We wouldn't normally interfere with what you and your hardware do in the privacy of your own home. But we've got a special interest.
Generally, we despatch orders from the Sump shop within 24 hours, or 48 hours if it's a weekend. However, a number of you Sumpsters have recently ordered T-shirts and signs and whatnot, but haven't responded to our query emails checking for details (sizing, correct postcode, etc).
Our usual policy is to give it a few days or so, and then, if we don't get a response, cancel the order and refund any monies. But we'd just as soon see that you get your desired goodies, and see that we get your coin.
So if you're awaiting delivery of an outstanding Sump order, we suggest you look in your spam box.
— Del Monte
Yeah, we can see it ain't a classic motorcycle, or any kind of motorcycle. But as most of you will know, Sump takes a slightly wider view of the world and looks at a lot of stuff that might interest boys and girls of a certain age, and possessed of a certain bent.
And that's why you're now looking at a Tucker 48, one of the rarest and, we think, most interesting examples of automobilia ever to hit Stateside streets. It was the (nearly) two ton brainchild of Preston Thomas Tucker (1903 - 1956) and was one of the most advanced cars of its age.
First the intended specification:
A Ben Parsons-designed rear-mounted flat-six engine
All-independent Torsilastic rubber-sprung suspension
Disc brakes all round
Twin torque converters (one at each rear wheel).
Styling (largely) by Alex Tremulis, ex-Auburn Automobile Company
A pop-out windshield (following an accident)
An under-dash front passenger pre-collision safety space
A centre-mounted third headlight to swivel with the front wheels
Self-sealing tubeless tyres
The 1947 brochure had gone a little further and promised a centre mounted driving position, doors that extended into the roof for ease of entry, and front fenders that swivelled with the steering. It was all clever, hopeful and ambitious stuff. But the production versions significantly shortened Tucker's wish-list.
Here's the actual specification of the production cars:
335-cubic inch, 166-hp flat six-cylinder rear-mounted engine
Tucker Y-1 four-speed pre-selector transmission.
Fixed centre-mounted headlight
Rubber torsion suspension
Styling (largely) by Alex Tremulis, ex-Auburn Automobile Company
Pretty much everything else was fairly conventional, and there were bespoke variances between models as and when development allowed. Preston Tucker's passion for safety had envisaged the development of a safety cage, a repositioned steering box (reducing injury risk in the event of a collision) and a padded dash. But as with all these things, the complete manufacturing picture is a lot more complicated with numerous hirings, sackings, industrial disputes, financial wrangling, legal challenges, engineering problems, etc.
The radical rear-mounted, twin torque-converter engine that Tucker proposed was pretty much stillborn (although a few examples were built). Features of this 589-cubic inch (9.2 litre) unit included a flat-six configuration, water-cooling, fuel-injection, OHV with the valves actuated by direct oil pressure (via an oil pressure distributor) rather than by pushrods or a camshaft. Heady stuff.
Only 51 Tucker 48s were built (including a prototype). The name "Torpedo" was never used on the production vehicles; not officially, anyway. And neither was the epithet "Tin Goose". It was always just a Tucker 48; a number that reflected the single year of production.
In the end, a combination of factors quickly put Tucker out of business. The U.S Securities and Exchange Commission indicted Preston Tucker for financial fraud with regard to his commercial activities and interests. Steel supply issues led to production delays. Other suppliers backed away. And negative publicity burst the bubble before technical, legal and political issues could be resolved. And there were other more subtle factors, many of which are reminiscent of the John DeLorean saga.
Eventually, any charges against Tucker were dropped for lack of evidence. But by then, it was all over. The dream was dead. Other wheels had turned. The momentum was lost. And the radical looking Tucker, in the wake of new Detroit styling and thinking, was suddenly less radical. Or perhaps it had always been too radical for a largely conservative market.
Either way, some feel that General Motors, the Ford Motor Company and Chrysler all played their part in ensuring that the game was rigged against this upstart from Detroit, Michigan who, in a small way, threatened their dominance. Some says that his reach simply exceeded his grasp. But we say, "Way to go, Preston".
Whatever the truth, this man (pictured right) carried his hopes further than most of us can possibly dream. The Tucker 48 was, and is, one helluva statement of intent that gave Detroit's Big Three a fright.
This car is one of the 50 examples built at the Tucker Chicago plant for one year only (1948). It was never completed by the factory, however. That task fell to other Tucker aficionados who did all that was necessary to gather the required parts and assemble the vehicle to the final production specification as intended by Preston Tucker.
