We had to resist the urge to run a headline reading' TED SIMON HACKED TO PIECES BY ISIS. But this ain't the Daily Mail, and around here we prefer not to let a good headline or a good story get in the way of the truth.
However, we picked up an email yesterday purportedly sent by global motorcycle trekker Ted Simon to all his friends, of which they are legion. The email suggested that either ISIS, or a group or individual using that moniker had for reasons unknown hacked his website and obliterated one or more of his pages.
Ted depends upon his website to help market the numerous books on travel and politics he's penned, and 24 hours is a lifetime on the web. We were about to run an appeal for emergency backroom help when someone here at Sump stabbed a finger at the calendar on the wall, specifically the 1st April which was looking right back at us.
So we checked Ted's site, saw that it was looking okay and carried no severed head images, and then we contacted the man himself. But it's seems that it's true—at least as far as he knows it to be true. Some wandering miscreant had indeed sabotaged the most harmless website on the planet and threatened to cut off a good portion of Ted's funding.
Consequently, it's now something of a non story because the damage had already been repaired by one of his mates. But it's a reminder for anyone else out there who's dependent on the net to keep a close watch on what's going on on their website. And this news item also serves as a notice to anyone else who received the appeal from Ted. The fire was started, but the fire is out.
And yes, we did vaguely wonder if maybe this was a slick marketing ploy by Ted intended to get all his friends to revisit his pages and buy something. But that ain't his style (however don't let that stop you from checking out the Sump shop in case someone's been poking about in the dark when we were looking the other way).
Seems like these latter day techno-jihadists will have a go at anyone. Why the hell did we ever get rid of Saddam, huh?
— Big End
Frank Perris: 1931 - 2015
Canadian Grand Prix racer Frank Perris has died aged 83. He was perhaps most closely associated with Suzuki for which he rode between 1962 and 1966. In 1966, Perris won two 125cc Grand Prix races for Suzuki and closed the season by taking second place in the 125cc championship.
He was born in Toronto, Canada but relocated to the UK in 1938 at the age of seven. He began his riding career on a 250cc Velocette MOV. In the early 1950s, he switched to a 350cc Velocette KTT, but subsequently became associated with OK-Supreme, Triumph, AJS and Norton.
In 1966 he emigrated to South Africa. But it was a short-lived sojourn because within two years he returned to the UK and was back on Suzukis again, this time riding for Eddie Crooks. Within a few years he was riding a Yamaha TD2 and a Suzuki Daytona 500.
Frank Perris contested 11 TTs, but won none. Nevertheless, he was a popular rider and well respected amongst his peers.
In 1972, Perris fortuitously crossed paths with Norton chairmen Dennis Poore. He was offered the job of competitions manager and was subsequently asked to build a team. His riders included Peter Williams, Phil Read, Mick Grant and Dave Croxford.
Frank Perris died on the Isle of Wight following a long medical condition.
— Del Monte
From 20th September 2020*, motorcycles built before 1st July 2007 will be subject to £12.50 per day charge for entering the Central London Ultra Low Emissions Zone (ULEZ).
If you're a regular visitor to Sump you'll know all about the ULEZ. If not, check this Sump ULEZ link.
The charge will apply 24 hours per day, 365 days a year. New rear-facing CCTV cameras are being installed that will read motorcycle number plates.
Mobile camera vans/cars will patrol the area scoping for offenders. "Significant fines" (as yet unspecified) for non-compliance will apply.
It's not all bad news for classic bikers, however (depending on your definition of "classic"). Motorcycles classified as historic or military vehicles will be exempt. Therefore, after 20th September 2020, if you commute five days per week into Central London on your (relatively clean breathing) 2006 Triumph Bonneville, the bike will be subject to a charge of £62.50. But if you cover the same journey over the same period astride your (relatively dirty breathing) 1968 Bonnie, you won't pay the charge.
Note that this ULEZ charge is NOT the same as the London Congestion Zone charge. At the time of writing, Transport for London (TfL) has published no plans to charge motorcycles (per se) for entering the Congestion Zone (which is largely the same area). But once the new rear facing cameras come on line, it will be a straightforward matter to flip a switch and scoop up all bikes, regardless of age.
