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  • 07/02/13--11:00: Santiago & Benelli

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  • 07/03/13--09:00: McDonnell XF-85 Goblin

  • The McDonnell XF-85 Goblin was a fighter aircraft conceived during World War II and intended to be carried in the bomb bay of the giant Convair B-36 bomber as a defensive "parasite fighter." Because of its small and rotund appearance, it was nicknamed "The Flying Egg."

    McDonnell built two Goblin prototypes (USAF Serial no. #46-523 and #46-524). During wind tunnel testing at Moffett Field, California, the first prototype XF-85 was damaged. Consequently, it was the second aircraft that was used for the initial flight trials. As a prototype B-36 was unavailable, all XF-85 flight tests were carried out using a converted Boeing EB-29 Superfortress parent ship. McDonnell test pilot Edwin Schoch was assigned to the project, riding in the XF-85 while it was stowed aboard the EB-29B, before attempting a "free" flight on 23 August 1948. After Schoch was released from the bomber at a height of 20,000 ft (6,000 m), he completed a 10-minute proving flight at speeds between 180 and 250 mph, testing controls and maneuverability.

    When he attempted a hook-up, it became obvious the Goblin was extremely sensitive to the bomber's turbulence, as well as being affected by the air cushion created by the two aircraft operating in close proximity. Constant but gentle adjustments of throttle and trim were necessary to overcome the cushioning effect. After three attempts to hook onto the trapeze, Schoch miscalculated his approach and struck the trapeze so violently that the canopy was smashed and ripped free and his helmet and mask were torn off. He saved the prototype by making a belly landing on the reinforced skid at the dry lake bed at Muroc.

    With the first prototype's repairs completed, it also joined the flight test program, completing captive flights. While in flight, the Goblin was stable, easy to fly, and recoverable from spins, although initial estimates of a 648 mph (1,043 km/h) top speed proved optimistic. The first test flights revealed that turbulence during approach to the B-29 was significant, leading to the addition of upper and lower fins at the extreme rear fuselage, as well as two wingtip fins to compensate for the increased directional instability in docking.

    Two main reasons contributed to the cancellation. The XF-85's deficiencies revealed in flight testing included a lackluster performance in relation to contemporary jet fighters, and the high demands on pilot skill experienced during docking revealed a critical shortcoming that was never fully corrected. The development of practical aerial refueling for conventional fighters used as bomber escort was also a factor in the cancellation. The two Goblins flew seven times, with a total flight time of 2 hours and 19 minutes with only three of the free flights ending in a successful hookup. Schoch was the only pilot who ever flew the aircraft.

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  • 07/03/13--11:00: Champ and Challenger.

  • For nearly six laps Alan Shepherd (A.J.S.) pushed John Surtees so hard in the Junior Ulster G.P. that he bagged the lap record before retiring with a broken timing chain.
    Afterwards M.V.s insisted on the A.J.S. being measured to make sure it wasn't a "500"

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    The Monkeemobile is a modified Pontiac GTO that was designed and built by designer Dean Jeffries for The Monkees, a pop-rock band and television program. The car features a tilted forward split two-piece windshield, a touring car T-bucket-type convertible top, modified rear quarter panels and front fenders, exaggerated tail lamps, set of four bucket seats with an extra third row bench where the rear deck should have been, a rear-mounted parachute and a GTO emblem on the front grille.

    The Monkeemobile's origins began in 1966 when Dean Jeffries was asked to design and build a car for a new TV show called "The Monkees". Jeffries, under contract with Model Products Corporation (MPC) at the time, told CEO George Toteff about the project. A make of vehicle had not yet been chosen for the project. Mr. Toteff then told his friend Jim Wangers of these developments. Mr. Wangers was working with Pontiac promotion and advertising at the time and saw the show as a huge promotional opportunity for Pontiac. After making the deal, Jim Wangers supplied two base 389 4-barrel 1966 GTO convertibles with automatic-transmissions to be converted into Monkeemobiles. MPC was in turn given exclusive rights to market a model kit of the Monkeemobile. They would end up selling over 7 million copies of these kits.

    Two cars were contracted to be built: One as a main TV car, to be used on the television program, and one as a promotional show car, to tour hot rod and car shows around the United States. Both cars would be built in the span of four weeks. The first version originally sported a 6-71 supercharged engine, a solid mounted rear axle (no springs) and extra rear end weight. This was to enable the car to "pop wheelies." Because the car had too much power and was difficult to drive, the original blower set up was removed and a dummy blower was fitted. The second car was used as a touring car for auto shows and promotional events. Both would be used on The Monkees TV series, one during the first season and both throughout the second season.

