The Brighton Speed Trials is back for 2016. It will take place on Saturday 3rd September 2016, and as usual it will happen on Madeira Drive, Brighton, West Sussex. The first run will start at 11.30am after the practice sprints.
Once again, we're giving this event a little extra promotional support following the death of competitor Charlotte Tagg in 2012.
As always, the Brighton & Hove Motor Club are organising the racing via the Sprint Section of the VMCC. This is potentially a great day out and highly recommended. Make a weekend of it if you can.
Finally, if you want to participate, make sure you contact the organisers asap. There are rules and regulations that need to be sorted out in advance. Turning up on the day with a bike, a lid and a head full of hope won't do it.
— Queen of Sump
If you're a professional photographer, or perhaps "merely" a keen amateur, you might have heard of Robert White; or, at least, Robert White Photographic. The firm (now called simply Robert White) is based in Poole, Dorset. It was founded by White who indulged a lifelong passion for classic cars, classic motorcycles, classic aviation, classic cameras and classic wristwatches.
Robert White was born in 1953 and died in 2015. He left the bulk of his very large collection to charity; a collection of 500 lots that's expected to raise over £2 million when Bonhams offers it for auction on Monday 19th September 2016.
Among the motorcycles on offer are:
c.1921 Megola 640cc Touring Model, est: £120,000-£140,000
MV Agusta 500cc 3-cylinder Grand Prix recreation, est: £80,000-£100,000
MV Agusta 500cc 4-cylinder Grand Prix recreation, est: £70,000-£90,0000
1974 Ducati 750SS, est: £60,000-£70,000
1951 Vincent 998cc Series C Black Shadow, est: £50,000-£70,000
Motor cars in the collection include:
1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Le Mans-style Tourer, est: at £450,000-£550,000
1959 AC Ace-Bristol Roadster, est: £180,000-£220,000
1958 AC Ace Roadster, est: £120,000-£140,000
Pur Sang ‘Type 51’ Sports Two Seater, est: at £90,000-£110,000
White was a close friend of American TV host, Jay Leno, who has been quoted as saying: “They say that you should never be possessed by your possessions; but Robert took more pleasure from his possessions than any man I have ever met. The evening ritual of winding his George Daniels watch, for example, was an active delight to him as an opportunity to take pleasure in its mechanism.”
▲ George Daniels 35th Anniversary wristwatch. Daniels (1926 - 2011) was said to be the greatest horologist in the world during his lifetime. He was born in Sunderland and built watches entirely by hand (no pun intended). And if you own a Daniels watch, you've just gotta have a 1930 Bentley 4½-Litre Le Mans-style Tourer as well, haven't you?
White also owned a number of Brough Superior motorcycles which he sold to Leno and then donated the funds to Poole County Hospital which looked after him during his final years.
The sale will take place at Bonhams' HQ at 101 New Bond Street, London, W1S 1SR. Ben Walker is the man to talk to for motorcycle enquiries.
UPDATE: See Sump Classic Bike News September 2016 for more on the Robert White Collection Sale.
— Del Monte
▲ 1955 Adler MB250. This bike has been "family owned" for over 50 years, which is a sly way of saying "multiple owners". That aside, this sophisticated quarter-litre German two stroke is said to be complete and original with matching numbers. And it runs. Est: £2,500 - £3,000.
Update: The Adler didn't sell.
Thursday 28th July 2016. That's when H&H Auctions is returning to Donington Park with a new (well, old but new) selection of cars and motorcycles. At the time of writing (21.33 on Monday 27th June 2016) there are 36 entries including an Indian board track racer project, a fairly complete looking Indian Camelback, a clean looking 1979 Ducati 900SS (est: £20,000 - £25,000), a tired looking 1966 Velocette Thruxton, an Indian JAP racer needing lots of work, various mopeds, a sorted looking 1960 Triumph T100 Daytona (est: £6,000 - £6,500), and a clean looking 1982 Kawasaki GPZ1100 (est: £3,000 - £4,000).
We'd give you more details, but evidently H&H is still busy cataloguing the lots, and there's really not much else to say. But the location, in case you're not familiar with Donington Park, is around 10 miles south east of Derby, Derbyshire. Or you can program this postcode into your satnav: DE74 2RP.
▲ Indian board tracker. Details are scant. But we can tell you that this single-gear V-twin is a 61-cubic incher (1,000cc), and it needs more than an oily rag. No documents. Barn find. See the next 3 images below.
Update: This bike it actually a "circa 1928" bitsa with an unidentified frame. It sold for £3,584.
▲ Listed as a 1960 Triumph T100 Daytona. This is a UK registered bike with a current V5C. It's been restored, but might require light commissioning. A 500cc Triumph twin is still a very special treat. But the £6,000 - £6,500 estimate is a little rich for us. Note that the Triumph Daytona didn't actually appear until 1967 and was dropped in 1974.
Update: The bike didn't sell.
H&H is currently looking for more consignments, so if you're in the vicinity and want to unload some of the bikes (or cars) you haven't ridden in years and forgot you had, here's a timely opportunity. Make contact and check the current terms and conditions, etc.
— Queen of Sump
From 1st July 2016, motor cars manufactured before 1997 and motorcycles manufactured before 2000 will be banned from entering Parisian city centre streets between 8am and 8pm on weekdays.
Note the qualifications: "city centre" and "weekdays".
There is also conflicting information on whether the word "manufactured" should be substituted with the word "registered". Some sources say one thing. And other sources say another. And it has to be said that many sources simply don't understand the difference. Either way, if you ride an "old" motorcycle or "old" car in the middle of France's premier rat trap (between eight and eight during the "working week"), you can expect a gendarme to jerk your lead and reach for your wallet. And if he or she does, it could cost you €35. However, enforcement won't start until October 2016.
