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  • 07/04/14--09:00: Honda 750 Nighthawk by AdHoc

  • Right now, the epicenter of the European custom scene is Spain. The Iberian Peninsula is already famous for its petrolhead culture, which has spawned legions of MotoGP stars—and we’re now seeing a growing number of workshops transforming older bikes into drop-dead gorgeous traffic stoppers.

    Shops like Café Racer Dreams, Kiddo, Macco Motors, Valtoron and El Solitario are pushing the custom envelope in different and refreshing ways. A relative newcomer to the gang is Ad Hoc, the nom de plume of David Gonzalez—creator of this stylish Honda 750 Nighthawk.

    Gonzalez’ trick is to pick solid but somewhat clunky bikes, and give them a touch of class. This Nighthawk was his second build and until now has flown under the rader, being the the ‘shop bike’ until a customer took a fancy to it. 
After a repaint, Gonzalez has just waved the bike goodbye.

    The Nighthawk 750 is the classic Universal Japanese Motorcycle: functional, well engineered and slightly dowdy. So Gonzalez retained just the engine and the central section of the chassis. The handling has been upgraded via forks from a Suzuki GSX-R750 and the wheels from a Ducati GT1000.

    Gonzalez sandblasted and repainted the frame before hooking it up to a new swingarm and subframe. Sitting up top is a long, squared-off tank from Europlast, molded in the endurance racer style. The seat is a modified Bultaco TSS item, retrimmed in brown nappa leather and the perfect match for the angular bodywork—a signature of Ad Hoc’s style.

    There is rarely anything wrong with the engine of a Nighthawk, which makes an ample 75 hp. So Gonzalez has simply refreshed it, restored the stock header pipes, and hooked them up to slim custom mufflers.


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  • 07/06/14--09:00: John Britten and The V1000

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  • 07/06/14--11:00: Jaguar XKSS

  • The Jaguar XKSS was a road-going version of the Jaguar D-Type racing car.

    After Jaguar withdrew from racing the company offered the remaining, unfinished chassis as the road-going Jaguar XKSS, by making changes to the racers: adding an extra seat, another door, a full-width windscreen and folding top, as concessions to practicality. However, on the evening of 12 February 1957, a fire broke out at the Browns Lane plant destroying nine of the twenty-five cars that had already been completed or were semi-completed. Production is thought to have included 53 customer D-types, 18 factory team cars, and 16 XKSS versions.

    Following Jaguar's withdrawal from competition at the end of the 1955 season, a number of completed and partially complete D-types remained unsold at the Browns Lane factory. In an attempt to recoup some of the investment made in building these unused chassis, and to exploit the lucrative American market for high-performance European sports cars, Sir William Lyons decided to convert a number to full road-going specification. Only minor changes were made to the basic D-type structure: the addition of a passenger side door, the removal of the large fin behind the driver's seat, and the removal of the divider between passenger and driver seats. In addition, changes were made for cosmetic, comfort and legal reasons: a full-width, chrome-surrounded windscreen was added; sidescreens were added to both driver and passenger doors; a rudimentary, folding, fabric roof was added for weather protection; chromed bumpers were added front and rear (a styling cue later used on the E-type); XK140 rear light clusters mounted higher on the wings; and thin chrome strips added to the edge of the front light fairings. In total 16 XKSS variants were made, with most being sold in the USA, before the Browns Lane fire destroyed the remaining chassis

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  • 07/07/14--09:00: Santini TT 1988

  • A Time Trial bike build by the small italian manufacturer Santini with a 26/28 geometry (front wheel is a 650C, rear wheel a 700C), short chainstays for a good acceleration, very stiff and lightweight - columbus tubing. Equiped with a complete 7 speed Shimano 105 group, Ambrosio Montreal Medaille d'Or rims, a beautyful nitto njs stem, a special turbo bio saddle, a rare 3ttt tt handlebar with syntace tt handlebar extension and syntace computer extension. The frame looks like completely chromed. This bike is uncompromising fast.