It will go on the block on Saturday 2nd April 2016 at Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA. The estimate is a cool $950,000 - $1,250,000. That represents a huge leap over the final Tucker sales price which was intended to be around $1,000, but ended up near $4,000.
UPDATE: The Tucker sold for $850,000.
— Big End
Only 58 examples are to be built. The price is a little over £14,000. And, we hear, around half of the production run is already accounted for.
Ducati Thailand are behind this bike, and it's also said to be backed by the estate of the late Mike Hailwood, which essentially means his wife Pauline. Based upon the current 803cc Ducati Icon, this limited edition motorcycle features a Termignoni exhaust system, an Ohlins rear shock, a cockpit fairing, a unique saddle and tailpiece, a custom paint job emulating Mike the Bike's Ducati 900SS, a numbered aluminium ID plate, and a signature from the man himself.
So what would Hailwood really think? Well we don't know. But the scrambler connection is hopelessly misplaced. It just wasn't Hailwood's style. That said, maybe we should just accept that wife Pauline has (apparently) given it the seal of approval. And no doubt Mike would back her. But some might call it a pretty cheesy and cynical lash-up designed purely to empty hearts and wallets.
But that's the name of the game, isn't it? Therefore, die-hard Hailwood fans will simply have to suck it up and/or look the other way. Most of the likely buyers of this bike will quite possibly have little idea of who Hailwood was, and why he was so great. But you have to keep the money moving.
So if you're fairly new on the block, here are some Stanley Michael Bailey Hailwood, MBE, GM facts:
He was born in 1940 and died in 1981 following a collision with a truck. His daughter Michelle was also killed. His son was injured. The driver of the truck was fined £100.
Hailwood won 9 World Championships, 76 Grand Prix wins and 14 Isle of Man victories. Many fans consider him to be the greatest motorcycle racer of them all.
This scrambler-by-name-but-not-by-nature ain't really to our taste, but we wouldn't refuse a freebee in the shed or garage, and no doubt all 58 machines will find satisfied owners. We don't have information on where to buy one of these. So we suggest you talk to your Ducati dealer.
Finally, the current (2016) price of a standard Ducati Icon Scrambler is £7,386 (red) - £7,486 (yellow)
www.scramblerhailwood.com [Note: the link is disabled. Copy and paste}
— Queen of Sump
Pretty much everyone reading this obituary knows the work of Ken Adam who had died aged 95. We've seen hundreds of examples on billboards, in magazines, on TV, and (most of all) in the cinemas.
He designed the movie car, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. He designed some of the most memorable James Bond movie sets ever contrived. And, in a roundabout way, he helped design the Cold War.
Well it was Ken Adam who created the scarily believable film set for Stanley Kubrick's masterpiece, Dr Strangelove (1964). So okay, the Cold War had arguably started cooling in 1947. And true, there were events such as the 1948-1949 Berlin Airlift, the failed 1956 Hungarian Revolution and the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1961 that had already pushed the thermometer to new and dangerous lows. But for many people, the image of Ken Adam's war room with the B52 nuclear bombers moving off their fail safe points to nuke "them damn ruskies!" brought our own scary monster out from under the bed and suggested that the West was also perfectly capable of pushing the button, accidentally or otherwise.
The sets in Dr No (1962) and The Ipcress File (1965) added to the general nervy Cold War/secret agent ambience even though neither movie was about the Russians. But it didn't matter; whatever the scriptwriters told us, we secretly suspected that Moscow was somehow behind all manner of spylistic shenanigans.
Adam also worked on Goldfinger (1964), Thunderball (1965), You Only Live Twice (1967) Diamonds Are Forever (1971), and The Spy Who Loved Me (1977).
But his career began further back in 1948 when he was training as a draughtsman. He worked on Around the World in 80 Days (1956) and Ben Hur (1959). And then came Night of the Demon (1957), a convincingly creepy (for its time) satanic cult horror flick starring Dana Andrews, Peggy Cummins and Niall MacGinnis.
Other film credits include Funeral in Berlin (1966), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Sleuth (1972), Agnes of God (1985), Addams Family Values (1993) and The Madness of King George (1994).
He was born in Berlin, Germany under the name Klaus Hugo Adam and came to England as a 13-year old. His family settled here, and Adam studied to be an architect. When WW2 began, internment was a very real possibility. But he joined the Royal Pioneer Corps (which was open to ex- axis power citizens) and helped design bomb shelters (which, arguably, concreted the way for his later film sets).
