Jaguar Land Rover (JLR) call it the Defender Celebration Line. It's an on-going exhibit built to recreate the original 1948 production line at the famous Solihull, West Midlands factory.
This year, 2015, production of the current Defender model will cease. Why? Because, say JLR, the vehicle is unable to meet "certain conditions" as required under EEC regulations.
A likely story? Who knows. Either way, having enjoyed a production run of over two million vehicles, this classic British icon (arguably the most famous 4X4 in the world), will breathe its last.
To mark the auspicious moment, JLR has commissioned a replica production line that includes original Series 1 Land Rovers being built from both new-old-stock and re-manufactured components.
The firm is hoping that around 20,000 visitors will attend the exhibit during its first year. The display is located in the centre of the Land Rover factory, and to maintain the visual authenticity, visitors will be asked to wear authentic "cow gowns" overalls as worn by workers during manufacture.
The spiritual father of the Land Rover is Maurice Wilks (1903 - 1964). Way back in 1947, Wilks owned a Willys Jeep that had been kicking around his Welsh farm and used the rolling chassis as the basis for the Series 1 prototype. It was intended as a utility vehicle for farmers, but was quickly adopted by British military forces, and then other forces worldwide.
Wilks had been employed by General Motors in the USA, but later returned to the UK to work for the defunct British marque, Hillman, and then for Rover (hence the Land Rover association). He later worked on Rover's "cutting edge" gas turbine engine project.
If you'd like to visit the exhibition, the queue could be long and might well be filled with moist eyed aficionados. And how much does it cost? That would be £45 per person, but note that children under the age of 10 will not be admitted.
They killed off the Jump Jet well before its time. They scrapped Concorde while their was life yet in the airframe. They aborted the TSR2 and the Rotodyne, scrapped the carriers, decimated the British rail network, wrecked the shipping yards, murdered the Moggie Minor, and quietly pulled the plug on a thousand other Great British icons and institutions, so it's only natural that the classic Land Rover should end its life while it's still very much in demand. It's all so terribly, terribly British.
Land Rover Experience
— Girl Happy
Triumph Motorcycles has released figures detailing its most successful year to date for the UK market. For 2014, Triumph motorcycle registrations were at their highest at 8,127 machines. The Bonneville Scrambler (above) saw registrations jump by a whopping 84 percent. Meanwhile, the Tiger 800XC enjoyed a rise of 24 per cent, while the 1200cc Explorer XC saw registrations jump by over 54 per cent.
However, Triumph's market share dropped slightly from 8.19 percent to 8.03 percent. That's hardly anything to worry about. In fact, given the current world market conditions, the Hinckley-based firm is probably pretty pleased with itself. Currently, Triumph is manufacturing around 50,000 motorcycles per annum.
— The Third Man
The top selling motorcycle lot at the Mecum Auctions Kissimmee, Florida Sale (16th - 25th January 2015 was a Harley-Davidson Duo Glide (Lot S91) sold on behalf of rock'n'roll hoodlum Jerry Lee Lewis. But no, that ain't the bike immediately above. Jerry Lee's wheels are detailed further down this page. The ugly motorcycle that's heading this news story is billed by Mecum as: 2014 Harley-Davidson Sportster 1200 Billion Dollar Baby.
Specifically, it's a 2014 Sportster 48 customised and auctioned for a couple of children's charities. The Billion Dollar Baby part is a reference to Alice Cooper's album of the same name which is recaptured in the garish graphics taken from that album—except that we owned that LP many years ago, and it was mostly green snakeskin, wasn't it?). Either way, Alice Cooper has "cooperated" with this project and has signed the gas tank.
The motorcycle was commissioned by Joseph Norelli of the Norelli Family Foundation. To cut a long story short, in 2014 Norelli was impressed by another custom bike that he saw being auctioned and decided that that was (a) a good way to raise money, and (b) a good way to raise awareness of the charities he supports.
In this case, the charities in question are the New Hope For Kids based in Orlando, and Alice Cooper's Solid Rock based in Phoenix, Arizona (Solid Rock is actually a foundation for teenagers intended to help them "... build confidence and discover their passion through music, dance, self-expression and creativity."
A lot of copy has been written about the creation of this motorcycle, but it's all pretty familiar stuff (engraved this, billet that). Only, it's not a very exciting machine, and it raised only $30,000 which is probably about what Alice Cooper earns every day. But still, charity is charity, so some good might come of it.
