was often confused with Stan Kenton. But Stan Tracey, who died on 6th December 2013, was one of England's greatest exponent of jazz piano and will be much missed by his contemporaries and fans alike. [More on Stan Tracey]
Well we finally got to see the new 21st century Brough Superior SS100 as conceived by Mark Upham, the driving force behind the most talked about motorcycle of the moment, and one that's rapidly shaping up to be a future classic.
The UK public unveiling took place on Saturday 7th December 2013 at Eric Patterson's Southern Classic Off Road Show and Jumble at Kempton Park, Surrey, a well attended gathering of souls with a good pre-Christmas buzz, a welcome patch of decent weather, and plenty of bargains on offer as traders looked to clear some stock and make the best of what hasn't exactly been a great year.
As hoped, we managed to get an interview with the redoubtable Mark Upham, and a very revealing tête-à-tête it was, too. [Read more on what Mark Upham had to say about the new Brough Superior].
The future of motorcycling? Maybe. Probably even. A least one notable French firm thinks so and is nailing its colours to the mast of that future with this giant battery-pack on wheels, and that firm is Voxan and they call this the Wattman.
So okay, that name might ring cool in downtown Monaco where these are being made, but it sounds pretty naff on this side of the English Channel. Maybe it's supposed to put us in mind of "Walkman".
But we think the French should have come up with something a lot more stylish or imaginative. Such as "Ampster", as in; "Can't stop, mate. Got to hurry home to feed my Ampster".
No? Well it was just a thought. We're think of registering that name anyway just in case. [Read more about Voxan's new electric bike...]
Are we the only people deeply uncomfortable about the minimum ten year sentence handed down today (Friday 6th December 2013) to Alexander Blackman, the British Royal Marine found guilty of murdering a Taliban fighter back in September 2011 in Helmand Province?
“You have betrayed your corps and all British service personnel who have served in Afghanistan,” opined Judge Advocate General Jeff Blackett during the trial. [More on this Alexander Blackman story...]
... but unfortunately, not to the tax. We're still going to have pay for it, but the circle of paper proving that you've paid your Vehicle Excise Duty has finally had its day (see Sump December 2012). Instead, your details will be read by ANPR (Automatic Number Plate Recognition) cameras and by hand held devices that will tell the authorities all they want to know about who is the registered keeper of the vehicle, where it lives, if the MOT or insurance is current, and—most of all—whether the Chancellor of the Exchequer has had his wedge. [More on this story...]
No, it doesn't actually shoot out concentric blue circles and turn everything into a negative. But the press release picture we dragged from the spam box was uninspiring and showed a line of dirty traffic cones with a bored looking guy on a bike coming to a controlled stop, and we figured that something a little more dynamic was demanded by our regular Sumpsters. So we got out the paint box and the Spirograph (showing your age now, huh?) and we scribbled the above graphic.
The problem is speeding, stolen and general getaway vehicles. The solution, we're told, is the RF Safe Stop system. [More on this story...]
Spit and Polish? That would be the immaculately turned-out SS80 Brough Superior that George Brough built, endlessly fussed over and rode at Brooklands notching up an unofficial 100mph. That was in the early 1920s. George Brough subsequently campaigned the bike in dozens of other races, and generally came out on top—but once almost underneath. [More on this story...]
This isn't the first time this issue has come up, but technological advances have given it new teeth.
The story is that the EU (read: the ongoing Franco-Germanic conspiracy) is looking to standardise road signs across Europe in an effort to "cut road deaths". [More on this story...]