By 1940 he had been accepted into the Royal Air Force and was one of just three German born citizens to fly for the RAF. Had he crashed in Germany during that period, he would have been treated as a traitor and shot rather than accepted as a normal POW. But although his war was eventful (flying Hawker Typhoons), he came through it all unscathed.
For his professional work, Ken Adam won two BAFTAs and two Academy Awards. And to add to his accolades, the Queen knighted him in 2003 for services to the film industry.
He married in 1952, but he fathered no children.
Sylvia Anderson has died aged 88, which means that her joint creation, Lady Penelope Creighton-Ward, is gone too. Who else, after all, could hope to master that sexy, sultry, controlled, assured and oh-so-British voice?
So okay, we're talking about a puppet made famous as the London Agent of International Rescue in the hit 1960s British TV series Thunderbirds created by Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. But many of us grew up with Lady Penelope and Parker, her trusty cockney driver-cum-sharpshooter, and these characters occupy that other reality shared by the likes of Sherlock Holmes, James Bond, Hercule Poirot and Dr Who. Think of them a honorary members of the human race.
Sylvia Anderson, born Sylvia Thomas, voiced numerous other characters in the Anderson TV shows from Torchy the Battery Boy to Four Feather Falls to Supercar to Fireball XL5 to Stingray to Captain Scarlet to Joe 90 to Terrahawks. But she was more than just a voice. She helped drive the plots and focussed her energies on character development while hubby Gerry handled all the techy stuff. And without character, what have you got? Well, in this case, a lot of wood, plastic, wire, fibre glass stuffing and cotton.
She met Gerry Anderson in the early 1950 when they were both working for Polytechnic Films in Buckinghamshire. Following their 1956 founding of AP films, the couple set about developing a new way of animating puppets that led toward Supermarionation, as it was quaintly dubbed.
The next 10-15 years was the golden age of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson. Their legacy was some of the wittiest, most amusing, dramatic and cleverest puppetry ever enjoyed on British TV. On one level, those shows have dated. But if you were a child of that era, you can still be effortlessly transported back to a more innocent age when the future was still mostly bright, and when it was still possible to believe the unbelievable.
Gerry and Sylvia Anderson married in 1960, but the union ended bitterly in 1975. A wedge came between them, and they were never reconciled. Gerry Anderson died in 2012 (see Sump December 2012).
In later years, Sylvia Anderson worked as a talent scout and did a little acting. But there was nothing as memorable as the Lady Penelope role she helped create, and made her own.
In 2007 she published her autobiography, My Fab Years. She was married three times, and is survived by a son and a daughter.
— The Third Man
If you're a regular Sumpster, you've recently seen this handsome 1934 601cc Ariel Square Four. We used it as our headline bike for Sump Classic Bike News, February 2016. It went under the hammer at the Bonhams sale at Les Grandes Marques du Monde au Grand Palais, in Paris. The date was 4th Feb. The estimate was £32,000 - £37,000. But the bike didn't sell. We don't know why. Suffice to say that it simply didn't happen.
Well the seller is trying again, this time at the H&H Sale at Duxford Museum, Cambridgeshire on Tuesday 19th April 2016. Unsurprisingly, expectations have been significantly lowered. The estimate is now £25,000 - £30,000. But is that more realistic?
Truth is, we've got no idea. There aren't enough of these pre-WW2 examples on the market to get a realistic overview. But if it helps, in January 2011 Bonhams sold a 1934 model for £31,061. That was in Las Vegas.
In October 2011 Bonhams sold a 1935 Ariel Square Four for £23,000.
In August 2012, a 1932 example stalled at a Mid-America auction when the bidding failed to go beyond $24,500. And note that that's dollars, not pounds sterling.
Pretty much everyone agrees that Ariel Square Fours are great bikes and represent some of the best examples of original British motorcycle design. But it seems to us that these lofty sentiments are not entirely reflected in the sale prices. In other words, classic bikers and motorcycle collectors are not so keen to put their money where their mouths are.
Anyway, you've got the details. We'll be watching with interest to see what happens to this example.
UPDATE: The Ariel sold for £25,760.
— Del Monte
Our recently released WD BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt has been such a success that we hurried along the production of this second tee in our "Blueprint" range. More designs are on the way, so stay tuned.
We figure that we don't need to explain the design or the concept. You can work it out for yourself. So either you're ready to kill to get your hands on one, or you're just mildly desperate. Either way, we've got 'em in stock right now. But we've got a habit of underestimating demand, so make your move before the other guy does. You never know when the supply is going to run out (how's that for a little obvious high-pressure selling?)
