July 2014  Classic bike news


The new Ariel Ace as proposed by Ariel Ltd. Production could be starting soon, with a 150 bikes per annum target. [read more on the Ariel Ace].

July  2014 Classic bike news

Ex-McQueen 1912 Harley X8E to sell
Half price Gasolina boots at Foundry
Dora Bryan: 1923 - 2014
The 42nd International British Biker Meeting
Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod guide
Kieran Shortall: 1959 - 2014
James Garner: 1928 - 2014

"Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction
Electric cars for 10 Downing Street
Johnny Dawson Winter: 1944 - 2014
Cheffins' July Cambridge Auction
Northampton Classic Club Scramble
Coys Auction kicks off at Blenheim
Dave Bickers: 1938 - 2014
Government scraps 60mph limit plan
MyLicence insurance honesty checks
Ex-servicemen's charity Euro jolly
Mecum's July 2014 Harrisburg sale
So who the hell are you people?
Francis Barnett "makes a comeback"
2014 Indian Chieftain at Sturgis

June 2014 Classic bike news

Ariel Motorcycles launches the Ace
Eli Wallach: 1915 - 2014
Francis Matthews: 1927 - 2014
Government set to limit CCTV cars
New Harley-Davidson Sump features
Harley-Davidson "LiveWire" concept
High Beech tea hut under threat
The Hesketh 24 is officially unveiled
Bonhams' Banbury "Record" Sale
Avon & Somerset Police's Ariel Atom
1937 Matchless Model X eBay scam
Cotswold Classics is bust
Northants Classic MX Club appeal

May 2014 Classic bike news

VMCC petition seeks blood

£60 million left on TfL Oyster Cards

AJS Model 18 & Matchless G80 guide

London Congestion Charge hike

Banbury Run 2014 reminder

Maserati centenary celebrations

Mechanical Art Devices Exhibition

First UK Royal Enfield Store opens
Dangerous Dogs Act amendment
Police dog ePetition wants your vote
Fiat-Chrysler chooses London
New logotype for Royal Enfield?
Sump plates for Triumph T140s/T120s

Cheffins April Cambridge Sale results

Bournemouth Wheels Free Festival
Efrem Zimbalist Jnr: 1917 - 2014

Charges dropped against Les Allen

Two civic plaques for George Brough

48% of bikers want to vote away your right to decide—IAM

Clarkson utters the "nigger" word

April 2014 Classic bike news

New political T-shirt from Sump
Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough
Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells
Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014

u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn
Looking for a Stafford alternative?

Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?

Houston Motorcycle Auction results

Government to scrap camera cars?

Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

The Stranglers Bonneville raffle

Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way
Johammer electric motorcycles
Death comes calling at Bonhams
Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H

Vincent Series C Rapide raffle

Classic British Bikes book

Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT

Triumph Model P from Andy Tiernan

Foundry First Anniversary Ride In
April - Houston Motorcycle Auction
Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014
UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols

March 2014 Classic bike news
DVSA to name and shame ex-MOT stations
Mick Woollett: 1930-2014
Richard Edmonds Sale - March 2014
Captain Maurice Seddon: 1926-2014

Introducing Stephen Hill, pop artist

Classic bike tax discs are on a roll
Kempton Park bike jumble sells out
BSA Bantam 3-string steel guitar
Boris Johnson to ban classic bikes?
Gruppo Bertone's in trouble. Again
Paris bans cars and motorcycles
Southend Shakedown & Margate Meltdown:
2014 biker diary dates

Rabers British motorcycle parts
Agostini and Cooper to headline
Mallory Bike Festival

Second Classic Car Boot Sale rocks
Anthony Wedgwood Benn: 1925-2014

Hinckley bullish about 2014 sales
UK bike parts distributor now accepts bitcoins

New BSA M20 T-shirt from Sump

New AA-Halfords "safety" campaign

Bandit 9 customs - Made in China

Secret British Government webcams
in the home...

Anglia's first classic sale "success"

UK magazine sales continue to drop

De Bruir Parachuter leather backpack

February 2014 Classic bike news

New Lotus Bike: Not Made in Britain
Met set to pay out huge rape compensation
Any information on this outfit?
National Motorcycle Museum appeal
"Whole life sentences" ruled legal
Brian Hampton appeal bid update
Tom Armstrong Manx Norton for sale
Martin Squires Sketchbook Volume 4
ACA's first classic motorcycle sale
New Rocker T-shirts from Sump
Alex Botwright steps down as Fenman Classic Bike Show chairman
"Droves" at Bristol Classic Show
Kool new Davida candy coloured lids
Rare 1930 MGC makes £15,297
Nobody hurt in small earthquake
Royal Enfield "Valentine's Day sale"
Chris Bushell takes over Nourish
SPS Harley-Davidson "Speed Demon"
New 69 Club T-shirt from Sump
Mr & Mrs Oil Drip: under the hammer

January 2014 Classic bike news

Vintage Boot Sale, London
Chelsea Bridge tea stall petition
Stylish café racer T-shirt from Sump
Triumph again tops UK big bike sales
2014 Brighton Speed Trials is back on
First British motorway pub has opened
Hurricane tank from Burton Bike Bits
1936 Brough SS80 and chair on eBay
General Jumbo control freaks ahead
Festival of 1000 Bikes is cancelled
New congestion charge "con"
Bonhams Sale: "New records set"
Twenty jobs at Triumph Motorcycles
Cafe racer rival for Triumph Thruxton
Phil Everly: 1939 - 2014
Stuff we love: Vanishing Point (1971)
Derringer electric board track bicycle
Illegally fingerprinting the kids

December 2013 Classic bike news

Von Dutch 500cc Triumph to sell...
Cool oil on canvas by Robert Carter
Camera car consultation deadline: motorcycles ignored again
Save the Brighton Speed Trials
Ronnie Biggs 1929 - 2013
Cool stuff from Bonhams Bally sale
Alex Phillip's Clubman Vincent sale
Motorcycle traders look this way
Triumph financial losses overstated
New from Zippo
What's happening to classic prices?
BSA M20/B33 rigid rear lifting handle and mudguard stay
Peter O'Toole: 1932 - 2013
Custom Sunbeam S8 up for sale
Triumph posts a £12.8 million loss
Holden Cars Oz production to end
British Customs "Vintage Vendetta"
Stan Tracey: 1926 - 2013
New Brough SS100. First UK view
Voxan electric motorcycle unveiled
Ten years for Alexander Blackman
Say goodbye to the UK "tax disc"
New radio pulsing bike stop tech
Jake Robbins' Spit and Polish forks
EU plan to trash British road signs

November 2013 Classic bike news

"21st century" Hesketh 24 promised

Lewis Collins: 1946 - 2013

Watsonian Meteor sidecar returns

VMCC Hewing: jumped or pushed?

