Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Rare-it-"T" and the "Z" Man

When Bruce Parrish told me he still had a Dick Allen T-shirt, I told him he had to send some photos.

This may be the Holy Grail of vintage chopper T-shirts. I find it interesting that it says California. Perhaps, so Dick could use the same design no matter what city his shop might move to.

I'm not sure if this is a dark photo of the same shirt or a black one. Bruce designed Dick's lettering and drew the art. Joe Hurst said Dick looked like the Zig-Zag man and says he suggested using his head on the art, but Bruce said it was from a cigarette (I never heard of and can't recall the name), that Dick like to smoke. I have to admit, it looks like the Zig-Zag Man to me. Bruce, send me the name if you get a chance.

I don't know about the T-shirt art, but....

Update: Joe called and said the cigarettes that Dick smoked were (sounds like), Shebeedees or Zabedees). That's what Bruce had mentioned. When Bruce told me I did a search, but came up empty. I now found Azadbidi, a brand of bidi cigarettes. That's likely it. Bidis (pronounced bee-dees) are small hand-rolled cigarettes manufactured in India and other southeast Asian countries.

These are not Azadbibi, but show the type. Azad's usually have an elephant on the pack. Bidis are tobacco wrapped in tendu or temburni leaf . Traditionally they are tied with string and come in flavors, like chocolate, mango, vanilla, lemon-lime, mint, pineapple and cherry.

NY South Bay Chopper?

In this case, NY means Neil Young. Vilmino of LoserRules sent an email reminding me of this photo. It's been floating around the blogs for sometime. (this version is a little larger than most). Since I've recently been very focused on the South Bay Style, it seemed like a good time to bring it up.

The sissy bar swoop and Dick Allen style springer pretty much say it's origins or influence are from the south bay. I found a version of this photo with the only credit being, circa 1992 near Sturgis. I'm guessing it's not Neil's bike, but rather someone asked him to pose on it. Can anyone provide more information?

Monday, January 24, 2011

Just'a Few

From yesterday's Long Beach Swap Meet.

Billy Panhead. This bike gets around.

A Servi-Car would be nice to ride to the swap. Great for carrying parts, but I'd have to leave even earlier to get there a decent time.

15k with a $5 seat.

These same funky tanks have been showing up for a few month's now. Must be asking too much $.

In retrospect, I could'a should'a taken more photos. It was a nice day with temps around the mid to high 70's (sorry to our comrades in cold places). Saw a few friends and bought a few parts.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Mystery Bike Part 2, Funny Bike 1

Since I started with the third build of Bruce Parrish's bike, working backwards, here's the second version called Funny Bike 1. Just to keep things straight, the first build of this bike (to be posted soon) wasn't considered a Funny Bike.

This version shown with a long distance auxiliary tank was built around 1975. The oil tank foreshadows Bruce's move towards the use of more aluminum custom fabricated pieces. Although the later version (Funny Bike 2), is a more sophisticated and trick build, I really like the paint and look at this stage.

Bruce looking relaxed as he gets it on.

Much of the basic platform was carried over to Funny Bike 2.

Maybe I should have used this photo for my old running gag, "What Sort of Man Reads MC art?" Bruce circa 1975 with his girl friend (now wife), looking proud of his accomplishment.

All photos courtesy of Bruce Parrish

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Nice Bike....

....for me to poop on!

All kidding aside, this bike (from Long Beach last fall), is a good reminder.

You might pick some other bars, style of sissy bar, or a different bend of pipes ....

....but it's hard to improve on the classic style of chop

....and no, it's not a bobber,

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dick Allen's Cobra, Shop and other Wild Things

All photos taken by and courtesy of Bruce Parrish

This shot of Dick and his Cobra Trike is probably familiar to many of you. It was published in Garage magazine and I posted it myself from that source awhile back. This time it's a scan from Bruce's original photo so it's without the magazine's gutter running down the image.

Dick and his pet leopard. It strikes me as very bizarre to see a wild cat on Artesia blvd. I asked Bruce about it and he replied, "Dick was really good with animals". The conversation switch gears, so I need to get back to him on that subject.