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  • 07/04/13--11:00: Bottom Bray Hill

  • Allen Burt, bottom Bray Hill, IOM Junior TT...1958

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  • 07/05/13--04:24: Weekend mode!

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    First impressions are always the most important ones – and all we can say is that Bujar and Gaz from Auto Fabrica left one hell-of-a impression with their Type One custom Kawasaki GT550. Unlike some other cafe racers built from fiberglass and bondo, this slick-killer is an all hand-beaten aluminium design master piece, finished up to the factory standards of perfection.

    The frame was heavily modified, with most of the modifications happening in the rear section to make way for the custom aluminium tail piece and a leather seat. The tank was “massaged” a bit and repositioned to create more of a flowing line as the rear suspension was raised (30mm longer Hagon shocks) and the front lowered by an inch. Inspired by the vintage Honda racing bikes, Auto Fabrica built a beautiful 4 in 4 custom exhaust, and finished it off in black. The wheels and the engine were left stock, receiving a nice coat of black as well. The stock engine is capable of producing around 55hp – transferring power via six speed gearbox and drive shaft to the rear wheel – plenty of smilles here – as the bike weights less the stock, we reckon. There are tons of small little details like brass bar ends and lines around the tank and panels so the best way to explore them is just to look at the pictures and admire.

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    The first attempt at building a hot motor consisted of sticking a supercharger on a nearly stock Triumph 350cc twin motor and running it on methanol. Optimisim was soon replaced with pessimism when piston crowns regularly separated at the oil control ring as a result of high revs. A few calculations were done and a short-stroke crankshaft was built in the engineering labs and mated to a modified 500cc barrel to make a very over-square 350 to reduce mean piston speed. A whole load of other mods were carried out at the same time and a prolonged cycle of "blow it up, fix it, improve it and blow it up again" was entered into. The engineering work during this period would fill a book by itself.

    Eventually, Icarus became extremely competitive at a national level over the quarter mile and at world level over the standing start mile but the time and money to go further was beyond my means, interest waned and racing was abandoned.

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    This was the stunt that put Evel Knievel on the map. He had been in Vegas in November of ’67 to see a boxing title fight, when he saw the fountains and crafted his plan. He quickly created Evel Knievel Enterprises (totally fictitious) and Knievel and his buddies repeatedly called the casino’s CEO Jay Sarno claiming to be Evel Knievel’s lawyers, as well as representatives from ABC-TV, and Sports Illustrated inquiring about this incredible upcoming jump. It worked, and the date was set for Knievel to jump the fountains at Caesars Palace on December 31, 1967. ABC-TV declined to air the event live on Wide World of Sports as Knievel had hoped, so he hired actor/director John Derek to film the Caesars’ jump. It was truly a low-budget production– Derek even employed his then-wife Linda Evans as a cameraman and she shot Knievel’s now famous landing.

    Legend has it that on the morning of the epic jump, Knievel popped into the Caesars Palace casino and lost his last 100 dollars at the blackjack table, had a shot of Wild Turkey at the bar, then headed outside to the jump site where he was joined by two showgirls. He went through the motions for the pre-jump show, and took a few routine warm-up approaches. According to Knievel, on the actual approach the motorcycle unexpectedly decelerated when he hit the takeoff ramp. The sudden loss of speed caused Knievel to come up short of the projected 141 feet, and he landed on the safety ramp supported by a van. The bad news was– the resulting crash left Knievel in a coma for a month, a crushed pelvis and femur, as well as fractures to his hip, wrist and both ankles. The doctors flatly told him he may never even walk on his own again. The good news was– Evel Knievel was now famous beyond his wildest dreams. ABC-TV had purchased the rights to the jump footage (paying far more than if they had just televised the original jump live) and the world was in awe of this dashing daredevil.


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  • 07/06/13--11:00: God save the king!

  • Elvis Presley was well known for his love of pink Cadillacs, but less people know that he was a pretty keen biker too. Naturally, being an American and a rock 'n' roll star, his main interest lay in Harleys, but he also owned Triumphs, BMWs and even rode a Honda in Roustabout - not one of his best movies, it has to be said.