We don't think so. The possibility (and temptation) is clearly there. It doesn't matter, incidentally, if you clip just one or two streets off the ULEZ. If you enter the zone at all, you'll be taxed. And it is a tax, remember. If TfL really wants to stop motor vehicles from polluting the capital's air, it could just ban them.
When the charge begins, what is likely to happen is that the economics of riding a motorcycle in the ULEZ beyond 2020 might throw up some new and painful numbers. In other words, it might simply not be viable for many riders. True, in 2020 a 2007 bike will be 13 years old. Therefore, a 2008 machine might well be reasonably "affordable". But many people today get by on very tight budgets, and our experience of taxes and sundry charges is that they tend to rise rather than fall.
Ironically, what we're also likely to see (as with the Congestion Charge Zone) are bikers making extended journeys around the ULEZ in order to save a few bob, and that's not likely to do much for air quality.
Currently, a historic vehicle is classified as one built before 1st January 1974 (changed from 1973 in the 2013 budget). But with the rolling tax exemption for historic vehicles (announced in the 2014 budget and in force as of 1st April 2015), any UK vehicle 40 years old will automatically be classed as historic (and exempt from "road tax").
So perversely, the aforementioned 2006 Bonnie which will be subject to £62.50 5-day charge for being "dirty", will be free of the charge come 2047.
This also means that a 1980 T140 Triumph is immediately going to fall foul of the ULEZ 2007 cut-off date, but come 2021, when the rolling tax/historic vehicle break kicks in) it will be exempt.
— Big End
*UPDATE: The implementation date for the ULEZ (with regard to motorcycling) was moved forward to April 2020.
Actually, it's probably just flu. We've been touring Spain for the past week taking a much needed break, and we just got back to Blighty (and now we wished we'd stayed at home and chased the resident mole around the Sump garden and/or mucked about in the garage).
Somewhere near Barcelona, one of us picked up the flu bug, and then it spread, and then the rest of us came out in sympathy (well, ya gotta stick together, are we right?). Anyway, what it means is that we're running at somewhere between low speed and no speed. So if you're looking for a little more Sump news, just be patient, will ya? There's plenty else going on around the site to keep you occupied.
And for all you Sumpsters who have been patient whilst awaiting your orders for T-shirts and books and metal signs, thanks again. Everything has now been despatched, and we'll be back up to speed as soon as we deal with this bloody Iberian infection.
Unless, of course, it's something worse ...
Shaw Taylor was the name by which the general British public knew him. And for decades Eric Stanley Taylor, an East Londoner, was one of the most famous faces on the box. But now he's died aged 90, and we think his passing is worth noting on Sump.
Taylor was the man who fronted Police 5, a regular primetime TV crime stopping show created to fill a five minute vacant slot in the TV schedule. He didn't conceive the show. But his was the face that kept the general public and the criminal fraternity glued to their television screens fascinated to see what his latest appeal was.
More than once, we hear, stolen property was dumped soon after an edition of Police 5 when Taylor had effectively made the item or items "too hot to handle".
If you remember Police 5, you're older than you probably want to be. But if not, here are a few notes to help you along. The show was first aired in 1962 during the legendary Lew Grade television era which gave the world some of the most memorable TV programmes ever. It was a golden age.
Police 5 survived a 30 year airtime slot and helped bring hundreds, if not thousands, of criminals to book including murderers, rapists, robbers, muggers, conmen and sundry ne'erdowells.
Taylor's avuncular image was always clean cut and (for many of us) excruciatingly "square". The "criminal fraternity" despised him and allegedly feared his broadcasts. He was soon given the nickname "Whispering Grass", and over the years he received various threats. But unlike Jill Dando, who presented Crimewatch (see below) and was murdered in 1999, nobody ever raised a finger against Taylor.
The general public merely accepted Shaw Taylor as that "bloke on the box" and recognised him as a sincere and wholesome TV crimebuster. Think Batman in a suit.
He was often mistaken for a police officer. But in fact, he began his career as an unsuccessful repertory actor before moving into broadcasting. It was a smart move, and it did the world some good.
▲ In 1986, Shaw Taylor was made MBE by this familiar looking woman after he helped recover some stolen items from a "distinguished lady who was not amused". Honi Soi Qui Mal Y Pense, we say.
