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  • 09/02/13--11:00: Joe


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    The famous "Blue Bird" name originated when Malcolm Campbell, already a successful automobile racer at Brooklands, was inspired by Maeterlinck's play "The Blue Bird of Happiness". He went to his local hardware shop and bought up all the blue paint he could to paint his car. With paint still wet, the car won two races at Brooklands and a legend was born.

    This car was powered by the same R-type Rolls Royce engine as 1933. This final version of the Blue Bird embodied some of the chassis of the 1927 car, plus the original front axle, brake drums and shoes. It had a new back axle with twin wheels out of alignment and double crown wheels and pinion. It also had a completely new body with an air intake slot in the nose which could be closed of for additional streamlining. The wheel fairings now formed part of the main body, which was built at Campbell's own garage at Brooklands, under Leo Villa's supervision. First trials were again at Daytona Beach in January 1935. This cars first record was 276.82 mph at Daytona Beach on 7th March, 1935. Subsequently this same year, this Blue Bird was taken to Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah, where on the 3rd of September, 1935 Sir Malcolm Campbell set his last land speed record at 301.13 mph.

    Campbell had been the first driver to achieve 250 miles an hour, but this had made him set his heart on being the first 300 miles-an-hour man.

    This would require some radical changes be made to the Bluebird so that he could find the extra 25 miles an hour needed.

    A major operation was begun under the direction of Reid Railton, and the modified Bluebird fitted with the Rolls-Royce engine had achieved a staggering 272.46 mph.

    Campbell realised that he had ample power, the problem was in transmitting it to the sand; wheel-spin had robbed him of many miles an hour on his last run.

    This was tackled by using a special type of rear axle with a separate propeller shaft to each wheel.

    To enable the bevel gears and crown wheels to clear each other, one shaft was shorter than the other, so that the wheelbase on one side of the car was shorter than on the other.

    There was no differential, and twin rear wheels were used. The body was also changed again, this time by enclosing the radiator in a fairing right across the front of the car, reducing the size of the tail fin, and placing fairings behind the rear wheels.

    In this version Campbell first reached 276.82 and eventually broke through the 300 mph barrier.

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  • 09/03/13--11:00: Eddie Steady Lawson


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  • 09/04/13--09:00: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress














  • In response for the Army's request for a large, multiengine bomber, the B-17 (Model 299) prototype, financed entirely by Boeing, went from design board to flight test in less than 12 months.

    The B-17 was a low-wing monoplane that combined aerodynamic features of the XB-15 giant bomber, still in the design stage, and the Model 247 transport. The B-17 was the first Boeing military aircraft with a flight deck instead of an open cockpit and was armed with bombs and five .30-caliber machine guns mounted in clear "blisters."

    The first B-17s saw combat in 1941, when the British Royal Air Force took delivery of several B-17s for high-altitude missions. As World War II intensified, the bombers needed additional armament and armor.

    The B-17E, the first mass-produced model Flying Fortress, carried nine machine guns and a 4,000-pound bomb load. It was several tons heavier than the prototypes and bristled with armament. It was the first Boeing airplane with the distinctive -- and enormous -- tail for improved control and stability during high-altitude bombing. Each version was more heavily armed.

    In the Pacific, the planes earned a deadly reputation with the Japanese, who dubbed them "four-engine fighters." The Fortresses were also legendary for their ability to stay in the air after taking brutal poundings. They sometimes limped back to their bases with large chunks of the fuselage shot off.

    Boeing plants built a total of 6,981 B-17s in various models, and another 5,745 were built under a nationwide collaborative effort by Douglas and Lockheed (Vega). Only a few B-17s survive today; most were scrapped at the end of the war. Some of the last Flying Fortresses met their end as target drones in the 1960s -- destroyed by Boeing Bomarc missiles.

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    It’s generally well known that German scientists and engineers were some of the earliest pioneers of rocket flight, but it’s less well known that Germany also pushed the boundaries for terrestrial rocket propulsion. One of the biggest proponents was Fritz von Opel, the grandson of the famous German carmaker Adam Opel.

