Franco Mosca’s Scooter Art

our weekly
Saturday Car Post
hosts a series of
Lambretta / Vespa
images from the
venerable Italian
( Piedmontese )
poster artist,
and illustrator
Franco Mosca.


Mosca was responsible
for the art in the annual
Lambretta calendars in
the years 1951 and

— his work is still much
favored among the fans
of the genre.


Actually, “Scooter Art”
has become increasingly
popular in the 2010’s —

— it certainly has a
special kind of charm
that Mosca’s work in
particular tends to


As previously stated,
Mosca was a well
known poster artist,
and also created
adverts for:

BMG Bicycles,
San Pellegrino,
Sesa Detergent,
Binacrin Shampoo,
Simmentha Meats,
Paglieri Perfume,
Kendall Motor Oil,
CGE Radio,
Amonn Farm Products,
Zuegg Jams,
Oransoda and
Lemonsoda, etc.


Mosca used several
styles in his posters,
and that sometimes
makes his art harder
to spot –

— for instance, he
did a good deal of
work in a neo-socialist
realistic style that is
very unlike any of the
ladies he created for
his Lambretta/Vespa

An example of this
style can be found
at the bottom of
this post.


He was a prolific
artist, living and
working well into
his 90’s, and is
in part for his
“Vespa Art”.



Just in case you’re
not familiar with
the Innocenti
(Lambretta) and
Piaggio (Vespa)
lines, both brands
were inspired by
American made
Cushman scooters
(used by G.I.’s)
after World War II
to create popular
economical small
rugged motorbikes,
and they became
ubiquitous throughout
Europe in the 1950’s
and 1960’s.

Lambretta production
has been discontinued
at present, but the
Vespa brand scooter
is still made today
at their plant near
Pisa in Tuscany-

— their most
popular markets
are in Italy,
and Southeast Asia.


! Ciao !


Franco Mosca – 1939 – Fiat 500












The Norton ES-2 Motorcycle



Today’s Car Post
is about one of
my favorite

– in this case,
a British made
rocket called the
Norton ES-2.


Similar to the
Norton Model 18,
in everything, that is,
but with springs on the
rear suspension and the
overhead valve engine
configuration, the ES-2
had a girder forked frame,
and used a single cylinder
500 cc engine.

It was an
extremely popular,
durable and versatile
motorcycle –


– for
the 36 years that
Norton built it –
between 1927
and 1963.

The machine
was especially
well thought of by
riders and mechanics
alike for it’s ease
of maintenance
and simplicity
of design.


Alec Bennett won
the winner’s podium
at the Isle of Man TT
in 1924 on a Model 18,
and the ES-2 was even
better and more nimble.

It’s top speed was
about 90 MPH –
– not bad for a single
cylindered 500.

The last real ES-2 rolled
off the assembly line
in 1963.

1965 MK2

( in 1965 , the parent
company of Norton,
AMC, produced
a “ES-2 Mark 2” based
on a “Matchless” frame
badged as a Norton. ) –>


!! HOY !!

1948 Norton ES-2

Muscleheaded’s Top Four Classic Motorcycles

motI always love to
make our wonderful
Muscleheaded readers
happy if I can…

Today, I had a
unique opportunity
to do that in
this post.

And me, too —
’cause I LOVE to ride, —

You see,

sidecarthis is a post on four —

(count ’em- four!)

(and which probably
explains the ridiculously
long title)

— it’s about gorgeous vintage (old) motorcycles.

One of my readers
had sent me an email
mentioning a post I did
some time ago called:

fastThe Best of Vintage British Motorcycles“.

The writer asked if I liked any other kinds of sleds other than Brit ones….

and, further inquired what I thought of German ones,

since she was …

… well..,

from Germany.

And truthfully,
although I’m obviously a
huge fan of English and American bikes,

— my all time favorite bike
was made in Germany, in the 1930’s.

Here it is.