▲ Alice Cooper and wife Sheryl (Alice is on the right). We liked him better before he became Mr Nice Guy. Still, there is a certain irony that a bloke who murdered so many babies on stage and told us that "school's been blown to pieces..." is now fronting a kiddie's charity. Alice Cooper for president, huh? He wants to be elected, and we love him.
Beyond that, a 1947 Harley trike (looks like a Servicar to us) fetched $20,000, and various other run-of-the-mill machines found buyers between $11,000 and $4,500. But then, Kissimmee was never billed as the motorcycle auction of the century. Mecum are actually car people, not bike people, and in that arena they did pretty good and fielded some interesting stuff. The Jerry Lee Lewis bike was simply the icing on a cake that someone forgot to bake.
See you next year.
— The Third Man
These are new. They're made by Australian firm Ikon. They cost from £199.60 a pair. And they're aimed at cash strapped bikers.
Only, in the retail world you can't say things like "cash-strapped". You've got to dress it up and deploy euphemisms like "budget conscious" and "penny saving".
Either way, two-hundred nicker is still a lorra-lorra dosh for anyone who hasn't actually got money to throw away, and it's a lot more than you'll pay for a pair of basic Hagons.
But then again, if these shocks are built as well as the Koni Dial-a-Rides that the design is clearly derived from, they're probably pretty good.
Ikon says that the shocks are rebuildable and revalve-able. There's a three-position pre-load collar. The bodies are chrome plated. The progressive-rate springs are black powder-coated. And Ikon also say the shocks have been dyno-tested, whatever that means (must be like a litmus test or something).
But note that unlike the more expensive Ikon shocks on the market, these units don't have adjustable damping control (which, for most of us, most of the time, is really just a gimmick and never gets deployed).
Anyway, if you're skint, and/or have lately started shopping at Lidl, and/or currently sign on the dole, and/or use a local food bank, these Basix might suit your next/ongoing motorcycle project.
For more info call: 01926 430562
— Girl Happy
This one is our first, but it ain't gonna be our last. We're got half a dozen designs in production right now, and we're contemplating more. Why? Because we love this metal sign garage art junk thing and can't get enough of it. And we want to make some money.
So okay, garage art ain't as important as wars and the failing National Health Service and the current malaise with the AK-47 Muslim morons murdering all and sundry across mainland Europe (and elsewhere). But in another kind of way, it is important stuff.
These metal signs add a lot of colour to what increasingly feels like a drab and depressing world (okay, so it's winter here in the UK, and someone murdered the British economy with a financial AK). And these signs are the images we carry around in our tortured heads (and we need to unload). Also, they're a timely antidote to ... well, whatever else is ailing you, brother.
We've already got a range of classic bike signs for sale on our metal motorcycle signs page. But this BSA M20 metal sign is a Sump original and is designed for guys like us who own and ride these bikes. But hey, just because you ain't tough enough to ride one of these wonderful 499cc sidevalves, that don't mean you can't own a sign. We ain't stingy here.
The price is £14.99 plus postage and packing (unless you're a murdering Muslim moron, in which case the price is your head on a tin tray). The size is 400mm x 300mm. The signs are printed on heavyweight mild steel (and you can skim one pretty good across a lake). Also, they've got holes drilled in four sensible places for ease of hanging on your favourite wall.
If you're sharp, you'll see that we recycled (or is that upcycled) a slogan from one of our M20 T-shirts: It's not just the bike. It's the journey. And that's a message for all of us.
We've earmarked the first batch of these signs for a bunch of M20 boys on Henk Joore's uber-cool BSA M20 forum. But we've got a second batch on the way and expect them within a week. So if you want one, you know exactly what you have to do [Update: We've got plenty of these signs in stock now].
We can offer postal discounts, and we'll do whatever else we can to accommodate odd requests (and we get quite a few of those). So that's it. That's the pitch. Check the link below for more sales propaganda.
Original BSA M20 metal sign from Sump
— Big End
Tonight we're having an extra pint and remembering Darren Winfield who's just died.
Many of you will know Winfield. He was one of numerous Marloboro Men picked for their rugged, outdoors, man's-man looks. They cropped up everywhere from custom bike magazines to street bike magazines to custom car magazines—and pretty much all the other motorvating magazines we used to read when we had money in our pockets and iron in our blood.