The tees are clearly aimed at Meriden Triumph twin owners. But around these parts, we don't discriminate. We'll flog 'em to anyone, even people who ride two-strokes. Yeah. Seriously. See how generous we are?
The tees are silk-screen printed on 100 percent pre-shrunk cotton. The material is heavyweight, and these shirts should last a long time. They should also eventually fade nicely for a more authentic blueprint look, whatever that means to you.
The T-shirt colour is royal blue. The sizes are M, L, XL and 2XL. We didn't print small tees because hardly anyone wants those anymore and they sometimes sit for months on the shelf, unloved, unworn and unsold.
The price of the Triumph "Blueprint" T-shirt is £15.99 plus postage and packing. Click either of the images and you'll go to the appropriate buying page.
— Big End
Okay, we admit it. We doctored the image of this copper. With Photoshop. That's because the only pictures we could find showed this guy out of uniform and looking like any everyday bloke. But we wanted to take a gander at him in a police outfit—and not to further humiliate him, but simply to put him in context.
So we gave him a policeman's helmet plus the rest of the gear and ... well, here he is.
His name is David Robinson. It used to be Police Sergeant David Robinson, but those days are done. He's 36-years old and was a Metropolitan Police Officer working out of Lambeth, South London. And the courts have just handed down an 18-month prison sentence for nicking one or more motorcycles and a couple of pushbikes from police custody, and from outside Brixton and Streatham cop shops.
That's not very PC, and it give a whole new meaning to the phrase "the long arm of the law". The total value of the purloined items—or is that doubly purloined?—was around £16,000.
At some point, he removed the items and then set about converting his ill-gotten assets into hard cash. What went wrong, as far as we can tell, was that his colleagues noticed some irregularities, then searched his house in East Grinstead, West Sussex. They found the bikes, one of which was said to be listed on eBay.
Anyway, all that happened earlier last year (2015), and by July the game was up and it was a fair cop. During a one-day hearing at Southwark Crown Court on 20th January 2016, robber Robinson pleaded guilty to nine counts of theft, five counts of fraud and two counts of misconduct in public office.
He was sentenced a few days ago and now has 18-months in the pokey to figure out his next scam. Given that almost no one serves a full sentence, and given that he'll probably behave himself, he'll be out in maybe six to eight months. Maybe a little more. Or less. And that doesn't exactly strike us as anything other than a slap on the wrist (or a passing clump with a truncheon).
But he's lost his job and a decent salary (around £38,000 - £40,000 per annum plus all the bikes you can nick). He'll probably get knocked around in jail. He's disgraced. And none of this will look good when he's being interviewed by his next employer. There but for the grace of God (or Plod) go us, etc.
So why did he do it? Pure greed? Psychiatric disorder? Bored? Well apparently, he was going through the divorce-and-custody-wringer and needed the funds to arrest his wife's ambitions. Something like that, anyway. And if you've been there, you'll understand how bitter these things can get, and how desperate you can become.
If you haven't got any sympathy at all for this silly sod, you're a lot tougher than us. But we ain't going to lose any sleep over his nicking either.
So what's the moral? In the words of the rozzers, LOCK IT OR LOSE IT! especially if you park it anywhere in or around a British police station.
They'll pinch any-bloody-thing these days.
— Sam 7
Brian Epstein? Dick James? Allen Klein? George Martin? You can argue forever which of these pivotal industry figures had the greatest influence on the careers of The Beatles in general, and John Lennon and Paul McCartney in particular. But we're putting our money on the clear favourite, which is producer George Martin who had died aged 90.
Frequently referred to as the Fifth Beatle (although that's also been said of Billy Preston), George Henry Martin was undoubtedly the musical architect who added the extra necessary depth and dimension to the Beatles sound. It was he who took what Paul McCartney called "a great little band" and put it squarely on the world stage.
It's easy to forget now that what helped propel the Beatles so far and so high was the fact that the Fab Four crossed the generational boundary. The kids loved them. The teenagers loved them. Your mother loved them. Your grandparents loved them too. And it was largely George Martin's mature orchestration, arrangements and shrewd choices that made it happen.
You heard George Martin's work (notably) on Eleanor Rigby, a Day in the Life, Strawberry Fields Forever, Being for the Benefit of Mr Kite, Lovely Rita, I am the Walrus, In My Life, and Yellow Submarine. He was invariably responsible for the "classical stuff" via strings, horns, piccolos, choirs, trumpets and oboes.
He constantly experimented, improvised, cut, spliced, multi-tracked, pitch-shifted, key-shifted, played with time-signatures and generally pushed the boundaries of what could be done. Put another way, he was a musical alchemist capable transmuting base music into gold and silver discs.