A good view of the trike. The bike next to it served as inspiration for Bruce's first chopper. More on that to come.

While Bruce's interest was in shooting the trike and this bike, I really like the fact we get a rare glimpse of Dick's shop. That's Dick to the right talking to someone who's cutoff. Those are the beginnings of more cobra trike frames leaning near the tires. If you look carefully you can also spot 7 Harley frames.

This blown version never got further than this mock up. The Cobra Trikes were a joint effort between Dick and Ed Roth. Dick welded up frames and Roth glassed up the bodies. The frames and the bodies were $250 each. Dick also made and sold the motor mounts. The bike next to it is the bike Joe Hurst referred to as Dick's Rat Fuck. It has the old purple Loco-Motion 1 tank and is the bike (with a different engine), in the previous post (Freeway Jamming), that eventually became White Bear.

It appears there was some type of parts counter in the shop. I'd love to get a glimpse of the bike inside.

I'm very glad that Bruce took and kept these photos. As far as I know, he's the only one who has shots of the shop, and once again, want to say thanks for sharing them. Now, if we could only go and walk inside them.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

This Month's (late and temporay?), Header

I got hung up and really late on this month's header. The photo above was the first image/idea I had in mind ....as to say, let's kick start this new year. I really prefer to use and did get started on a illustration instead, but since it's so late, this will do for now.

The photo is a from the end of the Devil's Angels, a movie that I hadn't seen in years and recently Tivo'ed. Styles come and go, but I keep coming back to this style of bike.

Sunday, January 9, 2011


Total sales for MidAmerica over 2.5 days was $5.5Million, inclusive.
The MidAmerica 2011 Las Vegas auction held to their 20 year tradition with 500 motorcycles for sale over two and a half days, beginning with a Thursday night after-dinner auction of 50 bikes.  The colors, the buzz of the auctioneers, and the scale of the hall should be experienced by every motorcycle enthusiast at some point - once you're in Las Vegas, its a free show of very interesting machinery, much of it unlikely to be seen publicly again for some time.  It is also probably the best place in the US to meet bike collectors from around the world, old or young, established or just beginning, very rich or simply looking for one special machine.
Fritz Simmerlein of www.Harleysons.de is perfectly matched to this original-paint 1919 H-D 'J'
With 500 bikes on show, in some years a repetitive horde of Triumphs or Shovelhead choppers have made for a tedious auction, but this year the mix was uniformly varied, and had something for everyone.  Unrestored 'teens and 'twenties machines, newly-built replicas of Board Track racers, seventies café racers, recent customs, racing bikes, and mopeds were all available.
Spring arrived early in Vegas; two Rickman-framed café racers...
Highlights of the auction included two Brough Superior SS100s with 'MX' Matchless overhead valve 990cc engines; a 1939 model to 'show finish' (chromed mudguards and cylinders/heads), which had correct, matching engine, frame, and gearbox numbers, and a 1938 example with MX engine, previously owned by Brough technical guru Bill Gibbard, author of 'Maintaining your Brough Superior'.  The Gibbard machine had an engine from another SS100, although the machine was all-Brough.  Still, when the reserve is a reputed $230,000, one can afford to be picky, and thus it proved to be when the machine failed to sell at auction (although it sold later in the day for $238k).  The '39 'show' bike sold for $260,000+ to a new player in the motorcycle collecting world; more on that later.
1939 Brough Superior SS100 'MX' to 'show' specification
Other interesting machines included a pair of 1934 Dirt Track racers which fetched big bucks due to their rarity and solid-gold provenance. The '34 Harley 'CAC' racer was one of a dozen machines built to challenge the JAP and Rudge racers which ruled the tracks of the time, but as it was no more powerful than the British machines, the model was dropped.  This original paint, two-owner bike was a time-warp machine, and fetched well over $120,000.