Darren Winfield's gift to the world was to persuade as many people as possible to chug away on Marlboro fags (cigarettes to you Americans who might get the wrong idea), and risk getting a nasty disease.
Philip Morris, the firm which makes these particular cancer sticks, picked Winfield as one of their models because he didn't merely look like the real thing; he WAS the real thing.
Born in Oklahoma, Winfield became a ranch hand and moved to Wyoming where he lived a genuine outdoors life, wore his own clothes on photo-shoots, eschewed make-up (and probably eschewed a lot of baccy - joke) and generally did his own Stetson thing. For 20 years (count 'em) this was one cool dude, slowly murdering himself with the world's most popular drug.
Of the other Marlboro Men in the boxed set, pretty much all of them developed exactly the diseases that Philip Morris said were bunk. But Winfield, being the tough hombre he obviously was, soldiered on with his fags and coughs and finally shuffled off this mortal coil to a different kind of Marlboro country.
And how old was he?
Apparently, he made it all the way to 85, which is a pretty fair innings for a bloke who was poisoning himself 20 or 30 times a day, not to mention falling off horses occasionally, wrestling cattle and fighting range wars.
But we're not sneering. Mucho respecto and all that. Here's a bloke who lived his life the way he wanted to live it. And if he helped kill a few millions around the planet, he also made billions for others.
Way to go, dude.
This is the top selling bike (immediately above) at the Bonhams Sale at Bally's Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, USA held on 10th January 2015. It's Lot 174, a 1950 998cc Series C Vincent White Shadow. It sold for $224,250 (£147,790) including buyers premium. One of only 15 bikes produced, this classic British motorcycle smashed its $140,000 - $170,00 estimate and, we hear, has broken the world record for a Shadow sold at auction.
So what exactly is a White Shadow? Well, it's a Vincent Black Shadow without the usual black enamelled engine cases. Or, if you prefer, a Vincent Rapide built by the factory to Black Shadow specifications.
The next highest selling motorcycle was Lot 236 (immediately above), a 1949 Vincent Touring Rapide with Blacknell Bullet Sidecar. This outfit, says Bonhams, became the most valuable post-war Rapide sold at auction when it reached $126,500 (£83,471) also including buyers premium. It was part of the Herb Harris collection which saw numerous Harris bikes go under the hammer.
Third up is Lot 181, another British motorcycle, specifically a 1936 Brough Superior SS80 with Watsonian Sport Sidecar (image immediately above). This lot, says Bonhams, achieved a world auction record for a Matchless-engined Brough SS80. The combo sold for $115,000 from an estimate of $110,000 - $130,000 ( £72,633 - £85,839).
Disappointingly for Bonhams, however, is Lot 237 (image immediately above); the first Series B HRD manufactured by Vincent. The estimate was $350,00 - $450,000 (£220,000 - £290,000), and hopes were high for this British bike. But it simply failed to sell. Why? Perhaps because it's something of a bogus construct.
This machine is said to be a 1X Prototype Series B V-Twin, an experimental bike developed in 1946 by Vincent. However, the reality is that all that remains of that original motorcycle is the engine/gearbox which emerged some years ago on a British online auction site. Everything else from the tail light to the headlight was long gone. However, US collector Herb Harris bought the engine/gearbox and recreated the rest of the machine as a homage to the original. Clearly the buyers weren't convinced either, and they weren't persuaded to reach the reserve.
Beyond that, a 1912 Harley-Davidson X8E Big Twin (Lot 171, image immediately above—see Sump July 2014) that once belonged to Steve McQueen sold for a creditable $117,300 (£77,453) including buyers premium.
An ex-Dick Mann 1962 Matchless G50 Roadracer (Lot 195) sold for $115,000 (£75,960) including buyers premium. And an ex-Jimmy Guthrie 1961 Beart Norton Manx 350cc Manx Racer (Lot 155:) sold for $75,900 (£49,735) including buyers premium. But various other star lots didn't sell, including Lot 196, an Ex-Dick Mann circa 1965 BSA Gold Star Flat Tracker, and Lot 154: Ex-Mike Hailwood 1957 F.B. Mondial 250cc Bialbero GP Racer. See Sump December 2014 for more on these bikes.
