Friday, April 30, 2010

Cops and Choppers

Cops interacting with choppers, a never ending struggle. Bill Ray LIFE photos from 1965.

This shot brings up a couple of things. 1. It's 1965 and that's a brand new first year Electra-Glide, so the biker could be getting one of his first up close and personal looks at Milwaukee's latest. 2. Some cops really dug their rides and took pride in their machines. The non standard chrome kicker lever, brake lever, and regulator cover means someone has customized this ride. Now I doubt the department would spring for such options (many P.D.s went for blacked out standard models), so what it may suggest is, the cop owns this bike and leases it to the city. This was once a fairly common practice with many Police Departments.


Jean-Marie Guivarc'h has been sending his sketches and watercolors to The Vintagent for a few years now, which are primarily automotive, but he's a man of broad tastes, and makes evocative sketches of motorcycles as well.  These notebook pages were drawn at the LeMans race circuit last Sunday during the 'Bidon 2 Litres' event, which he explains below.

In the artist's words:
"I'm sending you three drawings of old French motorcycles.
The first is a Dollar 350cc ohv with an Imperial side-car...two famous names in France. [some Americans saw the Dollar 4-cylinder machine at the Art of the Motorcycle exhibit at the Guggenheim]

The second is an FN with a Bernardet side-car; perhaps it is the oldest Bernardet with a very rare body (1925 or 1926), with only two survivors and one in the USA!  The first owner was a sailor...[I know the very sidecar; it was part of the Good Olde Days collection, where I found my 1965 Velocette Thruxton.  We called the Bernardet the 'Captain Nemo' sidecar!  I believe it was hitched to an FN as well?]

The last motorcycle is a Styl'son with a 250cc JAP engine; this bike was bought during the 1970's but was restored in 2000. The owner was in University originally and had no money to restore it back then.

I have made these sketches during the 'Bidon 2 Litres' event, Sunday 25th of April at Le Mans. It is an economy run with only two liters of petrol; of course, the winner has the most economical engine!  It was a great pleasure to meet the owners, to speak with them and to discover these wonderfull motorcycles.

Best regards,

Thanks Jean-Marie!

Thursday, April 29, 2010


Manuel from Cometa Restauracions sent in these photos with a query: 'Is this a Matchless?  Did they ever use a Blackburne engine?'

A wolf in sheep's clothing...clearly the saddle tank, which looks bloated over that delicate chassis, is a later addition, meant to modernize an obsolete (by the 1940s)  but very sporty Vintage machine, with legs, so to speak.  The front brake (Enfield), gearbox (Sturmey-Archer), carburetor (Amac), and engine (Blackburne) all appear to have left the factory together.

Blackburne-engined sports bikes are rare and desirable as the engines are beautifully engineered and gave terrific performance in their day, doing well in the TT and at Brooklands.  I'm waiting for the motor and frame numbers, which will prove definitively if the engine is a racer, and the chassis is what it appears to be.

But I leave it open to you to suggest...what is the make of this mystery machine?

Rieju MRT50 Pro Competition being launched

Spansh motorcycle manufacturer Rieju launch their new 50cc European Enduro series Blegium roun winner the Rieju MRT50 Pro Competition is being launched next week for the public to buy. Its features include:-

50 cc 6 speed Pre Mix Yamaha LC motor with special head & Cylinder by Top competition, Front floating wave disc 260 mm. Rear Wave 200 mm.
Upside-Down adjustable Marzocchi 40 mm forks. Adjustable rear gas monoshock. Aluminium swing arm. Hand made exhaust with competition silencer. Hydraulic clutch. Race clutch with straight cut teeth & reinforced discs. Tommaselli tapered handlebars with anodised duraluminium brackets. Dual radiator, Michelin FIM tires, Racing quick twist throttle.
Mikuni 24 mm carburettor. Racing CDI with variable curve. Oversized footrests. NGK Platinum BR10ES spark plug, Team Rieju Race Graphics, Hand & fork guards plus sump guard as standard.