That's what we're hearing.
The reason for the ban is simple. Pollution. Paris has got pretty dirty air, and the authorities have been struggling for years to scrub it until it shines. On 17th March 2014, there was a limited one-day ban on motor vehicles from entering the city (see Sump March 2014). And prior to that, in 1997, Paris got the heebie-jeebies about the smog and shut down much of the traffic to see what happened (which was nothing worth getting excited about, except that business was lost). But now it's all moved up (or down) a notch, and your pre-2000 heap will not be welcome after 1st July 2016 (subject to the aforementioned qualifications).
The move is likely to affect around 160,000 vehicles, and there are suggestions in the biking community that motorcycles should be exempt. Why? Because relatively few bikes/scooters are on the road, and in real terms they contribute very little pollution. But that argument is likely to fall upon deaf French ears, not least because (a) the Gallic capital has a pretty sophisticated and reliable public transport system that it wants to exploit to the max, and (b) there are numerous other vehicles that might claim similar preferential and/or tribal exemptions (old and low-powered Citroen 2CVs, Fiat 500s, Renault 4s and similar, many of which carry three passengers instead of one pillion, etc).
▲ Of course, some motorcyclists have no respect at all for Parisian rules and come and go as they please...
By 2020, the ban will ratchet up to include (or exclude) vehicles manufactured before 2011. And in 2017, the fine will rise to €78. Cars will need a window sticker declaring the age of the vehicle. But we don't yet know how bikes will be suitably marked.
Of course, there are other cities in Europe that will be happy to receive you, and this fact is acutely recognised by French businessmen and women who would very much appreciate your coin and feel that a little smog is a fair trade off.
And it's worth mentioning that a fine is just an inverted tax. So if you're prepared to pay the man, you can ride around with impunity and stink up the atmosphere as much as you want. That's how it works.
Meanwhile, if you object to the tax, you can write to the Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo (image left) and voice your concerns. And while you're at it, you might ask for a reduced rate for advance bookings, or even seek a group discount.
But perhaps more worryingly is the fact that if 2000 is considered "old", what the hell does that make the majority of us Sumpsters who can still vividly remember the 80s, 70s and even 60s?
Paris is the least of our worries.
— Big End
Actually, we think this has got to be a belated April Fool wind-up. But we'll treat it as a genuine news story until we hear anything to convince us otherwise. The upshot is that a guy named Ed Elliott has (supposedly) started a petition aimed at Prime Minister David Cameron demanding the ban of those high-visibility vests/tabards/bibs that more and more UK motorcyclists (and quite a few horse riders and cyclists) are wearing these days. We're talking about the ones with "POLITE rider" (or similar) printed on the back, the intention being to make "POLITE" look like the word "POLICE" (as if you didn't figure that out).
We've seen a few such vests for ourselves, and they didn't affect us in any way except to make us raise an eyebrow. In fact, we saw one guy riding along the Thames Embankment with "FBI" printed on the back of a Hi-Viz, which might mean that he's totally off the beat, or maybe he was just taking the Mickey. But Ed Elliott (is that an anagram of something we haven't yet figured out?) thinks that these vests make bikers look uncool, so he wants them made illegal.
At the time of writing, he's got 335 supporters. Apparently, he needs 500. What happens after he hits the required number isn't clear. That's because this petition is being carried on the change.org website as opposed to the more usual gov.uk site.
That aside, from checking the online forums it seems that plenty of bikers really hate these vests, but it's hard to see why. They ain't very convincing, except perhaps from a long way off. And at that distance, we ain't worried about whoever might be wearing them.
So okay, the "POLITE" vests look uncool. But so what? Just get over it. It's still a reasonably free country. However, we suspect that many bikers (and drivers) hate these vests because they want the luxury of breaking the law with total impunity rather than worry about Fluorescent Fred up ahead, or Hi-Viz Vic coming up behind who, just for once, might really be the old bill.
Beyond that, it's just possible that Ed Elliott is a lot smarter than he sounds. It could be that he's got a nice little business on eBay flogging the fake police vests and has found a way to drum up a little free publicity. If that's the case, here you are, Ed. There's gotta be at least a couple of people perusing Sump Magazine who'd just love one of these for Christmas.
Or maybe not.
And here's another thought. What are we gonna do if the coppers get smart and start wearing these too?
Makes you think.
Check out the petition
— Sam 7
It's been over 50 years since Indian Motorcycle officially went racing with a full factory team in an AMA Pro Flat Track championship. But that's about to change with, we hear, this brand new four-valve liquid-cooled 750cc engine that's designed to go toe-to-toe with the likes of Harley-Davidson and whoever else is up for a fight.
It's a timely announcement that comes just a week or so after Harley-Davidson launched its XG750R (see Sump Motorcycle News, May 2016).
Steve Menneto, President of Motorcycles for Polaris Industries (Indian's parent company), has been quoted as saying: “We are very excited to return to the AMA Circuit. We have established the new Indian Chief and Scout series as the cornerstones of our production line up, and now is the time for us to return to racing in a big way. We know that fans of Indian motorcycles have been anticipating this announcement and can’t wait to see Indian racing back in action.”
A brand new rolling chassis for the new engine is underway, but there are no immediate plans to build a production version. Indian, understandably, has given no details yet of the new 750. The company is expected to begin field testing the twin at a US racing venue later this year. But come 2017, Menneto reckons it will be ready for a full season.