Brad Pitt Davida lid up for grabs

Andy Tiernan/Nick Ward Calendar

OK-Supreme missing parts appeal

Southern Classic Off-Road Show

For sale: 1964 BSA C15T - £2,850

1938 Matchless Model X - Cheffins

For sale: 1957 AJS Model 30. £3,300

Monstercraft Brat Kit for XS650 Yams

Bonhams Las Vegas, 9th Jan 2014

Young drivers see less, warns RAC

Lightmare campaign reminder

Interesting UK prison facts and stats
1935 Excelsior tops Harrogate Sale
Royal Enfield Continental screens
Stolen T100 returned after 46 years
Hövding invisible cycling helmet
SR400 Yamaha vs baby Triumph?
Ring of Red: respectful or mawkish?
McQueen's "Bullitt" tweed on sale
Jake Robbins taper-girders
Rare 350cc Triumph 3SW at Bonhams
Sump Magazine is now on Facebook
US Government ponders lid laws
Harley-Davidson's new streetsters
Milton Keynes's "driverless cars"
New T-bird, first whitewall radials
Weiss Montana heated glove
Upham's Brough project unveiled
Circa 1925 Douglas RA for Harrogate
Caterham Cars launches bike range
Cameron visits Henry Cole's Gladstone
bobber factory

British solicitors under threat
Norton's first US Commandos sent
Graham Stark: 1922 - 2013

October 2013 Classic bike news

Cheffins' Cambridge sale results
Lou Reed: 1942 - 2013
The Glory Days of British Motorbikes
Triumph Experimental by Mick Duckworth
Liverpool's bus lane suspension
Regent Street Motor Show update
Francis Beart Manx makes £61,980
The Breathometer is coming
Harley-Davidson recalls 25,185 motorcycles
Triumph T120 TT Special hits £16,000
Cool 1939 Triumph T100 on eBay
Superbikes of the 70s from Panther Publishing
"Project" Vincent-HRD Meteor offer
Rare 1938 600cc eBay Triumph 6S
Copdock Commando prize winner
Cambridge cops are nicking bikes
H&H at Duxford: 16th October 2013
Has Triumph run out of ideas?
Rat-out a trader, win ten grand
SuperBike sold, yet again
Norton "export volumes rise"
Last call for the classic Land Rover

September 2013 Classic bike news

Haynes retrenches and regroups
Billy Fury Tribute Night at the Ace
Gear Gremlin First Aid Kit
Ellis e-petition gathers momentum
Southbank car & bike boot sale
Pistons & Props: 28th-29th Sept 2013
Bike buyers robbed at gunpoint
1901 Ariel Quadricycle comes home
RAC demands 5p per litre fuel cut
1st Annual Motorcycle Film Festival,
Brooklyn, NY

"3D gun" on display at the V&A
Grayling's magistrates reform woes
Twenty's plenty in the Square Mile
Cool Ariel Square Four on eBay
Royal Enfield Continental GT roars
Weise Hi Viz jackets for cissies
Triumph T120R eScam taken offline
Bonhams' Beaulieu 2013 sale results
Satnav drivers "returning to maps"
Kenneth Horatio Wallis: 1916 - 2013
H&H invites October Duxford entries
Indian built 500cc Harley-Davidsons?
Brough stuff at Bonneville 2013
Triumph Rocket-3 streamliner details

August 2013 Classic bike news

Huge classic bike collection to sell
£4,600 Harley-Davidson FatBoy scam
Two classic Honda CX500 kits
Stolen BMW R80ST plea for help
Ace Classics (London) 2013 calendar
Sid Bernstein: 1918 - 2013
Judge denies Muslim burka motion
Brent Council shuts Ace "race track"
VW injunction blocks security hole
Bonhams return to Beaulieu in Sept
Pistol-packing copper is still busy on the job
Peter Fonda sues over Easy Rider T-shirt
Southern Classic Off-Road Show
Karen Black 1939 -2013
EU threatens MOT tests for caravans
New Norton T-shirt from Sump
2014 Indian range announced
Werner Lang: 1922 - 2013
Three staff arrested at Les Emery's

July 2013 Classic bike news

Cheffins Cambridge July results
Three "rare" Triumph TSXs on sale
Film company seeks Enfield riders
David Dixon: 1933-2013
Rare Triumph 6-1 on eBay: £16,000
Swinton fined for swindling
York council's 20mph slap in the face
French TV channel will be filming at the Ace
Lesney's Matchbox 60th anniversary
Free tickets to the South of England SuperBike Show and Bike Jumble
"... and do you take this poof to be your lawfully wedded husband?"
Henry Cole's "Gladstone" bobber
Triumph TRW pricing news
David "Fluff" Brown: 1930-2013
New Norton Domiracer breaks cover
£20,000 T120 Bonneville in sight
"Motorways are a rip off!" say IAM
Mortons postpones Big Kent 2013 event
VMCC Velo and Norton raffle update
Vincent Black Shadow T-shirt
Welsh Assembly votes away rights
June Pendine Trials "weathered off"

June 2013 Classic bike news

Roger LaVern: 1937 - 2013
2012 UK road deaths and injury figures
Cheffins fairground biker: £1100
Brake lights that see round the bend
Bonhams' 2013 Banbury highlights
New police powers and penalties
Bonhams & Banbury 2013 reminder
Cafe Racer Festival at Montlhery
Dirt Quake II
Historics at Brooklands results
Cameras to monitor cycle boxes?
Peter Williams £65,000 replica

May 2013 Classic bike news

TT rider Yoshinari Matsushita killed

2013 Brighton Speed Trials cancelled

Ton-Up Day 14th July 2013

Johnny "Chester" Dowling's
getting his kicks again

87 bikes for Historics at Brooklands

Sump seizes Kempton trader's stock

Welcome to classic Britain

DomiRacer liquidated and set for auction

Ray "Doors" Manzarek: 1939-2013

Indian's "sneak peek" at the Chief

Streetfighters magazine closes after 22 years

Bruce Main-Smith stops trading

Bike Shed custom bike exhibition

AJS-Matchless Club draw 2013

Bryan Forbes: 1926 - 2013

Watsonian-Squire Open Weekend

Call to lower the legal age of consent to 13

Royal Enfield's new UK home

April 2013 Classic bike news

Genuine Sump T-Shirt back in stock

VMCC Jan-Jun 2013 Velocette raffle

Storm conversion for XS650 Yams

Drive it Day for classic cars and bikes

Petition to ban mobile phone drivers

£246,400 Vincent; £246,400 Brough

Royal change to the laws of succession

Margaret Thatcher: 1925-2013

Ex-McQueen Indian Model F to sell

Eric's Cafe Racer Corner

Peter "Pip" Harris: 1927-2013

Pendine Sands Speed Trials 22/23 June 2013

Dr James "JK" Kelly Swanston: 1908-2013

Mortons buys Normous Newark

March 2013 Classic bike news
2013 Pioneer Run snowed and iced off

Dambuster charity motorcycle ride

One hundred cafe racers wanted

Hide your classic, and go to jail

Eddie Presbury "cheap" bike art

Norton acquires Donington Hall

James Herbert: 1943-2013

1973: New cut-off date for "historics"

Triumph T140D floating disc from
Norman Hyde

Rare Brough Superior BS4 to sell

First Vincent Lightning also to sell

British justice for sale, says Grayling

Indian reveals new 111-inch engine

Yamaha Bolt challenge to Triumph?

