Et pendant ce temps, ailleurs sur la toile…

G E O R D I E B I K E R
25/01/2020
Chaises

Blowing Bubbles | awesome sketch by Elsa Chang of some lass laying back sending soap bubbles into the sky. The grey wash with brushed ink work is fluid and inspired.

Virage8
24/01/2020
The Great Ride to Le Mans

Et si nous nous mettions en route, toutes et tous, à motos et en autos, pour nous retrouver au Mans à la 1ère édition de printemps de Motors and Soul, en partenariat avec Exclusive Drive, les 20, 21 et 22 Mars 2020 sur le Circuit Bugatti ?

C’est précisément ce qu’un grand nombre d’entre vous nous ont dit au cours des dernières semaines : votre envie de rouler ensemble jusqu’au Mans pour vivre cette édition intensément dès le départ. Alors, a germée dans nos coeurs et dans nos esprits cette formidable aventure : The Great Ride to Le Mans!

The Great Ride to Le Mans, c’est la route que nous partagerons, à motos et en autos, depuis nos villes d’origine, en France et à l’étranger, les 20, 21 et 22 Mars 2020, sur les itinéraires de votre choix, avec celles et ceux de la Communauté Virage8 / Motors and Soul. Une Communauté qui dit haut et fort sa liberté de partager sa passion sans distinction de style, d’âge ou d’origine, à moto et en auto, toujours avec le même plaisir. Une Communauté qui intègre, qui réunit, qui rassemble. Une Communauté qui se mobilise.

Vous voulez en être ? Rien de plus simple ! Organisez ou rejoignez un Ride motos ou une Balade autos depuis votre ville d’origine à la date de votre choix, 20, 21 ou 22 Mars 2020.

Vous voulez organiser votre Ride motos ou votre Balade autos ? Rien de plus simple ! Envoyez un mail à contact@virage8.com et nous vous indiquerons en retour la marche à suivre pour créer votre Ride ou votre Balade sur Facebook.

Vous voulez rejoindre un Ride motos ou une Balade autos ? Rien de plus simple ! Connectez-vous sur Facebook et inscrivez-vous sur le Ride motos ou la Balade autos de votre choix sans oublier de réserver votre billet d’entrée à Motors and Soul auparavant.

Enjoy your Ride, enjoy your Life, et une fois arrivé(e)s au Mans, nous vous accueillerons comme nous savons le faire !

Ça va être géant !

Crédit photo Virage8

Cet article fut rédigé et publié pour la première fois sur Virage8 le 24 Janvier 2020

 

L’article The Great Ride to Le Mans est apparu en premier sur Virage8.

Pipeburn.com
24/01/2020
LEAN & GREEN: Honda CB750 ‘Green Arrow’

Written by Tim Huber

While Honda’s CB750 has undeniably played a pivotal role in the rise of the modern custom motorcycle scene, it’s become increasingly difficult to think of cafe’d CBs as being anything other than played out. The hooped subframe, fender-delete, pipe-wrap, and clip-on formula has objectively become pretty cliche, though every once in a blue-moon we open our inbox to discover a truly special CB cafe racer, and that’s exactly what we’ve got here, from Austria’s National Custom Tech Motorcycles — better known simply as NCT.

The shop started with a 1978 Honda CB750F that they then proceeded to pull the engine from and tear down to the frame. The framework was de-tabbed, fitted with a new, upswept subframe, and then powder-coated in a matte black, along with the swing-arm. Before receiving the same matte black treatment, the engine was torn apart and given a thorough refresh. Adorned in custom points and stator covers, the Japanese four-banger now inhales through a quad-pod setup while spent fumes are now spit from a stunning hand-made four-into one exhaust system with blued headers and a slash-cut, GP-style Spark muffler capped off with a honeycombed cover.

Wanting to bring the CB’s performance prowess into the 21st century, National Tech tossed out the stocker’s suspension and replaced it with upgraded, modern items. Out back, there’s a pair of adjustable YSS shocks, while up front bumps are soaked up through an upside-down Showa fork slotted in one-off triples — all of which have been murdered-out, with the exception of the fork’s lowers. Next, the Honda’s original wheels were given a contemporary dual-disc brake arrangement with drilled rotors, Brembo calipers, and steel-braided lines, before the rims were also hit with a coat of black.

“The hardest part of the project was probably the front-end. Getting the disc brake setup to work with the bike’s original wheels was pretty tricky, but in the end we managed,” says NCT’s head honcho, David Widmann.

The stock fuel-cell remains in play, as do the original side-covers, though they’ve been slightly modified for the project. Resting atop the new subframe is a bespoke tail-section and seat-pan combo piece that follows the kicked-up contours of the new aft framework before jetting forward and feeding into the tank. A brown leather seat with a trio of horizontal notches and pairs of eyelets fits perfectly in the one-off tail with a lip riding up both the tank and at the back of the tail.