Following a stint in the RAF, he hosted various quiz shows and took small parts in a couple of films. Then came Police 5.
At its height, the show enjoyed viewing figures of ten million. The spin-off production, Junior Police 5, helped turn a generation of British kids into unpaid snouts for the law enforcement apparatus and, okay, probably did more good than harm.
By the 1980s, the show and its format was getting dated. Complicated television politics finally blotted Taylor's copybook and the show was subsequently replaced by Crimewatch, which is still running once a month and commands huge ratings. Police 5, by the way, was also known as Crime Desk and Police File depending on where you were in the realm.
After Police 5, Shaw Taylor was involved in Crimestoppers, a similar (but more abbreviated) TV appeal. He was also a presenter on Drive In, a TV motoring magazine, and a presenter on Wish You Were Here, a travel show.
But it will definitely be Police 5 for which Taylor is remembered, if at all. His catch phrase was "Keep 'em peeled!" and that was often called out to him in the street.
His presentation was hardly likely to be glamorous or sexy (they left that to the late Jill Dando who was murdered partly because of her personal appeal). Nevertheless, Taylor stayed at the helm for a generation or more and did his bit for the advancement and security of the human race which is pretty much all that any of us can hope to achieve with out three score year and ten.
Taylor's wife predeceased him. He is survived by his son and partner, Shirley Ferrari.
He's been collecting motorcycles for the best part of a lifetime amassing 220 machines dated between 1901 and 1993. Some say that this is the most diverse and finest collection of American bikes anywhere. And we ain't arguing.
It all goes under the hammer at Mecum's auction in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA on 20th and 21st March 2015, which is this coming weekend. [More...]
That would be the H&H Auctions Sale which takes place on Wednesday 15th April 2015. Currently, this 500cc racer (above), designed by Lino Tonti, is the most expensive lot on the selling grid and is carrying an estimate of £90,000 - £110,000.
With its 496cc twin-cylinder air-cooled pushrod lump, the Linto was (and possibly still is) capable of 150mph. The engine dimensions are 72mm x 61mm. The bhp is said to be around 65 @10,000rpm. The transmission is 6-speed. The brakes are four-leading-shoe up front, with a twin-leader at the rear.
This was a problematic late-1960s design cobbled together (partly from Aermacchi top ends) at a time when four stroke motorcycles were having a lot of rubber kicked in their headlights by a new breed of Japanese two-strokes hungry for blood. The Linto engine was prone to heavy vibration and suffered various carburetion woes (amongst other ills), but in the hands of guys such as Alberto Pagani and Gyula Marsovsky, Lintos acquitted themselves well on the track and enjoyed a little more than fifteen minutes of fame.
▲ This 1971 MK2 BSA Rocket 3 has an estimate of £8,000 - £9,000. We've seen a few very clean Rockets lately struggling to make this price which is a little odd when you factor in their relative rarity and general coolness. But we've also seen asking prices of £14,000 - £15,000. The engine and frame numbers on this example look like they match, but as yet there are no other details.
▲ The estimate for this 1950 Vincent Rapide is £23,000 - £25,000. As with the other bikes featured here, there are no other details at the moment. But it looks as though this bike needs a little sorting out, especially with regard to the cosmetics. Nothing serious perhaps. But it's a long way from concours. Alternately, you could simply run this as an oily rag and enjoy it for what it is. Certainly, there's investment potential here if £25,000 or less becomes the sale price.
▲ 1935 Moto Guzzi Sport 15. The estimate is £16,000 - £19,000 for this 500cc inlet-over-exhaust horizontal single. That's a fair wedge of anticipated cash, but there's a steady demand for quality examples of these bacon slicer (external flywheel) bikes—and these Guzzis are a lot prettier up close than they ever are in a snapshot. It's easy to see how they might become addictive.
At the time of writing, there are 76 motorcycle lots on H&H's consignment list. But there's nothing too exciting. Not for us, anyway. It's basically all the usual fair-to-middling mid-market stuff that you might expect at a provincial motorcycle sale.
As ever, Duxford itself is worth a visit if you've got even a passing interest in aviation or militaria. And there will no doubt be more motorcycle consignments before the sale. Give it some thought, huh?
UPDATE: The BSA Rocket Three sold for £8,400. The Vincent Rapide sold for £33,600. The Moto Guzzi Sport 15 sold for £16,800.
