Articles on this Page
(showing articles 481 to 500 of 687)
- 02/21/14--04:34: _The Distinguised Ge...
- 02/21/14--09:00: _Moto Guzzi Cafe Rac...
- 02/21/14--11:00: _Road racing
- 02/22/14--11:00: _You need great pass...
- 02/22/14--11:00: _I’m not sure whethe...
- 02/23/14--09:00: _Porsche 956 LH 1982...
- 02/23/14--11:00: _Russ Collins Drag-R...
- 02/24/14--09:00: _Centurion Professio...
- 02/24/14--11:00: _Ron ''Rocket'' Haslam
- 02/25/14--05:13: _Happy birthday King!!
- 02/25/14--09:00: _Ford "Dick Flint" H...
- 02/25/14--11:00: _Barry Sheene at Mon...
- 02/26/14--09:00: _Avro Vulcan
- 02/26/14--11:00: _Croz on the Honda C...
- 02/27/14--09:00: _Rockstars' Garage: ...
- 02/27/14--11:00: _Steve Ward, Supersp...
- 02/28/14--09:00: _Kawasaki W650 by Ma...
- 02/28/14--11:00: _Monkey business
- 03/01/14--09:00: _Palomo-Morante bike...
- 03/01/14--11:00: _Vespa across the na...
(showing articles 481 to 500 of 687)
- 02/21/14--04:34: The Distinguised Gentleman's jump
- 02/21/14--09:00: Moto Guzzi Cafe Racer Kaffeemaschine 5
- 02/21/14--11:00: Road racing
- 02/22/14--11:00: I’m not sure whether I’m an actor who races or a racer who acts
- 02/23/14--09:00: Porsche 956 LH 1982 Le Mans winner
- 02/23/14--11:00: Russ Collins Drag-Racing Champion
- 02/24/14--09:00: Centurion Professional by Petit de Cologne 1978
- 02/24/14--11:00: Ron ''Rocket'' Haslam
- 02/25/14--05:13: Happy birthday King!!
- 02/25/14--09:00: Ford "Dick Flint" Hot Rod
- 02/25/14--11:00: Barry Sheene at Montjuic 1973 Yamaha 750cc
- 02/26/14--09:00: Avro Vulcan
- 02/26/14--11:00: Croz on the Honda CBX1000
- 02/27/14--09:00: Rockstars' Garage: Brigitte Bardot's Renault Floride
- 02/27/14--11:00: Steve Ward, Supersport 400 IOM TT 1990
- 02/28/14--09:00: Kawasaki W650 by Maria Motorcycles
- 02/28/14--11:00: Monkey business
- 03/01/14--09:00: Palomo-Morante bike on boxes pic by Joan Segura
- 03/01/14--11:00: Vespa across the nations
This classic and elegant beauty Maschine 5 was built for Axel’s customer Thomas Gruner, who had bought a1989 Moto Guzzi Le Mans 4 in pieces and didn’t have a clue what he had or how to put it together! He arrived at the Kaffeemaschine workshop and asked Axel to build a custom Cafe Racer using all the pieces of his Guzzi Le Mans 4 puzzle… what a task!
According to Axel “I was struggling a lot with the total crap inside of his engine and some parts, it was obvious he had bought a disassembled bike which had been in an accident, suffering engine damage. He immediately fell in love with the tank lying around in my workshop (though not really ideal for the high neck of the late Le Mans frame), which became his only definite wish for the bike.
Except for the tank, I built all the alloy parts on the bike by hand, as usual. The engine and transmission got a total revision and now have brand new stock Le Mans 1000 specs (950ccm, 81hp).
Even with the original power, the Guzzi is performing great after the 183kg diet (the stock Le Mans 1000 is around 240kg) only the frame loses 3.5kg of steel.
The modified fork is from a California with special stainless steel discs and the brakes are equipped with modern calipers and a momentum support on the rear. The exhaust is Lafranconi, shocks are Ikon, and the rev counter is from MMB. The minimal wiring harness was built by myself.
