Saturday 29 September 2012

Don't look, classic cars fans!!

Back in the 70s, old cars were just that - old cars. Not 'classics', 'appreciating investments', or and other such rubbish. They were worth nothing and nobody wanted them.  So the only thing to do with them was race them round a track bashing into each other, and hope that your car survived to the end. I remember watching this as a teenager on 'World of Sport with Dickie Davis', and if you watch this clip to the end, you'll see Dickie himself. He was very popular with 'women of a certain age' - must have been the moustache and bouffant hair. Perhaps I should adopt that look!

Just to underline how little people cared about old cars in those days, even by the mid 80s they could have a race just for Jaguars.

Of course, the spectators wanted to get in on the act, so they let them race their own cars on the track. They didn't need helmets or roll cages, and you'd need the windows for the drive home - what could possibly go wrong?

Sculpture corner

Thanks to mr. combo for this one.

A statue has been unveiled in Paris commemorating Zinedan Zidane's infamous headbutt of Italy's Marco Materazzi during the 2006 World Cup Final.

Love that facial expression!

Article from France 24:

Six years after French football legend Zinedine Zidane was ejected from the 2006 World Cup championships for headbutting another player, the infamous moment has been immortalised in the form of a bronze statue in the heart of the French capital.

It was a moment that France will never forget. In the 110th minute of the 2006 World Cup final between France and Italy, Les Bleus captain Zinedine Zidane headbutted Italian defender Marco Materazzi. Zidane was ejected from the game, France lost and a nation was left heartbroken.
Now the infamous move has been immortalised in the form of a massive bronze statue on exhibit outside of Paris’ world famous Pompidou centre.
The five-metre (16 feet) tall statue, which is very appropriately titled “Headbutt”, had already attracted herds of tourists and locals on Wednesday, who jostled each other to have their photo taken beside it.
The gargantuan sculpture was created by Algerian artist Adel Abdessemed, who the Pompidou is doing a retrospective exhibit on from October 3 until January.
“An ode to defeat”

"This statue goes against the tradition of making statues in honour of certain victories. It is an ode to defeat," said exhibition organiser Alain Michaud.
Zidane became a legend in France after playing on the national teams that won both the 1998 World Cup and the Euro 2000. The headbutting incident was made all the more tragic by the fact that Zidane had announced that the match would be his last professional appearance as a player. Zidane later claimed that Materazzi had provoked him by insulting his mother and sister.
The statue will remain in front of the Pompidou till the end of the Abdessemed exhibition in January. A much smaller version of the piece was previously on display in a New York art gallery.

And here's the original:

Friday 28 September 2012

Friday bike

Here's another rarity, and another that I've never see.

The Moto Shifty 900.

Yes, another car engined bike, this time using the engine from a Fiat 127.

From MCS

The Shifty 900 was built in Busa of Vigo (Padova) between 1977 and 1982 by Hugh Grandis, who came from Chrysler South Africa. Not more than 70 Shifty were constructed. with a purpose made frame fitted with a 903cc Fiat 127 engine using a variety of cycle parts from Laverda such as the large and powerful rear twin leading shoe rear brake and swinging arm, Marzocchi forks and brembo front brakes, the fuel tank is under a Benelli seat to keep the weight down low.
The drive is through the Fiat gearbox that has had one side of the drive diff locked and a sprocket where the drive shaft came out of the gear box on the other side with a duplex chain to a secondary shaft which has the final drive sprocket on the end.
The bike uses the standard car speedo and rev counter which are fitted into the turtle like shell which covers the large frame
Most of the components derived from other models: the seat was taken by Benelli 906, while the front and rear axles were those of the Laverda SF 750. The power was 45 hp and the motorcycle reacheda speed 170 km / h. The weight of nearly 269 kg.
.It is very quiet ,smooth and tractable you can pull away in almost any gear. very easy D.I.Y maintenance distributor ignition with contact breakers, a single carburettor which gives smoother running than a multi carb a very simple engine with cheap and easy to obtain consumables.

Shows that at least one made it to Britain

It had an elaborate gear shift system with a 'heel and toe' setup which also moved sideways as it used a car gearbox with a 'gate' arrangement. I can't imagine this worked very well!
About 70 Shiftys were built, and I would have thought it more suited to sidecar use, as it looks a bit too bulky to be ridden as a solo as this magazine cover shows:

Here's a short film about it (in Italian) in which the gearchange mechanism is referred to.

Found a roadtest (in Italian), and this is what the Fiat 127 looked like, engine suits it a bit better!