— Del Monte
We've given these guys and girls a mention a few times on Sump, and they deserve it. They work hard at putting on a cracking event, and when it comes to promotion, this outfit has no equals.
We've twice attended this boot sale, and you too should make the pilgrimage if you can. But you'd better hurry because day one is tomorrow, Saturday 14th March 2015, and day two is Sunday 15th.
The organisers have returned to Central London, specifically on the Thames South Bank between Waterloo Bridge and Westminster Bridge which is where the event started. Expect a lot of 1940s, 1950s and 1960s cars, motorcycles, trucks, buses, clothing, music, paraphernalia, and atmosphere. The event ain't huge. But it ain't small either.
Dressing up a little will only add to the ambience, and the worst you can do is stuff your face with food, buy a few antiques or trinkets, indulge in a little people watching (if that's your thing) and generally have a good time.
However, the law of diminishing returns kicks in with this event. In other words, if you go more than once (or go too often), the novelty wears off and you'll get less and less out of it. That's true of most events, of course. However, it's a little more true here simply because this gathering has such style, and style always dates.
Still, if it's your first time, like first time sex it's a memorable experience and should be savoured.
Tickets are just £4. It's open from 10.00am and 6.00pm. Check the link below for more on this event, or check Sump's events listing (see the button at the top of this page). Most of all, try and go. It's cool.
Classic Car Boot Sale
— BIg End
We're talking about the English Road Safety Comparison website, addressed at: www.road-collisions.dft.gov.uk. It was launched in the spring of 2013 by the Department for Transport (DfT) and was designed to clue us in about exactly where in England (apparently not Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland) road accidents were happening, when they were happening, and which local authorities were involved. The site also offered budgetary details of the authority in question, plus various supplementary info including the nature of the incident and how many people were involved.
However, the 1200 visitor-per-month site was, says the department, giving "low value" to the consumer, so it's being shut down as of 27th March 2015.
There's actually a lot of useful data there, so the DfT is now directing visitors to two other government sites, and one non-governmental site that between them will pretty much plug the hole (but you'll have to root around a bit and unearth the precise information you want).
One of the sites mentioned is Crash Map, and it might be worth a moment of your time. You simply key in your post code (zip code) and hey presto! you'll be faced with X-number of map markers detailing minor incidents, more serious incidents and fatalities. You'll need to register if you want to look deeper than that.
Don't have nightmares.
— Del Monte
It will cost £129. You don't need an annual subscription. It's small. Discreet. Shock resistant. And it can track the movements of your motorcycle if the bike gets stolen—and then relay the location to your mobile phone.
Actually, you can nominate various phone numbers, and you can program the device to give you specific warnings, such as bike ignition switched on, or bike movement. In return, the device will give you a GPS blind spot alert, and it will warn you of low power and low phone credit.
Apparently you just wire it into your bike and hide it somewhere sensible. The device has an internal battery as back up, and features a power-saving mode. So if some tea leaf has it away with your wheels, you relax, make a cup of coffee, quietly track your bike on your computer, then go round to the miscreant's house with half a dozen mates, smash his face in and recover your property.
Sounds cheap at double the price. Meanwhile, you might want to hide one of these on your wife/husband/partner and check what they've been up to as well. Or maybe it's better not to know.
Alternately, if you crash your bike and end up in a ditch, a nominated respondent can work out where you are and send some help.
If you want one, go talk to your local bike dealer and register your interest. And if he or she can't help, check with Autocom directly. But there's a catch. The device isn't on sale yet, but will be imminently.
That'll give you time to save a few pennies, huh?
— Girl Happy
He was a keen motorcyclist before he crashed (Malta, 1953) and decided that it was time to get an extra two wheels on his ride. We're talking about automotive engineer, stunt driver and racer Jem Marsh who has died this month aged 84.
Marsh was the co-founder of Marcos Cars. His business partner was Frank Costin (1920 - 1995), hence the Marcos name (MARsh & COStin).
Many Sumpsters will remember the stunning Marcos GT 1800 when it first appeared in 1964 (image below courtesy of Chris Sampson). The car was often referred to as a Marcos Volvo because Volvo originally supplied the engine (later replaced by Ford straight-fours, V6s and V4s). With its Ford GT40/Ferrari-like looks, ultra-low roof height (at just 43-inches), and glass fibre body, the GT was an instant head-turner beloved of schoolboy car spotters.