I think Thomas is not the guy who’d fit a totally classic motorcycle (in his case, that’s meant as a compliment). I chose the seat shape and the type of paint because of the impression I had of him, I wanted it classic and elegant but a bit of hot rod too, away from the iconic Italian racer”.
Separated by three decades of time, a pair of German manufacturers swept the top finishing positions at the 24 Hours of Le Mans, competing under technical regulations focused on generationally-different approaches to combining high performance with improved fuel efficiency.
In 2012 the manufacturer was Audi, integrating their diesel expertise with hybrid technology developed by the Williams Formula 1 team. In 1982, it was Porsche, utilizing their first lightweight aluminum monocoque chassis, rear underbody tunnels, and superior aerodynamics.
The FIA World Sportscar Championship in 1982 featured new Group C regulations that were largely focused on fuel capacity and consumption, as well as an 800 kg weight limit combined with dimensional limitations to preclude special “long-tail” bodywork for Le Mans. Fuel tank capacity was restricted to 100 liters, with a limited amount of fuel available for each race on the schedule.
To meet the new regulations, designer Norbert Singer drew the legendary Porsche 956. Despite the new restrictions on fuel consumption, Jacky Ickx and Derek Bell won the 50th anniversary 24 Hours of Le Mans by breaking the distance record they had established the previous year. And, running in perfect formation, the other two Rothmans-sponsored team cars followed the winner across the finish line.
This first victory for the Porsche 956 was the beginning of one of the great eras in endurance sportscar racing. It also marked the end of another great era, being the sixth and final Le Mans victory for Belgian driver Jacky Ickx.
In addition to the headlines generated by Ickx and the Porsche 956, the 1982 event also included the usual variety of secondary stories.
In one of the more curious, Mario and Michael Andretti had qualified ninth in a Mirage M12 entered by Harley Cluxton but, while the car had passed pre-race inspection earlier in the week, it was pulled from the grid and disqualified on a technical infraction shortly before the start of the race.
Similarly frustrating, perhaps, was the experience shared by the driving trio of Bobby Rahal, Jim Trueman and Skeeter McKitterick. The three were co-driving a March 82G that arrived late for practice, was fitted with a down-on-power Chevy V8, and was slow on the straights…and the Le Mans circuit has miles of straights. Three hours into the race the fuel tank split, bringing a merciful end to an unpleasant affair.
Also occupying the V8 portion of the sound spectrum were two Chevrolet Camaros entered by NASCAR team owner Billy Hagan. This was an era when the Le Mans organizers were actively soliciting American entries from the IMSA series and, with their massive rear wings perched at roof level, exaggerated fender flairs and boisterous Chevy rumble, the incongruity of Hagan’s Camaros was striking even among the usual, eclectic Le Mans entry.
While a variety of Porsches won every Le Mans category in 1982, the IMSA GTO class was taken by a 924 that completed the race on street tires. BF Goodrich was heavily committed to racing on “street-legal” tires with partially-shaved tread depth and, for that year’s race, had entered a pair of Porsche 924 Carrera GTRs that had been tested and prepped by Jim Busby at Porsche’s test facility at Weissach, Germany. Remarkably, the car driven by Busby, Doc Bundy and Marcel Mignot ran the entire race and won the class using just five tires. One tire was changed early in the race simply to check the wear rate, and the car ran the rest of the way with no additional changes.
Regardless of the year, the 24 Hours of Le Mans is not just a race, it’s an event characterized by headlines at the front of the grid, but filled with story lines throughout the field.
By Bob Harmeyer
Russ Collins was one of the leading motorcycle drag racers and drag bike builders of the 1960s and ‘70s. His dual- and even triple-engine monster motorcycles, such as the Assassin, the Sorcerer and others, marked the apex of the outrageous drag racing motorcycle designs of the era. Collins rode these incredibly powerful machines to the fastest quarter-mile times turned on motorcycles during that time. He was the first motorcyclist to break the seven-second barrier and a run he made in 1977 set a record that would stand for 11 years.
Collins was born in Somerville, New Jersey, on August 27, 1939. He grew up with a love of all things mechanical. His first interest was in cars and he became quite accomplished as a car mechanic and body man. In 1957, he bought a dilapidated, basket-case 500cc Triumph. Collins rebuilt the bike and started riding on the street. A hot-rodder at heart, Collins gradually hopped up the engine of the Triumph and drag raced on a local strip, Highland Dragway, near his home.
Motorcycle racing took a back seat when Collins went into the trucking business. He drove his truck all across the country and fell in love with California. In 1964, he moved to Los Angeles hoping to work in the movies and instead went to work in the burgeoning motorcycle business as service manager and mechanic at various shops in L.A.
He quickly got into the Southern California drag racing scene. When Honda came out with its revolutionary CB750, Collins got one, began modifying it and started setting records on the bike. Collins built a four-into-one exhaust system that a lot of Honda owners wanted, so in 1970 he quit his job at the motorcycle dealership and opened RC Engineering.
Collins was a bit of a radical in drag racing circles. First of all, he was going against the grain of the normal British or American-made drag bike of the time and was racing the new Japanese machines. And instead of wearing the standard all-black leathers, Collins showed up sporting colorful red, white and blue leathers.
He also pushed the boundaries of motorcycle drag racing design. His talents as a builder became evident when he built a supercharged, fuel-injected Honda 750 he named the “Assassin” in 1971. The 400-horsepower Assassin dominated the smaller class so completely that Collins began racing it in Top Fuel with some success. The biggest problem he faced in Top Fuel was a huge displacement disadvantage compared to the big Harley-Davidsons and Triumphs. After experimenting with some double-engine designs, Collins decided to attempt to build the most radical drag-racing motorcycle ever.
In 1973, Collins built the revolutionary, three-engine, Honda-based drag bike he dubbed Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe – named in honor of the famous railroad line of the late 1800s. The monstrous three-engine Honda was featured in numerous motorcycle and drag racing publications and was perhaps the most famous drag bike of the 1970s. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe set numerous records and Collins rode it to the first seven-second quarter-mile turned on a motorcycle in Ontario, California, in 1973. It even became the first motorcycle to win NHRA’s coveted "Best Engineered Car" award at the Springnationals in 1973. The bike was so powerful and heavy that it proved to be very hard to control and in 1976 the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe was destroyed in a horrendous accident in Akron, Ohio. The crash landed Collins in the hospital, and while recuperating he dreamed up his next monster creation – The Sorcerer.
The Sorcerer came together in 1977 and it featured dual Honda 1,000cc engines. This bike won a second “Best Engineered” award for RC Engineering and proved to be the fastest motorcycle ever built by the company. Collins ran a record-setting 7.30 second/199.55 mph run on the Sorcerer. That record stood for an astonishing 11 years.
Collins also happened to find some of the most talented builders and riders to work for his company. Terry Vance and Byron Hines both worked and raced under the RC Engineering banner before branching out and forming their own company, Vance & Hines.
Collins was the best-known figure in motorcycle drag racing during the 1970s and former employee Terry Vance went on to become the top rider of the 1980s. Collins continued to race motorcycles until the early 1980s when he turned to drag racing Top-Fuel cars. RC Engineering eventually became a leading maker of racing fuel-injection systems for Japanese-made sports cars.
When inducted in 1999 Collins continued to run his successful business and lives in the Los Angeles area.
Beautiful lightweight that is labelled as a Petit de Cologne, but is more likely a late 70s Centurion Professional. Petit de Cologne is Heinrich Klein.
Its a mix up of decals. There are "Professional" waterslides under clearcoat - that seem to be made by Centurion - and there is the "Petit" headbadge and seat tube banderole that are made from laminated cardboard - something i have not seen before.
The design borrows a lot from Cinelli: 3 howled long point lugs and fork tangs, chromed bocama? internal fork crown, fastback seat stays with internal seat post binder and chromed top eyes.
The tube material is probably Tange. Suntour drop outs. Vertical drop outs in the rear, something innovative at this time? Nice details: TA down tube bottle bosses and TA? down tube boss for the shifters clamp.
A wild mix of components: Dura Ace EX crankset, pedals and headset. Dura Ace AX shifters and front dérailleur. Modolo Professional brakeset. Cinelli stem, 3ttt handle bars, SR seat post. Pat. 77 Campagnolo Super Record rear dérailleur. Nisi SLUDI 290 rims on Mavic hubs. Eddy Merckx version of Selle Italia Turbo saddle.
The 1929 Ford ‘Dick Flint’ Roadster is widely considered to be one of the most famous hot rods of the era when hot rods themselves were still a new and revolutionary means of 4-wheeled self-expression for the post-war age.
Dick Flint built the roadster from 3 separate Model A Fords, he took the elements he needed from each to create his vision of what a hot rod should be. Interestingly, he spent a significant amount of time and energy on performance oriented engineering which led to the car running an impressive 143.54mph leg at El Mirage in 1950.
It is worth noting that Flint didn’t build this car on his own, it was his car but it was the product of his own work and the work of the team at Valley Custom – specifically Neil Emory and Dean Batchelor, two men who need no introduction to any fan of vintage hot rods.
Flint had a custom belly pan designed and fitted to the Roadster to maximise under-car aerodynamics, the nose was carefully built directly onto the chassis to give the car the lowest drag-coefficient possible. The windshield was designed to be removable, as were the headlights, although much of the car’s salt flat racing was actually done before it was painted and chromed
A 1940 Mercury flathead V8 was bolted in place to power the Roadster with 3 5/16 bore, 4 1/2 stroke, Edelbrock 9:1 heads and a Winfield 1A cam-shaft – sadly there are no listed horsepower figures from the engine and the current owner doesn’t seem amenable to the idea of strapping it to a Dyno, which is kind of a shame.
The Roadster first appeared in print in 1950 but it didn’t hit the big time till it was the May 1952 cover car for Hot Rod Magazine – this publicity launched the car into the hot rod zeitgeist, where it’s remained ever since.
With an estimated value of between $700,000 and $900,000 Dick Flint’s Roadster is on track to be the most expensive hot rod of all time, we won’t know for sure until the 21st of November 2013 when it’s due to be one of the headliners of the Art of the Automobile auction co-organised by RM Auctions and Sotherby’s.
(Via: www.silodrome.com )
The Vulcan was designed in response to a specification issued in 1947; a four engined nuclear bomber was required as the growing menace of the Soviet Union made itself felt. Avro's chief designer, Roy Chadwick immediately began an unusual design based on a delta wing concept and a matter of months later, the design had been submitted and had won the contest (along with Handley Page's HP.80 design - later to become the Victor). The design was changed before the familiar Vulcan layout was settled on; fins on the wingtips became a single conventional fin, and the nose was extended along with the addition of a distinct fuselage section as opposed to the near-flying-wing idea originally envisaged. Tragically, Chadwick was killed in an air accident later in the year, but Stuart Davies, his assistant, survived the crash and continued development on the Avro Type 698 design, taking over as head of Avro's design team.
To help gain data for the radical new design, several 'mini-Vulcans' were built; these were the Avro Type 707s. At one point the RAF wanted a twin-seat 707 for use as a Vulcan trainer, but eventually this requirement was dropped and only one such 707, the 707C, was built. Finally, in 1952, the first prototype of what would become the Vulcan (Type 698 VX770), was ready to fly. This was recognisably a Vulcan, but the wings were of a pure delta form with none of the now-familiar kinked leading edges, and there were several other detail differences in the aircraft's overall shape. Aircraft development in the 1950s was very different to modern-day development - whereas nowadays it seems most time and effort is put into complex computer simulations and making sure the flight control software is working before risking a first flight, in the days of the Vulcan's development, rather more primitive methods were used.
For instance, before the advent of appropriate recording systems, cockpit instruments were filmed with cine cameras and the films were then read by a team of film-readers and transcribed to tabular form. These tables were then plotted on graph paper by any handy apprentices! During a series of tests of emergency braking systems which involved large rubber brake pads carried between the main bogie wheels and extended to contact the runway, the company photographer, Paul Culerne, was actually strapped to the front undercarriage leg to photograph the operation of the pads (no videos in those days!). This was while the aircraft was moving at landing speed - not when stationary!
Piloted by Wing Commander Roly Falk, VX770 first flew on 30th August 1952 and, watched only by Avro employees and a small band of press, he showed just why he had fought for a fighter- style joystick instead of the traditional yoke. The first flight did not go entirely to plan - two objects were seen to detach from the aircraft and float to the ground. These turned out to be the triangular undercarriage doors attached to the rear of the main gear legs, and the aircraft flew without them for a short time afterwards. In 1953 the Type 698 was officially named the Vulcan, and surely there can not have been a more fitting appellation given to any aircraft? Several spectacular Farnborough appearances followed, including a full roll at the 1955 show (try that in a B-52!). Falk had actually rolled the Vulcan on returning to Avro's Woodford base after a previous Farnborough appearance - that time he did it so low and so noisily that he smashed all the skylight windows in the assembly building!
The prototype had first flown with Avon engines, as the Rolls-Royce BE.10s (later named Olympus) being developed were not yet ready; it was soon fitted with Armstrong-Siddeley Sapphires instead but only with the fitment of the Olympus was the aircraft's true potential realised. By August 1953, the second prototype, also fitted with the Olympus, was in the air also. Unfortunately, at higher speeds, the wing was suffering from buffeting during manouevres, and the problem was serious enough to require a partial re-design. The production B.1 gained a kinked and dropped leading edge, and a lengthened nose to accomodate extra fuel and simplify the nose gear leg retraction system. Delivery of production B.1s began in 1956 and the first squadron (83 Squadron) formed in May 1957 - but by this time the RAF already had a wary eye on the ever-increasing sophistication of the Soviet Union's defences.
The 1957 Defence White Paper spelled an end for many defence projects in the UK, reorganising the UK's defences to support the nuclear deterrent force. With the Vulcan as the tip of the nuclear spear, improving the B.1 was high on the agenda. More powerful engines, an electronic warfare (ECM) suite in a new larger tailcone, in-flight refuelling capability, an improved electrical system and further improved and larger wings formed the basis of a new variant - the B.2 (some B.1s had some B.2 improvements made to them, then being called B.1As). With longer range, the ability to carry a heavier payload and much improved self-defence measures in a vastly more powerful ECM suite, the B.2 made sure that missions into the Soviet Union wouldn't be the suicide mission they would have been with the B.1 - particularly when the switch was mode to low level penetration of enemy airspace. The fatigue life of all V-force aircraft would be reduced by low level operations, but the chances of radar detection were much lower, and with the application of camouflage the chances of visual acquisition from above were also minimised.
The nuclear capability of the B.2 was also improved compared to the B.1. Two nuclear weapons (Yellow Sun and Red Beard) could be carried. Even with the B.2's improvements, however, the delivery of free-fall nuclear weapons into the increasingly deadly defences of the Soviet Union was becoming far too dangerous a proposition. Intermediate range Thor missiles became a significant part of the UK's nuclear deterrent, but the flexibility of a manned bomber force was still important. The obvious way to improve the survivability of the V-force was to use stand-off missiles and accordingly Blue Steel was developed. This could be fired up to 100 miles away from the target. As on the Victor, Blue Steels were carried in a partially-recessed manner. The bomb bay area was modified accordingly and the lower tailfin of the missile would be folded over on the ground to give enough ground clearance. On launching the fin would fold down, the missile's rocket engines would fire, boosting it to high altitude and the Vulcan crew would turn for home, leaving Blue Steel to fly on towards the target independently. An improvement over the Blue Steel would have been the American's Skybolt missile, which was intended for use by B-52s and Vulcans. Vulcans would have been able to carry two, one under each wing, and many B.2s were built with suitable attachment points under their wings. However, the programme was a troubled one and despite it looking like becoming a success towards the end, the Americans cancelled it late on in development at the end of 1962.