The 1934 Crocker speedway racer was one of 31 built in the small workshop of Al Crocker and Paul Bigsby (inventor of the 'whammy bar'), before they focused on their familiar big twins.  The Crocker twins reside on Olympus in terms of pricing nowadays, and that glory has reflected well on the rarer dirt racers - this took over $160,000 on the hammer.  While not an original-paint bike, the engine and frame were certainly correct, although that extremely rare Crocker carburetor looked brand new to my eyes; a very clean design with 'monobloc' float chamber, such a carb is beyond rare.  Both of these '34 racers compare well with the 1929 'Mine Find' Harley Peashooter at Bonhams, which sold for $125,800.
One of 12 Crocker speedway racers known.  That's Jeff Decker in the stripes.
 In the replica category was the Flying Merkel from the workshop of ace restorer Chris Carter.  Created around an original engine, such shiny machines are fetching less money nowadays than 'patinated' re-creations, a situation which is wreaking havoc with the collector's market.  Ron Christensen of MidAmerica noted, "All these replicas are really scaring buyers away from early American bikes. We had an [unnamed] four-cylinder which turned out to have a replica frame, purchased from France.  Sometimes owners have been misled, but we have to be more diligent about documenting the bikes to make clear what we are selling. It's difficult to get paperwork out of sellers, even things as simple as titles!" 

As the skill of 'antiquing' artisans develops, it can be a hard job indeed to tell the difference between a weathered original paint job or a brand new one which simply appears old.  Layers of different paint are forcibly 'alligatored' and rubbed with waxes and oils, sepia powders and pumice abrasions to get that just-abandoned look.  The ultimate effect of the replicas market has been to make all investors in old American motorcycles especially wary of both restored and original-paint machines.  The cry of 'fakery' is heard more often at motorcycle auctions, even against bikes possessing letters of authentication dating decades back!  Such wariness is understandable given the number of replicas with a mumbling description in auction catalogs, and it seems high time sellers and auction houses cleaned up their act.  Otherwise, its the lawyers who win...and I heard of several big-dollar lawsuits currently pending against well-known dealers and personalities.  Perhaps the time has come for a paint-and-metal testing service for valuable machines?  The car world takes the lead on this one, although the fine-art world has used paid appraisers/evaluators for a century...
Las Vegas is also the place to see unique machines which never turn up anywhere else, like this 1920s 'Engel' flat twin, which uses a car engine from a Holsman, and home-made frame, forks, and driveline.  The wheels are wooden, from a car, and the drive is direct - no clutch or kickstarter.  I would estimate the engine capacity at 2liters, which means this heavy beast would be a joy to push-start.  It may never have been ridden at all, but has a fantastic look, a 20s 'Dream Machine' (or nightmare!).
Fantastic H-D racing bicycle ca.1920; the ultimate 'fixie'?
Prices on the whole at MidAmerica and the Bonhams auction held on Thursday were solid, although they set few records (except a BSA Rocket Gold Star which fetched $32,760 - surely an American record).  The very best machines, such as Brough SS100s, rare racers, and documented original-paint machines, have firm pricing in six-figure territory, although dubious rumors can drop prices considerably.  The average rider can breathe easy that high-production machines are very affordable and prices remain flat, if not downright cheap, for Triumph, BSA, and Norton twins, most prewar British bikes, and the average Indian and Harley of all years.
Fantastic original-paint 1911 Indian belt-drive single.
The most intriguing new developments in the motorcycle auction world are twofold; the long-anticipated entry of well-heeled automobile collectors into the top tier of the old bike market, and the sudden appearance of bidders from previously silent countries.  This year marked what was hoped for/feared/expected for some time, as at least four big-time 'car guys' snatched some of the finest bikes on offer.  Their collecting senses already honed by years of dealing with Ferraris and Bugattis, I watched and spoke with several new players leaving the confines of metal bodywork, who sought advice from experienced 'bike guys' regarding the best motorcycles at each auction.  The buzz at Bonhams and MidAmerica was less about bikes and prices than flying rumors about who these new players might be, and what this means to the motorcycle world.  Regarding the former - the names are well-known to the Pebble Beach crowd, but the latter question hangs for now.  When one new player recognized another major car collector was bidding on the same SS100, he deferred, and bidding stopped.  Polite for now, such graciousness may evaporate when the current 'toe in the water' becomes a full-fledged desire to amass a serious motorcycle collection complementing their four-wheeled treasures....and when that happens, records will be broken.
The 'second' Brough SS100; not often you see a B-S on the showroom floor, with a price tag!  It later sold for $238,000.
The second notable trend of the week was the appearance of collectors from 'new' countries buying bikes to bring home.  South America and India have for decades been the happy hunting ground for collectors brave enough to travel or send money to unknown individuals with interesting machines...and I count myself among them, having sourced several Brough Superiors from South America in the early 1990s.  It seems they want some of these bikes back!  In the 1980s and 90s, it was assumed that bikes sold en masse to Japan or Europe would 'never be seen again', but in truth motorcycles, as when new, circulate around the world to enthusiasts, coming and going as interest and economies wax and wane.  It will be interesting to see if the rapidly developing economy of India will produce a new wave of collectors, as Indians are currently buying 300,000 new bikes per month.  They have a long tradition of appreciating older machines, although we have yet to see top-notch restorations emerge from their still-large home supply of prewar English machines...which is probably why they're buying good bikes here.