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  • 07/07/14--11:00: Sidecar chase

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    The O.E.C. was an unusual motorcycle, using 'duplex' steering; an OEC trademark, although not all of their bikes used this system. The advantages of this arcane steering system on these early motorcycles was great stability at speed, plus the possibility of front wheel suspension which didn't alter the steering geometry when compressed by bumps, giving totally 'neutral' steering under all conditions. In practical use, the OEC chassis was reported to be very stable indeed, although resistant to steering input! So, while potholes and broken surfaces brought no front wheel deflection, neither did a hard push on the handlebars...perfect for a speed record chassis actually.

    Joe Wright had already taken the Motorcycle Land Speed Record with the OEC, back on August 31st at Arpajon, France, at 137.32mph (see top photo with news story), but Henne and his BMW had the cheek to snatch the Record by a mere .3mph, on Septermber 20th. That November day was unlucky for Wright and the team, as the Woodruff key which fixed the crankshaft sprocket sheared off, and the OEC was unable to complete the required two-direction timed runs to take the Record. As you can see in the photo below, the engine mainshaft drove the supercharger as well as the primary chain/gearbox, and was a one-off for which there was presumably no replacement, with probably no time for repair in any case.

    Supercharging a v-twin motorcycle is a difficult business, as the compressor blows fuel/air mix at a constant rate into a shared inlet manifold for both cylinders, but as the cylinders aren't evenly spaced physically (as they are on a BMW, for instance), one cylinder inevitably gets a much bigger 'puff' of built-up pressure. Figuring out how to accommodate a different charge for each cylinder led to all sorts of compromises, from restricting the inlet port of one cylinder, to the use of different camshafts/compression ratios/valve sizes for each cylinder, in an effort to keep one cylinder from doing all the 'work' and overheating. It was an imperfect science, as supercharging was still relatively new to motorcycles, and only a handful of blown motorcycles were truly 'sorted out' for racing or record-breaking before WW2. Typically, these had flat-twin or four-cylinder engines, with even intake pulses! (Although, of course Moto Guzzi, typical of their genius at the time, had a lovely 250cc ohc blown single-cylinder which worked a treat).

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  • 07/08/14--11:00: Fast Freddie

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  • 07/09/14--09:00: Lockheed A-12

  • The Lockheed A-12 was a reconnaissance aircraft built for the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by Lockheed's famed Skunk Works, based on the designs of Clarence "Kelly" Johnson. The aircraft was designated A-12, the 12th in a series of internal design efforts with the A referring to "Archangel", the internal code name of the aircraft. It competed in the CIA's Oxcart program against the Convair Kingfish proposal in 1959, and won for a variety of reasons.

    The A-12's specifications were slightly better than those of the Kingfish, and its projected cost was significantly less. Convair's design had the smaller radar cross section, however, and CIA's representatives initially favored it for that reason. The companies' respective track records proved decisive. Convair's work on the B-58 had been plagued with delays and cost overruns, whereas Lockheed had produced the U-2 on time and under budget. In addition, it had experience running a “black” project.

    The A-12 was produced from 1962 to 1964, and was in operation from 1963 until 1968. It was the precursor to the twin-seat U.S. Air Force YF-12 prototype interceptor, M-21 drone launcher, and the famous SR-71 Blackbird reconnaissance aircraft. The A-12's final mission was flown in May 1968, and the program and aircraft retired in June of that year. The program was officially revealed in the mid-1990s.