It's claimed to be a very serious road legal race machine.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Doctor's Orders?

I was out of town and also got sick so I haven't been very active with the blog.

A strict medicinal regiment for wellness.

So where does the image of a medicine man/witch doctor with Top Hat originate? The latest Disney animated film "The Princess and the Frog", (set in New Orleans), features such a character as the villain.

The flip side is even cooler.

Mo better now.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Today's Cost of Bobbing

I found this H-D product announcement a few weeks ago and thought it was kind of amusing. Is it just me?

Combine Chopped Rear Fender and Solo Spring Saddle for Classic Style

MILWAUKEE (March 26, 2010) – Owners of most 2006-later Harley-Davidson Dyna® models can achieve the hot bobber look with the installation of three new items from Harley-Davidson Genuine Motor Accessories that are easy to install with no cutting, welding, or fabrication necessary (and no fun!), my words.

The new Chopped Rear Fender Kit – Dyna® Models (P/N 59860-10BEO Primed, $349.95; P/N 59860-10DH Vivid Black, $449.95) is a complete “bolt-on” chopped fender kit. The chopped fender eliminates the traditional tail lamp and center-mount license plate, replaces the original equipment rear turn signals with the included stop-turn-tail lights for a clean, stripped-down appearance. Installation requires the separate purchase of the new Side Mount License Plate Kit (P/N 60938-10, $194.95), finished in brilliant chrome, with a durable steel mounting bracket that incorporates license plate illumination.

Complete the bobber transformation with the new Solo Spring Saddle – Black Leather (P/N 54373-10, $269.95), a 10.5-inch-wide solo seat with the minimalistic “just enough to ride” look. The torsion-style springs are designed for the optimal balance between spring suspension and support. The smooth metal seat pan and the simple frame cover leave a clean, finished appearance. The seat can be removed and replaced with a touring seat for a two-up riding. Installation requires separate purchase of Spring Seat Mounting Hardware Kit (P/N 54075-10, $229.95), sold separately.

Add it up and it only costs $1045.00 (plus $100 for black only), to bob your Dyna's fender , change seat and to relocate the license plate. Not counting tax or paying the dealer to install the kit. (we wouldn't want you to break a nail).

You too can have a unique customized bike... just like everybody else's.

Remember the days when Bobbing was done with a hacksaw, a file, surplus parts, some imagination, and little or no money?... me neither.

Factory Bolt ons? - Not a Bobber!

Saturday, April 24, 2010


Dennis Quinlan (the 'Velobanjogent' - a Frankenlogo if ever there was one!) sent this clipping from the April 1956 edition of the New South Wales Motorcyclist, presumably a 'modern' motorcycle publication which occasionally featured Vintage motorcycles...although the Rover in the photograph is a Veteran in the VMCC system of 'eras'. The 'Veteran' being anything with two wheels and a motor built before 1919, the 'Vintage' era from 1919 - 1930 (the last age of Nickel plating), the 'Post-Vintage' 1931-47, the 'Classic' 1948 onwards... and things start to get fuzzy in the 'modern' era.  When the Vintage MCC was founded in 1948 in England, anyone showing up on a 40s machine was frowned upon! Of course now they're considered as important historically as the Veterans. 

The VMCC originally considered fixing their eligibility dates as pre-1947, end of story, but wiser heads prevailed and they, like the AMCA here in the States, have a rolling '35 Year' rule for inclusion.  Which means of course, that your Kawasaki Z1 is now eligible for the VMCC and AMCA events; strange bedfellows with a 1915 Harley or 1908 Rover!

As for the origins of the term 'Vintagent'; having been asked many times, my research has proved inconclusive - I remember reading columns by Bob Currie when he wrote for Classic Bike in their toddler years (the early 1980s), and understand Titch Allen used the term freely.  It's likely when the VMCC was formed, some clever English wag concocted the name, and it stuck, as it perfectly suits 'us'.

