The Ordinary Morning


The birds woke me up. A couple of birds in particular who seemed to be engaged in a spirited conversation. Emerging from my tent, a misty morning emphasized the serenity and added a mysterious beauty to the landscape. This is one of the magic hours of the day. The last of the nocturnals are heading home to bed, and the first of the day timers  are up and about. Nature's shift change. I always feel privileged to witness it. 

The sun rises and the mist dissipates, revealing the full vista of the alpine meadow. More beauty as I break camp, and head back to the main trail. Rays of sun perforate the forest creating bright spots and luminous accents in random places. The trail periodically bursts into a meadow or across a ridge before returning to the forest. Down the steep descent to the valley where the forest meets a stream and the trail meanders playfully beside it. 

The biike rolled along almost silently, with just the sound of the tires on the rocky trail. Its horizontally opposed cylinders caressed by the morning air. The trail eventually ends at a paved road. I turn left toward town, and vehicles start to appear going hither and yon. I pull into town and stop for breakfast. It is nice enough to sit outside. The road, the vehicles, the town, and the people seem to be unaware of the natural splendor that is partially visible in the mountains surrounding them. Perhaps they take it for granted. Perhaps they long for the big city, the opposite of the familiar. Perhaps they are not like me, a visitor, in awe of what they consider ordinary. 

I think I will return the way I came, and taste again the extraordinary.

Posted on October 10, 2015 and filed under motorcycle, Commentary.

Heinkel Tourist


A friend who always seems to find oddball motorcycles (or perhaps they find him at this point) discovered a strange scooter of German origin. As usual, it needed some work, but it was unique and interesting. Heinkel produced their first two-wheeled vehicle in 1954. It was a scooter that they called the Tourist. It featured a 175cc four-stroke engine with 12 volt electrics and an electric start. This was an impressive list of features at the time, and positioned them well in the market. They enjoyed years of healthy sales, and introduced a 150cc 2 stroke scooter as well. This did not sell nearly as well, nor did a 50cc moped called the Perle. Much of Heinkels's hopes were pinned on success in America. However, the product was relatively expensive, costing more than a Vespa or a Lambretta. Dealership woes also plagued the brand, and by the time they were sorted out, the peak of the scooter era had passed. They were also right in the midst of Honda's legendary "You meet the nicest people....." campaign. Production lasted just over 10 years, ending in 1965, but there is a healthy club scene in several countries. 

Posted on September 27, 2015 and filed under Classic Vehicles, motorcycle.

Limerock Vintage Festival 2015


Great New England weather for Labor Day weekend, an entire track ringed with great cars, a few great motorcycles, great noises, great vintage racing, great celebrities (Sir Stirling Moss and #722 together again), and great enthusiasts. What more is there to say.... 

See the full album

Posted on September 22, 2015 and filed under car, Events.

A Few Special BMWs


During a trip to New England, we got to see some nice motrcycles on the road and on display during a return visit to the Larz Anderson Museum. The grounds and building which house this museum are impressive even on approach. The estate from the turn of the 20th century still makes you feel like you are visiting the private collection of a wealthy enthusiast. And of course, you are. The museum caters to both 2 wheels and four. We have covered it here before (see Shouldn't We be Further Ahead by Now ?), so on this occasion we chose to focus on some of the 2-wheeled German machines on display as part of their Beauty of the Beast exhibit.


The earliest machine present was a 1924 R32 from only the 2nd year that BMW was in business. It reminds us all that there were impressive characteristics from the beginning. Top speed of 60 mph, 80 mpg, beautiful styling, were all there. The 1937 R17 brings Art Deco design to a highly functional machine and is considered one of the best looking motorcycles of all time.  The 1954 Rennsport is the only racing machine included, but it marks a critical re-entry point for BMW into racing. With its massive front brakes and tank, it was built to compete with the Norton Manx. With only 24 produced, it is also unobtanium. 


Much more common, and currently in the CV garage is the R26. This single cylinder machine is usually overshadowed by the more popular R27 which succeeded it, but it is an elegant upright single that met the needs of the postwar market. The sixties were represented by the R69US. It is hard to understand today,  but this was a 100+ mph sport bike. There were two icons from the seventies, the R90S which won the first AMA Superbike championship, and the R100RS which was the first production machine with an extensive fairing. The machines end in the 1980s with another icon, the Paris-Dakar winning R80G/S. The 1982 Krauser was a kind of "Tuning House" special that improved the suspension, aerodynamics, and engine of the base BMW to great effect. 


Overall, a high quality sampling of the two-wheeled history of the blue and white propeller, and another visit to a great museum. 



Posted on September 12, 2015 and filed under Classic Vehicles, motorcycle, Museum.