Additionally, Bonhams fielded 14 (mostly British) cutaway classic motorcycle engines/bikes of which just 4 sold. The expectation (by Bonhams) was very high for these lots. And a couple of engines certainly did very well. But the rest foundered.
We're still analysing the auction, but Bonhams is claiming a turnover of $4.47 million (£2.95 million) which is big bucks and represents a very successful sale. Nevertheless, it looks like the Bally's event fell a long way short of expectations.
— Del Monte
We don't have a picture of the bike. Nothing was supplied by Roswitha Broadbent who emailed us. But we've got some details. The Norton in absentium was nicked from a lock-up garage in a back garden in Pye Nest Road (A6142) in Halifax, West Yorkshire. Apparently, the machine was seen being "coasted" away. It happened at 3.11am, and we assume that means this morning (16th January 2015).
The owner is a guy named Rick who can be contacted on 07783 066869 (mobile) or 0113 343 6445 (work number). There's no mention of a reward, and a reward shouldn't be needed to do what's right. But last time checked, this is still the real world, so a reward of some kind might not be a bad move.
Here are some details of the bike:
Black and silver Norton
Registration number: ABE 643B
Engine number: 18ss/110309/p
Frame number: 18/110309
Lots of chrome, BSA Goldstar silencers, Manx fittings
Alloy wheels, silver alloy petrol tank lined out with paint - not transfers
Fibre glass oil tank
Clip-on handlebars, rear set footrests.
If you purloined the bike, please put it back. If you know who nicked it, kill 'em. If you're offered a Norton that bears some resemblance to this one, call the cops or something. And if you've got a bike of your own that's unlocked right now, or is under-locked, you can take this as a timely and depressing reminder to do something about it (and at any given moment, we're betting that half the classic bikes in the world are inadequately secured, including one or two of ours).
We don't need to tell you how devastating these things can be, but we're saying it anyway. Rick has owned the bike for 23 years and has spent 3 years rebuilding it, and that's got to be a wrench.
UPDATE: We have since received a photograph of the bike, and we are advised that a small reward is on offer. Whoever did it is quite probably local. Please call Rick if you can name the thieves.
— Big End
Okay, we're going to make this one short and sweet. This is a novel about a group of bikers. It's "set in Yorkshire initially before the story continues on over Europe."
As far as we know, Yorkshire is more or less in Europe, but we're as guilty as anyone else about making this odd Anglo-Saxon distinction.
That aside, British author Jack Elgos sent us greetings from the Bahamas asking us to help promote his book which is centred around "a crew of bald, fat, grumpy old men - men who may have just one last ride in them."
The novel is available on Amazon and we don't have further details of that. Jack didn't offer us a copy in return, and he didn't bother to tell us how much he likes Sump, etc, but we're going to give him a plug anyway.
What the hell?
— Del Monte
The VMCC is bloody useless at times. Take the above image. It shows Tony McGaw from Southampton, Hampshire taking delivery of the 1954 Norton ES2 that he won as first prize in the VMCC's July 2014 - December 2014 raffle. Ticket No 232165.
Only, we don't know which one is Tony because the VMCC neglected to say as much on the press release. However, we're assuming that it's the bloke on the left because anyone looking that miserable must have just won something pretty cool and expensive. We've seen it before. Many times.
In any case, the bloke on the right is looking a bit smugly magnanimous, so we're assuming that he's "Mr Giles Willison, VMCC General Manager." But we could be reading this all wrong.
Then we learn in the same press release that the January 2015 - June 2015 first prize in the next VMCC raffle is the above 1964 Triumph T100SS, and that the second prize is the 1961 Triumph T20 Tiger Cub shown below. But guess what? Once again the VMCC forgot to mention the ticket price.
The last couple of years we had to phone 'em up to check. And each time they kept us waiting forever while Joe asked Flo who asked Ted who asked Fred who asked Ben who asked Len who told Mindy who told Cindy to tell us that they think the tickets are £1. So we're assuming that that's the price they think it is this year. £1.
But we could be wrong about that too.
Regardless, hope is a wonderful thing, and in these depressing days of diminishing optimism, the outside possibility of latching onto one of these bikes for a miserable one quid is something to be savoured.
The second prize winner in the December draw, by the way, was J Prett from Rochester who won the BSA C12 250cc. Ticket No 380006.
