1928: It’s show time.

Busy busy…you’ll find a lot to read and a lot to see in 1928, including loads of pics from the Olympia Show, a smashing Ixion yarn looking forward to the 1938 show, the arrival of speedway, the arrival of HRD-Vincent, another Maude’s Trophy for Ariel, a Junior TT 1-2 for cammy Velos with the new-fangled foot-operated gearchange, loads of record breaking rides, a rider’s view of the duplex-steered OEC—and a chunky transverse V-twin from the comrades who gave the world it’s favourite assault rifle. There’s lots more besides, and lots more to come (including the poignant story of William Morrison Globb).


Moving on to 1928

For now, a least, all the material I have for 1927 is now on line. The katest additions inclkude a roadtest of the Panthette, a saucy tale of an Austrial valkyrie from Ixion, a report from the Ulster TT, a hair raising round-the-world run by a brace of Rudges, a trial in which competitors had fish tied to ther bikes, a good collection of ads and…you get the picture. A couple of eyebrow-raising letters have been added to the Letters page, some cool illustrations have been added to the Artwork page and I’ve been pulling 1928 copies of the Blue ‘Un and Gren ‘Un off the shelf to get busy on a new year. It’s only a hobby.

The Motor Cycle’s traditional Christmas story involved a motor cyclist crashing and dreaming of a trip through time to medieval England where he entered a joust on his motor cycle. Not a great story—but a rather fine illustration, don’t you think?

Getting back to 1927

Isn’t it wonderful when plans don’t come to fruition? I was about to get stuck in to expanding the yarns in 1928 when I realised I’d overlooked a load of material for 1927. That’s being added now, and a large number of pics and adverts have been added to most years up to 1914. The melange and artwork pages have also been expanded. And that’s in addition to sorting out a new rear tyre for the combo and, the weather being clement for the time of year, putting in a few miles on the Sportster. Meanwhile Francois in Thailand has been sending in some fine images for 1928 and my old oppo Bill has been sorting out 1928 pics from his extensive archive in Manxland including some fab TT shots. Where would we be without our mates?

This colourful illustration, which has a Stateside look to it, dates from 1910.

Take a letter

Just added to Letters to the Editor are eight more letters, published between 1903-30. I hope you’ll find all of them of interest; to modern eyes some are eyebrow raising, if not face palming. As an example: “I regret to see that you are advocating, or rather countenancing, the adoption of motor bicycle driving by ladies. To my mind, woman was never made for an engine driver, and has not that cool nerve required so often in motoring…” The correspondent continues at some length and women riders weren’t slow to reply. And there’s a latter from an individual claiming to be the heaviest rider in England.


A plethora of pictures

Busy busy…over the past few days more than 100 pictures have been uploaded. You’ll find them, if you care to look, scattered through most years from 1894-1927 (there are some fine images from the 1926 TT and don’t miss the 1899 Pernoo), to Artwork/Humour (including some striking Belle Epoque posters) and to the Melange (lots of early American pics, and there are currently 184 images from the Great War). Among the latest arrivals from my French amigo Francois were snaps of Nimbuses which made me realise I’d overlooked the great Dane’s arrival in 1919; that oversight has been taken care of. So, on to 1928—but not until I’ve added some overlooked yarns from 1927. What’s more the combo’s going in for a new rear boot and the MZ kickstart still needs attention and…it’s time for a bowl of chilli!


Lots to see

Lots more pics have been uploaded, mostly in the Artwork/Humour and Melange pages. They include a score of excellent images from the Great War including some striking colourised photos of dispatch riders and a selection of early Americana including a number of marque logos. I plan to concentrate on pics for the next few days: thanks to my esteemed chum Francois the inbox is bursting at the seams with hundreds of glorious items from his archive; I’ll set up a second melange page to accommodate them, after which I’ll start putting meat on the bones of 1928.

As the legend on the postcard reveals, the exquisite model combo and pram were made for a royal dolls house. There’s posh.

A day at the pictures

I’ve had a pleasant day uploading a cornucopia of artistic delights to ‘Cartoons/Humour’. You’ll find some cigarette cards, some smashing Edwardian advertising posters, a batch of droll Rudge ads, caricatures, a matchbox, an icemobile and a lurid 1920s illustration of a motor cycle losing an encounter with a car (yes it happened 100 years ago just the way it does now). Hope you like them. PS If you’ve read up on 1927 you’ll know all about the Motor Cycle Football ACU Cup Final. Just added to the pics of the event is a glorious illustration of a sidecar polo encounter. Probably just the artist’s imagination, but still worth a gander.


Richard Küchen: A designer of note

Just uploaded to the Gallimaufry, some notes on the career of one of Germany’s most prolific, and most successful, designers of engines and complete motor cycles. At one point he was responsible for half of all German proprietary engines. In three decades of unremitting work he came up with everything from 50cc tiddlers to the mighty Zundapp two-wheel-drive combos used so effectively by the German army in World War two. Sidevalves, ohv, ohc; singles, twins, fours; two-strokes, four-strokes: Küchen did the lot.

Küchen designs included the 1933 Zündapp flat-four and the 1940 Zündapp KS750.

Harrold Willis: A life well lived

Phil Irving, Edward Turner, Granville Bradshaw and a few, a very few, others are household names to motor cycle obsessives of a certain age. I’m ashamed to say that, while I’d heard of Harold Willis I didn’t know much about him, but I do now: inventor of the positive-stop foot gearchange, modern swinging-arm suspension and, would you believe, the dual seat. Oh, and he was runner-up in two Junior TTs and won the Hutchinson Hundred. And survived being torpedoed to fight at Jutland, and—if you’d care to turn to the Gallimaufry you can read all about him.

The Velocette’s Model O features three of Harold Willis’s contributions to modern motor cycles: a swing-arm frame, dual seat and foot gearchange.