    Fritz Adam Hermann von Opel (nicknamed Raketen-Fritz = Rocket-Fritz) spent the late 1920’s trying to kill himself in a variety of rocket powered vehicles among them the Opel based RAK-1 and RAK-2. However, Fritz also build and tested a true rocket-bike based on a Neander/Opel MotoClub 500SS and powered by 6 solid-fuel rockets.

    It’s not hard to imagine how this thrill-seeking millionaire Wiemar Republic playboy came upon the idea of making motorcycling even more dangerous, by mounting a rocket battery on the rear end. He was well known as a technology innovator and as a member of Verein für Raumschiffahrt (the “Spaceflight Society” that also counted pioneers like Wernher von Braun and Hermann Oberth as members) he had access to some of the best minds in rocketry. Besides, the 1920’s were a time where people with money simply did things for kicks and Fritz got his kicks from champagne, beautiful women and rockets (don’t we all).

    In 1928 the world speed record for motorcycles was 200km/t – established by O. M. Baldwin on a 996ccm Zenith-JAP. Fritz reckoned his rocket-monster easily could break this record if he was able to find a rider brave enough to try. As an engineer he had already done the calculations and concluded the top speed would be just over 220km/. All he needed was a suitable racetrack.

    Hamborner Radrennbahn suited his purpose perfectly and on a sunny summers day in 1928 he made a demonstration run before of a gaping crowd. His plan was to break the record later that summer. However, having a rocket powered motorcycle is no guarantee for setting a new World Record (even in 1928). The whole project really depended upon two main factors: keeping the bike going in a straight line and not killing the rider. It’s a dangerous sport and in fact it was deemed so dangerous that German authorities forbade Fritz von Opel’s record attempt – and rocket powered motorcycles in general. Von Opel was understandably pretty disappointed, but rather than sulk in his garage he quickly moved on to rocket powered cars, trains and gliders (one of which he personally flew in 1929).

    The late 20’s was von Opels time to shine. He left Germany and the Opel company in 1929 and went to USA at the beginning of World War II. He must have been tired of the limelight as there is very little information about him for the next 42 years. At some stage he returned to Europe and he died in Switzerland in 1971.

    Recently a German motorcycle enthusiast restored a beautiful old Neander/Opel MotoClub 500SS and in honor of von Opel he added optional solid-fuel rockets (although just replicas). Somehow my bike is just not going to feel the same anymore…


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    Françoise Hardy was an iconic figure during the ’60s and ’70s, her music influenced millions including the likes of Bob Dylan and her effortless style notably affected the fashion industry of the era. In some respects she was France’s answer to Audrey Hepburn, although arguably Hardy’s influence stretched even further.

    Françoise was a passionate motorcyclist and was the owner of the late ’60s CB Honda , she was said to ride daily when she was in Paris between shows and was a common sight on the streets of the 9th arrondissement of Paris, the area in which she grew up.

    (Via: Silodrome)

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  • 09/05/13--11:00: "Little"Bill


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    A commonality seen amongst garage builders, craftsmen, and weekend wrenchers is often their desire to escape technology. Time spent in the shop is a counter balance to time spent in front of a screen. It's about the unfulfilled daily desire to assemble something with your hands, dial in a torque spec, rejuvenate an old mechanism, and breathe life back into something that has been neglected and long forgotten. Then one day you can ride your creation off into the desert sun on an adventure outside of WiFi hotspots, with your copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance firmly fixed to the back of your seat with some twine.


    Well, that's not Toby Grubb and Justin Lewis, members of the digital creative agency Instrument located in Portland, Oregon. In their desire to get some grease between their fingers they took technology with them and let it drive their wrench turning venture.
    The duo pulled their inspiration from "the industrial lines of Jonathan Ive's MacPro G5." In some cases, quite literally. After peeling back the skin of multiple Apple devices the team set aside a perforated aluminum panel, a set of ports, a power button, and a release lever. These pieces would become one of the very innovative features of the build...but not the most innovative...
    In line with Apple's clean and simple brand language, Toby and Justin set out to free the front end of it's clutter, yet without stripping it of it's functionality. They designed and programmed the Instrument Mobile Dashboard App which combines a digital speedometer, tachometer, odometer, and a GPS tracking system into a clean and highly visible readout that's displayed on your iPhone. The USB charging port make's sure you stay powered while the headphone jack allows you to take phone calls, listen to your favorite TRON soundtracks, or chat with SIRI if you get lonely on your adventure into the future.

