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.

leader

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.

apollo_back

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.

crockertwin

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,
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–
($200,000)–
—- 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.

HOY !

enochboles

(Art by Enoch Bolles )

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Buying A Car At Sears

First of all —
A Happy St Patty’s Day!

Today’s
Saturday Car
post
installment
is called :

Buying A Car At Sears ” –

– and as unlikely as that
might seem to modern
readers, it was possible
during two specific time
periods in U.S. history,
to do just that.

In the first era,
between 1908 and 1912,
you could actually order
your “Sears Motor Buggy”
from the Sears catalog,
and have it delivered to
your nearest railroad
station.

Made by Lincoln Motor
Car Works, 9 models
were available,
ranging in price
from $350 to $500 —
with two-cylinder air
cooled engines making
between 10 and 15
horsepower, and was
propelled by a
chain-based
friction-drive
transmission.

They were considered
very durable, and came
with a ten day money
back guarantee.

The models on offer
included :

the upper-level “Model L”,

and economy “Model G” –

but the differences seem
to have been in extras
like:

a fabric top,
running boards,
and pneumatic tires.

Sure, those ‘extras’
probably sound
pretty necessary to
you and I,
but back then,
it was simply
a “motor buggy” ,
after all.

The second coming
of the Sears automobile
was in 1950- –

For three years, they
marketed a car through
their retail outlets,
which although already
on the market and sold
as the Kaiser-Frazer
“Henry J” , was rebadged
and rebranded as the
Sears “Allstate”.

Advertised as “the
lowest-priced full-sized
sedan on the U.S. market ”
– it caused considerable
consternation among
Kaiser Frazer dealerships,
many of whom refused
to service the Sears sold
cars, despite being almost
identical to the Henry J’s.

It had been, for all
practical purposes,
just a marketing scheme
invented by Henry J. Kaiser
to unload surplus new cars –
and it broke down before it
ever had a chance to really
come together.

Two lines of Allstates
were offered –
– both two
door fastback sedans –

called the “Series 4″
with a 134 c.i. 4-cylinder engine making about
70 horsepower,

and the ” Series 6″, with a
L-head 6 cylinder making
around 80 H.P.

The engines were
made for
Kaiser (and thus, Sears )
by Willys-Overland –

the 4 cylinder engine in
the “Series 4” was an only
-slightly modified Jeep
CJ-3A motor.

After two model years
(that varied little
from each other)
only about 2400 of
the “Allstate ” cars in total
were sold, the lines were
discontinued, and Sears
got out of the car business
for good.

Still, they continued
to rebrand and sell
many lines of
motorcycles,
scooters
and mopeds,
made by Vespa,
Puch and
Cushman,
bearing the
” Allstate ” logo
until the late 1960’s.

.

!!! HOY !!!

Two Wheel Tale

I can’t understand
some people, man.

It seems like they’re all
about trying something
until you give em the
chance,
and then —
” Well, I’d Better Not…” 

You can interpet this
little blurb as having
something to do with
life, sex, or motorcycling..

— anything, really.

But in this case,
it’s motorcycling.

(There could be
something else,
in the background,
though-

you never know
around here
just how deep
we’ll go down
into the proverbial
rabbit hole ….. )

For months now,
I’ve been hearing my
gym buddy Big D talking
about how he couldn’t wait
for nice weather so he could
learn to ride a motorcycle.

And a couple weeks back,
he had borrowed
my spare helmet and gloves,
and also rented a bike
to learn on.

He had a beauty
all picked out to buy
once he passed his class
and got his license. 

( I was actually kinda
jealous, because I haven’t
bought a new motorcycle
in half a decade or so.
I dearly love the sleds
that I already own,
but the Coolidge Effecta
works with choppers,
too, ya know. )

So anyhoo —
His class was last weekend,
and guess what.

He gave me back my
helmet and gloves and
told me he would not
be riding a motorcycle
in the near or
foreseeable future.

Apparently, he thought
turning a bike at speed
was a simple matter
of turning the handlebars.
And he kept trying that
until he ran into
the instructor.

OOOpsie.

I dunno if he
scared himself
or just the
instructor/examiner,
but an agreement
was quickly undertaken
that Big D would
stick to vehicles
with four wheels.

So, I guess he can
still say he ‘tried’ it.

But, assuming there is no
technique or learning curve
involved in riding a motorcycle
is what I think got him in the end.

He’s got one of those fancy
‘drives itself when you’re
not paying attention’ kinda
cars …….

That just don’t translate
to motorcycles, man —

And I hope it never does.

!!!!! HOY !!!!!

.
vroom

Brough’s Superior Motorcycle

1

This is the
1933 Brough
Superior SS 100.

Now, you might think that this is just your run-of-the-mill thirties British bike…

But this bike really
is special is several ways.

For one, it was custom built for the buyer —

— the fit and finish was so tight that it was called
“The Rolls Royce of Motorcycles” .

And as you can probably imagine,
they were expensive.

Only 383 of these were ever manufactured.

