Monday, 30 August 2010

I can't explain

Can anyone tell me why the prices of bevel Ducatis have got completely insane in the last three years or so?

Sunday, 29 August 2010

'51 Fiat Topolino Barchetta Corsa part 2 - Issue Two

Though I haven't got words to describe this man's incredible skills, it has taken two articles in two issues of Italian Motor to explain how and why my good friend Loreno built this car - second part in Issue Two out in just a couple of weeks.

I wish you could all come and meet Loreno and spend some time in his home workshop. And I wish I was back under that Tuscan light.

V Twin rally ramblings

Set up my stall at the annual V Twin rally yesterday in Fordingbridge. Up at 6am, home by 11pm so tiring but worth it, mainly to see and chat with friends, sell the mag and meet new people. I'm not really one for camping unless it's on a warm Mediterranean isle but last camped at the V Twin in 1993, so I was taken aback by how few older bikes there were, mainly Guzzis, and some Ducatis.

Thanks to Jay and John for giving me a hand - sorry Jay about the wrecked steering lock - and Richard for putting their great bikes near the mag stand, and good to meet Nick and see all the Bristol boys, Joe and Bedwyr included. Jay impressed everyone by having the first 1973 V7 Sport to have sat-nav fitted - mad!!

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Spannering solitude on the Guzzi special

I just don't get time to work on my bikes, and I miss it. Today I had a good few hours to mess around with my Le Mans special, and try out a few things, and it felt really good. Just me, the radio and my tools.

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Issue Two is on its way!!

Yep, it's on its way, slightly delayed. More decent photography and words on motors from Italy. 
I hope to be posting out to subscribers the second week of September. 

I haven't even got the excuse that the dog (or even my 9 month-old daughter) ate my homework...

Riding in the '57 Ferrari..

A short clip of a half hour ride I had..

Monday, 23 August 2010

Wonder if they're still there?

If you read Issue One of the mag you'll have seen the spread of various sheds, garages, damp basements and shacks I've nosed around in and photographed in Italy over the years. This was one of the best - it belonged to Ivo, who used to sell agricultural machinery and motorcycles. This single garage of several he had was stuffed with about 25 bikes and scooters in it, and many were very original and desirable 175cc machines; MV, Mondial, Beta and Mi-Val. I tried to buy something off him sometimes but he insisted that someone had to come and buy the whole lot in block, and I just didn't have the money, let alone the storage space. I took this photo about 7 years ago, so wonder if it's all still there. I'll make enquiries next time I'm there, just in case...

Thursday, 19 August 2010


This was one of the most enjoyable two wheelers I've ever owned - a second series, early 1972 puce-yellow Piaggio Ciao. Bought for a few lira when I lived in Italy 10 years ago, it served as good transport to the bread shop and wine merchant (a whole anfora of local white would fit on that parcel rack) after my Guzzi was smashed up in the Moto Giro (not by me I might add...).

A full tank would last 6 months and road tax was next to nothing. It ended up being bought by a serial Ciao collector/Ciaoista who loved its completely unrestored state.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

The lonely pursuit of perfection

I was recently sent this photo with the following words by John W who built this beautiful Guzzi cafe racer I posted here.

"Adam - came across this pic earlier that I took of my modified rear drive plate
trying to save some weight - I think it ended up saving 125+ grams. Wowee! 
drilled it in the doorway of my garage bent over with it resting on a block
wood. I stress-relieved all of the holes too and paid for it over the next
couple of days with a bad back. It took, I think, over half a day to do and
don't think it will go down as one of my best ideas! My stupidity makes me
smile though.." 

John - hope the back's better. At least you're out there doing it and building stuff yourself - a good excuse to post up another shot of your bike then:

Monday, 16 August 2010

Valentino signs for Ducati

So it was true all along. Doesn't matter if he never wins another championship again (and never rule him out), Valentino riding for an Italian manufacturer (and as far as I'm concerned it could be any Italian manufacturer) will be a thing of joy to watch...

Delivery van

This is what I use to deliver magazines to favoured stockists in and around London. Ironically, I have a van too but it'd probably cost me about 300 quid just to go into town and back for a day in it. My Swagman panniers are one of my prized motorcycle possessions - they're travelled all the place over on various bikes with me the last 22 years, are still like new, and I love the riveted-on badges which proudly say 'Made in England', from an era when things were still made in England. I think that sadly you can't get'em anymore, unless anyone knows differently?

Friday, 6 August 2010

Any guesses??

I recently spent 30 of some of the most exciting, visceral and noisy minutes of my life in this 
motor car - Italian, naturally.

Anyone know what it might be?

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

You must have been there...

Been working on the MV 175 which is one of the mag's 'project' bikes - read 'long-term project' bikes. A friend said to me a few months ago, 'haven't you taken on a bit much??' Yes, and no. Having no time or much money doesn't help but it's great to grab a spare hour here and there and make slow progress. But where to start, especially on a bike I don't want to restore??

If you've worked on old bikes you'll know how it feels...

He's not so that means he is

Hot off the press - Ducati PR circular denying that Rossi has signed to race for Ducati next year.

If it's anything like the rumourmill that exists around football, that means he's definitely signed.
Wow - I need to get tickets for Mugello 2011 ASAP.....

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Motorcycle archaeology

When I lived in Italy and bought or found wrecked old bikes in boxes, damp cellars or old farmhouses, one of my favourite things to do was open up all the toolboxes, cubby holes or sidepanels to see what was inside; usually, I'd find a mouse's nest, an old oily rag and a rusty old spark plug, if I was lucky..

So when I picked up a rusty old frame, wheels and box of junk for a small Gilera of some kind, I had a nice surprise when I opened the tube-shaped toolbox - inside were an immaculate set of points in their box, a nice metal inner tube repair kit and a road tax disc from the year, I assume, the bike was last used - 1964 (three years before I was born..).

I eventually restored the bike which turned out to be a rare little 1951 Gilera 150 Turismo with girder forks, so it was nice to have all the original 'finds' with it.

Monday, 2 August 2010

Choppa Stoppa

Remember I posted about a Fantic Chopper some weeks back? Well, I managed to track one down, shot it today for the mag, and it was just fantastic. Mad. Insane. Beautiful. Mental. The ultimate in 1970s motorcycling Italiana...

Coming up in Issue 2. Thanks Kev!!