When he wasn't "merely" conducting or writing music scores, he was right there in the studio playing instruments and laying down tracks beside the meisterwerks of Mssrs Lennon & McCartney. And arguably, it was largely the George Martin sound that underpinned the influence enjoyed by latterday bands such as Blur, Oasis and Coldplay. You might not always hear George Martin's work when listening to the Beatles, but you'd surely notice its absence were his sound removed.
In short, George Martin was the lynchpin between the Beatles, the studio engineers, the publishers, the music industry heads, the session musicians and, indirectly, the general public.
He also arranged and produced the instrumental music scores for the Beatles film Hard Day's Night, for the James Bond movie Live and Let Die, for the Boulting Brothers film The Family Way, for the Gerry & the Pacemakers romp Ferry Cross the Mersey, for the 1962 comedy Crooks Anonymous, and many others.
And he produced notable artists including Cilla Black, Jeff Beck, Billy J Kramer & the Dakotas, Matt Monro, Kenny Rogers, UFO, Cheap Trick, Gary Glitter (as Paul Raven), Ultravox and Elton John. And if you listen to the song Tin Man by America, that's George Martin on the piano.
George Martin was born into a humble working-class family in North London. From a very early age (just six) he was fascinated by the piano. For a while he took lessons, but most of what he learned was self taught. And crucially perhaps, he also learned to score music. That enabled him to properly understand and communicate his talents to those who provided the all-important meat of a song, but needed a suitable gravy.
His early ambition was to be a classical pianist, but among his first jobs was that of a quantity surveyor and a humble clerk-cum-tea-boy. He had also served time during WW2 in the Fleet Air Arm as an observer. But mercifully, the war ended before he was posted to a battlefront.
He worked briefly for the BBC, then joined the staff of EMI which owned Parlophone Records. At age 29 he was the head of that label and was soon recognised as a pioneering producer, frequently at odds with EMI's management as he struggled to update the brand and introduce new sounds and artistes.
His early work involved producing various comedy records from the likes of The Goons, Charlie Drake, Bernard Cribbins, Terry Scott, Michael Bentine, Flanders & Swann, Bruce Forsyth and Lance Percival (and if you remember more than three of these guys, you might want to check that you've made a last will and testament).
It was George Martin's meeting with Beatles manager Brian Epstein that led the way onto a new musical avenue that eventually made Martin one of the world's leading music producers. After all, with The Beatles on your CV, who would not want to employ you?
George Martin wrote numerous books, one of which was a memoir, All You Need Is Ears (1979). In 1988 he was appointed CBE. In 1996 he was knighted for his services to music. He officially retired at age 72, but for the next 18 years was still a figure much in demand by the media, authors and music producers looking to rework and re-explore his professionally golden years of the 1960s when the Four were Fab, largely thanks to George Henry Martin.
He was married twice and fathered two boys and two girls. He is survived by his second wife and his children.
From the tone of the email press release we received, you'd think this was a new Mortons Media event. And truth to tell, we're still not 100 percent sure that it isn't. Certainly, the Mortons Empire wants to have a tidy slice of this cake. It currently owns Back Street Heroes magazine and Fast Bikes magazine, and these august journals are on board in some capacity. But Principal Insurance from Sale, in Greater Manchester has, to mix metaphors, also got its thumb in the soup. Then there are the organisers at Santa Pod to factor in.
What we do know for sure (well, for fairly sure) is that the event is called Race, Rock 'N' Ride and is scheduled to take place at Santa Pod Raceway on the weekend of 21st - 22nd May 2016. Advance tickets are £13, or it will cost you twenty quid on the gate. Mortons appears to be handling trade stalls. But the ticketing, we think, is being managed by Santa Pod Raceway.
Regarding what's actually happening on the day, we don't know yet because someone jumped the gun and sent the press release out before the facts were in. All it says on the event website is: MORE INFO COMING SOON.
But given that it's Santa Pod, said to be the best known drag racing strip outside of the USA, we figure there's going to be a lot of noisy motorcycles thundering around, plus some rock'n'roll type happenings plus food plus drink plus trade stands, etc. You get the picture.
If it sounds like your kind of thing, you might want to check the link at the bottom from time to time. And if anyone from Mortons is awake, perhaps they could drop us another press release to explain what the first one was all about.
— Del Monte
Firstly, who or what is Motorcycle Outreach (MoR). Well, it's a UK based charity founded in 2002 that supports healthcare projects in developing parts of the world. You've heard of the flying doctor? Well this is about motorcycling doctors. And motorcycling nurses, midwives, clinical volunteers and whatever.