Triumph still in the number one spot

February 2013 Classic bike news

£6975 Triumph Tiger Cub, sold!
Ray "Dalek" Cusick: 1928-2013
Triumph Speed Triple R "Dark"
Despatches. Free eBook from Sump
Bonhams' Grand Palais "success"
Le breathalyser fines "postponed"
Government set to scrap 80mph speed limit hike plan
Driving test interpreters for the chop?
Reg "Wild Thing" Presley: 1941-2013
Bonhams Paris Grand Palais Sale 2013
New licence withdrawal powers

January 2013 Classic bike news

Freddie Williams: 1926-2013
Where's the Gaffer's Gallop film?
Andy Tiernan's ebay warning
2013 Triumph Rocket 3 Roadster
Insulting to be made legal again
One hundred years of Aston Martin
$480,000 1939 BMW Rennsport
Burtons' Triumph TRW register
James Austin's Classic Shows
Winter Restoration Show 2012
2013 Triumph Tiger Sports 1050
Winter Classic Bike Guide Show


Ex-McQueen 1912 Harley X8E to sell


There's no reserve on this rare 989cc (60 cubic inch) 1912 Harley-Davidson Model X8E, but because of its connection to the late Steve McQueen and Kenny "Von Dutch" Howard, we can expect some big bucks to change hands. The estimate is $225,000 - $275,000.


It's Lot S177 and it will be on the block at Mecum Auctions' Monterey, California sale on August 14th-16th 2014.


The 8hp bike is Harley's first "Big Twin", meaning the firm's first "1000cc" model. Prior to this, the largest capacity HD was 810cc (49 cubic inches. But in mid-1912, the company rolled out this (first) all-chain top of the range model which came with a $10 premium over the standard 6.5hp bike.



▲ Legend has it that McQueen and Von Dutch got drunk one night and stripped the paint from the left fuel tank.



A gearbox was still three years into the future. But this Inlet-Over-Exhaust (IOE) Harley flat tanker was supplied with a clutch (located in the rear hub), a pair of bicycle pedals to help get you rolling, and magneto ignition. The crank spun on ball bearings, and the saddle was "Ful-Floteing" (sic). Sounds pretty sophisticated, and in its day it was. This bike helped put the horse out of business and offered a more "rebellious" alternative to the Model T Ford (introduced in 1908).


The top speed of this 45-degree V-twin Harley-Davidson is around 65mph. The weight is 312lb. The wheelbase is 56-inches. Glass insulators on the spark plugs were a feature (allowing the rider to check the ignition). The price new was around $285.



▲ The world's most classic and charismatic motorcycle brand? The legend "Harley-Davidson Milwaukee" certainly puts up a convincing argument for that coveted accolade.



▲ The lever above the pedal crank (barely visible in this shot) operates the rear hub-located clutch. It was a crude mechanism, but effective. And if chain drive was too modern, a more traditional rear belt was an option.



It's not clear when Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) purchased the motorcycle, but it was sold in 1984 when his estate came under the auctioneer's hammer. Since then, this twin has been in private hands and has (we hear) been raced in pre-1916 competitions.


Over the years, the rims, spokes and tyres have been replaced. And that's a pity, but you have to be realistic, and this bike deserves a decent pair of hoops. Finally, the period headlamp has been added to allow the X8E to be roadworthy for vintage rallies.


Interested? Got any money? Talk to Mecum Auctions. But be quick. It's always later than you think...


UPDATE: The Harley-Davidson X8E didn't sell.



— Sam 7




Half price Gasolina boots at Foundry

The usual price is £299, but for the next four weeks you can get your greedy hands on a pair for £150 plus postage. We ain't seen them up close, but we're told that this is quality, hand-made footwear built to put exactly the right kind of attitude on your lower extremity.


Good clobber is essential to psychological health and a successful sex life, so if you're having problems in either department, or just want to look cool and get some branded foot protection, go and tell it to Foundry.


Alternately, if you just want to commission a custom motorcycle project and like to sup good coffee, take a trip to the South Coast and chinwag with some guys who've been there and done it many times before.


Foundry is based near Chichester and they flog all kinds of essentials for people just like you.



— Del Monte




Dora Bryan: 1923 - 2014


It's easy to forget just how good an actress she was, but the late Dora Bryan, who has died aged 91, was one of the best actresses of her 1960s heyday; a performer who was equally at home with comedy or drama, on TV, on the stage or in the movies.


She is perhaps best remembered for her role in the 1961 Woodfall Films production, A Taste of Honey, in which she starred with Rita Tushingham playing the part of an inadequate, irresponsible and generally dysfunctional alcoholic mother. For that role, Dora Bryan was awarded a richly deserved Bafta and soon trod a rare path that led to her becoming something of a national treasure.



This Lancashire lass (born Dora May Broadbent) subsequently starred in a number of TV series including Our Dora (1968), According to Dora (1968) and Dora (1972), but check out The Fallen Idol (1948), The Blue Lamp (1950), The Cockleshell Heroes (1955), The Green Man (1956) and Carry On Sergeant (1958) and you'll see that Dora Bryan is right there mostly playing the kind of role which she later became noted for—hapless, common, frazzle-headed and simple.


But she was actually far from simple and was a lot shrewder than many gave her credit for. On the national stage, she handled parts written by Harold Pinter and Henrik Ibsen, and was supremely comfortable in musical revues.


However, she suffered from what used to be called "nervous depression" and spent much time in various hospitals recovering whilst trying to reconcile personal and professional needs. Real life alcoholism also added to her woes.


In the 1970s, she took a break from acting and ran Clarges, a hotel in Brighton. It was not a success, and in the early 1980s, after struggling with bankruptcy, she returned to her stage career.


If you're British and of a "certain age", you'll remember Dora well from the 1960s when she was a frequent TV celebrity guest with one of the most recognised faces and voices of her generation. But if you're of a later generation, you'll probably remember Dora from her appearances in the TV shows Absolutely Fabulous and The Last of the Summer Wine.


In 1954, she married the Lancashire cricketer Bill Lawson (who died in 2008). They had one natural son, but adopted another son and a daughter (the daughter died at the age of 36 of alcoholism).


Dora Bryan was never a star that shone with continued brilliance. But in her best years, she was a steady trooper who always brought a homely appeal to her roles and was a woman with whom thousands of other women identified.


She died peacefully on July 23rd 2014.

— Del Monte



The 42nd International British Biker Meeting

We don't know anything about this event except what Sumpster Rolf Mazenauer has told us, and that's not much more that it says on the poster. But it seems that on 8th - 10th August 2014, the BLACK SHADOW MOTORCYCLE CLUB will be holding a British Biker meeting in Switzerland.


Rolf advises us that it's their 42nd such meeting, and the club would be very pleased to meet bikers from anywhere on the planet. Expect a free campsite, a barbecue, a campfire, a bar, a ride out and music by "sixties party band", The Rubberneckers.