A Mythical GT


So there I was, in northwestern Connecticut as usual, on a glorious Labor Day weekend, surrounded by fabulous cars and great friends. The Lime Rock Vintage Festival has been an annual pilgrimage for close to two decades. Lately, there has been a film event of some kind during the weekend. A few years ago it was a pre-screening of Senna. This year it was The Mirage, a documentary about a beautiful GT car built in the very early seventies. It is not often that I discover a vehicle from the late sixties or early seventies that I have never even heard of.  The fact that this one also had a recognizable name made it all the more strange. The Momo Mirage. 


Prior to the screening, you could walk around and examine 4 of the 5 cars that were actually built. They are beautiful examples of chrome-bumpered luxurious-leather high-powered Gran Touring cars of the era. They blend some Ghia, some Maserati, some BMW CS, some Ferrari, and some Jensen Interceptr. Italian styling was combined with a very european interior. However, this car was not Italian, and the Momo was not the famed steering wheel maker. It was the brainchild of New York Real Estate mogul Peter Kalikow, who pursued his passion in the late 1960s to build a better GT. As the documentary directed by Kyle Roper very artfully shows, Kalikow, then in his late twenties, had the passion, the drive, and the money to pull it off, and he very nearly did.


He was eventually thwarted by Italian labor strikes, and failing suppliers, so he suspended operations and returned to Real Estate. And now, 45 years later, he is attempting to continue from where he left off. The documentary is working out distribution, but it is an enjoyable 45 minute story of a man who pursued his passion, then, and now.... 

Posted on September 6, 2015 and filed under Classic Vehicles, car.

Classic Velocity Time (or How Long is Now?)


"I have a great lead on a Double Cab with an old Zundapp in the bed"

"Great, You know I am looking for both of those right now!"

"You have been looking for those 'right now' for years, and have never pulled the trigger"

"How long is now? Are you saying that I have violated some time period?"

"Yes, especially when you say 'right now'. There is a statute of limitations"

"Well how long is it? What if I just start over?"

"I dont know, but everybody knows that right now cannot mean years"

"I am everybody, and I don't know that"

After a long sigh. "I feel sorry for your family.....Do you want to hear about the Bus or not?"

"Yes, right now!"

This is an actual conversation between two inmates in the Classic Velocity asylum. Besides providing insight into the nature of the diseased minds in this institution, it points out that deep existential questions and quantum physics are among the topics of routine conversation. Today we will discuss time, and introduce a theory that will challenge the likes of Stephen Hawking and Albert Einstein. Welcome to Classic Velocity Time (CVT). Here are some basic definitions :

  1. While. This is an indeterminate period defined by a borrower of goods or space. Eg: Can I leave my parts car in your driveway for a while? Usually, the exasperated lender (or their spouse) makes  several attempts to change the arrangement into something finite. Eg: Get that crap outta here before Thanksgiving!.
  2. Soon. This is also an indeterminate period of time with a strong implication that it is not indeterminate. It is used often by borrowers of goods, space, and money. It is also one of the most powerful words of the procrastinator. Eg: I can't sell it to you because I am going to restore that soon.
  3. Now. By the time you get to the end of this sentence is it still now? If no, when did it end ? Did it end at the smallest unit of time you know ? If yes, is it still now next year ? You see, this is really indeterminate as well. Eg: I am restoring that right now.
  4. Eventually. This is an indeterminate period of time with a strong implication that it is in fact indeterminate. Eg: I will restore that thing eventually.
  5. Immediate Future. Besides being an oxymoron, this is an indeterminate period of time with a strong implication that it is both close and distant. Eg: I see one of those in my immediate future.
  6. Reasonable. When applied to time, reasonable is indeterminate and highly subjective. Eg: We should have the work completed in a reasonable amount of time.
  7. No time. Another oxymoron. Indeterminate with the strongest implication that it is not. Eg: We will have the work completed in no time.
  8. It's hard to say. This term is similar to Eventually, but it has the strongest implication that it is indeterminate and may extend beyond your lifetime. Some would compare it to eternity, but we stop short of that (by about 6 feet).


Based on these CVT definitions, NOW=S(n*i), or the subjective (s) application of some number (n) of periods of indeterminate (i) length. See you soon.

Posted on August 30, 2015 and filed under car, motorcycle, Commentary.

Back To Bob's


BMW Motorcycle dealers seem to fall into two basic camps; local/regional dealers, and national dealers. Bob's is in the latter group. National dealers have recognition and appeal beyond their local market and become "destination" dealers. Harley Davidson has the same phenomenon (and probably invented the concept). Bob's stands out for a few reasons. First, it has a thriving mail order business and caters to vintage machines. That has been helpful more than once. Second, they appear nationally at rallies and other events. Third, they have a small onsite museum. 


The museum is always a good excuse to stop by. It is not large, but it is packed with significant machines and unobtanium memorabilia. An R80 G/S is a personal favorite, but many other items command your interest.  Among them, a restored 1929 R57, and a great cutaway of a vintage boxer engine and gearbox. Bob's is always worth a visit. 



Posted on August 1, 2015 and filed under Museum, motorcycle.