Is Harley-Davidson worried? It ought to be. Indian/Polaris is hungry for business and is happy to rekindle the old rivalry that existed between the two firms. Then again, Harley-Davidson knows a trick or two about wiping out the competition.
Exciting times are coming for AMA race fans.
— Big End
That would be Sadiq Khan, newly appointed left-wing London Mayor who took office in May 2016. A little over 1.3 million Londoners (56.9 percent of the vote) voted Khan into office after Tory Boy Boris Johnson stepped down as mayor (allegedly in preparation to oust David Cameron from office should the UK opt to exit the European Union in the upcoming referendum vote).
Zac Goldsmith, another Tory Boy, came a close second place at just over 990,000 votes (49.1 percent).
Sadiq Khan—a Pakistani Sunni Muslim and the first Muslim mayor of a major western capital city—made a manifesto promise (November 2015) to freeze London Transport train fares for four years if he was elected to the mayoral office. But he's since been urgently back-pedalling and has qualified that dubious promise with any number of excuses. The bottom line is that it ain't going to happen the way he said it would happen, if at all.
But apparently he's more interested at the moment at another bottom line, specifically that of the model on the poster that's currently plastered all over the London tube network. Apparently, these "body shaming" ads "demean people, particularly women, and make them feel bad about their bodies", and Khan intends to ban the posters.
Notwithstanding the fact that many people feel that tens of thousands of seriously obese British women ought to be ashamed of their bodies, the knee-jerk move begs the question of whether or not the London mayor's role is also the self-appointed arbiter of decency, morality and good taste.
Graeme Craig, Commercial Development Director for Transport for London (TfL) is directly answerable to the mayor's office. Craig (pictured on the left) has been quoted as saying that "Advertising on our [tube] network is unlike TV, online and print media. Our customers cannot simply switch off or turn a page if an advertisement offends or upsets them, and we have a duty to ensure the copy we carry reflects that unique environment."
Duty? That sounds dangerously sanctimonious.
Of course, some would say that passengers can simply turn away or stick their noses in a book. While others might suggest that all advertisements offend someone. So why not have a total ban?
As expected, two distinct political camps have formed and are now sharpening and loading their weapons. One group feels that women's self-image needs protection by the state, whilst the other side believes that Khan's move is "patronising censorship".
The Advertising Standards Agency (ASA), meanwhile, has apparently already investigated the ads to see if they contravene any laws. The agency concluded that the posters were neither "irresponsible nor offensive".
▲ Sadiq Khan might have been better advised to take a more relaxed approach during his first year as a Muslim Mayor of London. But if this is the beginning of a fundamental shift in attitudes (and that's a big "if"), God only knows where it ends...
Well they've offended quite a lot of people actually, but is that in itself a reason to ban otherwise legitimate advertising? You decide. But keep in mind that if the chief complaint is simply that the ads make fat girls feel bad, the logic might apply to any number of products that have the same effect on other people. Such as cosmetic dentistry, for instance. Or hair product adverts. Or ads for new clothes or expensive cars. Or whatever.
According to the usual scuttlebutt, London-born Khan is making the banning move because he has two "proud feminist" teenage daughters and is pandering to their juvenile political demands. Beyond that, there will be the understandable wider concern that here is London's first Muslim mayor on a crusade to stamp out overtly "sexy" or controversial images of women, thereby giving licence to the more extreme Islamists as they mission-creep towards an Islamic rather than a Christian nation.
That said, Khan (who trained as a solicitor) voted in favour of same sex marriage, and in response had a fatwah (death threat) levied against him and duly received advice from the coppers on self protection, which probably mostly means keeping his mouth shut and his head down. But you can hardly expect the mayor of the greatest city on earth to do that.
However, it might help Khan if he stopped telling people which mosque he prays at (which is the Al-Muzzammil Mosque in Tooting, South London. You can find it at 8 Gatton Road, SW17 0EZ which is just up the street from the post office).
— Sam 7
If the pollsters are correct, around 50 percent of you Sumpsters reading this news item will be voting to stay in the EU on Thursday 23rd June 2016. That, of course, is assuming that (a) you're eligible to vote, and (b) you feel sufficiently motivated to trundle down to the polling station and make your mark in the required spot.
And if you can't be bothered to do that, that's perfectly understandable. Most of us are pretty jaded with modern politics, and there are very few people in Westminster (and none in Brussels) that we have much love and respect for. Don't get us wrong. Most, if not all the MPs, Lords, MEPs and Euro ministers are probably fairly decent enough people. But as politicians we're not impressed. And generally, we find it hard to support one side or the other. Or even the other.
But come Thursday 23rd June 2016 when we're asked "Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave the European Union?" we'll be scratching "LEAVE" in the little box. That's because we emphatically, definitely, absolutely want out. We want to be gone. We want to quit, depart and vamoose. We want a total, unequivocal, no-fault divorce (albeit an amicable one if possible). We want full marching papers. We want to surrender our visas. We want separation. We want to cut the cord. We want to become ex-members of the EU Club. And we wish all in Europe a hearty bon voyage, auf wiedersehen, arrividerci and adios, etc.
Politically speaking, the forthcoming vote is arguably the UK's biggest decision since WW2. And leaving the EU could be a mistake. But the chances are, we won't actually see much difference. Not for a while anyway. If we leave, there will be a winding down process. That could take years. There will be a lot to untangle, and the momentum generated by decades of political association isn't going to come to a screeching halt.