That's it. Have fun. Meanwhile, check the website and see if you can figure out the rest of the details.



— Girl Happy




Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod guide


These single track rocket ships have been at large for around a dozen years, and we figure they've earned the right to be called classics (and they're certainly future classics).


But even if they haven't yet earned that right, Harleys are okay with us (as long you don't get carried away with them), and we know that plenty of you Sumpsters either own one, or aspire to one.


The original V-Rods are out there right now at pretty competitive prices. And one or two haven't been molested and will eventually ring up some big money on the tills. But what's the deal with these Yankee kettles anyway?


Follow the link and check out Sump's guide to one of the most divisive Harleys of them all. And if the Rod doesn't actually kill you on your first test ride, you might find that it begins to grow on you. Some bikes are like that.


Meanwhile, the ink is still drying on this feature, and we'll be tweaking it over the next few weeks. So if we've screwed up somewhere, it's email time. Okay?


VRSC V-Rod Buyers guide

— Big End




Kieran Shortall: 1959 - 2014

We got the news today that Kieran Shortall, the man who owned and ran War Department trading in 1936 - 1948 era Harley-Davidsons and related memorabilia died on 30th May 2014.


Kieran (pictured above at Ashford in 2009) was a genial, decent and knowledgeable trader who frequented numerous events from Kempton Park to the War & Peace Show to the Ashford Show, and further afield.


We knew him slightly and were naturally a little shocked at this information. He was just fifty-five years old, which is no great age anymore. He had been ill for some time, however, and his death had been expected.



We spoke to Kieran's widow, Sandra, who confirmed that he was gone. She prefers a little privacy at this time, so we're not prying any deeper into his life or this loss, except to say that Kieran's business is in suspension, and no decision has been made about what will happen to it.


We're all as sorry as hell here at Sump, and we know that there are plenty of people out there who'll feel the same.

— Dexxion




James Garner: 1928 - 2014


James Garner, the genial, gentle and generous Oklahoman who famously brought card sharp Bret Maverick (Maverick, 1957) and chronically-hard-done-by private eye Jim Rockford (Rockford Files, 1974) into our homes has died aged 86.


He was one of the first actors to successfully make the jump from big screen to small screen and starred alongside an A-list of Hollywood talent including Steve McQueen, James Coburn, Audrey Hepburn, Clint Eastwood, Jack Lemmon, Shirley MacLaine, Walter Brennan, Doris Day, Charles Bronson, Richard Attenborough, Katherine Ross and even Bruce Lee (Marlowe 1969).


Never one to take himself too seriously, Garner enjoyed an early TV role in the unsuccessful western series Nichols. The show which, as far as we know, was not aired in the UK featured a small town Harley-Davidson riding sheriff who refused to wear a gun and preferred to solve his problems by deploying what he referred to as "moral authority".


James Garner as Nichols, TV series


James Garner in the short-lived role of Nichols (1971), the US TV series featuring an pacifistic, Harley-Davidson riding, cerebral sheriff. It was a role that Garner is said to have enjoyed, but the network killed it early.



His best known movies include Up Periscope (1959), The Great Escape (1963), Move Over Darling (1963), Grand Prix (1966), Support Your Local Sheriff (1969), Support Your Local Gunfighter (1971), Victor Victoria (1982), Maverick (1994), The Notebook (2004).


A keen motor racing enthusiast, Garner formed his own team called American International Racers (AIR) between 1967 and 1969 and (with some success) campaigned cars at Sebring, Daytona and Le Mans. He was also a keen golfer (which underlines the fact that no one is perfect).


James Coburn, James Garner, Steve McQueen, John Sturges


Left to right: James Coburn, James Garner, Steve McQueen and director John Sturges on the set of The Great Escape (1963).



In 1958 he won a Golden Globe for the Most Promising Newcomer. In 1990 he was inducted into the Hollywood Walk of Fame. In 1987 he won a Primetime Emmy.


In 1991 he won a Golden Globe (Decoration Day, 1990). In 2005 he received the Screen Actors Guild's Lifetime Achievement Award. For his role in The Notebook, he was also nominated for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.  Beyond that, he was nominated numerous times for other awards (and won many), but despite his on-screen presence and evident acting prowess, an Oscar eluded him.



James Garner AIR Corvette


▲ James Garner (second from left), with members of his AIR team photographed circa-1967.



Garner was a democrat and donated money to various US election campaigns. During the Korean War, as a serving soldier, he helped support a Korean boy, and was said to be generally altruistic by nature. He was awarded the Purple Heart during that conflict.


In 1956, he married Lois Clarke and fathered a daughter (there was also a step-daughter in the family). All survive him.


Garner was a fairly private man and avoided the Hollywood glitz. "I got into the business [he's quoted as saying] to put a roof over my head. I wasn't looking for star status. I just wanted to keep working."


He was a long-time smoker and suffered various health problems that in turn led to bouts of severe depression. Towards the end of his life, he's reported as saying that he "had nothing left to live for".


He died on 19th July 2014 at his home.


— Dexxion




"Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction

Note the inverted commas in the heading. That's because this is a reproduction of the scooter thrown over a chalk cliff (near Brighton, West Sussex) in a fit of pique by actor Phil Daniels in the 1979 cult movie Quadrophenia.


You all know the story. Set in England in 1964, Jimmy Michael Cooper desperately wants to be a cool Moddy boy like "The Ace Face" played by Sting, but finds that the realities of life fall short of his romanticised and immature expectations.


Via an orgy of sex, drugs and violence, this realisation propels him through frustration into depression, hence the chalk cliff and the scooter that tumbles over the edge in the closing scenes.


Pete Townsend of The Who (one of Britain's greatest songwriters) penned the music to this seminal rock opera (released in 1973, six years before the film) which is as good today as it was back then and withstands repeated listenings.


It's now 50 years since the infamous 1964 Whitsun Bank Holiday clashes between the Mods and the Rockers, as dramatised in the movie (and exaggerated by the British press). It's also 50 years since the formation of The Who, which makes this auction very timely.


Various replica scooters were created when the Quadrophenia DVD was re-released some years ago. The builder is scooter specialist David John Wyburn who based the bikes on the original circa 1966 Lambretta Series 3 model.



It's not clear how many replicas were built, but this example carries the number "2". It also wears on the front mudguard the registration number: KRU 251 as used in the film. We're waiting to hear if that's an official registration, but we think that it's unlikely to be (and note that in the UK, motorcycles and scooters are no longer required to carry front number plates).


Additionally, the tyres are said to be old stock from the 1970s and not fit for the road, so the bike is offered for display purposes only.


So what's the price for this iconic ornament? Bonhams, which will be auctioning the Lambretta at Beaulieu on 6th September 2014, expects between £10,000 and £12,000.



— The Third Man




Electric cars for 10 Downing Street


But what's it got to do with you as a biker, classic or otherwise? We'll get to that in a moment. But first we'll explain what's going on.