So, are these raffles a fix? We don' think so. If it was a fix, the bloke above would be grinning like an idiot. And anyway, the VMCC might be bloody useless at times, but we trust 'em to run an honest raffle. And so should you.
If you want to buy some tickets, check the link below (the ink is dry). And when you find out the price (and when you find out which one's Tony), let us know, huh? We've got enough to do around here without hanging on the phone while the VMCC gets its act together.
— Sam 7
Pretty much everyone in the UK knows this guy's work, but almost nobody knows his face. Brian Clemens, who has died aged 83, was a scriptwriter and television producer who gave us, notably, classic British TV series such as The Avengers (1961 - 1969) and The Professionals (1977 - 1983).
If that was all Clemens achieved in his time, it would still be something to brag about. But he also wrote scripts for, or was instrumental in bringing us memorable productions such as:
Sir Francis Drake (1961 - 1962)
Danger Man (1960 - 1961 and 1964 - 1967)
The Man from Interpol (1961 - 1965)
Richard the Lionheart (1961 - 1965)
Adam Adamant Lives! (1966 - 1967)
The Baron (1966 - 1967)
The Persuaders (1971 - 1972)
My Wife Next Door (1972)
The Protectors (1972 - 1974)
The Adventurer (1972-1974)
The New Avengers (1976-1977)
In terms of British exports, Clemens' prolific writing skills and instincts brought home millions of pounds for the British economy. His productions have been viewed in over 120 countries, and they're continuing to amuse and otherwise entertain new generations of fans.
So okay, his scripts were frequently camp, corny and utterly unbelievable. And his characters (John Steed, Adam Adamant, Brett Sinclair, Mike Gambit, and William Bodie) were frequently ... well, camp, corny and utterly unbelievable, and oh-so British in their individual ways. But Clemens also flirted with numerous interesting ideas and concepts, and his work has stood the test of time.
▲ Diana Rigg as Mrs Peel, and Patrick Macnee as John Steed in the hit series, The Avengers. Perfectly cast, perfectly poised and always performing perfectly. Four decades after the series was first aired, The Avengers is still highly enjoyable hokum and is still earning money for the British economy. But who was the best Avengers girl? Cathy Gale (Honor Blackman), Mrs Peel (Diana Rigg), Tara King (Linda Thorson), or Purdey (Joanna Lumley)? Answers to the usual address, please ...
▲ Actor Gerald Harper as Adam Adamant, the Victorian gent frozen for half a century in a block of ice and thawed out for a series of swashbuckling adventures. Think Catweasel meets Zorro meets Sherlock Holmes. You can't make up this stuff. But guys like Brian Clemens did. The series was "almost a huge hit". The girl is Juliet Harmer who played Georgina Jones. Ridley Scott (Blade Runner) directed a couple of episodes.
If you grew up in the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s, you undoubtedly watched his shows over and over again. And if you've got satellite TV or Freeview, you're probably still watching them. If you subtract his creativity from the complex equation of the latter half of the 20th century, you'll find a huge hole in the British TV entertainments listings. In fact, when it comes to primetime TV action drama, the late Brian Clemens practically was the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s.
He also wrote scripts for 10 movies, and he wrote 16 plays. In the later half of his life he worked on series such as The Father Dowling Mysteries; Bergerac; and Diagnosis: Murder.
Brian Clemens was born in Croydon, South London. He suffered a stint of National Service at Aldershot, worked for a while as a London messenger boy, progressed to an advertising agency, and from there moved into script writing.
In 2010 he was appointed OBE. He died on 10th January 2015 and is survived by his second wife and two sons.
The next time you watch any re-runs of the above mentioned series (as most of you probably will sometime), check for the name Brian Clemens in the credits and spare him an afterthought, if you will.
You might not like his entire output, or indeed any of it, but he entertained countless millions and helped keep Britain on the world map, and we can all be grateful for that.
So okay, a lot of people are selling metal motorcycle wall signs. But most products are rubbish. Don't think we didn't check. Many signs on the market are very low resolution. Some have bike images printed in reverse. Others have the wrong names above or below the bikes. And one that we bought online still hasn't arrived after about two months of waiting and arguing with the trader.
We've long been looking for products to add to the growing range of Sump T-shirts and stuff, and we caught sight of these.