Monday, April 19, 2010


Nolan Woodbury, of Vintage Motorcycles Online (VMOL) has selected four motorcycle blogs worldwide to feature on their website, among them The Vintagent, Bike EXIF, Pipeburn, and Visual Gratification.  Below is the article in full from VMOL:

Resistance is Futile

"They appear everyday. Sparse paragraphs laced with teasing images. Appealing in a get-right-to-the-point kind of way it was hook, line and sinker for this vintage motorcycle fan as one quickly multiplied into many. Each with its own flavor, some define trendy; the latest app on the touchscreen of life. Others, thankfully, are a bit more home spun...comfortable, like the smooth feel of a worn 22mm box end.
They’re everywhere, and I couldn’t be happier.

Criticized by some for attracting those with the attention span of a soup ladle, the blog serves a true and rightful purpose within the mass of electrons that make up the internet. Information heavy, even the best search engine can turn hope into frustration before the foam settles on your double-dip banana latte’. Think of the blog as a virtual session of window shopping; allowing the viewer to have a look without actually stepping inside. It seems the blog (short for web log) is here to stay too, with 112.000.000 hosted on one site in a 2007 report. That’s a lot Gaga, lady.

For me, the motorcycle related blogs I visit serve to both inspire and educate. Try as I might, basic functions involving food, sleep and actual money making endeavors preclude the extended web surfing session. Enter the blog, my own personal ticket into all that’s new and exciting in the areas of motorcycling that interest me...and you. And while many VMOL features are still hatched the old fashioned way, I would have missed Dave Dregens’ new Featherbed-framed ‘Dresda Davidson’ if I had waited for it to show up at my local watering hole. Happy to share, listed here are four of my favorites, along with the tireless bloggers that make them go.

Updated at least twice a week if not more, Pipeburn (great name!) comes from Scott; an enthusiast from Australia. Using a very clean, simple layout free of pop-ups and minimal adverts, Pipeburn focuses mainly on modified vintage Japanese, European and US-made street bikes. In classic blog format, the right header holds links and an archive of articles that are sorted by brand and type. Pipeburn’s speciality is showcasing rare and interesting products that relate to motorcycling, like vintage bike postage stamps and artwork, but never strays far from the traditional, straightforward bike feature. Always displayed with great photography and plenty of information, Pipeburn is a fun pit stop that’ll provide hours of interesting reading and viewing.      

A respected figure in the vintage bike world, Paul d'Orléans created ‘The Vintagent’ before the blog was a household term. Strictly focused on antique and vintage motorbikes, The Vintagent differs from most blogs by featuring purpose written material and information, much of which is generated by d'Orléans himself. With industry connections that range from the Velocette owners club, consultant to Bonhams auction house (paired with former Cycle World editor David Edwards) and staffed on Mark Upham’s Brough Superior start up, d'Orléans is hard-wired into the vintage scene like few others. The usual links and lists appear here as well, but inside the archives is a virtual treasure trove of period photographs, rare and unusual advert material, ride reports and production information researched and published by d'Orléans over the years. Updated often, if vintage motorcycles are your thing, then you need to read The Vintagent.

Arguably the web’s most popular classic bike stop, Chris Hunter has taken the moto-blog concept and made it is own. Updated daily come heck or high water, Chris has his finger on the pulse of the speciality bike scene, more often than not getting the jump on everyone due to his connections and tireless work ethic. Although the occasional new build creeps into the picture, Bike EXIF (which is the file information produced by a digital camera) keeps the focus on the vintage scene with plenty of mods and rockers, restorations, and racing hardware with detailed info on custom builders and speciality shops. Well written with lots of good photography, EXIF rocks.

Aptly named, Visual Gratification is emerging as the new breed of bike blogs. Lavishly produced with a wide range of topics, the creative mind behind it is Paul 'The Diesel', who works from his home base in India. Heavily contrasted and produced with dark hues that offset some brilliantly produced photography, ‘VG’ brings a lot of everything to the table. New bikes, classic builds, café racers and lots of video feeds. For those looking for even more visual gratuity, a healthy dose of tastefully presented babes on bikes is offered, and a smashing wallpaper section as well. Friendly and enthusiastic, ‘The Diesel’ brings a smorgasbord to your pc few can match.