One hundred and fifty electric vehicles are about to be introduced into the government motor pool. Meanwhile, 10 Downing Street is going to get its own charging point. Or points.


Additionally, another 135 electric cars or vans are likely to be offered to local council, police and NHS fleets. It's part of a £5 million scheme intended to demonstrate that the government is leading by example in the quest for cleaner transportation and a fresher atmosphere. In view of the dirty air that's always circulating Whitehall, that sounds like a good move. But let's not get too snide here.


Currently, the Government Car Service handles the motor transport fleet headed by the Jaguars and Range Rovers that the Prime Minister and friends are routinely ferried around in. But as vehicles are retired following their usual two year service, electric transport will be considered as replacements.


There are around 25,000 cars and vans in the central government fleet; 9,000 with the Ministry of Defence; 5,000 with the Environment Agency, and 1,500 with the Ministry of Justice. Another 85 vehicles are earmarked for ministers, down from 142 in 2011, take note.


So will the Prime Minister's armoured limo soon be battery powered? There's no official word on that yet, but here's more evidence that the electric vehicle revolution continues to gather pace (despite a slower-than-predicted growth).


Harley-Davidson already has an electric Hog. Triumph is bound to get in on the act sooner or later. Other manufacturers are campaigning their own developments.


At the risk of being alarmist (which we try hard not to be), we can certainly foresee a time when running a direct-to-atmosphere internal combustion engine of any kind is as socially reprehensible as smoking in a car full of toddlers. And anyway, there has to come a point when the existing petroleum infrastructure is no longer cost-effective making classic bikes harder and more expensive to own. We ain't there yet, of course. But it's usually later than you think.

— Big End




Johnny Dawson Winter: 1944 - 2014

If you were at Woodstock (and one or two of you out there might well have been), you'll know all about Johnny Winter who has died aged 70. And if you were a fan of the Old Grey Whistle Test and/or a regular listener of any number of rock or blues radio stations, you'll also be familiar with Winter and his music.


He was a hard rocking, bluestompin', guitar-pedal-to-the-metal musician with a high-speed finger-pickin' and slide-playing style unlike anyone else on the planet. He had a voice like a grinding gearbox and the kind of hard-edged vocal projection that any heavy metal warbler would be pleased to be at the back of.


Commercially, Johnny Winter never hit the big time, but as a record producer he helped revitalise the career of the legendary Muddy Waters by handling four of his albums, three of which won Grammys.


Winter fought heroin addiction and later became dependent on anti-depressants. He also suffered from various health issues that dogged him until the end. And if the wider general public is only vaguely aware of him (if at all), there isn't a bluesman north, south, east or west of the Mississippi  who doesn't know and respect Winter's brand of Chicago-influenced 12-bar rock'n'roll.


Winter also played or worked with Hendrix, Janis Joplin and Bob Dylan, but this Mississippi-born, Texas-raised albino, famous for his striking mane of white hair, claimed that fame was never the goal. He simply wanted to play the blues, and that's pretty much what he did, cradle to the grave (or as near as dammit).


He died on July 16th 2014 in Zurich, Switzerland during an European tour, and leaves behind a wife (Susan) and his equally famous (or equally unknown) brother Edgar. And Johnny Winter also leaves behind a long back catalogue of blues and rock'n'roll music that will survive for generations to follow.



— Dexxion




Cheffins' July Cambridge Auction


On Saturday 19th July 2014 Cheffins is holding its Cambridge Vintage Sale. Cheffins is renowned for its agricultural lots rather than its motorcycle stock, but the firm has nevertheless got one or two bikes in its sights that have caught our attention.


The first is the above pre-unit Triumph twin (Lot 1342). Specifically, it's a 1956 500cc 5T. The bike is fitted with what appears to be a Harley Sportster fuel tank and shortened forks. It's also running a 5.10 x 16-inch rear wheel and boasts a stainless steel exhaust. And we think it looks pretty cool (if you like that kind of stuff). The estimate is £3,300 - £3,800, which sound about right.



But if that doesn't float your boat, the 1953 BSA A7 custom immediately above (Lot 1341) is estimated to sell for between £2,000 - £2,500. From where we're sat, this Beeza looks a little .... "individual". Then again, there's nothing wrong with a little individualism in this life, is there? But that exhaust has surely got to go...



Overall, we counted 26 bikes in the sale. Nothing too exciting is on offer, except perhaps Lot 1336 which is the 1964 750cc BMW with Steib sidecar (image immediately above) estimated at £5,000 - £6,000. This bike is actually a R60 with a R75 engine, and it looks to be pretty good value.


By the time most of you guys get mobilised, the sale will be over bar the shouting. But check out the results. Classic bike prices are all over the place at the moment. You need to keep a close eye on them if you want to make a little money or get your mitts on that desirable object that's always been just outside of your budget.



— Del Monte



▲ Rob Mear aboard (or is that aloft on?) his 1965 500cc methanol-fuelled ESO Metisse. Rob, a member the Mortimer Club in Berkshire, also entered a 1966 600cc methanol Jawa. Sounds like a speedway fan.

Pic: Brian Crichton


Northampton Classic Club Scramble

The Northampton Classic Club (NCC) staged a debut classic scramble at Woodford, Northamptonshire, on Sunday 6th July 2014. Though the entry was small for this inaugural event, it was a brilliant success played out on a superb Corby AMCA permanent track.

The scramble is a significant step forward in terms of potential expansion for pre-65 style events which are currently held mostly held in Essex. The central (Northampton) location makes the event easily accessible to riders from most parts of the country. 


▲ Pre-65 club member Aaron Graves Won seven races on the day. That's him with his 1965 BSA B44 taken out to 500cc. Pic: Brian Crichton

NCC chairman Pete Griffith hopes the club can make this scramble an annual fixture. Pressed on the possibility of two events a year, he said he had thought about it, the main hurdle being the difficulty in obtaining dates.

The club staged 17 races on Sunday, seven of them won by 27-year-old Aaron Graves (1965 500 BSA) from Malden, Essex. Also in cracking form and making Graves work for his wins was 49-year-old Gene Womack (1964 540cc Jawa Metisse/1864 750 Triumph Metisse) from New Buckenham, Norfolk.

Joining Graves in receiving winners' awards at the end of the meeting were Roy Crisp (1965 350/440 BSA), Aaron's father Paul Graves (350cc BSA), Greg Speed (1965 356cc Cheney BSA), John Bateup (1958 650cc Tribsa/1965 500cc Triumph), Gordon Adsett (1964 360cc CZ), and Neil Harris (1974 360cc Bultaco). 

Race classes were for Pre-60, Pre-74, Pre-68 over 355cc, Clubmans, Pre-65 350cc, and Allcomers.

Event co-organiser & chief marshal Colin Hill and club chairman Pete Griffith are both active classic motocross competitors. But both gave up the pleasures of riding on the day to concentrate on running the event. To help bolster the entry, former bike dealer Hill lent riders his three classic scramblers (Tribsa, Matchless/Metisse and Bultaco), the latter of which carried 20-year-old Neil Harris from Northampton to a well-deserved win. 