    The Big E was prone to 'persuading' the local Memphis police to close off sections of the highway at night so he and his mates - the 'Memphis Mafia' - could blast up and down on their bikes. And apparently Elvis was no pussy on a motorcycle either, thrashing his Hog repeatedly along what is now Elvis Presley Boulevard at 110mph, which was certainly as fast as a Harley could go then.

    But the most famous bike-related story involving The King is the lost Elvis-Harley legend. It goes like this: Some geezer is clearing out his shed, finds an old Harley and discovers an inscription on the mudguard or under the seat saying either 'To Elvis from Priscilla' or 'To James Dean from Elvis.' Said lucky geezer then sells the bike to Harley-Davidson for heaps of cash, usually said to be in the region of $4 million. Harley-Davidson's PR company say the story is nothing more than an urban myth. But some of Elvis's bikes do still exist and Harley does own one (a 1956 KH model) which is on display in its museum.

    When one of his mates bought a Triumph 650 Bonneville for Christmas in 1964, Elvis - who at that time was a staunch Harley fan - asked if he could ride it and was immediately smitten by the British bike's handling.
    So impressed was he in fact, that he bought nine of them for all his Memphis Mafia hoods and assembled them in the driveway of Gracelands at 3am for a ride-out. For the next few weeks, The King's biker gang roared in and out of the gates at all hours until the neighbours signed a petition demanding the noise stopped. Elvis simply laughed and bought a trailer to transport the bikes to and from the gates!

    But you wouldn't catch Elvis riding in any old weather. He was strictly a fair weather rider and told a fanzine that "motorcycles are not made for the winter time at all, but I get a real thrill out of riding them when I'm at home and it's kinda warm. Ma'am."

    So he was no despatch rider - so what? Elvis Presley, the greatest icon of the 20th Century, was a biker like the rest of us. Wonder what he would have made of a FireBlade if he was still around today...

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  • 07/07/13--09:00: Porsche 911 SC Rally Safari

  • Porsche, founded by Ferdinand Porsche, was like most other makes of their marketing bracket never really interested in rallying, but at least they tried it even with a works team. The 911 (that ironically should have been the 901, but that was denied to them because that is a Peugeot number! 911 just seems a marketing code rather then project numbers as originally intended, i.e. the latest generations are actually in that order 996, 997, 991) seemed like a car that had to be tried in rallying, although first private efforts stayed with little success. It was a good car in classes similar to group N nowadays, though. But Porsche’s first works involvement came in 1968 with a famous driver pairing of Vic Elford and Pauli Toivonen. 2 aspects seemed to feature high from there: 1, the 911 was the only Porsche that was ever any use in rallying and 2, they were only really interested in the Monte Carlo and Safari, of which only at Monte Carlo they could score victories.

    About the models it seems strange that two more models were tried: the 912, which is a 4-cylinder version of the 911, and the 914, as well known as the VW-Porsche. Björn Waldegaard could have scored a hat-trick of Monte Carlo victories with Porsche, had his 3rd attempt in 1971 not been in the awkward handling, mid-engined 914 rather than the 911. Porsche’s works involvement only lasted until the early 1970s. They had some kind of a comeback for the Safari 1978, where they finished a respectable 2nd, but they were beaten by a Peugeot 504 that was covered in mud and dents, by over half an hour, which seemed to dent Porsche’s pride severely and that was the last works entry ever.

    We however saw far more entries of the Porsche 911 than this. The most famous team was probably the French Almeras team, that kept entering cars in the Monte Carlo and i.e. won the Tour de Corse in 1980 with Jean-Luc Thérier. That was the last victory of a Porsche at WRC level, but the Almeras team did a lot in those days, they retired from 2nd place with Walter Röhrl in San Remo 1981 (with a works registered car!) and managed podiums still in 1982. By 1985 Prodrive was involved with Porsche, a new evolution version called 911 SC RS and Rothmans money. They managed a podium in Corsica 1985, although an ERC program with Henri Toivonen is more remembered for nasty court cases rather than results. Eventually Prodrive fell out with Porsche when Porsche wanted to use their new 4x4 959 model for raid events as Paris-Dakar only. In more modern days don’t expect Porsche back as their car simply is too remote from modern group A and WRCar regulations. Actually, maybe all we need is a shake up in the technical regulations. Since 2004 several semi-works(!) 911 GT3 entries are very much impressive with the car entered in a group N based category called "N-GT" in Belgium and France and meanwhile also in Spain and Germany. Then of course the FIA needed their own ways, so for international ERC or WRC starts Porsche would need an expensive re-homologation of the existing N-GT car into R-GT, even though both is the same thing. To which Porsche understandably said they are not interested in such politics. So sadly it seems the characterful, loud modern day 911 will remain in national championships only – which, to be honest, is the FIA’s loss, not Porsche’s! Let’s face it, modern WRCars are quite boring, the RWD action and especially the sound sensation of a car like the 6-cylinder Boxer Porsche is what the fans want!