You might wonder why I’d take the time to list ‘competitors’ that vie for your browsing time. The truth is, the internet biking scene is far more about cooperation than competition. You might have noticed that all of the sites above list each other in their links section. That’s because hits translate into numbers that impress prospective advertisers, and the fact that these sites and many others ‘swing’ viewers is the beauty of their function. As a true online magazine, VMOL works with all the sites listed above and -we hope- many others in the future. Expanding and growing, in the coming weeks and months you’ll be seeing some changes to your favorite vintage motorcycle website, including a dedicated VMOL blog. Like this site it’ll be interesting, unique and well worth your time. Stay tuned."

Nolan Woodbury


Formidable new “arsenal of three” to augment Bonhams’ American market.

For immediate release. 20 April 2010 – San Francisco – Bonhams is extremely proud to announce the assembly of a new team of experts for their North American motorcycle sector. Augmenting the Motoring Department’s existing line-up of respected specialists are three incredibly talented and experienced motorcyclists. They are:

David Edwards is the well-known and widely esteemed former Editor-in-Chief ofCycle World – the largest motorcycle magazine in the world. His hands-on knowledge of motorcycles of all makes and models, his insight into the industry, and his adventures on two wheels are world renowned. Furthermore, his personal collection of bikes is as diverse and exciting as his career, with examples having been selected for the seminal Guggenheim Museum exhibit, The Art of the Motorcycle.

Paul d’Orleans, a native of San Francisco, is a true steward of motorcycle history. As a rider, collector and recognized expert, he is a passionate advocate for old motorcycles and regularly writes, consults or commentates for numerous websites, magazines, auctioneers and club journals worldwide. He is perhaps best known as the author of one of the most widely respected moto blogs on the internet, The Vintagent, and is currently launching another site, Caferacers. He has been a six-term president of the Velocette Owner’s Club of North America, a three-time judge at the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours, founded the Yerba Buena Chapter of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America, and is host of the soon to be released cable series Classic Motorcycle Roadshow.

Jamie Karrick has been servicing, repairing and restoring British and Italian motorcycles for well over 10 years as a senior technician and manager at a prominent dealership in California. Experienced with both modern and vintage machinery, he has been a two-time judge at the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours and spends much of his free time working on restoration projects, one of which was included in the ground-breaking Guggenheim Museum exhibit, The Art of the Motorcycle. As an avid rider he enjoys extensively exploring the trails of California and Mexico as well as pushing his limits on the racetrack.

Under the direction of Mark Osborne, head of the Bonhams Motoring Department, which oversees all motor vehicles, and Nick Smith, head of the division’s Motorcycle Department, the new team members will begin work immediately.

Says Osborne, “As one of the world’s foremost motor vehicle auctioneers, Bonhams has a long and successful track record with rare and important motorcycles. And bringing these men onto our team will significantly add to this collective expertise, allowing us to maintain our leading edge, grow from strength to strength, and offer our clients – both buyers and sellers – the very best service anywhere.”

Bonhams’ next auction of motorcycles is scheduled for Saturday, May 8th at the Quail Lodge in Carmel Valley, California, to be held in conjunction with The Quail Motorcycle Gathering. Owners interested in consigning motorcycles to this sale should e-mail Buyers interested in registering to bid may go to

For general information about the 217-year old firm of Bonhams and its 50 specialist departments worldwide, visit          

For press inquiries specific to this announcement, please

Friday, April 16, 2010

'Maddo' jumps Corinth Canal

Motocross freestyle Robbie Madison has jumped the Corinth Canal in Greece, jumping an amazing 85m and reaching aheight of 95m.
You can watch the stunning video of Robbies death defying jump below.
Maddison said getting the approach right despite the constantly changing surfaces – from grass to concrete to wood to asphalt again and then carpet – was difficult enough but there was greater hurdle to the jump: “Overcoming fear, that’s always the hardest part,“ Maddison said.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

Yamaha’s BW’s 125 arrives

Yesterday Yamaka UK announced the arrival of their new commuter 125 scooter, called the BW's 125.
Its powered by a 125cc, 4-stroke, fuel injected air-cooled engine with Electronic Fuel Injection. It has big, wide, all-terrain style 12 inch tyres and off road grade dual rear shock absorbers, which given the appauling state of Britain's pot-holed roads, will be most welcome!