The vast hall of the South Point Casino.
1960 H-D Panhead custom, 'Acid Trip'.  Indeed.
Cabal of early American bike collectors, setting prices and determining the future of the market.  Or not.
Goggomobile! And a Berkeley; almost motorcycles...
The H-D sprocket of the racing bicycle.
1935 HRD Series 'A' Comet
1910 Marsh Metz belt-drive single
The clutch and belt tensioner levers of the Marsh Metz; two ways to slow down or start up.
Stunning if creepy H-D 'dresser' with Marylin undressed everywhere.
Plenty of rare European machines on offer, such as this 1905 Motosacoche, without the typical engine cladding.
Bad year for Munchs in America; none have sold here since the Dave Manthey collection was dispersed.
1936 BMW R5, the rigid version of the R51, and very desireable.
Tremendous variety; Vespa to genuine '75 Norton JPS Commando to dirt bikes.
1938 Husqvarna moped - fun!

700 Horsepower from Suzuki Hayabusa

Perhaps the most insane news we've posted on Gizmag this week comes from the inaugural DynoJet Horsepower Challenge held last weekend in Valdosta, Georgia, USA. Basically, DynoJet make motorcycle dynamometers and they provided a bunch oif them and anybody could roll up and the guy whose bike made the most horsepower won. The winning fellow was Hank Booth of Great Falls, Montana, whose highly modified 1999 Suzuki 1300GSXR Hayabusa motorcycle with an NLR turbocharger cranked out an incredible 701.32 horsepower.
Other winners in the Import Unlimited class with Booth included; RCC Turbo/Richard Peppler, of Ontario with 559.02 HP, and Glen Bertagnoli coming in third with a 445.16. All of the top three competitors were using the Suzuki Hayabusa engine.
Revving the scale in other classes were Kent Stotz with 210 bhp on a turbo powered Honda in the Imported V-Twin Cruiser Open class while Don Smith squeezed a respectable 118 bhp out of a 600cc Suzuki.
The domestic bike category was dominated by, well, what else would you expect ... Harley Davidson. The champ in this class was Kevin Kelly of Weston, Florida who managed to get his harley producing 247 horsepower in the V-twin Unlimited category, narrowly ahead of Nick Trask of Phoenix, Arizona whose Harley generated 228 horses.
Brandon Rybicki's turbo-powered Harley V-Rod produced 191 horses.