The CB’s electrical system was also given a major overhaul, with a one-off wiring loom now running through a Motogadget m-unit and drawing energy from an AGM battery stashed under the seat. Lighting elements are all new pieces, as well, with a pair of micro-LED pin indicators in the rear, bar-end signals up front, and a Koso Thunderbolt LED headlight guiding the way.

The cockpit has been heavily revised, with the rider’s quarters now rocking a set of LSL clip-ons, a CNC’d Rizoma reservoir, Brembo levers, a Tomalley Daytona throttle, and Motogadget grips, bar-end mirror, and switchgear. Motogadget also supplied the build’s Motoscope Mini instrumentation and idiot lights. There’s also a keyless ignition and alarm.

The Honda’s paint scheme is simple yet highly-calculated. The bike now wears a metallic coat of forest green complimented via red pin striping and turquoise Honda logos at the bottom of the tank. With the majority of the bike fully blacked-out, your eyes are naturally drawn to the new livery.

There’s a handful of additional odds and ends rounding out the build, as well. The left, rear-shocks mounting point on the swing-arm now serves as the anchor-point for the build’s one-off license plate hanger, and the bike’s spokes wheels were given a thorough polishing before the blacked-out rims were shod in Avon Roadrider rubber. And In lieu of a bum-stop, the bike sports a bespoke metal “NCT CB750F” plaque just behind the seat.

Dubbed the “Green Arrow,” this custom ’78 CB manages to breathe ample new life into a decidedly tired genre of build. The modern aesthetic tweaks, combined with the bolstered performance ultimately result in a total show-stopper of a build.

“The exhaust is just beautiful and pairs wonderfully with the new rear-end and the tank with it’s new color scheme looks amazing. We’re pretty thrilled with the end result which we’d describe as a sporty café racer,” David tells us. Based on the skill exhibited by this stellar cafe’d CB, we seriously can’t wait to see what the Austrian shop cooks up next.

    

NCT Motorcycles – Facebook – Instagram | Photos by Peter Pegam ]

G E O R D I E B I K E R
24/01/2020
Red Balloon

Luftballon | not ninety nine… just the one. The bobber ‘cycle rider is adrift with the escapism one experiences when cruising along. Fun artwork from Douglas Thompson who captures the gravity defying nature of motorcycling.

G E O R D I E B I K E R
23/01/2020
Keep Left signs

“What are they in it for, these old hoodlums, these layabouts in lace?”

Just one of countless laughs from Python Terry Jones who passed away today. Along with Chapman, Cleese, Gilliam, Idle and Palin; the absurdist British humor was infectious.

Pension day’s the worst – they go mad. As soon as they get their hands on their money they blow it all on milk, bread, tea, tin of meat for the cat.

Virage8
22/01/2020
Triumph Tiger 1200 Désert & Alpine Edition

Triumph présente deux éditions limitées de la Tiger 1200, la Tiger 1200 édition Désert inspirée d’aventures à travers les déserts, du Sahara au Kalahari, et la Tiger 1200 édition Alpine, inspirée par les aventures à travers l’une des plus belles chaînes de montagnes, sinon la plus belle, du monde, les Alpes.

La Tiger 1200 édition Désert dispose d’équipements plus sophistiqués que le modèle XCx, conçus pour améliorer encore sa capacité d’aventure tout en restant accessible en termes de prix :

  • Peinture exclusive de l’édition spéciale Desert « Sandstorm »
  • Nouveaux écussons de radiateur métallisés « SE ». La Tiger 1200 Desert Edition
  • Silencieux léger Arrow en titane
  • Shifter Triumph
  • Écran TFT couleur réglable
  • ABS de virage optimisé et anti-patinage optimisé, contrôlé par une unité de mesure inertielle
  • Nouvel éclairage entièrement à LED
  • Suspension semi-active Triumph de haute qualité (TSAS) qui adapte automatiquement les réglages de précharge du RSU pour maintenir une hauteur de conduite optimale pour différentes tailles de pilotes et charges utiles. Il dispose de deux modes : Auto / Off-Road
  • Commandes rétro-éclairées – Commodos et joysticks ergonomiques entièrement rétro-éclairés pour une facilité d’utilisation nocturne
  • Accélérateur « ride-by-wire »
  • Poignées chauffantes
  • Trois prises d’alimentation USB
  • Hauteur d’assise à deux positions : 835-855 mm
  • 5 modes de conduite : Pluie, Route, Off-Road, Off-Road Pro, Sport
  • Allumage sans clé
  • Régulateur de vitesse
  • Bulle de protection réglable électroniquement

Inspiré par les aventures alpines mythiques, la toute nouvelle Tiger 1200 Alpine Edition représente tout le style distinctif et intrépide de la gamme Tiger 1200 XR, tout en apportant un niveau de finition encore plus élevé, notamment :