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  • 07/07/13--11:00: 1912 Senior TT winner

  • F.A.Applebee winner 1912 Senior TT on 3.5hp Scott,with J.R.Haswell,3.5 Triumph,2nd

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    This is surely a CashMoney certified city bike. There sure are some lovely details on this Raty Ning’s Signal Cycles custom commuter bike; especially the seat tube detail. This bike’s been built up with a 2×10 drivetrain with Dura Ace downtube shifters, a custom rear rack for a rolltop bag, Schmidt Edelux light, and topped off with cherry paint by Spectrum Powderworks.

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  • 07/08/13--11:49: Before it all began

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  • 07/09/13--09:00: Avro Canada VZ-9AV

  • The Avro Canada VZ-9 Avrocar was a VTOL aircraft developed by Avro Aircraft Ltd. (Canada) as part of a secret U.S. military project carried out in the early years of the Cold War.The Avrocar intended to exploit the Coandă effect to provide lift and thrust from a single "turborotor" blowing exhaust out the rim of the disk-shaped aircraft to provide anticipated VTOL-like performance. In the air, it would have resembled a flying saucer.

    Originally designed as a fighter-like aircraft capable of very high speeds and altitudes, the project was repeatedly scaled back over time and the U.S. Air Force eventually abandoned it. Development was then taken up by the U.S. Armyfor a tactical combat aircraft requirement, a sort of high-performance helicopter. In flight testing, the Avrocar proved to have unresolved thrust and stability problems that limited it to a degraded, low-performance flight envelope; subsequently, the project was cancelled in September 1961.

    Through the history of the program, the project was referred to by a number of different names. Avro referred to the efforts as Project Y, with individual vehicles known as Spade and Omega. Project Y-2 was later funded by the U.S. Air Force, who referred to it as WS-606A, Project 1794 and Project Silver Bug. When the U.S. Army joined the efforts it took on its final name "Avrocar", and the designation "VZ-9", part of the U.S. Army's VTOL projects in the VZ series.

    The Avrocar was the ultimate result of a series of blue skies research projects by designer "Jack" Frost, who had joined Avro Canada in June 1947 after working for several British firms.He had been with de Havilland from 1942 and had worked on the de Havilland Hornet, de Havilland Vampire jet fighter and the de Havilland Swallow aircraft, where he had been the chief designer on the supersonic research project.

    At Avro Canada, he had worked on the Avro CF-100 before creating a research team known as the "Special Projects Group" (more commonly known as SPG). Frost first surrounded himself with a collection of like-minded "maverick" engineers, then arranged for a work site. Initially ensconced in the "Penthouse" (the derisive company nickname for the executive wing) of the Administration Building, the SPG was subsequently relocated to a Second World War-era structure across from the company headquarters, the Schaeffer Building, that was secured with security guards, locked doors and special pass cards. At times, the SPG also operated out of the Experimental Hangar where it shared space with other esoteric Avro project teams.

    At the time, Frost was particularly interested in jet engine design and ways to improve the efficiency of the compressor without sacrificing the simplicity of the turbine engine. He found Frank Whittle's "reverse flow" design too complex and was interested in ways to "clean up" the layout. This led him to design a new type of engine layout with the flame cans lying directly outside the outer rim of the centrifugal compressor, pointed outwards like the spokes on a wheel. Power for the compressor was drawn from a new type of turbine similar to a centrifugal fan, as opposed to the more typical pinwheel-like design of conventional engines. The turbine drove the compressor using gearing, rather than a shaft. The resulting engine was arranged in the form of a large disk, which he referred to as a "pancake engine." The jet thrust exited from around the entire rim of the engine, and this presented problems trying to adapt the design to a typical aircraft.

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  • 07/10/13--02:53: Ubbiali

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  • 07/10/13--09:00: Alfa Romeo 33-3 TT 12

  • The famous Alfa Romeo marque has been synonymous with motor racing success since Giuseppe Campari took an Alfa Romeo 40/60HP to victory at Mugello in 1920. To the present day, the Milanese company continues to produce some of the most successful vehicles ever to grace the World's racing circuits and thus the history of Alfa Romeo swells with passion and inspiration.

    In the mid-sixties Alfa Romeo relocated the race tuning company Autodelta to Settimo Milanese in order to focus factory support and become the official racing arm of Alfa Romeo. Headed by Carlo Chiti, the dedicated workforce achieved great success with the TZ1 and TZ2 sportscars before producing the GTA that, in various guises, dominated the touring car racing scene of the mid/late 1960s. Raising the stakes further, Alfa Romeo wanted to return to the forefront of racing thus Autodelta set about constructing an advanced prototype to compete in Sportscar racing. The result was the Tipo 33/2 of 1967, a beautiful and sleek car based around an asymmetrical aluminium chassis with a 2 litre V8 engine. Significant immediate success was not achieved but by 1968 the 33/2 had become a serious contender; finishing second overall at Daytona and taking a clean sweep in its class at Le Mans en route to finishing fourth, fifth and sixth overall. In the spring of 1969, the all new Tipo 33/3 made its debut, now with a 3 litre engine and roadster bodywork; the shape of things to come had begun. In 1971, with the chassis now made of a totally different design and constructed using aluminium tubing, the all-new Tipo 33/3 was to prove a serious contender and even took Alfa Romeo to second place in the World Manufacturers Championship.
    For 1973, Alfa Romeo fielded the all-new Tipo 33TT12. Elegantly clothed in a fibreglass body with a light alloy tubular chassis it was also blessed with a 12 cylinder boxer engine capable of producing 500bhp, despite this the 33TT12 was still in its infancy and was not a match for the likes of Matra and Ferrari. 1974 started well for the Autodelta Alfa Romeo outfit with 33TT12s finishing a formidable 1-2-3 at Monza but the Matras remained the car to beat and again the Championship laurels would elude Alfa Romeo, disconsolately the Autodelta-run factory team decided to retire from Sportscar racing along with Ferrari and Matra. With the obvious competition for the Tipo 33TT12 absent, wealthy German private entrant Willy Kauhsen went to Carlo Chiti with the concept of running the redundant 33TT12s in the 1975 World Manufacturers Championship. A deal was thus structured by which Autodelta would professionally run a variety of top level professional drivers in at least two (sometimes three) 33TT12s as a non factory supported team under the W.K.R.T. (Willibert Kauhsen Racing Team) banner. During the winter of 1974/1975, Autodelta modified the suspension in order to use superior Goodyear tyres, upgraded the brakes and incredibly managed to further lighten the car thus bringing weight down to just 670kgs. Success was almost a pre-requisite and the Alfa Romeos fended off an early challenge from Alpine-Renault and Porsche to dominantly romp home with seven victories from the eight races entered, taking the World Manufactures Championship and the Drivers' crown en-route.

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  • 07/10/13--11:00: Ducati 500 GP

  • Since 1958 Ducati had taken no part in the world speed trials. For this reason the appearance of the 500 GP in 1971 drove the manufacturer's fans wild. Finally their favorite brand had returned to its natural environment.

    Taglioni used the prototype sand-cast crankcase which he came up with for his first experiments on the 750. To this he applied two cylinders from the 250 single (with spring and not desmo heads). To optimize the engine a sixth speed was added to the gearbox. Troubles with the gearbox and the electrical equipment were the major defects of this bike, which, with a rated output of 72 hp at 12,000 revs, was competitive with the other 500s in the world championship. Perhaps most impressive of all, the bike was fully developed in only six months.

    The bike's debut was the race at Modena. The two riders (Spaggiari and Giuliano) and their Ducatis quickly made an impressive display. Unfortunately, teething troubles forced them to retire before the end of the race. In the next race at Imola Spaggiari had to retire again, while Giuliano came in behind Agostini on his unparalleled MV 3 cylinder.

    Although it had not yet displayed its full potential, the bike had proved competitive from the outset and Ducati began to search for a rider capable of realizing the bike's full promise. The company's first choice was Hailwood, but the Englishman was unavailable. In the end they found Phil Read, who managed to come in second behind Ospedaletti. Read also raced in the world championship at Imola, where, plagued by gearbox problems, he dropped from second place and finished fourth.

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