    Over the life of the Oxcart project, the participating US government departments and officials associated the project name "Oxcart" specifically with the A-12. An Agency officer later wrote, "OXCART was selected from a random list of codenames to designate this R&D and all later work on the A-12. The aircraft itself came to be called that as well." The crews named the A-12 the Cygnus which was suggested by the pilot Jack Weeks to follow the Lockheed practice of naming aircraft after celestial bodies, and was the code-name given to the A-12 during testing

    When the U-2 became operational in 1956, CIA officials estimated that it would be able to safely overfly the Soviet Union for no more than two years. When the Soviets demonstrated the capability of tracking and attempting to intercept the U-2,Richard Bissell was so concerned about the U-2s vulnerability that he asked DCI Allen Dulles for permission to establish an advisory committee, headed by Edwin H. Land, which became known as the Land Panel, to assist in the selection of a successor aircraft. To prolong the U-2s operational capabilities Lockheed introduced a number of modifications, called "Trapeze", to the U-2. This included the use of wires and paints impregnated with tiny iron ferrite beads. ECM systems were also introduced at this time. U-2s with these enhancements were called "Dirty Birds" and the program was not successful in substantially reducing the radar cross-section (RCS) of the aircraft. A completely new aircraft with stealth characteristics integrated into the design would have to be conceived.

    With the failure of the CIA's Project Rainbow to reduce the RCS of the U-2, preliminary work began inside Lockheed in late 1957 to develop a follow-on aircraft to overfly the Soviet Union. Under Project Gusto the designs were nicknamed "Archangel", after the U-2 program, which had been known as "Angel". As the aircraft designs evolved and configuration changes occurred, the internal Lockheed designation changed from Archangel-1 to Archangel-2, and so on. These names for the evolving designs soon simply became known as "A-1", "A-2", etc. The CIA program to develop the follow-on aircraft to the U-2 was code-named Oxcart.

    These designs had reached the A-11 stage when the program was reviewed. The A-11 was competing against a Convair proposal called Kingfish, of roughly similar performance. However, the Kingfish included a number of features that greatly reduced its RCS, which was seen as favorable to the board. While Convair prepared for production and struggled with aerodynamic issues, Lockheed pursued its own design efforts on a high-speed, high-altitude reconnaissance platform. Lockheed's own designs evolved from A-4 through A-11. The first three configurations, A-4 through A-6, were smaller, self-launched aircraft with vertical surfaces hidden above the wing. The aircraft employed a variety of propulsion schemes that included turbojets, ramjets, and rockets. None met the required mission radius of 2,000 nautical miles (3,700 kilometres), leading Lockheed to conclude that maximum performance and low radar cross section were mutually exclusive. The A-10 and A-11 configurations were larger aircraft that also focused on performance at the expense of radar cross section. The more refined A-11 was submitted by Lockheed at the next Land Panel review. When the A-11 was rejected by the Land Panel review, Lockheed responded with a simple update of the A-11, adding twin canted fins instead of a single right-angle one, and adding a number of areas of non-metallic materials. This became the A-12 design. On 26 January 1960, the CIA ordered twelve A-12 aircraft.

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  • 07/09/14--11:00: Rainey

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    Morgan 4/4 was the Morgan Motor Company's first car with four wheels. It appeared in 1936. Its model designation "4-4" (later "4/4") stood for four wheels and four cylinders. Earlier Morgans had been three-wheelers, only, typically with V-twin engines. Apart from a break during World War II (and the period March 1951 to September 1955) the 4/4 has been in continuous production from its debut right up to the present day. Engine capacity has increased from the 1,122 cc Coventry Climax engine in 1936 to a 1.8-litre Ford engine in 2004, although it is currently back down to 1,595 cc.

    The Series II, now the 4/4 rather than the 4-4, was introduced in 1955 with 386 built by October 1960. Although very similar in appearance to the old 4-4 it was virtually a new car with a chassis based on the one used in the Morgan Plus 4. The traditional independent front suspension using sliding pillars and coil springs was fitted with a rigid axle and semi-elliptic leaf springs at the rear. Disc wheels were fitted as standard items.

    A side-valve 1,172 cc Ford 100E engine was used with a Ford three-speed gearbox. The engine produced 36 bhp. Hydraulic brakes with 9 in (229 mm) drums were fitted. It was also available in 40 bhp (30 kW; 41 PS) 'Competition' form with Aquaplane head conversion, twin S.U. carburettors, and an improved gearshift linkage.

    Inside there was a bench seat back and individual squabs covered in PVC, with leather as an option, and rubber floor covering. A heater was available as an option as was a rev counter and more surprisingly, direction indicators.

    In 1956 The Motor magazine tested a Series II and recorded a top speed of 75.3 mph (121.2 km/h), acceleration from 0-60 mph (97 km/h) in 26.9 seconds and a fuel consumption of 35.1 miles per imperial gallon (8.0 L/100 km; 29.2 mpg-US).

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  • 07/10/14--11:00: The Golden Years

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  • 07/11/14--09:00: Honda SS "Eve" by Bandit9

  • EVE is the latest design from Bandit 9 Motorcycles and will form the beginning of their new operation in Saigon. Anyone who’s ever been to Vietnam, or pretty much anywhere else in South East Asia, will immediately understand the importance of the motorcycle to the local residents.

    In equatorial east Asia motorbikes aren’t weekend rocketships designed for fun, they’re essential tools used by entire families for all of their transportation needs. This difference in perception has led to a relatively small number of custom motorcycle garages popping up in the region, which is something Bandit 9 want to change – their goal is to take the smaller-engined bikes of the Asian urban areas and turn them into world class customs that defy common genres – then sell them at affordable prices.

    EVE is based on a 1967 Honda SS, with an engine capacity ranging from 90cc to 125cc these Hondas are very common on the streets of cities like Saigon and Hanoi, making them an ideal starting point for a new line of customs. Each model will be rebuilt by hand and fitted with classical brass instruments and a hand-formed chrome unibody will give the bike an almost steampunk appeal.

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  • 07/12/14--11:00: Pure italian power

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    Quite what George Brough's father - Nottingham-based motorcycle manufacturer William Edward Brough - thought when his younger son cheekily added the word 'Superior' to the family name when founding his rival marque can only be imagined, but it's thanks to this act of youthful bravado that we have one of the greatest and most-evocative names in motorcycling. W E Brough's machines had been innovative and well-engineered, and his son's continued the family tradition but with an added ingredient - style. J A Prestwich of London and Motosacoche of Geneva supplied v-twin engines for the MkI and MkII Brough Superiors respectively, though within a few years all models would be JAP-powered. Gearboxes were sourced from Sturmey-Archer and (initially) forks from Montgomery, while frame and accessory manufacture was contracted out to specialists in the British motorcycle industry's Midlands heartland.

    With the SS80 and SS100 well established by the mid-1920s, it was decided to add a smaller and cheaper alternative to these two 1-litre models to the range. JAP was already producing a 674cc sidevalve v-twin engine and this unit, redesigned to accommodate overhead valves, went into Brough's new 'Overhead 680'. First shown to the public at the Olympia Motorcycle Show in 1926, the 'Miniature SS100', as George Brough called it, entered production for 1927. The new middleweight Brough was an instant success and for the 1930 season was joined by a version to higher specification. First seen at the 1929 Motorcycle Show, the newcomer was dubbed 'Black Alpine 680', a reference to the lavishly equipped SS100 Alpine Grand Sports and the fact that the newcomer boasted a distinctive all-black eggshell finish. Principal mechanical difference from the standard Overhead 680 was the adoption of the patented Draper sprung frame.

    The Brough Club has confirmed that this matching-numbers Black Alpine, which retains its original fuel tank, was dispatched from the factory on 1st October 1932, while the accompanying original logbook reveals that it was first owned by Mr Philip Ireson, a resident of Haydn Road, Nottingham where the Brough factory was located. In March 1934 'TV 7124' was bought back by the factory and registered in George Brough's name before being sold to its second private owner, one H Whitehead of South Woodford, Essex in April of that same year. Continuation logbooks on file (issued 1942, 1950, 1957 and 1977) list owners as far afield as Kent and Wales while revealing that at times the Brough has been attached to a sidecar. The current owner's family acquired the machine in the late 1970s/early 1980s, since when it has remained in storage, untouched. Sold strictly as viewed, 'TV 7124' represents an exciting opportunity to acquire an exceptionally well-documented and original Black Alpine, ripe for sympathetic restoration.

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  • 07/14/14--09:00: S2 RACE Tokyo Fixed

  • S2 RACE Tokyo Fixed completes are built exclusively with components we know and trust. We have worked hard to offer quality completes which stand out from the competition as bikes you would be genuinely proud to ride away on and do not need constant upgrades.

    With the S2 Race we wanted to offer a real taste into riding a track bike on the street. This is a joy many disregard but many more swear by. Take the S2 out for a ride and you’ll know why. The S2 Race also show cases the Nitto RB0010, our own bar design, perfectly suited for street riding

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    The Catalina Grand Prix was one of the biggest races In the country at the time. It was a 100-mile event held on Santa Catalina Island of the coast of Los Angeles. The 10-mile course was a mixture of road, dirt fire trails, singletrack, and even went through a golf course. Cycle Magazine noted that many of the big AMA national riders skipped Catalina so as not to suffer embarrassment at the hands of Southern California scrambles riders who dominated the event.

    It was a time and energy completely unrivaled in all of motorcycle racing history. Many of the AMA’s best motorcycle racers, local SoCal riders, shop owners, and colorful MC’s (The Checkers, Shamrocks, Rough Riders, Dirt Diggers, and more) mixing with Hollywood actors, stunt riders, and thrill-seekers– all converging on the tiny vacation island from 1951 – 1958 for an event like no other. Actors Keenan Wynn avidly raced, Steve McQueen famously attended, and Lee Marvin infamously raised holy hell. In fact, Dave Ekins went so far as crediting Lee Marvin for being partially responible for the Catalina GP’s demise in 1958.

    In 1956, Ed Kretz, Jr. (son of the legendary “Iron Man” Ed Kretz, Sr.) was victorious in the 200cc class at the Catalina Grand Prix riding a Triumph Cub. Here’s an amazing shot of the 250cc and under class start, he’s in the vicinity there somewhere… Kretz, Jr. missed a few seasons in the early ’50s while he served his country in the the war, and came back strong having his best pro years in 1956 and ’57. In 1956, he scored a pair of top-five national finishes and finished tied for sixth in the final AMA Grand National Championship standings. He was again a top-10 rider in 1957 and scored his fourth career podium finish at Peoria.

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  • 07/15/14--11:00: Jarno Saarineen 1972

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  • 07/16/14--09:00: Curtiss P-40 Warhawk

  • The P-40 was the United States' best fighter available in large numbers when World War II began. P-40s engaged Japanese aircraft at Pearl Harbor and in the Philippines in December 1941. They also served with the famed Flying Tigers in China in 1942, and in North Africa in 1943 with the 99th Fighter Squadron, the first African American U.S. fighter unit.

    The solid, reliable Warhawk was used in many combat areas -- the Aleutian Islands, Italy, the Middle East, the Far East, the Southwest Pacific and some were sent to Russia. Though often slower and less maneuverable than its adversaries, the P-40 earned a reputation in battle for extreme ruggedness. It served throughout the war but was eclipsed by more capable aircraft. More than 14,000 P-40s were built, and they served in the air forces of 28 nations.

    The aircraft on display is a Kittyhawk (the export version of the P-40E built for the RAF). It is painted to represent the aircraft flown by then-Col. Bruce Holloway, a pilot in both the Flying Tigers and its successor Army Air Forces unit, the 23rd Fighter Group. This P-40 was obtained from Charles Doyle, Rosemount, Minn.