Motorcycle of the Week -- 1934 BMW R-7 Concept

It’s called the 1934 BMW R-7.

This one-of-a-kind concept bike was made by BMW in 1933, and designed by the renowned German engineer Alfred Böning.

It’s striking appearance draws from the Art Deco movement, with it’s aero-dynamic wrap-around body,

——– but it’s beauty was much more than skin deep.

It featured a pressed-steel frame, and the first telescopic forks ever featured on a motorcycle.

r7The power plant, based on a 800 cc Boxer engine with hemispherical combustion chambers, made only about 40 horsepower,

….but could reach speeds of almost 100 miles per hour.

An automotive style shifter, controlling a four speed gear box, was mounted under the right handlebar.

The design was so cutting edge, that the bike is still winning awards today…

Perhaps, that’s because until 2005, the bike had been sealed in a container in the BMW warehouse…

It hadn’t been seen by the public since before World War II.

It had been a prototype for a new model, and with all the ‘excitement’ going on in Europe during the time, it was ‘put on ice’ until later.

Like, much later, man.

It’s currently valued at over 1.2 million dollars,
……. and resides at the BMW museum near Munich.

Nice, huh?

It’s a damn shame I won’t get to ride it…

A bike that doesn’t get ridden, especially by ME, isn’t really living up to it’s cosmic potential, but it sure is pretty, anyway.

I’m sure there’s other stuff I could say the same about, now that I think about it.

Next !

My second favorite is kind of singing the same tune as far as aerodynamics is concerned….

But it’s a British design
from the late 1950’s.


This motorcycle, called the 1958 Ariel Leader, was a beautifully thought out machine, with wrap around panels that concealed much of the workings, and had an ultra-modern sleekness to it –

The modernity extended even to the finishing touches,

For instance, it came with full advanced instrumentation including a clock, and an integrated windscreen.

Of course,
arielthe wrap around enclosure panels themselves were not new to English motorcycle design-

(and the Germans had pioneered the idea in the R-7 …. )

Vincent’s “Black Prince” had also used a very similar setup.

But, the Ariel promised a sharper, sleeker look, and offered an interesting array of colors, including red or blue offset with gray two tone paint schemes.

This bike might have done well
if plans for models with larger
displacement engines had come to fruition…

…… as it stood, it won the award
for 1959 “Motorcycle of the Year“.

It was a really cool look .

I can’t help but think that a
1000 CC size “Leader” would
have taken the American
market by storm, if it could
have been marketed and
engineered properly….

Which brings me,
….. to this bike.


You probably think of Ducati
as a manufacturer of exotic Italian racing bikes.

And, despite my pick isn’t
a crotch rocket, you’d still be right .

This one, although it doesn’t
look like it, I guess, would
literally accelerate until the
tires came off.

Developed to directly compete
with Harley Davidson, especially
in the United States market,
it never made it into mass production…..

The bike–
the full name of which was the:
1964 Ducati Berliner 1260 Apollofestival

— packed a 76 cubic inch (1250cc) 90 degree V-4 punch—

and it would actually accelerate faster than it’s tires would tolerate…..

Yep… to over 120 mph

…… at a time when motorcycle
tires weren’t sturdy enough
to take speeds over 90.

Yoooooooooooooooowwwwwwwwwwwwweeeeee — that’s for me, man.

Only two were made before
the whole project went up
in black smoke.

( Is that rubber burning, or
are you just happy to see me ? )

Now, I know a couple of my fellow
1%ers are responding to my choices
so far with some skepticism and
probably more than a little profanity
about the lack of an American bike
on this list.

Hey, so be it, shovel head….
I’m getting there, brother,
I’m getting there.

Don’t rush me, s’all.

‘Cause my last choice is sure
to make the whole read worth it.

No, it ain’t a 1929
Henderson Streamline K-J
or a 1930’s Super-X —
— too hard to keep in tune for
an incompetent mechanic like me.