Each bike was assembled at the Nottingham Brough plant twice — once to place and fit all the components, then again after the parts were plated or painted.broughss100

This gave the bikes an extra measure of quality control, and even though Brough stopped making these bikes 73 years ago, more than 1/3 of them are still extant.

Every Brough Superior SS 100 was track tested before it left the factory — at 100 miles per hour.

Another Brough model, the SS 80, got the same treatment at 80 MPH.

If the bike didn’t pass, it was returned to the plant and redone until it did.

Every Brough bike was personally checked and certified by George Brough before it went to the customer.brogu

The Brough Superior SS 100 had some interesting characteristics,

…..other than build quality, though.

The ride was exceptionally smooth, and it would accelerate as fast or faster than anything else in it’s class, due in part to the 1000cc twin-cam J.A. Prestwich (KTOR-JAP) V-twin power plant rated around 50 HP, and the three speed Sturmey-Archer gearbox. ( 1936 saw the addition of a Norton made 4 speed. )

Of course, this was the bike of the English upper class —

George Bernard Shaw owned several,1150

— as did famous adventurer T.E. Lawrence (Lawrence of Arabia) who died riding one of his SS-100’s in 1935.

George Brough was said to have dedicated to customer satisfaction, and although Brough stopped manufacturing motorcycles in 1940 at the outbreak of World War II, he still produced parts for his bikes for many year after…. until 1969.

During his career, Brough produced just over 3000 motorcycles, plus an assortment of sidecars and accessories for the bikes.

Interestingly enough, George Brough also produced 85 Brough Superior automobiles, between 1935 and 1939.ss100

These cars used engines and chassis by Hudson, and the large majority of them were open touring cars, with custom made drop head coachwork.

Today, a bike like this , from the thirties era, faithfully restored, will cost you somewhere around a quarter million dollars.

One sold a couple years ago in Somerset, England for over $400,000.

So, if you know anybody who’s got one,
I don’t recommend you ask him to borrow it….

‘Cause depending on what response you get,
one of you,
at least,
is crazy.

Cheers !!!

1939ss100

For more on British Motorcycles ( I love ’em) —
………. see my post by clicking here.

(or back there, or here for that matter. )

Motorcycle Make-Out

a1Did you ever have anyone ask you
to describe yourself
in 10 words or less ?

I think a lot of folks
would have a problem with that one.

But not me.

And one of the first words out of my mouth would be:

Motorcyclist” .limit

I’ve been riding them since I was 13,

which means
I’ve been a motorcyclist for …..

ummmm……

…… well, for some years now.

And believe it or not,
1944people were riding them
well before even I started.

Ahem.

Yep–

the first motorized vehicles for personal transport were motorcycles.

There’s lots of great old motorcycle postcards,

but today,

since we’re edging ever closer and closer-
— to that special time of year —

— to that special holiday
that’s all about love —

( You know the one. )oughter

So,
I figured I’d post stuff that had at least some connection to:

cuddlin’,

caressing,

cooing,

and canoodling, too.
blindfold
Yeah, sure–

Of course ,
people most certainly do that stuff,

— and much more —

ON motorcycles —

But that’s not really what I mean.

Motorcycles have always meant
different things to different folks–

Depending on who you talk to. fast

They can represent:
danger,
freedom,
excitement,
counter-culture,
romance,
irresponsibility,
individuality,clicked
sexuality,
risk,
…. even violence.

And somehow,

They still make pretty good subjects for:
Posters,
Christmas cards,
Valentines Day cards
and just generally cool postcards.

quartsMy goal was to find some unusual stuff,

— that you wouldn’t see every day —

And generally,

I think I might have hit the mark with these cards.

Still,

I have the feeling–

that there are some more really cool vintage cards out there somewhere —

If you have any from 1950 or before on this subject,

onne— send me a scan!

Oh, well,
hell,

send me anything you want,

and I’ll find a place for it,

somewhere…. 😀

HOY!

workPS– a note to our regular readers:

I’ve never asked for a million readers —
— or awards —
or to make money on blogging —

I don’t want anything like that.

All I’ve ever wanted was to find a few folks
that could enjoy what I enjoy,
and share some fun and ideas with them.

I have that, here — with you.

— so thank you, every single one of you.

Thanks much for reading, submitting, and supporting the Muscleheaded Blog, y’all.

I appreciate you !!!

.

1indian

Motorcycle of the Week: 2014 Triumph Rocket III

2014rocket

This, my fine reader, is the 2014 Triumph Rocket III Motorcycle.

And, just in case you don’t know just how earth-shaking this sled is…

It is the largest displacement production motorcycle in the world.

It boasts a 2294cc — that’s 140 cubic inches, now… triple cylinder, liquid cooled DOHC behemoth which will make 150 horsepower.

Yes, they did away with the torque limiter for 2013—

That means —

IT WILL TEAR YOU UP on the straight. 0-60 in about 3.

And if ya care– it gets about 40 MPG on the highway.

Sticker price is only about 15G’s.

Better have a garage full of tires, though..
………………….. I think you will need em!

A Bargain.

ZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM.