Carlisle Import 2015

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We have commented before that Pennsylvania has a disproportionate number of national and international quality moto events. Even in a world of cars and coffee, mocha and motorcycles, scones and scooters, the bigeer gatherings are still must-attend events. One of them is the Carlisle Import Show which takes place every May. It is a gathering of all the major brands from Europe, and a smattering of Japanese brands. It always feels like the largest show for those who do not have other large shows in the region. Porsche, BMW, Mercedes, and Ferrari, are always there, but in relatively small numbers. There is a strange ebb and flow to which brands show up in force, but some are mainstays. Swedish cars and French cars are always well represented. Audi is always well represented. Kit cars are always well represented. Nissan is usually well represented. We always see something unusual from Italy, like the Rivolta shown here. Always a worthwhile event...

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Posted on May 23, 2015 and filed under Events, car.

Bauer

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Baur came late to the motorcycle business, introducing its first model in 1936. However, like many others, they were producing bicycles prior to that since 1919 in Klein-Auheim. The first models were 75cc and 100cc mopeds featuring Ilo or Fictel&Sachs engines. Of course, their timing ws terrible, and war soon redirected their efforts. Following the war, they resumed production in 1949 with the model 150 which did fairly well. They quickly expanded to produce a variety of small displacement machines, and became well regarded for quality and styling. While they used telescoping forks up front, they continued to employ wide sprung saddles rather than adopt rear suspension. Then they made a costly mistake. They decided to produce their own engine. It was a 248cc four stroke engine. It was a success from a styling perspective, but they badly underestimated the teething problems of a brand new engine, and ran into financial problems. The banks finally forced Bauer to close the doors in 1953. The name, however, is now owned by Pantherwerke, and has remained active periodically on bicycles.

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Posted on May 17, 2015 and filed under motorcycle, Classic Vehicles.

A Most Important Failure

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What are some of the hallmarks of modern Audis? Front wheel drive on larger sedans, odd numbers of cylinders, etc. Well many of those attributes were introduced with the DKW F102 in late 1963. The F102 went into production in 1964, but it was a car between two eras. Mercedes ownership held onto old formats and technology, while new thinking and performance standards were already evident among the competitors. As such, the car was unibody construction, and front wheel drive, but with a two-stroke three cylinder engine. It was 168.5 inches long and weighed 2945 lbs. The engine was 1175cc and produced 69hp, along with 76 ft-lbs of torque. This propelled the car to a top speed of 84mph, and a 0-60 time of 16.8 seconds. Not horrible for the time, but far from being among the leaders. It was offered in a 2 door coupe initially, with the 4 door following six months later. Given what was being produced or designed by Mercedes at the time (Gullwing, Pagoda, etc), many believe that they were also concerned about competing with themselves.

It is no surprise that the car sold poorly with just over 53,000 units in its' short life. The public had already been moving away from 2 strokes, and there were great alternatives in the emerging class of modern sedans. Mercedes happily sold a controlling interest in Auto Union to Volkswagen in 1966, and the new owners quickly killed off the DKW brand and facelifted the F102 to make it the F103 branded as an Audi. They also inserted a four stroke four cylinder engine.  The F102 is one of those commericial failures that forced a sudden course correction and gave birth to a successful platform with many of its' attributes carried forward. 

Posted on May 10, 2015 and filed under car, Classic Vehicles.

Oleyonics

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The traditional indications of spring include flowers, blossoms, milder temperatures, and sunny skies.One of the clear signs of spring missed by those not into vintage iron is the AACA Oley swap meet. Oley is a good chance to ride something interesting or your newly completed project. Unlike The Gathering of the Nortons, You will not usually see any new bikes at Oley. This is the realm of the ancient ones. The realm of exposed valve springs and seat springs, of strange hand controls and foot levers. And then there are the bikes !

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Oley is part swap meet, part bike show, part history lesson, and it is this last that makes it such an interesting day. Chances are you can see something pre-war in action, some ancient idea that never really caught on in use, or something from an old magazine brought to life. And you can probably talk to a guy who knows more about it than the factory ever did.