No, it ain’t a 1945 Harley Davidson
WLA , although I’d kill for one of them.

No, it ain’t even an Indian,
………… and I’m a huge fan,
especially of the Indian Chief.

It’s this bike, right t’yere.


A 1937 Crocker Hemi 91 cubic inch V-Twin

For fifty years, it was the largest displacement motorcycle engine to ever have been produced… up until 1993.

It was available in three colors– blue, red or black.

You did have three choices in trim color too….
…. black,
or ,,,,, ummmm… lessee….
oh, yeah, black.

It was built at 1436
Venice Blvd, in Los Angeles, USA–

… by the Crocker Motorcycle Company, crocker
a year after they
started making V-Twins,
and only four years before they went belly up completely.

Their production of motorcycles had, at one time, been third behind Harley Davidson and Indian,

But now, even
simple parts for them,
like gas tanks–
—- are very expensive,
and even harder to get than a
date in the lobby of the V-D clinic.

You don’t see one of these bad boys
running on the road very often,
…. and when you do, the waxer
that’s riding it has got more
money than Elvis.

Which kinda ruins it for me, but still.



(Art by Enoch Bolles )

The 1964 Ducati Apollo


You might consider
yourself an expert vintage motorcycle aficionado,
and still,
you may not
recognize this sled….

………….. if not,
I quite understand.

You see, this Ducati, developed
to directly compete with Harley Davidson,
especially in the United States market,
never made it into mass production.

And you’ll probably just
love the reason why.

This bike– the
full name of Image result for 1964 ducati apollo berliner
which was the
“1964 Ducati Berliner
1260 Apollo
– packed a 76 cubic inch (1250cc)
90 degree V-4 punch—

and it would actually accelerate
faster than it’s tires would tolerate…..

to over 120 mph

…… at a time when motorcycle
tires weren’t sturdy enough to
take speeds over 90.

It would literally go
until the wheels fell off.

Two prototypes were manufactured –
– one still survives.

So, if you wanna ride one,
well, you might think
that you’re outta luck.

But I’m told the 2011 Honda
VFR1200 used much of the same
technology, including a powerful
V-4 configuration.

And you can probably find one
of those bikes for about 7 G’s
on Craigslist, sitting under 2
inches of dust in some
yuppie’s garage.

Or, you can go to the Ducati
museum in Kyushu, Japan
where the surviving Apollo is
and beg.

A lot .


In The Beginning


I’m not one of those guys
who think you can learn
anything and everything
just from the Internet.

There’s some stuff that
simply can’t be taught
that way.

I’m sure you can come up
with a coupla examples…

………… I know I can.

( however, I did find the alphabet
technique very helpful — I must admit. )

So I’m here to tell you that you
cannot learn to ride a motorcycle from a post.

If it was all function,
and no form, maybe.

But motorcycling ain’t a science, it’s an art.

Everything about motorcycling is —indian

…. from the design of a motorcycle, to the
many finesses of riding.

Still, since I already started writing on this topic,
I might as well tell you a little about the early history of em…..

First of all….
you might be saying
it’s more of a sport than an art.

I dunno….
….. it seems to me
that if it was simply a sport,blindfold
I’d getting a big salary for hitting pedestrians or riding like a
maniac or something.

And I haven’t been getting
any money for it, at all.

I hope you appreciate that
cleaning pedestrians off
of chrome is hard work.


Before there were cars,
there were motorcycles.

And before there were gas powered motorcycles,
there were steam powered ones.


The first gizmo that could rightly be called a motorcycle was invented in 1867-
by a couple French guys named Michaux and Perreaux—

…………………………….. the ‘Michaux-Perreaux Velocipede’ .

It was basically a converted bone shaker bicycle with a steam engine attached.

It had no brakes,
had a hand control for the boiler,
and burned alcohol to make the steam.

You couldn’t really call this thing
practical or comfortable, I guess….
…………………. more like wonky and dangerous.