There's no single reason why we want out of Europe, just as there's no single reason why others want to stay. There are instead hundreds of reasons. Thousands even. And there are also reasons why we have misgivings about making the break. But on balance, we see an exit as a positive thing. A new beginning. A chance to strike out again (and all that Rule Britannia flag waving stuff).
▲ Come the 23rd June 2016, there could be a spare flagpole at Brussels. Or will a British exit set the dominoes falling and ultimately bring them all down? Who knows? But we're pinning our colours to an older mast that's served us well for hundreds of years. Sink or swim, we're prepared to put a little more water between us and the European continent. How about you?
There may be trouble coming, but we'll deal with that as we always do. There might be greater wealth coming, and we'll try and spend it wisely. The economy might shrink, so we'll eat less. Big businesses and the multinationals might suffer, and we couldn't care less. Small businesses and independents might find new opportunities, and we certainly hope so. There will probably be unforeseen consequences, but those consequences will be both bad and good. Nobody knows one way or the other.
Here at Sump we're just not convinced that the EU experiment has on balance been good for us, neither as a nation, nor us personally (but some folk have certainly raked it in). However, we're not convinced that hellfire and damnation is coming at the UK if we leave. Instead, we have faith that the country can adapt and thrive as an independent nation. We're not convinced that trade with the EU will vanish. Commerce will go on as before, and we're also looking forward to new trade deals with other non-EU nations.
We're not afraid of change. Neither should you be.
Ultimately, we want more local control of our economy, our laws, our rules & regulations, and our borders. We want our political representatives on the shortest leads possible. We want to be in Europe without being in the European political union.
We certainly didn't vote for what we got, and we don't want what the Eurocrats want us to have. And we don't have to accept it. In a week or so we'll have a golden opportunity to get the hell out and be done with it. We're big boys and girls. We can take it. And the EU will probably chug along without us. And if it doesn't, the mainland continent will also have to change and adjust.
It isn't that we want to be "Little Englanders". We just don't want to be "Big Europeans."
We've listened to all the hype about staying in. We've listened to all the counter-hype about getting out. We've done what we can to look objectively at the issues. And the bottom line is this; we just want something else.
We're voting "LEAVE".
Sump visitor question on our VOTE LEAVE story.
▲ 1972 Honda CL450K5. This bike is very typical of the machines that interest David Silver, and this one's for sale at £2,500. It's a US import and needs re-commissioning, but apparently it's all there. 20,936 miles.
David Silver and classic Honda motorcycle spares are practically synonymous in the UK. Silver caught the Honda bug when he was sixteen years old, and in the time honoured tradition he presently turned his hobby into a business. Today he's a cornerstone of the classic Honda motorcycle spares scene operating from his base in Leiston, Suffolk where he sell parts and secondhand bikes.
A few years ago, Silver visited a Honda dealer in Pennsylvania, USA. That Yankee dealership boasted a Honda museum totalling around 120 bikes, and the contents of that establishment were quickly acquired by Silver with a view to opening his own museum in the UK. He's since added a few bikes from his earlier collection, so the museum is expected to have around 150 machines on display (and if you're a thief, David Silver takes security seriously. Be warned).
Some of the bikes date back to the 1950s, and many are original, un-restored machines with ultra low mileage. The most recent display bikes are from the 1990s.
▲ 1970 Honda CB750KO. Here's another bike on offer from David Silver Spares. The price is £7,900. 31,676 miles. 3 months warranty.
After some delay, David Silver is now almost ready to open his classic Honda museum, and the launch date is set for 4th July 2016, Independence Day in the USA (which is probably just a co-incidence).
The David Silver Honda Museum is located at: 14 Masterlord Industrial Estate, Station Road, Leiston, Suffolk IP16 4JD. We don't have details of opening times or admission charges. But you don't need to be spoon fed everything, do you?
Meanwhile, if you've got any NOS Honda spares or complete Hondas in the shed or garage, or if you're looking to buy classic Honda parts or a classic Honda motorcycle, David Silver would be very pleased to hear from you.
That's the total number of riders killed at this year. Five. And naturally, that's five too many. Here are the names:
Ian Bell, aged 58. Bell was a sidecar driver and was killed in a crash at Ballaspur. His son Carl was the passenger and is reportedly uninjured.
Andrew Soar, aged 32. Soar died at Keppel Gate during the senior race.
Dwight Beare, 27. Beare was a sidecar driver and was killed on the first day of the races.
Paul Shoesmith, 50. Shoesmith was killed on a separate incident on the first day of the races.
Dean Martin, 58. Martin crashed in practice during the Pre-TT classic.
It's difficult to say anything about these deaths that isn't going to sound crass. But there's no doubt that there will be renewed calls from many quarters demanding the abandonment of the TT. Racing speeds on the island are certainly way higher today than ever, and the human frame hasn't evolved to address this fact, and isn't likely to any time soon.
But boys will do what boys will do, and every one of the riders killed was no doubt perfectly aware of the risk and, up to a point, probably enjoyed that risk. Then again, there are families and dependents to consider, plus the negative impact (no pun intended) that these deaths have on the wider world of motorcycling and the motorcycle trade. And if the motorcycle world shrinks beyond a certain point, the TT simply won't be viable.
It perhaps hasn't yet reached that point. But it appears that we've moved decisively from the "mere" possibility of deaths at the TT to the grim certainty.
Since 1911, when the first races took place on the current Snaefell Mountain Course, there have been over 250 competitors killed, plus various fatal accidents involving race officials, spectators and non-racing deaths. In 1970, the worst year so far for the TT, six people died. Since 2000, the only year when there were no fatalities at the TT was 2001.And unless and until far more comprehensive safety features are installed, which is probably a non-starter given that the track is an otherwise public road, more riders are going to find themselves hurtling into unforgiving street furniture, walls and sundry immovable fixtures.