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You can learn the original cost of a 1925 Indian, and how much you can pay today to buy it. For the cost of parts, use the following formula; Take the current year and subtract the year of the part you are looking at. Then multiply by 5 for the low end of the range, and 10 for the upper end. So if the part is from 1935, you have 2015-1935=80*5=$400 minimum for that tail light. Indeed, Oleyonics is a course worth taking just based on the wildly diverse content and faculty. See you in class next year.

Oley 2015 Full Album

Posted on May 3, 2015 and filed under Events, motorcycle.

A Plethora of Porsches

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The annual assemblage of Porsches old and new at Hershey in April is now an international event. You are likely to hear several different languages as you walk around, but there is one that all of the attendees share; Porsche. We have covered it here before (see Hounds of the Basketweave or Hooked on Hershey), but it is always worthy of coverage. It is a giant car show. It is probably one of the world's largest Porsche only parking lots. It is a swap meet with rows of parts, paraphernalia, and patina. It had a tractor in the Concours event. People come seeking that elusive final accesory to complete the project, while others are seeking sheetmetal to begin one. As a Porsche fan or fanatic, on a glorious spring day, you would be hard pressed to be in a better place. See the full photo album

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Posted on April 26, 2015 and filed under Events, car.

Gathering 2015

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The riding season in the northern climes begins in the spring. However, in the mid-Atlantic region, it officially starts with events. Events like The Gathering of the Nortons. This is no small gathering of a few Norton devotees. It is an event covered here before (see Gathering 2012 or Gathering of the Clans) that routinely draws over 70 Nortons and 900 bikes overall, and which is well managed by the Delaware Valley Norton Riders. Vintage bikes enjoy a reserved field. It is several hundred wildly varied machines from all kinds of Marques. A neck-swiveling vintage sensory overload. This year brought excellent weather and afforded a fantastic ride along the Delaware river. The Norton liked the empty if winter-ravaged river road. 

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The event is always a chance to reconnect with friends not seen since before the tundra froze over. It is also a coming out party for many a winter project. A maiden voyage for any number of garage projects. Some of the results are spectacular. Others are just pleased to make it to the event. All contributed not just to one of the first vintage events of the year, but one of the best.

Norton Gathering 2015 Full Photo Album

 

Posted on April 19, 2015 and filed under motorcycle, Events.

Opel Kapitan A

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Your eyes do not deceive you....This is a popular German sedan from the 1960s. In 1964 Opel introduced a trio of models on a new platform. It was called the KAD platform after the three models being introduced; the Kapitan, the Admiral, and the Diplomat. They featured 2.6 liter and 2.8 liter straight six engines. In 1966 a Chevrolet 4.6 liter V8 from parent company General Motors was added as an option, but it was most often sold along with the Admiral and Diplomat models. The Kapitan name has a history going back to the pre-war period. Several iterations shared the name despite very different appearances.

The model had four doors, a large interior, and would have looked at home in America, and indeed, up to two thirds of production at times left Germany for overseas markets. It was over 16 feet long and over 6 feet wide. It was aimed at executives and .....ahem....captains of industry at a time when the competitors from Mercedes and BMW cost 2000 marks more (about $500 at the time). The Kapitan was the bargain model of the trio introduced, with fewer luxury appointments. Regardless, it was the fastest 6 cylinder 4 door sedan at the time, and helped to generate record sales by the time the KAD platform was retired in 1969.

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Posted on April 13, 2015 and filed under car, Classic Vehicles.