BUB 7 Streamliner motorcycle breaks 367mph for new world record

Looking more like a long, blurred, red flash than a motorcycle, the BUB 7 Streamliner is now the fastest motorcycle on earth (pending FIM verification) after Chris Carr set a new FIM world record and AMA national record at 367.382mph (591.244kmh) through the mile - and an exit speed of 372.534mph (599.534kmh) - at the Cook Private Meet at the Bonneville Salt Flats Utah. It probably also makes Carr one of the bravest men on the planet. BUB 7 beat the previous record of 360.913mph (580.833kmh), set by Team Ack Attack last year. We originally covered the BUB 7 when it broke through the 350mph (563km) barrier back in 2006.
To achieve this new incredible speed, the BUB 7 was powered by a 3-liter, turbocharged, 16-valve V4 that generated an estimated 500hp in a package the size of a 1-liter V-twin, because the maximum limit for this land speed racing is 3000cc. This purpose-built motor was designed with one thing in mind – breaking the motorcycle world record. Mission accomplished!
The engine is a big bang type, so it must gain traction, then relax and then transfer power with the next power pulse. Unlike drag racing, one of the challenges all teams competing in land speed record racing face is that their motorcycles have to make two runs; a down and a return that are combined for an overall average, so the engine has to survive for both runs without any modifications.
But power isn’t everything … this winter, the 'Seven' underwent further streamlining using A2 Wind Tunnel (A2WT) facility in South Carolina, where it scored the lowest coefficient of drag (CoD) that the A2WT has ever recorded - a CoD 0.09.
Denis Manning, designer and builder of the Seven, has been in LSR (Land Speed Racing) for the better part of 40 years, and first got the record in 1970 with a Harley-powered Streamliner with rider Cal Rayborn at 265.492mph. This is his seventh Streamliner. He has held the fastest motorcycle record with two of them (twice with the Seven).
Not much more information at this stage, but watch the video below to show how fast 350mph is when the BUB 7 Streamliner broke that record. The team is now aiming for the 400mph record.

Motorcycle Land Speed Record pushed to 350 mph

Denis Manning’s motorcycles have been chasing world land speed records for over three decades and in September, the BUB 7 Streamliner he designed and built captured the ultimate goal when it set the new absolute motorcycle land speed record at Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats. Rider Chris Carr piloted the BUB 7 streamliner to 354.832 mph on the down run and 346.939 mph on the return for an average speed of 350.885 mph, a new world record. Prior to the 2006 BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials the absolute motorcycle land speed record had not been broken since Dave Campos achieved his 322.149 mph world record run in 1990.
Of course, building the world's fastest motorcycle from the ground up is nothing new to Manning. In 1970 another Manning-built streamliner earned the title of world's fastest motorcycle. That machine was driven 265.492mph by legendary road racer Cal Rayborn.
In over 30 years of chasing land speed records Denis Manning, and his team, have overcome some unique challenges in order to reach success. In September 2007, they will once more return to the salt to defend their absolute motorcycle land speed title at the fourth annual gathering of the world’s fastest motorcycles, the BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials scheduled for September 2 – 6, 2007. Competitors from around the globe will again meet on the Utah’s legendary Bonneville Salt Flats. The FIM (Federation Internationale de Motocyclisme) and AMA (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned event is the only land speed racing meet solely dedicated to motorcycles, offering the world’s top builders and racers the opportunity to break world and national speed records.
Denis Manning, a 2006 inductee in the Motorcycle Hall of Fame, is the designer, builder, and owner of the BUB #7 streamliner – and no stranger to record-breaking speed. In 1970 another Manning-designed streamliner was the fastest motorcycle in the world. That year Cal Rayborn piloted Manning’s streamliner at the Bonneville Salt Flats to a two-way average of 265.492.
The current world-record setting BUB streamliner, the “#7” sponsored by Drag Specialties & Parts Unlimited, is so named because it is the seventh streamliner Denis Manning has designed and crafted. The streamliner features numerous engineering firsts, including a 3000cc, 425hp engine purpose-designed and built for land speed racing. Says Manning, “The goal is to continue developing and testing the #7 streamliner. We hope to retain the record at the next BUB Motorcycle Speed Trials. Our dedication and hard-work paid off this year. I have no doubt next year will be just as exciting.
source : http://www.gizmag.com