So should the TT continue? Ultimately, everyone should have the right to take control of his or her own fate, be it via drink, drugs, mountain climbing, contact sports, scuba diving, surfing or riding superfast bikes in competition. We've got no issue with that. Our only real misgiving is the fact that families (especially kids) will suffer from the loss of a dad, which begs the question of whether motorcycle racing, at the TT at least, and responsible parenting is mutually incompatible.
But we'll save that one for the philosophers and social workers and will try and stayed focussed on the simple truism that living a meaningful life on planet Earth is not all about health and safety.
However, one way or the other, there's more TT tragedy coming at us.
— Del Monte
We ain't much good at counting beyond ten without taking off our shoes and socks and unzipping our flies, but it looks to us like Mecum Auctions fielded 311 motorcycles at its Chicago Sale on 10th and 11th June 2016. And that's a huge number of lots with, apparently, very high quality stock. Note: Mecum is claiming 350 bikes.
Some of the sales/results information is still pending, so it's not clear what the top selling motorcycles were. But here are a few of the bikes that (a) caught our attention, and (b) found homes.
The first machine we like is the above 1952 Maico Mobil (Lot S71). This wonderfully quirky machine had long anticipated the current interest in maxi-scooters such as Yamaha's T-Max, and we reckon the Maico did it a lot more stylishly.
Maico was founded in 1926 in West Germany by Ulrich Maisch and was passed on to his sons Otto and Wilhelm. It began by building lightweight utilitarian two strokes, but eventually moved into motocross and enduro bikes and, for a while (in the 1950s), added micro-cars to the firm's manufacturing inventory.
The company is perhaps best known for its 247cc air-cooled two-stroke Maicoletta scooter fitted with an electric starter, four gears, a cooling fan and 14-inch wheels. The top speed was a very creditable 70mph.
The Maicoletta was expensive to manufacture and buy, but it was a very high quality machine that quickly developed a near cult following.
The Maico Mobil (Lot S71) arrived in 1950 and remained in production until 1958. The two-stroke engine began as 150cc, 3-speeder. But that was soon enlarged to 175cc in order to handle the 250lbs of tubular steel frame and steel body. And what a body. With that huge screen, those capacious leg shields and the expansive footboards, the Mobil could handle all but the very worst of the weather. And because the bike was such a heavyweight and was fitted with telescopic forks, swinging arm suspension and 14-inch wheels, it handled more like a motorcycle than a scooter, which was the manufacturers intention. And for those long-legged touring jaunts with your significant other, the Maico Mobil had a large pillion saddle and was perfectly equipped with generous built-in luggage panniers. The Mobil also featured a glove box and carried a spare wheel.
We don't have the production numbers, but the bike/scooter wasn't a huge seller. This example was restored in Germany and was originally marketed as a "car on two wheels". So okay, there have been many other machines that came along before this one with the same boast. But that doesn't detract from the fact that this German example reloaded the concept, and did it so beautifully.
This bike, according to some, is "The Holy Grail of Scooters". We're racking our brains trying to think of another scoot that we'd rather have, and so far nothing's coming to mind. The estimate was $20,000 - $25,000. This Maico Mobil sold for $24,000.
Next up is the (immediately) above 1968 Norton P11A Ranger (Lot S79). This is what you get when you plug a 750cc Norton Atlas engine into a (modified) Matchless G85CS (Competition Scrambler) chrome-moly rolling frame. The demand for this "lighter, lower and faster" piece of "dynamite on wheels" (aka Project 11, hence P11) came from Southern California, USA where desert racing was booming. The first P11 was prototyped in 1966. The production version appeared in 1967. The last models were built in 1969.
The majority of parts required to build this factory hot rod came right off the shelf at the Associated Motor Cycles factory in Plumstead, London. The frame and forks were, however, strengthened. Bespoke items include the exhaust system, engine plates and various brackets. A Matchless cast aluminium primary cover replaced the standard (and leaky) pressed-steel item as fitted to the Atlas. There was no headlight or tail light on the P11. The ignition was via coil capacitor. Carburettors were Amal.
In 1968, the P11 became the P11A. New parts included four different petrol tank and oil tank styles in steel or aluminium. A road legal version called the Ranger was also produced with high and low-level pipes. And if you want to know more about these bikes, you need to talk to numerous AMC/Norton marque experts. But don't expect a consensus. As with the details of many classic bikes, confusion is the rule rather than the exception.
The P11A Ranger above is said to be correct in every detail from the small aluminium fuel tank to the mid-level pipes with shorty mufflers. The estimate was $13,000 - $15,000. But on the day, it fetched just $8,000.
▲ AMC, Norton's parent company, had been flirting with various hybrids badged under the Norton or Matchless brands. Cue the 750cc N-15CS Special and the 750cc P11A Scrambler. Similar bikes, but with very different personalities and appeal. Prices can vary widely, and there are more than a handful of homages rolling around to confuse the already confused buyer. Beware.
The short-lived reign of the 750cc P11/P11A/Ranger (such as it was) came to an end when a new breed of desert two-stroke racer appeared. Moreover, the day of the Norton Commando had arrived as a long-awaited solution to the Atlas engine's vibration issues. In January 2015, Mecum flogged a 1967 750cc N15CS for $14,000 (see the image immediately above). Look for Lot number S25.
▲ 1912 61-cubic-inch Flying Merkel. Original engine. Original Bosch magneto. Original Merkel carburettor. Hopes were high that this pre-WW1 board track racer would sell for $80,000 - $100,000. But in the event, the hammer came down at just $60,000, well short of its bottom estimate.