Sounds like a worthy cause. And motorcycles, as everyone knows, can be a very cost-effective way of gadding about. In fact, pretty much anywhere a man can walk, a bike can go. Only faster.
Well MoR's latest wheeze is to buy a Brough Superior motorcycle; specifically one of the Bodmin Moor Broughs as reported in Sump, December 2015. These machines are considered suitable because they're "virtually derelict" (MoR's words) and there's a lot of potential headroom, profit-wise.
That's the thinking.
Regardless, MoR then wants to commission a mechanic or engineer to restore the bike, and then the organisation plans to sell it at a profit, the proceeds of which will go to the charity to buy some more day-to-day gadabout machines to be used in Africa and Indonesia and wherever.
However, MoR is looking for your cash to underpin this plan. The group call it a crowdfunding scheme, which is one way of putting it. We can think of a few other names, but let's be generous.
Aside from the fact that the value of these Broughs might well lie in their originality, there's the very significant cost of restoration, not least the labour. The number of guys who know how to sympathetically and credibly restore a Brough isn't exactly huge. And the restoration could even devalue the motorcycle. It happens.
Then there are the parts which don't come cheap, and don't always come easy. Or at all.
Next, there's the issue of raising a lot of money from supporters only to be outbid when the auction goes down. In other words, what happens to the donated money? Is it used on some other scheme? Returned? Parked in a bank account awaiting another suitable "derelict"? Or what?
Well, MoR has answered this. It says that the money would be used elsewhere, or returned if required. But returning donations could take time, and could cost money. So clearly it's hoped that the cash stays put.
Nevertheless, we people are odd creatures. We might get excited about a project if we feel it will definitely be carried through to the end. But we're not so enthusiastic about projects that start on shaky ground.
That isn't to say that it couldn't work.
Over a pint in the pub.
But in the real world, the odds are heavily stacked against raising even a small fraction of the dosh needed.
Here's what Simon Dufton, Director of Motorcycle Outreach, has to say:
“The restoration potential for any of these bikes means that this is not just a hopeful project - it is a project based upon sound history of the assets involved alongside the time-proven skills of our restorer Craig Carey-Clinch.” Craig, also a Director of MoR and a well-known motorcycle industry figure, already has a strong track record of restoring classic motorcycles.
Simon continued; “All it takes is time and a good motorcycle restorer. We have both! What we now need is the funding to make this project happen .... and that is why we are launching this Crowdfunding appeal - we believe that it will be possible to generate a strong return from this project, but we can only realise its ambition if we get support.”
Anyway, this is a charity that appears to be doing some good work, and we're happy to give it some publicity. So if you've some spare change, holiday euros, coins down the back of the sofa, or whatever, you can help get this scheme off the ground if you're so minded. It could save lives.
Or you can just donate some money to MoR without strings and tell 'em to come up with something a little less niche, and therefore a lot more credible.
We know Craig Carey-Clinch a little (that's him pictured above opposite the Houses of Parliament), but we don't know anything about his restoration skills. And that's the point. With no disrespect intended, we can't see how his name would add much kudos to this plan that's looking for big money.
The Brough Superior world is small, exclusive and incestuous. Provenance is everything. Reputation is paramount. Expertise is treasured. Track records are expected. And naivety has no place here.
It ain't often that we like to be proved wrong. But we're hoping that in this instance, that's just what happens.
— Big End
When is a pothole not a pothole? When it's a Perth & Kinross Council pothole. Or at least, when it's a much shallower Perth & Kinross Council pothole. A budget for 2016-2017 newly published by the Scottish local authority reveals that a pothole up to 40mm (1.5 inches) deep will no longer be considered a suitable case for treatment. Instead, that hole will now have to be at least 60mm (2.3 inches) deep before it gets filled.
It's an attempt to annually save £120,000 of ratepayer's money, and you can understand that imperative. All UK local authorities are currently seriously under-funded. There are widespread threats to library services, OAP support networks, rural transport schemes, community health and social projects, waste collections, etc, and all local authorities are currently devising dodges, stratagems and ruses to deal with the deficit.
However, the policy of redefining a pothole has naturally been widely criticised by everyone from the RAC to local MPs to cyclists, drivers, motorcyclists and everyday folk with and without personal mobility issues.
Aside from the obvious concerns relating to increased (and more severe) injuries, there's the intractable issue of road deterioration, meaning that little cracks in the tarmac simply lead to little potholes which lead to bigger potholes and ever more expensive repairs. During the past five years, Perth & Kinross has paid out over £80,000 in compensation claims to people who've fallen foul of the mini craters.