The BW’s 125 is available in Avalanche White and Midnight Black.

Ride safe

Jon Booth

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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Cops, Then and Now

LIFE March 1949, Los Angeles Coliseum. Photographer: Loomis Dean

Note the bottom left, you can see another photographer's hand holding his camera. Also notice the bottom right (LIFE logo),where the photo has been torn. Life Caption: "Los Angeles has world's biggest motorcycle police force, here lining up for review". Looks like 9 rows of 24. That would be 216 if thats all of them?

Maybe one of you can try counting them. I wonder how many of them have survived or how many were later bobbed and chopped? While they were getting their picture taken, it would have been a good day to be out on the streets raising hell.

"Los Angeles motorcycle police force during full scale inspection of cycle corps".

1949. That would mean a mixture of Knuckleheads (possibly some Flatheads), 48 Pans with springers, and '49 Hydra-Glides. Where's the Meter Maids and Servi-Cars?

Exact date and location not known.

A modern day line up of Twinkies just doesn't get me as excited. Yeah, I know, I stacked the deck in favor of the oldies.

It may be a regional bias but, a proper Police Special is painted Black and White, or as H-D liked, Silver.


My pal Stacie B. London is among the operators of a Chris Burden sculpture (from 1979) at the Little Tokyo branch ('the Geffen') of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles.  Stacie is the exhibition production coordinator, and supervised the sculpture's mechanical renovation. The piece consists of a huge cast iron flywheel from an 1800s coal mine, spun up to high speed by a motorcycle, in this case a 1968 Benelli 250cc, sold here in the US through the Montgomery Ward department store chain as the 'Riverside'.  The Benelli was Burden's own motorcycle from the late 1960s, when he was beginning his art career.  .

Stacie is a vintage motorcycle enthusiast (with a '69 BMW R60US), and enjoys giving the little bike some stick!  Watch the video as she winds the little Benelli up to top gear/top revs, when over 70 mph reads on the speedo; that Big Wheel is moving pretty damn quick.  Note its proximity to her back! After a noisy wind up, the motor is cut and the bike moved away from the madly spinning flywheel; the gigantic mass spins silently for hours...

Chris Burden is a pioneering performance artist/sculptor/bodily harm artist, and probably best known for his shocking pieces of the early 1970s.  In the notorious 'Shoot' from 1971, Burden had himself shot by an assistant with a rifle, at a distance of 15 feet.  In 'Transfixed' from 1974, Burden was crucified onto a Volkswagen beetle (below), which was driven out of a garage on Speedway Avenue in Venice, CA, revved for two minutes, then driven back inside.  His '747' (below) saw him shooting at an airliner near LAX - an act which drew the attention of the FBI.

My favorite and his most canny work by far is 'The Visitation' of 1974, in which it was announced that Burden would perform a piece at the opening of a large group show of California artists in New York.  Anticipating danger and outrage, an excited crowd jammed the gallery space.  Burden sat in the basement, with his wife guarding a locked door.  Only one visitor was allowed inside at a time; when the viewer entered, the door was locked behind.  The assembled spectators grew frenzied in their attempts to see what was happening, crowding at the locked door and breaking windows to the basement in an attempt to get inside.  Of course, Burden sat calmly talking with the 15 or so who actually saw him, while the anticipated drama was provided... by the audience.