▲ 1943 BMW R75 Gespanne (Lot S64). 750cc. OHV. Twin camshafts. Driven sidecar wheel. Oval frame tubing. Hydraulic front fork. Four-speed gearbox (with high and low range settings). Leather panniers, machine gun mount, tonneau, shovel, jack, gas can, ammunition cans, gas mask can, tyre pump and extra fuses. You could start a small war with this wonderful motorcycle, but apparently not much of a bidding war. The estimate was $35,000 - $50,000, but it sold for just $30,000.
▲ 1934 Harley-Davidson R45. Lot S101. The Art Deco-styled 45-cubic inch (750cc) Model R sidevalve/flathead was built for just four years starting in 1932. During this Depression era, with all the US motorcycle manufacturers struggling if not folding, only 450 examples were made. This rare example is ex-Steve McQueen. The estimate was $95,000 - $120,000. But by the end of the sale, it hadn't sold.
Other sold lots include:
S65: 1939 BMW R71, £25,500
S75: 1929 Harley-Davidson Model D45 $29,500
S80: 1967 Triumph Bonneville TT, $8,000
S81: 1950 Vincent Comet, $25,500
S89: 1968 Triumph Bonneville T120R, $6,000
S92: 1916 Harley-Davidson Twin (sold, no details)
S107: 1967 Triumph Bonneville T120TT Special, $13,500
S117: 1957 BSA Gold Star, $10,000
Overall, it looks like a reasonably successful auction, but prices seem absurdly low in many instances and are significantly beneath estimations. However, without taking a very close look at the lots, it's hard to form any conclusions. Yet. The range of bikes was, typically for Mecum, very wide (American, British, German, Italian and Japanese).
There is still missing information about this auction. Mecum appears to have an odd way of doing things in that we're been advised on sales, but without the sale price information. Some bikes are still being negotiated post-sale. With others, it's not clear what's going on.
We'll try to update things as and when the other results come in, so keep an eye open here if this auction interests you. Or you can follow the link below and see for yourself what's going on. Meanwhile, see the Steve McQueen Indian Arrow sale details below.
— Big End
The estimate is $60,000 - $70,000, and the sale results are imminent. This 250cc, 4-speed 1949 Indian Arrow hails from the Larry Pedersen Collection and is currently (10th - 11th June 2016) being auctioned at Chicago, Illinois, USA by Mecum Auctions. It's Lot S93. And if you're unfamiliar with these bikes, the picture hasn't been flipped. The mirror-image design is how it left the factory. Timing gears on the left, and the primary drive on the right.
Larry Pedersen acquired the bike in 1984 at a sale of the late Steve McQueen's estate. Said to be correct in every detail, the Arrow had earlier been restored by McQueen's friend, Sammy Pierce. Barbara McQueen (McQueen's third and final wife) reckons that this is the same motorcycle that McQueen used to instruct her in the finer points of carburettor overhaul. We can't see that that revelation adds much to the mystique of the "King of Cool", or the provenance of this machine. But it's there if anyone wants it.
Indian was headed for trouble when this motorcycle was launched. Here's the simplified story: Back in the 1920s, the famed du Pont family had invested heavily in the company (and many other companies). During the Wall Street Crash, they lost a lot of money. But they were keen motorcyclists and saw Indian as a path back to profit. So in 1930 they grabbed the handlebars of the business and merged it with du Pont motors which made automobiles. [More...]
... it's also a reminder from us that you only live once, that the clock is ticking, and that it's always later than you think.
If you're a regular Sumpster, and if you've been paying attention (and why would you not?) you might recall that we've recently returned from a gruelling, but wonderful, Route 66 road trip. In fact, we travelled all of Route 66 east to west, and then we travelled most of it west to east. In fact, we first travelled it over 20 years ago, and we can tell you that it's still a hoot and was easily one of the most fantastic trips of our miserable lives.
We're still working on a Route 66 feature that will give you some fresh insight into this fantastic experience. So look out for that at a computer screen somewhere near you.
The Americans call Route 66 "The Mother Road" or "The Will Rogers Memorial Highway" or "Main Street America". But we simply call it the most evocative and exciting road trip on the planet, bar none (and here in the UK, we would have had something similar, albeit considerably shorter) if the British government hadn't turned so much of the 400-mile Great North Road (aka the A1) into a motorway.
Anyway, the point is that most of you reading this have not yet ridden or driven Route 66, and you don't want to die until you've covered the 2,541 miles from Chicago to Los Angeles. So we've produced this Route 66 T-shirt because (a) the income helps support Sump, and (b) it's the aforementioned reminder from us, and a reminder to yourself, that you'd better do it sooner rather than later.
▲ Don't panic, the T-shirt is black, not dark grey. But we toned it down to give it some detail. These tees are silk-screen right here in the UK, and you can have one as a wearable reminder. Go before you croak.
The US states printed on the tee are the states you'll be travelling through if you ever make this modern pilgrimage. And okay, if you blink you'll miss most of the brief Kansas section. But it's all do-able if you just get out there and do it.
The Route 66 T-shirts are 100 percent pre-shrunk cotton, silk-screen printed (for extra longevity), and they're in stock right now. The sizes are S, M, L, XL and XXL. The price is £14.99 plus postage and packing.
When you buy one of these T-shirts, make sure that you tell everyone who sees you wearing it to remind you to make that trip. Some day you'll be dead forever, but Route 66 made us feel more alive than we have in years. So maybe it will work for you too.