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  • 09/06/13--11:00: DKW ULD 250


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  • 09/07/13--09:00: Spain GP 1955


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  • 09/08/13--09:00: Lambretta Moto Giro 1969




  • Cesare Bartolini racing in the 1969 Moto Giro d'Italia on a factory-sponsored Lambretta SX200 which was race-modified by the Ancilloti firm

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  • 09/08/13--11:00: Mini at Montecarlo Rally












  • Regarded as the toughest event on the rallying circuit, the Monte Carlo Rally has held a special place in motorsport lovers' hearts since its inception in 1911.

    The year 1964 went down in the books as a particularly memorable year. Starting at Minsk - one of the nine different starting points in the rally that year - Paddy Hopkirk and his co-driver Henry Liddon powered to victory in a Mini Cooper S, to the astonishment of the rest of the field and the racing fraternity.

    This initial Mini victory was repeated in the following year and in 1967, but it's the first victory that sticks in the mind.

    The best way for the Mini to prove that the initial Monte victory was no flash in the pan was...to win it again the following year.

    The 1965 Monte Carlo Rally saw six Mini Cooper S on the starting line. Despite arduous conditions that put paid to many of their competitors, Timo Makinen and Paul Easter took the outright title, with Paddy Hopkirk and Henry Liddon in 26th and Don and Erle Morley in 27th position.

    The success story continued even further. In the 1967 rally, Rauno Aaltonen and Liddon made it a hat trick of victories for the Mini team. But for some dubious decisions the previous year, it would have been four out of four. In 1966, the Mini team took first, second and third, only for all cars to be disqualified for apparent breaches of headlamp regulations.

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    Portland’s Conor Buescher and Garrett Clark of Vendetta Cycles have mounted an incursion upon British cycling’s current state of world domination. The excellence of their craftsmanship snagged an English customer who will unwittingly let loose an American machine upon home soil.

    The British Racer may have ‘old-world’ styling but it’s no slouch — more Rolls-Royce Ghost than a Phantom IV. It’s a blend of Columbus SFL and Reynolds tubes, ending with a lithe wishbone seat stay layout — affectionately referred to by Andy Newlands of Strawberry Cycles as ‘the Vendetta Flute’.

    Conor counts Andy Newlands as a strong influence to his work, along with Richard Sachs who supplied his proprietary high-polished stainless lugs, and Darrell McCulloch from Llewellyn Cycles (the lugged stem is Darrell’s handiwork).

    The final touch, blue metallic paint with garnet accents, was applied by Eric Dungey ofColor Works in Eugene, Oregon. No British Racer would be complete without a saddle by Brooks, but the bar wrap is by America’s own Handlebra. It’s going to look a treat as it races around London’s Box Hill circuit.

    Thanks to Conor Buescher for the photography — head to the Vendetta Cycles gallery for more.

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  • 09/09/13--11:00: Superbike Kawa


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  • 09/11/13--09:00: North American F-86 Sabre













  • "The North American F-86 Sabre, like the Boeing XB-47, had been the beneficiary of German aerodynamic data on the advantages of the swept wing for high-speed jet aircraft. The result was a single-engine fighter of superb maneuverability, and one that also was an excellent gun platform.

    The North American F-86 Sabre was first flown on October 1, 1947, by George "Wheaties" Welch. There are those who say that the plane exceeded the sound barrier prior to October 14, 1947, the day on which Chuck Yeager did so in the Bell XS-1. There is no data to confirm this, but the fact is that the Sabre could go supersonic in a dive.

    During these early years of the Cold War, the leaders of the United States Air Force had to plan on what the Soviet Union could do, not necessarily what it thought it would do. And the Soviet Union could have launched a one-way atomic bomber mission against the United States. Con­sequently, when the Korean War broke out, the North American F-86 Sabres were retained in the United States. (The designation P, for pursuit, changed to F, for fighter, in 1948.)