Morrie's Place

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There are fewer and fewer shops like Morrie's. It is a place full of old motorcycles. By choice. It is a place where they work on old motorcycles almost exclusively. By choice. It is strange that it is housed in a modern building rather than someplace old with character. From the outside, you would expect the latest from Japan and Europe. 

inside it might be sometime in the late 1970s. The showroom was full. Machines for sale included gems from the sixties and seventies. Morrie's has a lot of British bikes, but they also have a good sampling of others. A lovely Benelli Sei, for example, and a Ducati Monza 250. A nice Excelsior Henderson 4 was wedged in a row of machines. There is a healthy sampling of BMWs as well. A few slash 2s and a slash 5. The majority of the bikes though are British. BSAs and Nortons abound, but are joined by machines from AJS, Velocette, and Triumph. A nice Metisse occupied a place of prominence in a showroom window. There are very few restored machines present in the showroom. Most are well-patinaed drip-pan-needing but sound mechanical motorcycles offered at reasonable prices. 

Favorite machines include a lovely Rickman Triumph, a Velocette MSS. The one we would have ridden home though was a beautiful Norton ES2. Talking with Morrie himself was interesting. Here is a guy that just loves the old machines and has decided to try to make a living selling and servicing them. During our visit, customers were there from nearby Chicago, and far away Iowa. Both offered unsolicited testament to the quality of work and the great customer service. There are not a lot of shops like Morrie's around, but the few that remain should have our deepest gratitude if not patronage. 

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Posted on April 5, 2015 and filed under Shops, motorcycle.

One

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5:45am Middlebury, VT

The tii starts easily as if it is as glad to see the new day as I am. It is covered in dew. The kind of dew that only a summer overnight stay outside can generate. It is not cold, just cool. Maybe in the 60s. The motel was cheap and convenient. A place to shower and sleep. Now with bag in the spacious trunk, and a day of driving ahead, I stretched and smiled. I looked at the tii sitting there, idling comfortably now, smiling with me. At that moment, the day was full of promise. Man and machine were one. 

There is a time of day where the light is magic. In the time leading up to dawn,  a painting is created with a soft glow over everything. Harsh detail is airbrushed by the cosmos, and the most flattering light is  poured like some luminescent syrup onto even the least worthy of objects. Apply this to the hills and valleys of new england, and you have a masterpiece. Then add silence. It is somehow even more beautiful because nature has added a soundtrack of.....nothing. This is now a movie rather than a painting. And we are in it, man and machine.

Somehow, this combination of metal and blood is one form. Somehow the synapses are firing in synchronization with the spark plugs. 1-4-3-2, 1-4-3-2. The undulations and curves of the road in the pre-dawn stillness are in lock step with the suspension and steering. Speed is high, sensing that this glorious window is but for a short while. And miles to go while others sleep...The weak yellow glow of the headlights is a perfect match for the hue of the emerging glow to the east. The whole universe is smiling.

Posted on March 28, 2015 and filed under car, Commentary, Rides and Drives.

Volo Revisited

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3 years ago was the first time we visited the Volo museum. That visit was a rather hurried affair wedged in between obligations. Regardless, it was an entertaining visit. This visit was a bit more relaxed. Most of the Hollywood displays were the same, but the rest of the cars rotate as they are bought and sold. The focus is Americana, but some European cars and exotica are mixed in. This mix of displays and cars for sale is an interesting blend. Volo can be considered a classic car dealer where the showroom has some pretty spectacular memorabilia. A Gone in 60 Seconds Mustang, a Knightrider Trans Am, a Miami Vice Ferrari, etc. 

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The museum/showroom is spread over several buildings. A few have themes, like military vehicles or pre-war cars. The rest have are predominantly muscle cars from the sixties through seventies. There are some nice examples, at least to my untrained eye.  Also interesting were the trucks. Pickups from the 1920s to the 1960s were in the last building. A pretty good picture of the evolution of light commercial vehicles.

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Another theme that could easily be missed are the two-wheeled vehicles. Here too there was a mix of Hollywood such as the machine from the Ghost Rider movie, and early machines from Harley, Indian, and Excelsior.  There were also scooters in several of the transition areas between buildings. Vespas and Cushmans and even Stellas.

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Volo was worth the return visit for its mix of entertainment, and history.  

Posted on March 21, 2015 and filed under Museum, car.