Thursday 27 September 2012


To show I'm not biased against scooters, I found this programme originally shown on Channel4 in the 90s about the rise of the scooter. It shows how the scooter was developed separately by Piaggio and Innocenti, using differing engineering approaches, but both ended up with similar products. It also shows how deeply ingrained scooters were in Italian society, and how they outsold cars at one time.
This reminded me of a former boss I worked for in the late 70s/early 80s. When he saw I had a motorbike, he mentioned that he had once owned a scooter and had gone on his honeymoon on it. Judging by his age this would have been in the early 60s, and where did they go? How about camping in Greece! Just imagine riding from Scotland to Greece on a scooter, with a pillion, carrying heavy 60s camping gear, on 60s roads! They must have been in love!!

Wednesday 26 September 2012


OK, for those of you who don't get the musical connection, here's the video. Just don't ask me to explain it......

Tuesday 25 September 2012

Cool car

Some of you may be familiar with the film 'A Clockwork Orange', made in 1971 by Stanley Kubrick and based on the novella by Anthony Burgess. In the UK this has a degree of notoriety, mostly coming from the mistaken belief that the film was so violent that it was banned from being shown.
Although the film is very violent, it was never actually banned, rather Kubrick chose to withdraw the film following threats to him and his wife following lurid newspaper reports and real crimes alleged to have been 'inspired by the film'. It continued to be shown in other countries, and I saw a subtitled version of it during a trip to France in the 80s.
Following Kubrick's death in 1999, the film became available on DVD in the UK, and had a theatrical re-release in 2000.
A few months ago, what should I find in the 'bargain bin' in my local Morrison's supermarket, but a copy of the DVD for 4 or 5 pounds. It was interesting viewing as a bit of a period piece – being made in 1971, it's set in the 'near future' – so looks like 1971 but with slight 'twists' of fashion and style. There's scene set in a record shop where contemporary records are on sale, including Pink Floyd's 'Atom Heart Mother', which was originally planned to provide the film's soundtrack. The soundtrack used is a mixture of classical pieces and specially composed works for the synthesizer written by Wendy (then Walter) Carlos. I believe this was the first film to use a synthesizer soundtrack.
Getting to the point of this post – in one scene in the film, the main characters steal a car (referred to as the 'Durango 95'), and drive at high speed through the countryside forcing other vehicles off of the road.

You can't really make out much of the car in the film, but it was one of only three examples of the Probe 16. This was designed by Dennis and Peter Adams, who had previous worked for car company Marcos, as 'an investigation into extremes of styling'.

The car was only 34 inches (86 cm) high, and the only access into the seating compartment is via the roof hatch!
Of the three built, only one is still intact – the first model was bought by American songwriter Jim Webb and later burnt out. The second one was bought by Scottish bassist Jack Bruce, who later gave it as a birthday present to his bandmate 'Corky' Laing, who features it on the cover of his book 'Stick It'.

This car is currently in the collection of Canadian Phillip Karam. Website here includes a 'walkround' video.
The third car was on display in the US before returning to the UK. Apparently, during restoration, it was lifted on a hoist and snapped in two!!
A truly exotic car, but slightly let down by its engine. It's a bored and tuned version of that used in an Austin 1800 (aka Giant Land Crab), not exactly a high point of British engineering!

Saturday 22 September 2012

Breakfast run - Brig O' Turk

Leading on from Kawa's post about the tea room in Brig O' Turk, seven of us met there for breakfast this morning

Me – Skorpion Traveller
Kawa – Kawasaki ZRX 1100
Terry – Skorpion Tour
Gareth – Sachs 800
Colin 1 – Kawasaki KZ 900 LTD
Colin 2 – Kawasaki Z1
mr. combo – car (yah! boo!)

We'd planned on meeting soon after the tearoom opened at 10am, so I got the bike out early and noticed that we'd had the first frost of the winter. Nothing much, just a light coating in the garden and frost on car windscreens, but enough to remind us that the summer's over (not that we had much of a summer this year!)
It's only about 50 miles (80 km) to Brig O' Turk from my house, and the road was fairly quiet. Although it wasn't that cold, I did ride through some fog just before Loch Lomond, but not enough to be a problem and it cleared quickly.
After Aberfoyle I took the Duke's Pass, as reasonably tight winding road which affords good views. I soon arrived in Brig O' Turk, and we went in to the tearoom for one of their superb breakfasts (highly recommended!) We had a good chat about bikes, trips we'd been, etc., and started talking about where we were going for our summer trip next year (more on that later.)
The tearoom is very popular with hillwalkers and mountain bikers, and whilst we were there, four couples arrived on motorbikes, two each from Belgium and the Netherlands. One of the couples were on a Jawa 660, a bike none of us had seem before as I don't believe that it's available here. Turned out the rider was the Belgian Jawa importer.
After breakfast we went out to look at the bikes and chat some more, then headed off into what had become a sunny and slightly warmer day.
It was good to get out for a run on the bike and to catch up with people, and hopefully we can arrange a few more meetings before the winter arrives properly.

