Early American Racers
Friday, October 22, 2010
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
I love looking at auction catalogues especially Bonhams detailing some wonderful bikes, spares, and collectibles. Most of the stuff is out of my league but one can dream. The October 17th Staffordshire auction has some great items with all the usual cast of high dollar characters. There appears to be a liquidation sale of Vincents and Vincent spares. Beautiful pieces to be sure especially when paired with Broughs and Goldies. What caught my attention however was the little beauty below:
1953 EMC 125cc Racer courtesy of Bonhams
According to the Bonhams' description, EMC was founded by Dr. Josef Ehrlich, an Austrian engineer, who emigrated to Great Britain in 1946. His unconventional ideas appear to have forced him out of mainstream production and into racing. His initial design of a phasing piston was considered a form of supercharging and was blocked from competition by the FIM. Dr. Ehrlich then built a series of Puch-based split single racers in 1952 which I believe is pictured above. Very popular in the 1953 TT with Surtees being the most notable rider. Unfortunately, he was injured on a practice run. According to the Bonhams' description, these bikes had the honor of being the noisiest bikes of all time.
Credit to Bonhams for all the info and photo
Friday, October 8, 2010
Saturday, October 2, 2010
I'm just sitting here watching the Petit LeMans sipping on my morning coffee while perusing this weeks blogs and came across a couple of tidbits. I like motorsports for the nostalgic notion of sportmanship in the old fashioned sense. I am not the only one. Notably, Jeff Decker in a recent blog post on his Cannonball experience alluded to that as well. All of us who ride classic, vintage, and veteran bikes are romantics trying to recapture a bygone era. I will say that nostalgia is a bit dangerous in that it is an abstraction that tends to filter out the negative aspects. Maybe things weren't as "honorable" back then as we percieve them to be leading to disappointment when we are confronted with less than gentlemanly conduct. Reading period racing books seem to indicate that competition was pretty cutthroat even in the early days. I am sad to read that The Cannonball revealed some competitive ugliness that clearly was not in the spirit of the event. I will not let that detract from my admiration of the competitors particularly the good guys that I follow religiously via the web.
I was completely gobsmacked by the story of Paul Teutal's Falcon rip-off and fell into a stream of explitives that I won't repeat. I am glad that Paul Jr. came to his senses and took the t-shirt off his site. What is weird is that the Falcon bike is not his aesthetic and belies a certain amount of marketing desperation. It does highlight more of what Jeff Decker alluded to in his post. Motorcycling currently is very popular particularly "classic" motorcycling. That popularity has opened up the hobby or lifestyle to many and I can say that in my own little adventure I have been a beneficary of it. It has also brought many for the wrong reasons such as profiteering, status seeking, fashion which all boil down to selfishness. The beauty of the internet is that while it has promoted the presence of this unsavory element it also appears to filter them out. Let's face it. Paul Jr. in less than 24 hours was called out and reacted appropriately to the pressure.
What I learned from all of this is that life is self-sorting. My nostalgic vision will occasionally bump up against what I abhor but I am also afforded the ability to quickly filter it out. I have mentioned it in past posts that through this blog I have been able to make some great friends and hope to make more that share my vision. Actions definitely speak louder than words and us newbies to classic motorcycling are the future of the sport. We are charged with being good stewards but also require good mentoring to preserve the arcane knowledge that makes the hobby so interesting and essential. The good guys are out there and we collectively know who they are. Happy Riding and Wrenching!!!!