Pete Griffith on 01604 768812 or Colin Hill on 01536 521006

— The Admirable Crichton



Coys Auction kicks off at Blenheim


It's happening today, Friday 11th July 2014 at 1.00pm, and it goes down at Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire (home of the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Winston Churchill). Coys is the auction house, and they're fielding over 90 motorcycles.


Coys hasn't featured on Sump before. But we're doing what we can to address that now by presenting you with some of the motorcycles that have caught our eye (not that all motorcycles don't do that anyway, you understand).


The above (and below) 1923 Harley-Davidson WF650 (Lot 166) is one machine that's made us sit up and pay special attention. This ultra rare bike is an older restoration and carries an estimate of £25,000 - £30,000.




The 584cc W-Series Harley's were loosely based on the (British) Douglas fore-and-aft flat twins that acquitted themselves so well during WW1 and became a reliable despatch rider's mount—and a popular post-conflict bike when surviving machines were released into civvy street.


But the American market was never quite so keen on the flat cylinder arrangement even though this design offered very smooth engines and kept the weight low thereby helping provide good handling and balance even in the toughest conditions.


The F-head opposed twins were first sold in 1918 and supplied with a three-speed hand-change transmission. They were marketed as the Sport Twin. The horsepower was rated at six which gave them a top speed of around 50mph. The wheelbase was 57-inches. The weight was around 265lbs. And Harley-Davidson sold them new for around $330.


This particular example is the WF model which featured magneto ignition (as opposed to coil for the WJ) and gas lighting. We've got no idea if the estimate is realistic or not. These bikes are simply too rare to count let alone value. But this example is clearly one for the HD collector or long-term investor. We're watching it with interest.




Meanwhile, the 1927 Indian Prince (below) is Lot 112. Coys reckon that it will change hands for around £26,000 - £30,000. The 350cc Prince was designed by the redoubtable Charles Bayly Franklin (who was to Indian pretty much what Val Page was to BSA). It was intended as a low cost entry-level sidevalve single, and it first appeared in 1925. The following year, however, an OHV option was offered.



Top speed was around 55mph. The short (54-inch) wheelbase coupled with a low (260lbs) weight made this modest 21-cubic incher fairly sprightly. Indian asked a not-unreasonable $195 for the Prince, and promised easier maintenance from the single-cylinder engine, but the firm seduced few customers. By 1929, life support was switched off and the model died a reasonably dignified death. The chassis number is: BLS146. The bike is carrying Italian registration plates (no details).



Next, the above BSA Rocket 3 has got us puzzled a little, pricewise. Styled by Ogle, the famous design house (that also gave us the Bush TR82 radio, the Chopper bicycle, the Bond Bug and Luke Skywalker's Star Wars Landspeeder), these first-of-type machines appear to be struggling lately for buyers. At least, they're struggling at anywhere around £10,000.


Nevertheless, Coys certainly feels that £8,500 - £10,000 is a realistic estimate, and normally we'd agree. But these 750cc Beeza Triples appear to have fallen from grace a little and are gathering dust in various dealerships around the country. There's no obvious reason why. It's probably just one of those wonderful whims of the classic bike world that will sort itself out. But right now, these Rockets are in the doldrums, so someone could be picking up a bargain.


We like 'em plenty. But then, we like more or less anything we can't have. As a motorcycle design that's of-its-time (mid-1960s), you have to look hard to find anything that tops the Rocket. It's brash, bold, over-the-top, improbable, and definitely kitsch. Tip: wear flared trousers, platform heels and an Afro when riding this one.


Meanwhile, we're studying the rest of Coys' catalogue and amusing ourselves by reading the sales copy that looks like it was written by a nine year old (sorry, Coys, but you'll have to do better than that if you want to snatch Bonhams' crown).


All eyes on Blenheim now, please ...


— Girl Happy



▲ Dave Bickers riding a 350cc Greeves at the 1965 Experts Grand National at Larkstoke, Warwickshire. Image courtesy of Eric Miles.



Dave Bickers: 1938 - 2014


He was a Greeves man, a CZ man, a sidecar man, a stuntman, a Suffolk man and—from all accounts—an all-round gentleman. Dave Bickers, who died on Sunday 6th July 2014 was one of the most respected motorcyclists of his generation.


He began competition in the 1950s and was sponsored by DOT Motorcycles from Salford/Manchester. That recommendation caught the attention of Essex-based Greeves, and Bickers was soon headhunted and riding their machines.


In 1960, as a member of the Greeves factory team, he won the 250cc European Motocross Championship. Motor Cycle News was impressed enough to bestow upon him their Man of the Year award.


In 1961, riding with another Greeves team, Bickers again won the European Motocross Championship thereby consolidating his riding prowess and making him the man to beat.


That same year, and in 1962, Bickers was riding in teams that won the Trophée des Nations event. He seemed unstoppable, and for many competitors he was.


In the mid-1960s, Bickers campaigned CZ machines to much success, and he was associated with Matchless and Husqvarna bikes. But it will always be Greeves for which he will be remembered.


In 1976, he launched Bickers Action, a firm which made stunt equipment for the film and TV industries. He even enjoyed a few celluloid moments of his own doubling for Roger Moore in the James Bond film, Octopussy, and had a small stunt role in the film Escape from Athena. His son, Paul, has of late been managing that company—which in (fairly) recent times has built and sold equipment used in other James Bond productions (Casino Royale and Skyfall), plus various Harry Potter movies.


Bickers also founded Bickers Anglia (Accessories) Ltd and supplied tyres, luggage equipment and other parts to the motorcycle trade.


He continued to ride motorcycles and was happy to pass on tips and experience to younger competitors. He was a man of many anecdotes and was generally very agreeable to be around. His friends numbered just about anyone who's anyone of his generation, not least BSA man Jeff Smith.



▲ Former British Motocross champion Vic Allan (left) and Dave Bickers in 2012. Dave could smile plenty, but evidently not necessarily on demand.



Said Suffolk-based bike dealer Andy Tiernan, "Dave had a truly lovely nature, and helped me many times over the years—and, as I recall, he once lent me an outfit for the Irish Rally. He'll be missed by everyone."


Dave Bickers leaves behind a wife (Sylvia), son (Paul), and daughter (Andrea). With his family present, he died in hospital after a short illness.


— Del Monte



Government scraps 60mph limit plan


Well that was a close one, depending on which side of the argument you happen to be. But it seems that Prime Minister David Cameron (and that other has-been LibDem bloke currently keeping a very low profile for fear of being asked again to resign) had been thinking of dropping some motorway speed limits to just 60mph between the hours of 7.00am and 7.00pm, seven days a week.


Specifically, that would be two stretches of the M1 totalling 30 miles, and a three mile stretch of the M3. No, it might not sound like much, but the government always takes it away bit by bit. Are we right?


The idea was to improve air pollution levels to keep the Eurocrats happy and meet new targets. But now it seems that the Highways Agency, the department which would have been tasked with replacing the signs and generally carrying the onerous can, has been told to find other solutions.