In common with most British aircraft, a number of unusual proposals were made during the Vulcan's life, none of which came to anything. These include an airliner version (the Avro Atlantic), a fighter-support Vulcan which would have carried three Gnats semi-recessed in the fuselage and wings and even a vertical take-off Vulcan (complete with no less than ten lift engines in the bomb bay). Even the least ambitious proposal, the 'Phase 6' Vulcan, which would have had larger wings and tail and an extended fuselage housing a second crew (for very long missions) along with provision for extra bombs in pods on the wings, came to naught, not least because the Americans cancelled the troubled Skybolt nuclear missile that was to have been carried by the Phase 6 Vulcan (and indeed many B.2s).
The loss of Skybolt and the retirement of the obsolete Thor missile meant that the RAF was fielding a nuclear deterrent bomber force that was increasingly outmoded. With the arrival of Polaris ICBMs and associated submarines, the Royal Navy took over the RAF's nuclear deterrent role. Thus, the Vulcan would have flown for its entire service life without ever dropping a bomb in anger - had it not been for the Falklands war in 1982. While of limited tactical use, a succession of Vulcan bombing missions against the Argentine occupiers on the Falklands Islands proved that the UK still had a strategic bomber force to be reckoned with. While damage to Argentine ground forces was limited, the psychological effect was significant and the Argentines kept back a large portion of their air defence fighters to defend against attacks on their mainland.
The huge amount of tanker support required by the missions also resulted in the final version of the Vulcan - the K.2 tanker. Requested by the MoD during the Falklands war, a mere 51 days passed between request and delivery of the first K.2. The K.2 was basically a B.2 with an ugly box tacked underneath the tailcone (containing the drogue unit; hoses and drum unit were held within the ECM bay within the tailcone) and the bomb bay was filled with three huge fuel tanks. Huge white areas painted underneath the wings to help receiving aircraft line up on the tanker added their own final uglification. Two years after the Falklands War, in March 1984, the last Vulcan squadron was disbanded, leaving only the Vulcan Display Team to fly on. XL426 thrilled airshow visitors, until 1986 when it was offered for tender. Bought by Roy Jacobsen, now XL426 is now looked after at Southend airport by the Vulcan Restoration Trust. The sale of XL426 did not mean the end of the Vulcan Display Team though - it was replaced by XH558, which was to roar through the skies for many years, becoming the most famous Vulcan of all.
Many Vulcans ended up being scrapped, or burned as fire practice airframes. A few were thankfully preserved and sold to museums or private individuals. Unfortunately defence cuts began to bite into all of the UK's armed forces, and maintaining a single aircraft for display purposes could no longer be justified by the MoD's bean-counters. In early 1993, despite intensive public lobbying to keep her flying, XH558 was finally also offered for tender, retired from the RAF and sold to David Walton who looked after it for some years at Bruntingthorpe airfield in Leicestershire before selling it on to a company formed with the aim of returning her to the air. As of 18th October 2007, they had done just this.
By Dennis Harrison, Malvern, South Australia
From the liberating, self-assured sixties comes the Renault Floride. Pretty, flirty, fast, but only in the speedy sense, never running wild and certainly not flashy. She stood out in the crowd, yet was a little aloof. Sporty, but not a sports car, expensive but not of the luxury class, from a good family, but not a family car.
Like the French cars before and since, the export market of the USA was her prime destination. Her forerunner, the inexpensive, rear engined, four-door Dauphine - once a big seller - had fallen on hard times.
The Floride was based on the Dauphin's mechanicals and floor pan, extended by a few centimeters. In the hands of Amedee Gordini, the gifted sports car tuner, the Dauphine's wet sleeve motor was given a higher compression ratio, a new camshaft, bigger porting and better extraction to produce an extra 10bhp for the Floride.
Her smooth, flowing lines were to be the eye-catching drawcard to the showrooms - a "personal car" before later so-called "personal cars," like the Ford Mustang, were produced in such quantity as to be owned by everyone. Only 117,000 Florides and the next generation Caravelles were sold world-wide, during a production run from 1960 to 1966.
The Floride's fresh good-looks won her immediate, critical acclaim, from the well-mannered: "Immensely pleasant to look at," to the besotted: "One of the most beautiful cars irrespective of price and size to come to Australia for many years." In the market place, though, Australians regarded her as a bit unapproachable, perhaps uppish, and not cheap to entertain.