If you have an interest in hearing a little noise in MOCA, Stacie rides the Big Wheel on Thursdays 11:30am, 2 & 6pm; other staffers ride the Wheel Monday and Friday, same times, plus Sat/Sun 11:30am & 4pm.

Top photo from The Flog; second pic copyright 2010 by Gretchen LeMaistre, who shoots hilarious portraits... of dogs!

Monday, April 12, 2010


My text for the upcoming Bonhams catalog for their auction at the Quail Motorcycle Gathering, May 8:

"The Fratelli Boselli Mondial motorcycle company exploded onto the motorcycle racing scene in 1948, where practically straight off the drawing board their brand new double-overhead camshaft 125cc machine set speed records in the standing start ¼ mile and kilometer sprints.  While the motorcycle division of F.B. Mondial was new, the Boselli family had roots in the Italian motorcycle industry which reached back to the 1920s, when Guiseppe Boselli was a partner and in the G.D. marque, and raced their machines.  His friend Oreste Drusiani manufactured the engines for the G.D. and later the C.M. motorcycles of Bologna; Guiseppe was on the Board of both companies.
In 1929, Guiseppe convinced his brothers (‘fratelli’) to start a company (F.B.) making commercial three-wheelers, within Drusiani’s industrial space.  These vehicles were successful pre-war, but the factory was destroyed in the mid-1940s. By 1946, the factory was back in production of commercial vehicles.

Alfredo Drusiani, son of Oreste, designed and built a very advanced Double Over Head Camshaft (dohc) motor in 1948, which must have set Guiseppe’s dormant racing ambitions alight, for he immediately purchased this prototype engine and set about creating a motorcycle in collaboration with young Alfredo.  While certainly not the first dohc engine, such a technically advanced specification was unheard of in the ultra-lightweight 125cc capacity, which was dominated at that time by two-stroke single-cylinder machines of very simple design.

Drusiani’s engine used a short vertical shaft beside the cylinder to drive a train of 5 gears above the cylinder head, the outermost of which incorporated the camshafts.  The crankcases had no ‘splits’, being a unitary casting with access ports to assemble and repair the crankshaft, gearbox, clutch, etc.   The stroke of the motor was nearly ‘square’ at 53x56.4mm, which meant, in conjunction with the extremely precise valve actuation provided by cams directly above the valves, the engine would rev freely and provide excellent power.

The first race of the new F.B. Mondial, in September 1948 at the GP of Nations (Faenza), ended prematurely when their petrol tank split.  There had been so little time to refine the new machine, that a Moto Guzzi  tank had been used on this test mule.  Shortly afterwards, in October, using crude aluminum fairings, World Records were set in the standing start ¼ mile and one kilometer 125cc class.  Later that month Mondial tasted success on the GP circuit, with a win at Monza.

Development of this remarkable little motorcycle coincided with the introduction of the Grand Prix World Championship racing series in 1949.  With quite a jump on the competition, Mondial won every single race in the 125cc series in 1949, 50, and 51, while rivals MV Agusta and Benelli developed similar machinery to contest this runaway success.  MV Agusta finally pipped Mondial in the 1952 World Championship by four points.

Alfredo Drusiani left the company in 1953 to found Moto Comet, and during his absence Mondial did not seriously contest the GP circuit, concentrating successfully on the Italian championship and long distance road races such as the Giro d’Italia and Milano-Taranto. (Above, with Tarquinio Provini at the MotoGiro)

After the failure of the Moto Comet venture, in 1956 Drusiani returned as race chief of Mondial, and redesigned his 125cc engine, while adding a 250cc dohc GP machine to the roster, both of which were housed in updated chassis.  ‘Dustbin’ fairings, which totally enclosed the front wheel, were incorporated for the first time on these machines, following their use by competitors in the preceding years.   The tail section was also enclosed, leaving only room for the rider’s legs within a wind-cheating ‘egg’ which boosted the top speed of the motorcycle by as much as 20mph.