We've got a thing about garage art and old signs and posters and suchlike. Currently, we've got every sign in this series hanging on the wall in one of our garages, and now we're hooked and are looking for more. If nothing else, these signs give the spiders something to look at when we ain't there twiddling spanners (which, what with one bike project and another, isn't often these days).
We ain't pretending these are high-end artworks. They ain't old masters.Or even young masters. They don't belong to any particular school, except maybe the old skool. They certainly ain't art nouveau or art deco either.
Instead, you can think of them as art bikeau, and you can be sure that in ten thousand years, when there's only one or two examples left on Earth, they'll be worth a lot of money as rare and interesting examples of 21st century motorcycle culture (and is it our fault you won't be around to enjoy that precious moment?).
The signs are all around 300mm x 410mm. That's roughly two sheets of A4 paper side by side. Or A3, if you prefer. The image quality is very high at 1,400 dpi. And they're printed direct-to-metal in the time-honoured way. The edges are either folded or rolled, and we send them out in stiff cardboard envelopes with beefed up corners. Note that postal discounts apply if you buy one or more of these along with a Sump T-shirt or something.
The cheapest metal wall sign is £11.99 (Royal Enfield Bullet). The most expensive are £13.99 (BSA Gold Star, Triumph Bonneville T120, and Triumph TR6 Trophy). There's a postage and packing charge on top of that, and we think they'll make your garage, shed, hallway, lounge, bedroom or bathroom just that little bit more colourful and appealing, and so we think they're worth every penny.
They make pretty good biker gifts, by the way—if not for someone else, then simply for yourself. Come check 'em out.
Sump metal motorcycle signs
— Girl Happy
Australian actor Rod Taylor has died aged 84. He was most famously cast as Mitch Brenner in The Birds (1963, directed by Alfred Hitchcock), and as The Traveller in The Time Machine (1960, based upon the H G Wells novel of the same name).
Born Rodney Sturt Taylor in Sydney, his great-great-grand uncle was 19th century British explorer Captain Charles Napier Sturt (this is the correct spelling; not Stuart) who famously helped open up the Australian outback by leading numerous expeditions.
Rod Taylor trained as a commercial artist before moving into radio. His first film in Australia was King of the Coral Sea (1953), a tale about people smuggling in which he played a character named Jack Janeiro. He then took a role as Israel Hands in Long John Silver (1954), another Australian production.
Soon after, Taylor won a radio talent competition. The prize was a trip to Los Angeles, USA and then onward to London, England. But he never made it to London. Not then, at least. Instead he got off the plane in LA, took a look at Hollywood, liked what he saw and stayed there for most of the rest of his life.
To succeed in the American movie industry of that era, it was considered necessary to lose his Australian accent, and Taylor managed this without much difficulty. He generally took leading man roles playing the tough, handsome, no nonsense, self reliant hero-type employing an acting style that owed more to the 1950s than to the Lee Strasberg "method acting" orthodoxy of later years.
He also starred, notably, with Rock Hudson, Elizabeth Taylor and James Dean in Giant (1956), and later with Karl Malden and Richard Conte in Hotel (1967)
He worked throughout his life both in the USA and his native Australia. But through the 1970s and 1980s (in particular), the American film industry never really knew what to do with Rod Taylor. He was never really
A-list, but was way too good for B-list. He made over 50 movies and also took on numerous TV roles.
Other Rod Taylor films include:
A Gathering of Eagles (1963)
Young Cassidy (1965)
The Liquidator (1966)
The Mercenaries (1968)
Dark of the Sun (1968)
Zabriskie Point (1970)
The Treasure Seekers (1979)
Mask of Murder (1985)
Point of Betrayal (1995)
His last film was Quentin Tarantino's Inglourious Basterds (2009) in which he took on the role of Winston Churchill (image immediately above). It's said that Taylor, who was in retirement at the time, recommended British actor Albert Finney for the part (who had played Churchill once before). But finally, Taylor was persuaded to take the role and flew from Los Angeles to Germany for filming.
Rod Taylor was a reliable actor with a large and enduring screen persona, and still has a huge fan base. An American by residence, he was nevertheless very much Australian at heart and really ought to have had much better roles than those that came his way following his heyday in the 1960s.
He was married three times and is survived by his third wife.