The chassis, famously, was made of marine plywood. That was largely Frank Costin's work. He'd been heavily involved in the development of the de Havilland Mosquito fighter-bomber of 1940. But as time passed, a steel chassis was introduced to save on build time, and therefore lower manufacturing costs. [More...]
You can get a signed copy of this new tome from Panther Publishing. All you need to do is lope along to their stand at the International Classic Bike Show at Stafford on Saturday 25th April 2015 at 2.00pm.
The book is pegged to normally retail at £24.95 including postage to the UK mainland. But there will be a special deal on the day when it will cost you just twenty quid. Look for stand 242 which will be in the centre of the main hall. [More...]
We reported on this back in Sump June 2012. The story was that the UK government intended to have new drug-driving laws and hand-held drug detection devices in place by the end of the year. Well they missed that deadline by a wide margin. But in fairness, it's a tricky legal minefield.
Why? Because when you're writing laws to handle drug usage and motoring/motorcycling, it's inevitable that you're going to be looking at both illegal drugs and prescription drugs. And you can't simply throw out a poorly written law and expect to hit the right offenders with it. You have to frame that law properly and word it correctly and cover various complex legal and medical angles. And even then, there's always a huge grey area regarding interpretation. Hence barristers and law courts, etc.
That aside, the upshot is that if you smoke cannabis or snort cocaine and/or pop recreational pills, the fuzz (we've been looking for an excuse to dust off that word and use it again) can jerk your lead armed with new powers.
There are already laws in place regarding driving whilst impaired by drugs. The current penalties are a fine of £5,000, up to six months in pokey and a minimum one-year driving ban. Plus, of course, the risk of death when you lose control and bounce off a tree or something.
The new powers now tighten the noose. But the big difference is that the police no longer have to show that you're actually physically or mentally impaired. It's sufficient to merely show that an offender is over the prescribed limit which is set very low. In fact, it's so low that we're practically talking about a zero-tolerance approach.
The coppers now have hand-held devices to check you out at the roadside, and they also have powers that allow them to haul you down to the nick for further dope tests.
So what's driven (pun unintended) this new impetus? Well, part of it is said to be due to the death of 14 year old Lillian Groves who was killed in South London in June 2010 by a cannabis smoking driver. Her mother launched a campaign, and the government (mindful of its own agendas) apparently listened.
It's all definitely a move in the right direction. But what's really needed is a hand-held stupidity meter. And until someone figures out how to build that, there's always another accident waiting to happen. Worse still, we're all guilty of being stupid at one time or another.
Meanwhile, if you're currently taking prescription drugs (and a worryingly high number of us are these days), you're advised to carry some kind of proof. Mercifully, the limits are set high for people who "legitimately" need to pop their pills.
We could give you the exact drug-driving limits, but it would be meaningless for anyone who isn't trained in pharmaceutics (which includes us). Suffice to say, the government is cracking down. So if you've had a night on the buzz, or had a decent toke somewhere, better wait for around 36 hours before you get behind a pair of handlebars, or the wheel of a car.
— Big End
Actually, we're exaggerating. It was just a small fire, no one was hurt, and the damage was relatively small. But last night we had an electrical problem with the generator which has put HMS Sump out of commission. This boat, as friends and regulars visitors will know, is both our home and office. So what it means is that we're going to be landlubbers for a while until we sort it all out, and that will mean some interruption to our news service.
But you can still order Sump products in the usual way. We have these despatched from an on-shore location, so that's not affected. However, we're going to have our hands full for the next few weeks as we get re-established and get the boat booked in for repairs. So emails and fresh news stories might be a little slower coming down the track.
Tip: If you own a canal boat, make sure that you have the right fire extinguisher in the right place at the right time. We didn't because we're stupid. But we won't be stupid again (not in this way, anyway).
— Del Monte
The new Jensen Interceptor? That's not quite how the current owners of the hallowed and classic Jensen name see it. But in an effort to catch some sales, they're not too proud to include a few Interceptor styling cues.