Only, there aren't any really, except perhaps by converting everyone to electric vehicles (which is a non starter at the moment), or by taking more drastic measures to (a) limit general access to fossil fuel, or (b) by cutting the population overall, which is ultimately at the root of our manifold national and global woes—and we've got a pretty good idea where those cuts ought to start (isn't Luton on the M1, more or less?).


However, we were kinda hoping that motorway speeds might actually be reduced even further to around 40mph. That would give our old sidevalves a fighting chance on the major national arteries; something that hasn't happened since around 1963. But it's not going to happen, so remember to clear a path for white van man whenever you're out on the national slabs.


It's 70mph as normal across the country, except where temporary special reductions are required.


— Big End




MyLicence insurance honesty checks


Telling fibs, lies, porkies, untruths, falsehoods and whoppers to your insurance company will be significantly more difficult after the summer of 2014. That's because the driving records of all British motorists and motorcyclists will be posted on a database for underwriters to check.


Actually, they can already check you out by picking up the phone or firing off an email to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). But it takes time and money, so they rarely take this route.


But come the autumn, it will be pretty much an automatic check from computer to computer, and that could see many premiums rise, but could also see many fall.


That's because although sixteen percent of drivers/riders under-report driving convictions and their accrued points, another seven percent over-report and mention penalty points that have lapsed. But soon your insurers will know automatically and will adjust your policy accordingly.


The program was originally called: Insurance Industry Access to Driving Data. But this has been re-branded to: MyLicence. Except that the licence is never yours. Ultimately, it always belongs to the government.


Regardless, if you're under-reporting simply to get an insurance certificate to flash to the coppers, your lying days are numbered (at least as far as this issue is concerned).

— The Third Man



Ex-servicemen's charity Euro jolly


Feel like sponsoring a couple of ex-squaddies on their European tour? If so, talk to Harry Glover of 4/73 Special OP Battery, and Pete Bray of 22 SAS and ask them about their "Triumph over Tragedy" ride.


These guys are hoping to raise money for three charities, specifically:


British Limbless Ex-Service Men’s Association
Alder Hey Children’s Charity
Soldiers off the Streets


According to the press release, the ex-soldiers will be leaving Buckingham Palace on 1st August 2014, and then riding across the European continent travelling as far north as Helsinki, as far east as Bucharest, and as far south as Athens. The intention is to visit all 26 European capital cities over a 28 day period.


Glover and Bray are looking for anyone who can provide them with equipment, supplies and (not least) the bikes. They'll also be staying in hotels and are looking for finance for that.


Sounds like a gruelling journey, huh? Riding around Europe for a month on a couple of motorcycles at someone else's expense. Call us a bunch of cynics, but these kind of charity rides would no doubt draw a lot more support if they didn't sound like such good fun.



Don't get us wrong. We LOVE charitable events, and the charities listed above are no doubt very worthy causes. But this ride is expected to cost around £50,000, which is pushing £2,000 per day. Moreover, our two intrepid riders launched a new business nine months ago offering "security services" to whoever needs it (which could be us when this news item hits the www). That business is called .... well, let's not embarrass them further. But they'll be promoting that on the trip.


There will, apparently, be general Meet-the-Press pow-wows throughout the month, and we also hear that Harry Glover's daughter will be undergoing surgery at Alder Hey Hospital, which prompted him to set up the charity.


So we telephoned Chris Barnes at Famous Publicity who is handling the PR and asked if we had our facts right. The upshot was that yes, this is a 28 day tour to 26 European capitals, costing around £50,000, ideally on borrowed motorcycles (but possibly on their own bikes if a sponsor can't be found).


"What's the target amount they're hoping to raise?" we asked.

"There's isn't one," said Chris. "Just as much as possible."

"Will they be promoting their security business on the tour?"


"Is this by any chance a new business?"

"Yes, it was set up nine months ago."

"Don't you think that this is going to look like a couple of self-interested guys having a holiday around Europe at someone else's expense?"

"I can understand how it might look like that."


Nuff said?


— Dexxion



1933 Harley Davidson VLE


Mecum's July 2014 Harrisburg sale


The date will be July 27th 2014. The place is Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, USA. Two hundred motorcycles are listed. And the star bike lots hail from the famous Mike Quinn Collection which is a stunning back-catalogue of over 100 motorcycles that have been collected by Quinn since 1962.


Quinn, of Coos Bay, Oregon, began his obsession with a 1942 Harley-Davidson 45, and developed it with various Panheads, Duo Glides, Electra Glides, Sportsters and, not least, the predecessor of the Sportster, the Model K sidevalves—one of his favourite machines, we understand. The images immediately above and below show Lot U23, a 1933 1207cc Harley-Davidson VLE from the Quinn Collection. In its day, this 45-degree sidevalve was good for 104mph.


Harley Davidson VLE


Additionally, Quinn has incorporated into his collection rare Harley racing WRs, KRs and XRs; bikes that are attracting a lot of interest from international buyers anxious to carve off a few slices of rare American beef.


UPDATE: The Harley-Davidson VLE sold for $17,500.


Harley Davidson KH


▲ Lot U40. 1956 Harley-Davidson KH (Quinn Collection). This 55 cubic inch (901cc) sidevalve is the last of the Ks and is offered with original paint, a 4-speed transmission (with trapdoor access). A cool flathead Hog.

UPDATE: The Harley-Davidson KH sold for $19,000.




But having amassed this fabled collection of iron, steel aluminium and rubber (many of which have been displayed in museums and as special exhibits), Quinn now wants to sell up put a little space back in his shed. And that's what Mecum Auction ("The world's largest seller of antique motorcycles") intends to do.


So has he ridden any or all of these motorcycles? "Yes, about sixty percent of them," he says. "But I am finished collecting and feel I achieved my goals in putting together a display of the wonderful variety of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. I truly see them as works of arts.”


But they're not all Harleys. There are a few classic Hondas and Kawaskis in there too. And what's it all worth? We don't know, not until after the sale. But if you accept an average price of, say, $10,000 per bike, (which could be way too low, or too high), you're looking at a cool $1 million—plus forty or fifty years of a man's life. And what's that worth?


XLH Boat Tail Sportster


▲ Lot U91. 1970 Boat Tail XLH Sportster. Harley-Davidson was trying to break out of its Electra Glide mould and hoping to excite the world with this 900cc factory custom. It bombed. But today, the wheel has turned...



Harley Davidson Boat Tail Sportster


▲ ... and these 55-inch Ironheads are highly desirable, especially by us lot at Sump. This example is offered with original "Sparkling Green and White" livery and electric starter (no kicker). Last year of the Boat Tails.

UPDATE: The Harley-Davidson Boat Tail XLH sold for $10,000.



Meanwhile, check the images below for some of the other lots that are not from the Quinn Collection.


Izh Planeta


▲ Lot U175. 1972 Izh Planeta. These were built by the Ruskies and are based upon an East German DKW design. This is a "brand new" bike with only 24 miles on the clock. With its "art deco" design, the build quality is actually "very good". Not just Russian good, but just good.