— Big End
Racing legend Derek Minter, the "King of Brands (Hatch)", has died aged 82. He was a highly successful British Grand Prix and short-circuit racer who began his career in 1955. His first win was at the Isle of Man 250cc Lightweight TT riding a Honda Four.
He was also the first man to lap the Isle of Man TT course at over 100mph on a single-engined bike (Manx Norton). That's Derek Minter above, by the way, leading Phil Read.
Minter rode a variety of machines including Manx Nortons, Gold Stars, Bianchis, MZs, Gileras and Moto Morinis. He also campaigned a Cotton Telstar and Seeley 350s and 500s.
Mike Hailwood occasionally referred to him as "The Mint" and expressed the view that Derek Minter was his toughest opponent.
He retired from professional racing in 1967 and later became a truck driver operating from his home in Kent. He was still riding (in a more relaxed way) into his late sixties. He spent his final days in a local nursing home and died on 2nd January 2015.
— Del Monte
That would be Andy Tiernan of Andy Tiernan Classics. And that would be a Royal Enfield Flying Flea. And that would be a parachute crate.
These 125cc two-stroke British lightweights were developed by Royal Enfield during WW2 as transport and signals machines for allied paratroopers. Officially designated by the model initials WD/RE, the 45mph, 4-speed bikes were thrown out of aircraft, or sardined into gliders and landing craft and/or carried into the battle zones.
However, they "enjoyed" limited military success, except perhaps post war when surplus bikes were released into the civilian market.
British Classic bike dealer Andy Tiernan has owned one of these for a while, and he'd like to reacquaint it with a parachute crate, ideally with a parachute. So if you've got a Flying Flea crate (or parachute) in the garage or loft, and if you want to drop it on Andy Tiernan (so to speak), he'd be pleased to receive it.
Telephone: 01728 724321
— The Third Man
Harley-Davidson gave him this FLH Panhead 55 years ago and now Jerry Lee Lewis is, at age 79, hanging up his lid. He might not be the King of Rock'n'Roll (Chuck Berry unquestionably sits on that throne), but Lewis is certainly rock and roll royalty and a time-served biker to boot.
So okay, he hasn't exactly clocked up record mileage on this beautiful Duo Glide. The odometer (to use Yankee speak) has recorded just 2,257 miles, which makes it around 41 miles per annum.
And that's still way more roadwork than plenty of other bikers these days, and Lewis, when he wasn't stompin' around on pianos and/or enjoying the company of his 13-year old cousin (once removed, whom he married and in doing so famously wrecked his career), was kicking around on Harley Davidsons before most of us were born.
▲ Seven times married Jerry Lee Lewis, Myra Gale Brown (cousin and third wife), and one of Lewis's Harley Panheads circa 1959. There's clearly been a whole lotta shakin' going on somewhere. But ya gotta get it while it's going, are we right?
There were actually two Harleys courtesy of the factory. The first went to Lewis. The second went to Elvis Presley. Why this munificence? Simply because both performers were at the height of their popularity, and Messrs H & D wanted to ride their wave and flog a few bikes. Which is fair enough.
The Pan is being auctioned by Mecum at their Kissimmee, Florida sale held between 16th and 25th January 2015. It's Lot S157 and you have to call to find out the estimate. The figure of $1 million is being bandied around.
Investment potential? Pretty good, we figure. Jerry Lee hasn't ridden the Glide for a while. He says he's getting on (as opposed to getting it on), and it's hard to kick over now, so it's time to let go of the 'bars. The bike is said to be in excellent, factory-fresh condition, and the provenance is unimpeachable. And if that ain't rock'n'roll, we don't know what is.
— Big End
Here's a story that will satisfy thousands of bikers around the country. Mike Penning, UK Justice Minister (and ex Roads Minister) has promised to ensure that imprisoned drivers who have killed on the road are not immediately given back their licences.
Currently, if a driver kills and receives (for instance) a one year prison sentence together with a one year driving ban, the ban will start concurrently. Therefore, if the driver serves a full year in the pokey, he or she will be released and ready to go straight back on the road.
Penning (pictured below) wants to change that. He wants drivers to first serve their prison sentence, and upon release begin their driving ban—and let that ban run its course. The minister also wants driving bans to be increased in line with general public opinion.