And here are some other numbers to help put those costs in perspective. Below are the top four highest earners in that esteemed local authority, and in both real and relative terms, they're all doing very nicely, thank you.
Chief executive annual salary: £124,128
Depute (deputy) chief executive annual salary: £113,766
Environment service executive director annual salary: £108,519
Executive director annual salary: £108,519
Total Perth & Kinross council annual salary bill. £1,905,408
But do these salaries really have any relevance to the ailing roads repair budget? Or are council chiefs simply paid a fair rate given their peculiar skill sets and contribution to the community as a whole?
You can decide that for yourself. Clearly, Bernadette Malone, Chief Executive (image immediately above) has made her own decision and is comfortably placed to weather the worst that her local highways can throw at her. For everyone else, just remember that it's not only later than you think. Up in Perth & Kinross, it's quite possibly deeper too.
— Queen of Sump
An electric production Morgan? Are they kidding? Well apparently not, and we like the idea. Electric vehicles were out there at the birth of the motor car, and they've been whining around the streets of the planet ever since.
But recently, as pretty much everyone is aware, there's been a renaissance, and electric propulsion is currently available on everything from push-bikes to buses, trucks, trains, ships and even aircraft.
So it was only a matter of time before Morgan served up a three-wheeler for the electroheads, and the image immediately above is the result. It's a pre-production model (as opposed to the soft launch Phase 1 EV3 mule revealed in 2015). The vehicle is debuting right now at the Geneva Motor Show (3rd - 13th March 2016).
Power is derived from a (front-mounted) 20KWh lithium battery via a 46kW liquid-cooled electric motor. The vehicle, it's claimed, weighs less than 1100lbs (500kg), and naturally it will weigh 500kg whether it's got a full charge or is near empty, such is the Achilles heel of electric transportation). That said, the weight is still less than the (dry) weight of a conventional petrol-powered Morgan three-wheeler. That's the story, anyway.
Top speed is reckoned to be in excess of 90mph with a 0 - 60mph time of around 9 seconds. In other words, the EV3 is around 10-15 percent slower than its petrol-powered brethren, both at the top end and in acceleration. The range is, say Morgan, 150 miles.
The body, meanwhile, is a mix of carbon fibre and aluminium panels stretched over an ash frame. The firm has developed a new lightweight dashboard and appropriate instruments for the EV3, but has thrown in a conventional looking magneto type switch for traditionalists.
There are two driving modes. Full-on and ... well, half off. Or whatever. Regenerative braking is also available to eek out the range. Standard recharging takes around eight hours. But on a fast charge, that will drop to around one hour.
We can see a small market for this EV3. But the real wonder in our minds is why Morgan has been so conservative with the design. Here, after all, is a golden opportunity for the company to really project itself into the brave new electric future. But instead, it's fallen back on relatively safe territory with a tricycle that, the lack of a visible engine notwithstanding, looks pretty much like its current three-wheeler fare.
The price is likely to be around £25,000 - £28,000, which is pretty much what you'd pay for a petrol version. The first ready-for-sale vehicles are planned for the autumn of 2016.
— Del Monte
Never mind Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the Batmobile and James Bond's Aston Martin, most of you Sumpsters on the British side of the pond grew up with two very different "motors" in your field of vision. We're talking about Arthur Daley's 4.2 litre Daimler (Jaguar) Sovereign, and Terry McCann's 2.0 litre Ford Capri, and that means we're talking about the long-running TV series Minder which was first aired in 1979 and was finally chopped in 1994.
In total, 114 episodes were produced, and we watched them all at least three times, and we'll probably watch 'em again when they next air. That's because Minder is not so much a TV comedy drama as a historical document. It's as much a part of our lives as The Beatles, or Triumph Motorcycles, or the National Health Service. Or, looked at another way, it's a ruler for measuring the progress of our lives as we look back at how things have changed, and how young everyone once was.
Well now you can own a part of Minder when these two vehicles come up for auction on Wednesday 20th April 2016. The venue is Duxford Air Museum, Cambridgeshire. The auctioneers are H&H. There are no estimates. And we haven't seen a reserve posted.
Both cars are restored, incidentally. The Daimler driven by late actor George Cole (see Sump August 2015) was a familiar sight in the show. You'll recall that Cole, as Arthur Daley, played a spivvy London car dealer with his fingers in a lot of very dodgy pies. He was always upsetting someone, or getting into highly unlikely and dangerous situations. That was why he needed Dennis Waterman, as Terry McCann, to be his "Minder", meaning the bloke who looked after his personal and professional interests and spent much of his on-screen time giving someone a knuckle sandwich.