    The appearance of Soviet MiG-15s in Korea changed this decision, and soon the beautiful little Sabres were flying the length of the Korean peninsula to challenge the enemy in "MiG-Alley." Although the MiG had some perfor­mance advantages, the better-trained and far more aggressive USAF pilots soon established air superiority. This allowed other USAF and United Nations aircraft to hammer enemy supply lines and prevent the over­whelming numbers of Red Chinese soldiers from driving the U.N. forces into the sea.

    The versatile North American F-86 Sabre remained the heart of the USAF fighter force for many years and was developed through a long series of variants, each with improved performance. The aircraft was much loved by its pilots, and is regarded by many as the last "pure" fighter plane."

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    Pic: Colección Josep Mª Mallol

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    "Bo Diddley was one of the great rock innovators and was there at the beginning with Elvis, Chuck Berry, Little Richard and Buddy Holly. He was most known for inventing "The Bo Diddley Beat" a rhythm many have described as "shave-and-a-haircut, two-bits." He used that rhythm in hits like Hey! Bo Diddley and Who Do You Love, a song later covered by George Thorogood and the Destroyers. Buddy Holly used the beat in Not Fade Away and the Rolling Stones recorded Holly's song on one of their first albums.

    The title of the album "Have Guitar - Will Travel (wire Bo Diddley)" is a take-off on a popular TV show of the time called Have Gun Will Travel about a pay-for-hire gunslinger named Paladin played by Richard Boone. Paladin's business card read "Have Gun, Will Travel - wire Paladin - San Francisco." Palladin had a horse; Bo is mounted on a funky pink-and-cream Vespa. (*update: see addendum: The scooter is most likely a 1957 Cushman Eagle.)

    The Cushman company operated from 1903 to 2003. Most famous for golf carts, “Meter Maid” trucks, industrial and landscaping equipment etc., Cushman also made scooters from 1936 to 1965. They received a huge boost during WWII producing scooters for the war effort. These scooters were used on military bases, airfields, and were even “air-dropped” with the troops in the case of the Cushman “AIrborne”. Their most successful scooter was the Cushman “Eagle” which looked like a small conventional motorcycle."

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    "In 1981, bikes were huge, largely thanks to the efforts of a certain Mr Sheene (no not the furniture polish). So it was inevitable that some movie maker or another would eventually exploit the fact on the silver screen.

    The result was either the worst or best bike film ever made, depending on your viewpoint. On the plus side, Silver Dream Racer was like Rocky on two wheels - poor boy takes all the shit then makes good, gets the girl, ya-de-ya. On the downside, the chances of finding a piece of shit bike in your brother's shed then winning the 500cc world championship in one race only to have a fatal tankslapper crossing the finish line are improbable at best.

    But that's just what happened in the 1981 movie starring none other than gypsy Seventies pin-up boy David Essex.

    Essex himself was only insured to ride the bike at speeds of up to 15mph even though he was a keen biker in real life. But according to former racer and the BBC's current WSB commentator Steve Parrish, the bike wasn't capable of much more anyway. He says: "It was the biggest pile of shit I've ever ridden."

    Parrish tested the bike in France because it was actually developed with the aim of racing in real life before the film crew realised its film star potential.

    The Silver Dream Machine was actually a Barton, two-stroke, square four cylinder home-brew special and was initially designed for sidecar racing before finding immortality (or infamy, if you prefer) on the big screen. The engine did in fact find its way back into a sidecar when it took third place at the Isle of Man TT in the hands of Nigel Rollinson in the eighties.

    Former British champion and ex-Red Bull Ducati team manager Roger Marshall did much of the riding for the film and helped Essex polish up on his 15mph riding technique. Marshall explains in his biography Roger and Out by Keith Martin that he was paid the handsome sum of £200 per day for filming which in 1980 was not to be sniffed at.

    Other benefactors were the brothers Harris of Harris Performance who provided endless screens, footpegs and other trinkets to the film company who were trashing stacks of bikes every week for the film's crash sequences. Harris says: "We probably sold more parts those few weeks than we've ever done." "


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  • 09/13/13--01:08: Dutch TT


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