There was a small snail on the Jawa's rear wheel rim. No idea whether it had slithered on whilst it was parked, or had been there for a while - holding on for dear life as the bike went along!

The Duke's Pass is popular with motorcyclists due to the tight bends and good views, and also the hills from the Aberfoyle side are a challenge to cyclists, so you always have to look out for them. Unfortunately, it's also popular with tour buses and elderly drivers who seem to be unable to drive over 27 mph, so it's worth visiting early to avoid them.Found this video of a ride over so you can see what it's like:

I stopped on the way back to take a picture of my bike on the Pass, with the wonderfully named Loch Drunkie in the background.

The route:

Friday 21 September 2012

Friday bike

Benelli 'El Diablo' 250 - Cool or what?

I know nothing about this bike other than it's a Benelli horizontal 250cc 4 stroke single. I found the pictures in a gallery taken at the Backfire Moto rally in Seattle. Well worth a look as there were plenty of cool bikes (and a couple of cool cars). The 'Repsol Gold Wing' is, well, something else!

Friday 14 September 2012

Of mice and men.....

I'd mentioned in the last post that I was going away for the weekend. The plan was that mr combo, Gareth, and I were going for a camping trip to Applecross (see previous trip report). It was partly that we were offered free breakfasts to entice us to visit at what is the beginning of the end of the 'season', and also Gareth wanted a run on his new bike to see how well it 'toured.'
I'd packed my luggage yesterday, but was starting to get concerned as the weather was getting progressively worse. You expect rain at this time of year, but it was the very strong wind that was causing problems. As Friday is 'bin day' where I live, my neighbours had put their bins out on Thursday night, and before long the street was full of wheely bins running amok! I checked the BBC Weather website and found this for the Bealach na Bá:
The black dot with the arrow and '51' inside it represents windspeed in mph (that's c.80 km/h!) Bearing in mind the problems I had riding in the wind on our last trip, things weren't looking good.
mr combo phoned me early this morning to say that he's heard a report on the radio that various bridges in the Highlands were closed due to high wind, and windspeeds of over 60 mph (100 km/h) had been recorded. This was the point where we decided to abandon the trip!
It had gone from being 'a nice trip with the possibility of poor weather', to 'a miserable trip in windy conditions with a fair chance of being blown off the road on some of the exposed bits'.
It was a shame as I was looking forward to the trip, and it would have been the first time I'd have camped for at least 2 or 3 years, but it had passed from being 'daring' to 'foolhardy.'
Oh well, it'll still be there next year!

Thursday 13 September 2012

Friday bike

A day early because I'm going away for the weekend.

This one's specially for Mo, who follows my blog but isn't interested in motorbikes. However, this one at least is built in Spain.

 Dragon Atila 1000 R Concept

Text stolen from here:

A collaboration between Spanish designer DragonTT and Madrid based builder MotoYE this Spanish duo is responsible for this blatantly “love it or hate it” motorcycle, which debuted at the 2010 EICMA show. At the core of the bike is the 1000cc Yamaha R1 inline-four motor, which puts down 160hp to the tarmac. The chassis has been derived from a 1990′s Yamaha GTS1000, which features one of the first single-sided RADD designs from James Parker, a man whose work you recently saw on the Mission Motors Mission R electric superbike.
The Atila 1000 R further raids the Yamaha parts bin with its R6 headlights, while aftermarket parts come from Brembo, Öhlins, and Moriwaki. The “ass up in the air” look isn’t really our style, but harkens to the original streetfighter scene, making the Dragon TT Atila 1000 R have a bit of old school meets new school flare.

An interesting concept, I'm sure you'll agree, with many interesting design ideas. I particularly like how the fairing and front mudguard make it look like some sort of mad insect, and fitting the headlights into a 'split' in the fairing works particularly well. The raised rear end, however.........

Motorbikes tend to be quite conservative in their design, so it's always good to see someone trying something new.

Wednesday 12 September 2012

Trip to Jordan

Found a bit of video of a group of riders on 2 MZs and a Yamaha , who rode from Poland to Jordan (the country, not the pneumatic Ms. Price).
Interesting to see film from countries that few European riders visit, and the scenery and archaeology are superb.

Video is here, and it goes without saying that they are 'touring on singles'!

The site is in Polish, but if you click on wyjazdy it takes you to links to lots of photos and videos of other trips the author has taken.

Friday 7 September 2012

Car show

Found some photos I'd taken at a car show at National Museum of Rural Life in East Kilbride in April, 2010.

Ford Zephyr 4, Mark 3. My Dad had one of these.

Morris Marinas - phwoar!