Cole, we understand, had wanted to buy the Daimler. But the producers had other ideas and it was won in a TV Times magazine competition. Then it was donated to a hospice, was won by some lucky soul who didn't much fancy it after all and stuck it on eBay.
That was 2003. The Daimler was bought by someone else, and as far as we know, that's the guy who's selling it now. But before you get carried away, you might want to be reminded that George Cole drove a lot of cars on the Minder set, including half a dozen Daimler-Jags, a couple of Rollers, a Ford Granada, a Mercedes Benz and (in one memorable episode) a Chevrolet Corvette. Also, the registration number shown on the Daimler at the top of this news item never actually appeared on TV. As a viewer, you would have seen DYO 979V.
But does it matter? You can decide that for yourself. Meanwhile, the white 2.0 Ford Capri driven by Terry McCann (Dennis Waterman) was once destined for the scrapheap, but was saved and restored by a Minder and Ford Capri fan.
The registration number SLE 71R was also used on a Mk1 Capri. Additionally, actor Gordon Jackson from the hit TV series The Professionals carried that number on a Rolls Royce that, we believe, was privately driven by him.
Anyway, that's the story as best we can figure it. And no doubt there are other angles here. But none of it detracts from the fact that these two cars are, to a greater or lesser extent, part of the national consciousness. And if the producers have mixed and matched over the years, the "spirit" of Minder is nevertheless embodied in these eight wheels.
We were trying to round up this story without using Arthur Daley's "nice little earner" catchphrase. But sometimes, you just have to say what's on your mind, no matter how hackneyed and obvious it is. And someone could well make a few bob from these motors. That's the plan, anyway.
UPDATE: "Arthur Daley's" Daimler Sovereign sold for £32,000. "Terry McCann's Ford Capri sold for £52,000.
— Big End
It's a pretty obvious ploy intended to woo you into your local Harley-Davidson dealership. But you can't blame a motorcycle firm for trying to flog a few bikes.
Here's the skinny. Last August (2015) a documentary called Being Evel was released for general showing. It refers, of course, to legendary motorcycle daredevil (or high-flying lunatic, if you prefer), Evel Knievel.
Harley-Davidson dealers in the UK and Ireland (and maybe elsewhere on the planet) will be hosting a free showing of the aforementioned documentary at a series of events called Good V Evel.
It's claimed to be a premiere. It runs for 1hr and 39mins. And you can view the footage between Thursday 10th - Sunday 13th March 2016. However, Harley-Davidson's hopelessly klunky press release has told us almost nothing else about the film showing.
Standing? Seated? Straddling a Hog? Popcorn? Cartoons? Audie Murphy main feature? TV screen in the littlest room?
We've got no idea. Instead, the firm was too busy reminding us that each dealership will also be unveiling its entry in the 2016 Battle of the Kings customisation competition.
The idea behind this is for dealers to take a standard Sportster Iron model and customise the hell out of it. The top five entries will turn up at the Bike Shed Show (London) in May 2016, and then there will be another competition round or something and eventually a national champion, or Custom King, will be crowned. This auspicious event will happen at the Wheels & Waves custom lifestyle event in Biarritz, France in June 2016.
Does it all sound a little passé?
Well, maybe we're being a little mean. Some folk like competitions. So if you're one of them, go talk to your Harley-Davidson dealer. And take note that the first 100 punters who step through the door at each dealership will be handed a limited edition print by "up and coming visual artist" Ryan Quickfall. And you can be sure that a Harley-Davidson salesman will call.
▲ 2016 Harley-Davidson Sportster Iron. H-D dealers will soon be offering specially customised versions of these for £12,995. But does anyone really wants a dealer custom? The current UK price of a standard Iron is £7,495.
We haven't seen the documentary, by the way. We'd love to, but there's a lot of paint around here at the moment, and someone's got to watch it drying. So we'll probably sit this out. And besides, we've seen all the other tell-it-like-it-is Evel Knievel biopics, and we're all Knieveled out for the time being.
One final thing. Harley-Davidson dealers are restricted to building their custom bike entries for no more that £12,995. After the show, those bikes, at that price, will be available to anyone who wants one.
Don't get us wrong. We love Harley-Davidsons. But just reading the press release gave us a nose bleed, and beyond that it all seems to get more and more complicated, and life's so very, very short.
— Big End