While racing results for ’56 were mixed, Drusiani was busy creating wholly new 125cc and 250cc engines, using a cascade of gears to drive their double overhead camshafts rather than the old shaft-and-bevel arrangement.  Echoing their 1949 season, Mondial won both the 125cc and 250cc World Championships with this new design.  The enclosed aerodynamic bodywork was refined further to the elegant state seen on the motorcycle for sale.

The 1957 Mondial GP racer (seen below with Sammy Miller at the 1957 Isle of Man TT) as seen here proved to be the ultimate development of their racing efforts on the International level, for at the end of the season, Mondial, in concert with Gilera and Moto Guzzi, withdrew from GP competition, citing the ever-rising expense of development coupled with a weakening market for their products.  Shades of 2010!

This 1957 125cc Mondial dohc GP racer was sold by the Mondial factory in the late 1970s to Piero Nerini of Prato, Italy, as part of a clear-out of the race department’s remaining spares and motorcycles.  Nerini retained these motorcycles for nearly 25 years, before selling his collection.  John Goldman purchased this machine and three other racing Mondials from Nerini at that time.   While the 1957 racer was complete and in good condition, many parts weren’t correct for the year, and the important bodywork was missing – a typical scenario, as factory machines were loaned out to racers after 1957 for various competitions, and full-enclosure fairings were banned at that time due to safety concerns.  Thus, original ‘dustbins’ are extremely rare.

Goldman, ever the stickler for authenticity, sought the help of Giancarlo Morbidelli (whose own motorcycles won the 125cc and 250cc GP World Championships in 1975-77) to assist with bringing the Mondial back to a fully correct and accurate state for the 1957 race season.  Morbidelli currently owns a private motorcycle museum in Pesaro, Italy, which features hundreds of important motorcycles, and is renowned as a restorer with a passion for accuracy and authenticity in the motorcycles he displays.

Moved by the importance and rarity of Goldman’s 1957 Mondial 125cc GP, Morbidelli agreed to restore the motorcycle in the workshop adjacent to his museum, to its exact 1957 racing specification.  One significant hurdle, the missing bodywork, was overcome when the artisan who originally fabricated the Mondial fairings in 1957 was contracted to create a copy of his own handiwork from 50 years prior, using the only known surviving set of Mondial 125cc bodywork as a pattern.
It took Morbidelli several years to locate original parts for this project, and with the completion of the bodywork and mechanical restoration, the Mondial was handed to restorer Roberto Totti of Bologna for the final painting, chrome, and assembly.  Totti is considered one of the top restoration specialists in Italy, and he completed this Mondial in 2009.

The Mondial racing team in 1957 for the 125cc class included Tarquinio Provini, Cecil Sandford, and Sammy Miller.  This machine (as shown in the photo below) was raced either by Miller or Sandford, as Provini (who won the 125cc Championship that year) preferred the 1956 engine design.  It is not known whether Miller and Sandford rode one machine exclusively for Mondial during the year, but each man did well in the Championship that year, with Miller gaining 4th place, Sandford 6th. Thus, this Mondial has an excellent pedigree as a factory race machine, and is considered the most correct and accurate restoration in existence of the ultimate Mondial racer."

This machine is so incredibly beautiful, it should be in an auction of fine art!  It was a pleasure to manhandle it, explore its nooks and crannies, photograph it.  A rare piece indeed, and I certainly hope it goes to a new owner who will parade it on occasion.

I do have another experience with a 'Dustbin' Mondial GP racer; at the Coupes Moto Legende at Monthléry in 2000, I was riding Rob Drury's '49 Velocette Mk8 KTT on the track, and had a heck of a dice with a 125cc Mondial in what looked like original/scruffy condition.  The light weight and handling of the Mondial were a good match for the grunt and finesse of the Velo - try as we might, we couldn't shake each other off, and every time I came around the hairpin, the little Mondial would cut inside my line!  Cheeky.  We eventually blew off the orange-cone chicane meant to bring riders off the banking and slow them down, and were flat out, horizontal, and making a glorious noise.  A moment tattooed in my memory.