UPDATE: The Izh Pleneta didn't sell.



Indian Chief and sidecar


Lot U13. 1953 Indian Chief and sidecar. This bike has covered just 8,966 miles. The warpaint on the Chief is said to be original. But 40 years ago, the sidecar saw an extra splash of colour. Still looks good though.

UPDATE: The Indian Chief and sidecar sold for $40,000.




— Del Monte




So who the hell are you people?


We're looking for feedback on exactly who you guys, and girls, are out there in Sumpland. We already know plenty about you because you write and send us pictures and buy our products and tell us interesting tales.


But we're greedy and want more. Why? Because it will help shape the future of Sump, and we've got plans.


So spare us an email (and we know you've got plenty and wouldn't miss one little one). Just tell us what you own and ride. That's all. No home addresses. No banking information. No personal details at all. We just want to hear about the bikes.


And we're not offering anything in return. No freebies. No bike show tickets. No visiting call girls (or boys). Absolutely nothing—except Sump itself which is currently carrying well over a quarter of a million free words on your favourite (or is that, second favourite?) preoccupation.



— Girl Happy




Francis Barnett "makes a comeback"


It's called the Merlin, and it reads "Francis Barnett" on the petrol tank, but beyond that it's a Chinese-built HMC motorcycle. Francis Barnett aficionado and current owner of the FB name, Andrew Longfield, recently displayed the above trials model at Coventry Motofest and has expressed a desire to put it into production alongside a road-going version, the name as yet unspecified.


The above 124cc, SOHC, air-cooled, Chinky-dinky single puts out a claimed 10.7bhp with a modest, noodle-stretching 6.3ft-lbs of torque. The front brake is a disc squeezed by a twin-piston caliper. The rear brake is an unspecified drum. The dry weight of this new standard bearer is 235lbs (107kgs), and we suspect that the brand-conscious, status hungry, technology thieving Chinese are very happy about the tie-up between their product and the Francis Barnett name.


But we also suspect that most FB men will be choking on their cornflakes over this affront to the dignity of a once great name and will subsequently be demanding that Longfield rethinks, recants and retreats.


"It was a moment of madness. One of the cleverest things I've ever done, or one of the stupidest."

 — Andrew Longfield on buying the Francis Barnett name five years ago


The Francis Barnett name, after all, has a lot of worthy historic baggage. The company was founded in 1919 by Gordon Inglesby Francis and Arthur Barnett. The business operated out of Lower Ford Street, in Coventry (Longfield's home town, by the way) and largely built its fame and reputation around a straight tube triangulated frame concept that could "fit into a golf bag".


"Built like a bridge" was the proud Francis Barnett boast. The bikes, meanwhile, were largely powered by the ubiquitous Villiers two-stroke range of engines. But later (1947), under the ownership of Associated Motor Cycles, AMC engines crept into the picture. By 1966, however, AMC was in terminal trouble and Francis Barnett went down with the ship.

The Merlin was one such model from the FB stable. But other birdy names included the Hawk, Plover, Falcon, Kestrel, and Snipe. So much for the potted history lesson.


But slapping such a respected monicker on a cheap Chinese import and having the audacity to put it back on the market at any price is likely to earn Longfield a biking fatwah not to mention a few nasty emails.



But we've given up getting aerated about such marketing machinations. The motorcycling back-catalogue of available brands has already been soundly raided, adulterated, largely gentrified, bent out of shape and priced out of reach of many Joe Bikers. So if someone wants to flog trendy Belstaff clothing and Lewis Leathers to people who like to stand beside rusty old motorcycles and look "cool", who the hell are we to argue? We're just little people.


And if Andrew Longfield wants to resurrect this particular corpse and create a rolling mausoleum from it, we're not sneering. Seriously. You have to light your own torch in this world. Are we right?


However, we'd rather Longfield had made this bike just a smidgen more British, or at least European. Or okay, at least Western. Why? Because Francis Barnett were noted for building quality motorcycles, and the Chinese ain't. There's a painful disconnect there.


And Andy, if you're out there, ya gotta do something about that awful website of yours. Or was that built in China too? Good luck with your project.




— Dexxion




2014 Indian Chieftain at Sturgis


The (legendary) 74th Sturgis Motorcycle Rally (set in the equally legendary Black Hills of Dakota) is coming around again and kicks off this year on 4th August 2014 and ends on 10th August (Monday to Sunday).


Sturgis was founded way back in 1938 by the Jackpine Gypsies Motorcycle Club. The idea was to create a venue for motorcycle hill climbs and stunt riding whilst generally hanging out with the boys and getting drunk, etc.



The event exploded in the 1970s and 1980s, and today it boasts around 400,000 visitors spread over "Sturgis Week", depending on who you ask. But nobody is challenging the fact that the entire town of around 6,400 hardworking, sunburned Dakotan souls is overwhelmed by an army of denim- and leather-clad brothers happy to strut their stuff, get stoned, get laid, get another tattoo, hang out, ride the strip, listen to the music, maybe have a fight or two, spend (allegedly) around $800 million, and generally enjoy the carnival and have a good time.


Think Glastonbury, on two wheels.




Well Indian Motorcycles will once again be there in as much force as this tribe can muster and will be fielding a range of "all American" bikes. And it was at last year's Sturgis, note, that Indian displayed its new Chief (see Sump May 2013).


The firm is very bullish (or is that Sitting Bullish?) about the future and is more determined than ever to cut a large slice of Harley-Davidson's cake. They send us press releases about every ten minutes, and Polaris Industries, which owns the name, has clearly put a lot of money into this firm. So good luck to 'em.


The 2014 Chieftain is powered by Indian's beautiful looking Thunder Stroke 111 engine. That's 1819cc of 49-degree V-twin.


The bore and stroke is 3.976 inches x 4.449 inches (or 101mm x 113mm in Brit-speak). The compression ratio 9.5:1. And the bike kicks out 119.2 ft-lbs of torque at a soporific 3,000rpm.




This bike, we're told, is the first factory-built Indian with a hard fairing and hard luggage. Other standard features include a cast aluminium frame, cruise control, anti-lock brakes, constant tyre pressure monitoring and keyless start.


And the UK price? Around £20,000 (check eBay for dealers).


“This bike is all I expected and more,” says David, an otherwise anonymous Indian® Chieftain™ owner from somewhere unspecified speaking via Indian's website—which is as dull a soundbite you're ever likely to hear, and (we hope) one that's unworthy of a cool-looking machine such as this.


Since the firm was founded in 1901 by George M. Hendee and Carl Oscar Hedström, Indian has had more than its share of commercial ups and downs. Well we'd like to see this latest incarnation ride a long, long highway, and giving Harley-Davidson a run for its money can only raise the game to the benefit of everyone.


Meanwhile, regardless of where you are in the world, if you haven't visited Sturgis, it's got to be one of the major events on the international biking calendar. So just go.


Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

— Girl Happy





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