The price, £1600, was £500 more than a Holden, and slightly dearer than the top of the range Ford Zephyr Zodiac automatic. An MGA was cheaper and was regarded as a real sports car. The Floride, even in the convertible version, had wind-up windows instead of side-curtains! And the engine, a tiny 845cc and 51bhp in 1963 did little to dispel.
And those French and European idiosyncrasies - the bodies to start with. As well as the convertible, there was a steel-roofed coupe and a coupe/convertible which had both the convertible's hood and the coupe's roof. The hood was stowed out of sight behind the rear seat. The steel roof could be removed from both models - unbolted from the coupe, and more conveniently, unclipped from the coupe/convertible.
Taking everything into account, the Floride received only limited acceptance here (Australia), and time has not been kind to her since. In car-collectors' conversations, she is an "also" model. "Renault also made the Floride." Full stop.
Few appear to have been preserved in original condition. They can never lose their figures, but many have lost their radiance, some are even wrinkled and beneath the skin, have been neglected. My own 1962 coupe (picture), was in desperate need of affection when I bought her. It was hard to imagine that she was the sister of the attractive mademoiselle whose photo I had fallen in love with.
The care which followed has been worth it. As with all good relationships, the more one comes to know, the more there is to appreciate. The engine might be small, but it's well-mated to a high-geared, four-on-the-floor, close-ratio box - Gordini again. The Floride can cruise for a long time, and fast. The original top speed was 80 to 88mph. (128 to 142kph). The gears have to be worked around town, but second goes up to 48mph (77kph) and third to 68 mph (109 kph).
Fondness turns to irritations into quirks. The gear box/differential unit, is frankly mushy, but light and, with experience, rapid. More and more, the virtues send vices into the shadows. Exceptional handling and lightness at the wheel, four and a third turns lock-to lock and a 30-foot turning circle make for agility in traffic. Independent suspension all around, a low center of gravity, surprisingly little over-steer and weight well distributed, she can be driven into any corner at disconcerting speeds without roll and with all four wheels firmly planted on the ground. The interior is not plush, neither is it plain-looking nor sparse. It is tastefully refined and comfortable. The instrument panel - with dials only for speed, fuel and temperature - is from the Dauphine, with the addition of a cigarette lighter on the passenger's side.
When the rear seat is folded down it becomes a carpeted shelf for extra luggage space. Better that is should remain so. There isn't room for les enfants, let alone adults -or, rather, one adult sitting sideways. Would you want either, anyway, in a personal car!
This custom Kawasaki W650 has been inspired by the 60´s classic cars. A golden era where cars were simple and beautiful, with silver paintings, brown interior leathers and shining chrome. Maria’s design approach is a constant search for that simplicity and classy look.
The bike has been painted with subtle colors – silver grey, white and black. It features a leather brown seat that pairs with the gran turismo handlebar grips and the golden chain. The Ace Clubman handlebar is a perfect match to give this Kawasaki W650 the vintage café racer style. The headlight was changed to a smaller one, integrated with a front number plate. At the rear Maria selected a tail lamp used on 1915-33 HD models.
This custom Kawasaki W650 Hurricane Jane rolls on Firestone Deluxe tires, mounted on alloy rims with new spokes and painted hubs. Maria Motorcycles also modified the front and rear fender to suit the new style.
According to Maria Motorcycles “This bike is intended to have some history on it, so we didn’t want to give it a brand new shiny look. Some parts where intentionally left as they were, in order to maintain the personality we didn´t want to erase. A mixture of shiny and raw looks is something we find conceptually cool, like the 60´s cars.
Hurricane Jane comes alive when you ride this beauty. The two cylinders, and 650cc are amazingly powerful, and with the carbs re-tuned. Noisy as it can get, the vintage muffler gives us a feeling of riding a real beast. The Daytona speedometer is fitted behind the number plate so you always know how fast you are going over the law!!”
This Kawasaki W650 is small and sweet but really fast and noisy for the ears. This is Jane, a really furious Hurricane!