I want to buy the Route 66 T-shirt
— Big End
Any Monkees fans out there? Go on. Own up. You're on friendly territory now. We figure that there are actually plenty of you guys and girls who were either there at the beginning of the Monkees story, or who picked up the beat somewhere along the way.
At Sump, one or two of us certainly remember the late 1960s when The Monkees TV show burst onto British screens. And that was an exciting time for us; a time for gawping at passing cafe racers and choppers, discovering teenage girls, wowsing at the hippy stuff on sale in Carnaby Street, and generally struggling to develop some kind of viable identity. As far as we recall, it never rained once throughout the sixties. At least, not on our heads. [More on The Monkees new album...]
We hesitate to use the word "cute". In fact, we refuse. But that's how most people describe this 1950 Crosley Hot Shot Roadster (Lot 80) which has just been sold by Bonhams for $12,100 (£8,383) including premium at its Greenwich Concours d'Elegance Auction today, 5th June 2016. And that's Greenwich, Connecticut, USA and not Greenwich, London, England.
The Crosley Hot Shot was the brainchild of Powel Crosley (1886 - 1961), US inventor and industrialist and brother of Lewis Crosley (1888 - 1978). During the 1920s and 1930s, the Crosleys manufactured a huge range of consumer products from radios to refrigerators to general knick-knacks to the XERVAC device which was designed to rejuvenate dormant hair cells and so provide a cure for baldness. The Crosley name was also synonymous with broadcasting, aircraft manufacture, yacht manufacture and baseball (Powel Crosley purchased the Cincinnati Reds in 1934).
But the name Crosley is best remembered by many as a manufacturer of automobiles. As far back at 1907 Powel Crosley had attempted to build and market a budget car for the ordinary man. The project was not a success (largely because of a certain Mr Henry Ford and his 1908 Model T), but Powel Crosley took a second shot shortly before WW2, and this time he met with some success and built over 24,000 vehicles (of various types, many quirky) until production ended in 1952.
The above Hot Shot Roadster was introduced in 1949. The company was by then steadily losing momentum and sales, and the Hot Shot, arguably the first American sports car, was part of an attempt to halt the slide.
Whatever else the Crosleys were, they were an adventurous duo widely credited with introducing numerous "firsts" into the marketplace, such as the first mass-market single overhead camshaft engine, the first use of caliper disc brakes on all four wheels, and the first use of the term "Sports Utility".
We can see these claims starting a lot of argument, but we ain't going there. Instead, we'll tell you that the Hot Shot Roadster featured an upgraded version of Powel Crosley's COBRA engine, a 44-cubic inch (724cc) inline four developed for the US military. This lightweight powerplant was designed with a brazed copper waterjacket (hence CO-BRA; copper-brazed) and enjoyed a claimed 24.5hp output. But subsequently, this engine was produced with a conventional cast-iron block, and it's this power unit that was installed in the diminutive Hot Shot.
Powel Crosley (image above right) was clearly intent on keeping things ultra-simple, and so accoutrements such as doors and a roof, were considered redundant (or at least optional). The windscreen was flat glass. The wheels were steel. The gears numbered three. Carburetion was by Tillotson. The brakes were hydraulic all round. The wheelbase was 80-inches. And the weight was 1,155lb (524kg).
Fuel economy was said to be good for around 40mpg (imperial), and performance was sprightly. So much so that in 1950, a Floridian racing fan named Victor Sharpe Jr entered a Crosley Hot Shot Roadster in the inaugural Sam Collier Memorial Sebring Grand Prix of Endurance. It was driven by Fritz Koster and Ralph Deshon, and after seeing-off a rash of exotica including the second-place Ferrari, it won.
The little Crosley Hot Shot Roadster isn't exactly a microcar, but it's way down there with the likes of an Austin Healey Frogeye Sprite and an MG Midget. And we think it's a wonderful piece of near-forgotten Americana that, to our minds, should have fetched considerably more than eight grand (Sterling) plus change.
This example has been restored, and it was sold in very good general order. Even if this machine doesn't quite honk your horn, you might want to spend a little time reading up on Powel and Lewis Crosley, two of America's most interesting and daring entrepreneurs. Their story is a true page turner and makes it easier to see why the USA clings so tenaciously to the concept of the American Dream.
For the Crosleys at least, it really happened.
This is a little off the beaten track for most of you guys and girls, but we get lots of visits from Yankee riders, and one such Sumpster asked if we could plug this three-day event, the 13th Rockerbox Motofest, which we're happy to.
The date is June 10th - 12th 2016. The place is Road America (a road course located near Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, USA). The address is N7390 State Hwy 67, Plymouth, WI 53073. The time is 8am to 8pm. The price is $15 (or $10 if you present yourself at the gate wearing any official Rockerbox event T-shirt). A group of 20 or more riders can also get in for $10 each. Contact the organisers for details.
▲ Racing at Road America. Photo credit: Les Tension Photography. Contact Les Tension for reprints of pictures.
You can expect some serious AHRMA racing, a stunt show, a classic bike show, a Sunset Cruise (3 laps of the track), live music, trade stalls, a swap shop, bike competitions, etc. This event, we understand, is the premier motorcycle show in Wisconsin, USA. The organisers are promising a "mash" of custom bikes, cafe racers, scooters, drag bikes, choppers, baggers, and so on. Camping is available, and you can also hook up a motorhome/RV. But there are booking deadlines and privileged spots, so don't waste any time checking availability.
You live only once. Get along there if you can and live it with thousands of like minder people.