The clay buck (mock up) shown above also gives more than a passing nod to Aston Martin, Maserati and Iso, but this pile of artfully crafted mud is all Jensen and is expected to be on sale come the Spring of 2016.
So what's the underlying story?
Well, Jensen was founded in 1934 by brothers Richard and Alan Jensen. The duo operated out of Kelvin Way, West Bromwich in the West Midlands. The brothers had actually bought another firm, W J Smith & Sons, which built truck bodies. That company soon bore the Jensen monicker and a new star in the automotive galaxy was born.
Through the 1930s, Jensen built a range of respectable and stylish models. The firm also built special bodies for Austin, Morris, Singer and Standard. The company's heyday, however, was in the 1950s when the first steel-bodied Interceptor was created, followed by the (revolutionary) fibreglass-bodied Model 541 (later to morph into the C-V8).
▲ The stunning Jensen Interceptor of the mid-1960s. Italian styling. American (Chrysler) V8 muscle. British craftsmanship. 6,408 cars were built, of which numerous examples have since been factory-rebuilt. At a huge price.
In the 1960s, Jensen looked even further into the future by launching (a) the new Jensen Interceptor and (b) the four-wheel drive Jensen Interceptor FF (Ferguson Formula), the latter of which also featured the groundbreaking Dunlop Maxaret anti-lock braking system.
In the mid-1960s, anyone who was older than, say, eleven and living in the UK could hardly have failed to be awestruck by the radical Interceptor. With its huge wraparound "fastback" rear window and 6.2 litre V8 engine, the Interceptor vied with the Aston Martin for ultimate British-built GT street supremacy, and might have won that bout had James Bond not outgunned Jensen (literally) with the Aston Martin DB5.
However, Jensen went bust in 1976. A revival was attempted in 2001 in which the new firm designed and built the S-V8, a two-seat sports model priced at £40,000. The plan was to build at least 300 cars. But only 38 - 40 were ever completed (and only 20 at the new Liverpool factory) before the administrators checked the books, shook their heads and pulled the plug.
▲ P1800 Volvo. Another great classic of the 1960s. Jensen manufactured the first 6,000 of these (around 50,000 were built overall). Why Jensen? Because Volvo was stuck for space and wanted a sports car on its books. VW, using blatant commercial threats, almost scuppered the development of this project fearing an assault on its Karmann Ghia sales. Nevertheless, God stepped in and Volvo prevailed. Actor Roger Moore, in The Saint TV series of the 1960s, helped put these motors on the car map of the world.
By 2011, another re-launch was attempted, this time with an updated Interceptor. But this venture failed too. And that brings us to 2015 with another revitalisation plan on the cards featuring the 2016 Jensen GT.
So what's the specification? Well, details are sketchy. But expect a big engine, a Connolly leather interior, maybe diamond encrusted spark plugs, and lots of noise and poke and grunt, and maybe one or two other unique selling points (as if the Jensen name isn't unique enough).
▲ The 2011 Jensen Interceptor that never was. Nice try, but there was insufficient commercial momentum to get this off the drawing board.
After years of legal wrangling with various wounded parties laying claim to the Jensen name and rights, there's no special reason to suppose that a new dawn is breaking for this marque. It sounds a lot like wishful thinking underpinned by misplaced commercial optimism.
Then again, with the increased polarisation of wealth, the £350,000-per-car price tag coupled with the low-volume business model (80 cars planned) might make more sense than trying to pile 'em high and flog 'em (relatively) cheap.
Ultimately, it makes little difference to true/classic Jensen diehards. The original company is long gone. The bloodline is broken. And the grave has been robbed. Whatever follows is little more than another heritage badge nailed on an upmarket bonnet (hood).
Still, when that name is Jensen, it fair brings a tear to the eye. Know what we mean, Squire?
— Big End
We still prefer it in red, but as we ain't planning on buying one at any time in the foreseeable future, our choice of colour won't make the slightest difference to Royal Enfield's balance sheet.
The "new" model above is identical in every respect to the current Continental GT, except the aforementioned colour change and the fact that this bike has "a new tan coloured flat sculpted racing seat, with contrast (sic) stitching to make the bike stand out."
The machines are expected to be in your local Royal Enfield dealer's shop in April 2015. The price will be the same as the current Continental GT which is £4,995 ((OTR, including road tax and first registration).
— Del Monte