Still, first is first.

In the United States,
a guy named Sylvester Roper was working on a steam velocipede, too.

By 1868, he had a working model of the Roper ‘Velocipede’ ready…

It was built on a purpose built frame,
and had both a throttle and brake
built into the one piece handlebar assembly.

Again, comfort wasn’t exactly job one.

But you can definitely say that
Roper was committed to his creation.

He died in the saddle of his 1896 model .

Man, when I say I want to die in the saddle,
I don’t mean THAT way.

Ahem. 3

soon folks were working on other kinds of motorcycles,
………………….. a little less …. well, sketchy.


A lotta times you’ll hear people say that the Germans actually invented the first motorcycle.

And I guess it depends on your definitions….
one thing’s for sure, though.

Although it was internal combustion,
had a two speed transmission and was gasoline fueled —-

–the Daimler-Maybach ‘Reitwagen of 1885 bore little more resemblance to modern motorcycles than did the previous steam powered ones.

With no steering axis angle and no fork offset,
steering depending on a lotta luck
and a couple outrigger training wheels.

The bike’s seat burned up on its first 7 mile test,
due to the engine’s hot tube ignition built too close to it.

Actually the term “Reitwagen” means “riding wagon”,
so I’m not sure even Gottlieb Daimler would take the ‘first motorcycle’ distinction that seriously.


If I had to make a choice between the several competing claims on this whole first motorcycle thing…

I guess I would point out the world’s first PRODUCTION purpose-built motorcycle…..

That distinction belongs to the– 1894 Hildebrand and Wolfmuller ‘Motorrad ,
built in Munich.

Yeah, I know…
………………………. the Germans again.

Say what you will, that well documented
German penchant for detail makes
them wonderful engineers.

Maybe that explains
all the German helmets
and Iron Crosses ya used to
see on some bikers, I dunno.

This thingee had a water-cooled four stroke two cylinder carburated 1500 cc engine — that would make 2 1/2 horsepower and about 25 miles an hour.

It used pneumatic tires, had brakes, and a relatively comfy seat.

It also required the rider to start it using the old ‘run alongside and jump on’ method, since it had no clutch or pedals.

Not that I haven’t used that method with some modern bikes in my time…


It might be interesting to note that the first use of the term “Motorcycle” was around that time….

An American inventor from Indiana, EJ Pennington, used it in 1893, and he went on to patent a motorcycle design of his own in 1896.

This was also about the time
when American and British
manufacturers started to take
over the leadership in motorcycle development.

In Britain, Triumph produced it’s first mass produced purpose-built ( not a converted bicycle ) model in 1905, with a Triumph 3-horsepower engine.

BSA released it’s 3 1/2 model in 1910.

(BSA would grow to become the
best selling motorcycle made between 1951-1965.)rich

Norton would produce their first bike with a Norton made engine in 1908.

In 1913, Royal Enfield introduced its famous V-Twin powered Model 180 with sidecar.

In the United States,
Indian produced its first “Indian Single” in 1901, and by 1902 were being sold with
chain drives and a diamond frame.

In 1904, their trademark red color was introduced, and it was soon the world’s best selling brand — where it remained until World War I. ( see my post on Indian )

Harley Davidson released their first production bike “Model 1” in 1904 — it had a 405 cc (25 ci) 3 horsepower intake-over-exhaust engine, designed in part by Ollie Evinrude.

There were at one time or another
there were over 100 American
motorcycle manufacturers,
but by the start of World War II,
there were only two left—7
Indian and Harley Davidson.

German manufacturing of motorcycles was also booming, and makers during this period included Hercules, Mars, NSU, Opel, and Wanderer, with Triumph also maintaining a plant in Nuremberg.

There were also large numbers of
manufacturers in France, and Italy.

The rest,
as somebody inevitably will say,
is history.

Now, party time.

who brought the beer?

Cheers !!!!!