— Big End
Two 2016 Isle of Man TT competitors have died in separate incidents. Sidecar driver Dwight Beare, aged 27, was killed on the first day of the races following an accident near Rhencullen. His passenger, Benjamin Binns, was also hurt and was airlifted to Nobles Hospital with a fractured ankle.
Meanwhile, rider Paul Shoesmith, aged 50, was killed on Sulby Straight during solo practice on Saturday. Following the incident, the session was abandoned.
— Del Monte
If the British folk rock movement was a murder scene, Dave Swarbrick's fingerprints would be all over it and he'd be hauled in as a prime suspect. A singer, songwriter, and a highly gifted and original musician, Swarbrick has died at the age of 75.
Dave Swarbrick was born in New Malden, South West London. From an early age he became interested in the violin and started his career with his own skiffle band before moving into the burgeoning folk rock scene of the late 1950s/early 1960s. He was soon playing fiddle for the Ian Campbell Folk Group and was quickly recognised by, and hired to work with the likes of folk luminaries such as Ewan MacColl, Peggy Seeger and A. L. Lloyd.
Never one to stay still for long, by the mid-1960s Swarbrick began working on a Martin Carthy album which led to his involvement in a second Carthy album, this time as a partner. By now, Swarbrick had established himself as a top session musician, so it was perhaps inevitable that he would eventually cross paths with the likes of Fairport Convention, first as a hired violinist, and then as a full member of the band.
The near-legendary Fairport Convention Leige and Leif album was released in 1969. Swarbrick was a motive force in this seminal work and by now had progressed from playing a traditional acoustic violin to an electric fiddle (one of the first British musicians to do so). He subsequently became a key member of Fairport and stayed with the group helping underpin this new wave of electric folk rock with his impeccable jigs, reels, and up-tempo arpeggios. Indeed, Fairport without Swarbrick was all but unthinkable.
His hearing, however, had been damaged by excessively loud music, and Fairport Convention, despite producing numerous critically acclaimed albums and EPs, was in trouble. There were management problems, and contractual issues, and much of the earlier excitement surrounding the scene had run its natural course and was dissipating. At Cropredy in Oxfordshire in 1979, Fairport played a farewell gig and brought an era to a regretful end.
The band, perhaps inevitably, reformed in 1985, but Swarbrick was involved with Whippersnapper, another folk rock outfit and did not join the new line up. Four albums with Whippersnapper followed, and then Swarbrick and Martin Carthy began working together once more and released two more albums.
In 1994, Swarbrick emigrated to Australia and was careful to take his fiddle with him. He worked on various folk projects, always pushing at the boundaries, yet managing to stay faithful to his roots. And eventually he returned to the UK.
But his general health was now poor. An inveterate smoker, Swarbrick suffered from chronic emphysema that led to a spell in a Coventry hospital. It was during this period (1999) that The Daily Telegraph newspaper announced that he had died. Swarbrick was much amused and pleased that his obituary was so flattering, but was less amused to find that he would not be performing in the foreseeable future. He was simply too ill.
In 2004, however, he received a double lung transplant, and following a period of recovery he began working again, once more with Martin Carthy. He soon also began working once more with a re-reformed Fairport Convention, and in 2014 he released a solo album, one of 10 solo works (including a compilation).
Dave "Swarb" Swarbrick married more than once (we don't have the details), and he fathered two daughters and a son. It's hard to overstate just how significant was his contribution to the English folk rock scene. It wasn't simply that he was there at the key moment. It was more that he helped create those key moments. He received numerous awards for his contribution to folk and electric folk music. But the greatest award is the fact that his work is likely to be listened to and enjoyed for generations to come.
If you haven't yet discovered Dave Swarbrick, it's not too late.
You know that the year is half gone when the Banbury Run comes around again. Naturally, we can't do much about the passing of time, except perhaps to encourage you to get out there and enjoy it. Hence this reminder that this year's Banbury Run will take place on Sunday 19th June 2016.
If you fancy taking a look, you'll need to get to The British Motor Museum, Gaydon, Warks CV35 0BJ. As ever, the run is open to all motorcycles and three-wheelers built before 31st December 1930. And as ever, the Vintage Motor Cycle Club (VMCC) is organising the event. But if you haven't already (officially) entered your vehicle, you'll have to wait until next year. However, the run is held on public roads, which means that you can ride the circuit if you feel like it. Just keep in mind that these wonderful old crocks need a little space to do what they've gotta do. Check Sump's event's page for more on this run.
— Queen of Sump
If you're a regular Sumpster, you might recall that last year we had a small fire aboard our good ship that put it out of commission for repairs. Well those repairs took much longer than we anticipated, and the insurance people (whose name we won't mention, and who won't be seeing any more of our coin) mucked us around big time and tried to fob us off with a derisory payment of just £2,300 where the true cost was nearer £7,000.
Well the b@$t@®d$ finally settled, and we're all aboard again and trying to get re-established and reconnected and so on. Currently we're on the Lee Navigation where we'll be for a few more weeks before pushing off up the Regents. But we expect some interruption to our service, not least with our internet connection. So bear with us if you will.
The boat still needs another coat of varnish, and we've got some interior work to finish. But beyond that, we're all shipshape and Bristol fashion and ready for some more navy lark. And you wouldn't know that we'd been under fire. We've got Sump stickers on the pointed and blunt ends (pardon us, at the bow and stern), so if you see us around, tap on the window (not after 10.00pm, please) and introduce yourself. Coffee's 50p. Carrot cake is £1.50. But if you say something like, "You're Kolly Kibber (or Lobby Lub), and I claim my free nosh," you can have it for nowt.