However, there's a minor snag. The new Criminal Justice and Courts Bill is ready and willing to deal with this issue, but the House of Commons and the House of Lords are still wrangling over details before the bill can be let loose on the nation. So Penning plans to exercise similar powers as drafted in the 2009 Coroners and Justice Act.
In other words, the six-gun at his hip won't fire, so he's taking out his Derringer to get the job done.
While regular (and new) Sumpsters might be delighted that new judicial wheels appear to be turning, it's worth considering that this isn't really about British justice.
This is about revenge, and if you're happy with that, then so be it. But taking a dangerous driver off the road for X amount of time will not in itself make him or her a better/safer driver. What's really needed is a change in the driver's mindset; i.e. some serious re-education. How you do that is anyone's guess.
Currently, driving re-tests are commonly ordered and will be an increasing feature in motoring punishments. But simply re-testing a dangerous driver and catching him or her on their best behaviour will probably do little or nothing to deal with the underlying problem. It would make more sense to ban the driver for life. But God help any of us who find ourselves facing a death by dangerous driving charge.
Mobility is everything, and there are none of us who hasn't done something pretty brainless on the road at one time or another (and mercifully got away with it). Fact is, people are fallible. And no, that doesn't excuse most (or any) of the morons who do take a life. But it does help put things into perspective.
Death on the road is something that motorcyclists know better than all other road users, except perhaps cyclists. We don't like it, and we want to stop it. But it's not clear that state sponsored revenge is going to help.
▲ 2011 FLSTFB. If you trust your life to one of these, take a tip and have the brakes checked out. Details below.
There used to be dozens of jokes flying back and forth about the lousy brakes on Harley-Davidson motorcycles, not least that the absence of any credible stopping power made their lack of speed a distinct selling point.
But times have changed markedly, and Harley, having significantly raised its performance game over the past decade, needs those brakes more than ever. And to that end, it's taking no chances. Or so we're told.
That's why 19,000 Hogs are being recalled because a banjo bolt in the braking system, specifically the front master cylinder, is prone to premature corrosion.
We're not aware that anyone has yet come to grief. But if you own or ride a Softail or Dyna model built between August 2011 and February 2012, you might want to have a word with your local dealer and see if you're on the list.
Affected bikes include:
FXST103, FLSTC, FLSTC103, FLSTF, FLSTF103, FXDL, FXDWG, FXDWG103, FXDC, FXDB, FLSTN, FLSTN103, FLSTC103Shrine, FLSTFB, FLSTFB103, FXS, FXS103, FLS, FLS103, FLD, FLD103, FXDF, and FXDF103.
But why take chances? Just ask any official Harley dealership to give you the good or bad news. Meanwhile, here are some recent Harley-Davidson recalls that might interest you.
October 2013: "Certain touring models" were recalled for suspected clutch faults. A DO NOT RIDE notice was issued to owners, and a DO NOT DELIVER NOTICE was issued to dealers. The number of bikes recalled was later said to be 25,000, and then rose to 107,000.
August 2014: 3,000 Hogs recalled for ignition switch problems. This was said to invite a possible stall risk.
Is any of this likely to hurt Harley-Davidson? Probably only in the short term, and maybe not even then. Recalls are routine these days, and they provide lots of new sales opportunities and help reinforce customer loyalty and confidence.
Interestingly, we hear that the recall is not due to start until 14th January 2015. But why wait, Sir? It could be something serious.
— Girl Happy
We're probably incorrigible Philistines here at Sump, because given the choice of having a few Rodin sculptures loitering on plinths around the mansion, or having a cluster of cutaway British motorcycle engines collecting house dust, the Rodins would end up in the recycling bin, or beside the bird table.
Ditto for anything by Moore, Hepworth or even Michelangelo. Artworks by these celebrated sculptors are all nothing but driveway-gravel-in-the-making when compared to, say, the 1953 Ariel Square Four lump immediately above, or the 1957 BSA A10 engine immediately below.
And yes, we're deeply ashamed to make that admission, but we suspect a fair number of you guys and girls are harbouring dirty little cutaway secrets of your own.
Auction house Bonhams is certainly counting on that because, come 8th January 2015, the firm is putting a bunch of classic British motorcycle engines up for sale, and all of them are artistically hacked about to reveal their gory innards. Lovely.
[More on the British classic bike cutaway engine lots]