  • Une peinture exclusive de l’édition spéciale Alpine « Snowdonia White »
  • Nouveaux écussons de radiateur métallisés « SE »
  • Silencieux léger Arrow en titane
  • Shifter Triumph
  • Écran TFT couleur réglable
  • ABS de virage optimisé et anti-patinage optimisé, contrôlé par une unité de mesure inertielle
  • Nouvel éclairage entièrement à LED
  • Suspension semi-active Triumph de haute qualité (TSAS) qui adapte automatiquement les réglages de précharge du RSU pour maintenir une hauteur de conduite optimale pour différentes tailles de pilotes et charges utiles. Il dispose de deux modes : Auto / Off-Road
  • Commandes rétro-éclairées – Commodos et joysticks ergonomiques entièrement rétro-éclairés pour une facilité d’utilisation nocturne
  • Accélérateur « ride-by-wire »
  • Poignées chauffantes
  • Trois prises d’alimentation USB
  • Hauteur d’assise à deux positions : 835-855 mm
  • 4 modes de conduite : Pluie, Route, Off-Road,, Sport
  • Allumage sans clé
  • Régulateur de vitesse
  • Bulle de protection réglable électroniquement

Crédit photos Triumph Motorcycles

Cet article fut rédigé et publié pour la première fois sur Virage8 le 22 Janvier 2020

L’article Triumph Tiger 1200 Désert & Alpine Edition est apparu en premier sur Virage8.

G E O R D I E B I K E R
22/01/2020
The Law

Let’s Roll! More future cop adventures. This time drawn in the impeccable line work of artist Brian Bolland. Mark 1 Lawmasters aimed directly for the viewer. Blocks loom under a moody sky in the background.

Pipeburn.com
21/01/2020
A FAMILY AFFAIR: Ønix Design’s 1978 BMW R100 ØD1

Written by Tim Huber.

For most people, vehicles are little more than a means of transportation. For others, they’re a hobby, but for a small few that eat, sleep, and breathe cars and bikes, it’s a way of life, akin to a religion. Spain’s Iñaki Bellver is one such individual. The 27-year-old spends his days serving as a product engineer for the Ford Motor Company, though his nights and weekends are often spent in his shop, wrenching on and customizing motorcycles under the banner of Ønix Design.

“I’ve been around cars and bikes since I was a kid. At 14 I got my first bike, then at 18 I got my first classic; a UK-spec CB750F that’s since been in a continuous state of modification. I work during the day, so the workshop isn’t a full-time gig, but Ønix Design nevertheless manages to build two bikes per year,”  Iñaki tell us.

And while Iñaki is no stranger to working on one-off bikes, his latest project was a little more personal than most. The client would be his uncle and cousins, and the bike he’d be modifying was a 1978 BMW R100. “My uncle from the south of Spain bought it new more-than-40-years-ago and has been riding it ever since. Now, four-decades-later, he wants to pass it down to his sons and give the motorcycle a new life,” explains the Valencia-based builder and mechanical engineer.

Lucky for Iñaki, his uncle had, for the most part, taken decent care of the thing, so when it came time to mechanically overhaul the bike, all the engine needed was new gaskets and an oil and filter change. The twin engine was then put back together before having its covers hit with a coat of black wrinkle paint. Next the mill was fitted with a pair of single pipes hooking beneath the cylinder heads and running horizontally along the air-cooled two-banger before culminating in dual matte black reverse cone mufflers.

After having the original framework hacked off and replaced with a kicked and hooped subframe, the BMW’s chassis, swing-arm, and wheels were all powder-coated black. The build’s battery box, top-triple, risers, headlight brackets, center stand, and a number of other odds and ends received the same blacked-out powder-coating treatment, as well.

“The goal of the build was to create something that both generations would love, so I wanted to maintain the classic and elegant aesthetic of the R’s lines, while at the same time simplifying and streamlining it as much as possible,” says Iñaki.

The ribbed, humped cafe seat was likely added to the equation to appeal to Iñaki’s cousins while the reasonably upright single-piece handlebars — which are set on a pair of aftermarket risers — was done so his uncle could still comfortably pilot the bike. In addition to the handlebars, the cockpit now also boasts Highsider mirrors, modern switchgear, and a laser-cut top triple designed to accommodate a Daytona Velona speedo. The original foot-pegs have also been jettisoned to make room for a pair of black-anodized aluminum items.

Giving the scoot a decidedly more aggressive stance is a lowered front-end that now sports new fork boots and a custom fender made from a cut-down stock unit and suspended on modified stock brackets. Out back there’s also a shortened rear fender that pokes out from under the new subframe. Other minor knickknacks include a machined aluminum filler cap, Shinko e270 tires, upgraded steel-braided brake lines, and new stainless steel screws, bolts, and hardware throughout.

In an effort to usher the bike into 2020, Iñaki binned the entirety of the R100’s stock lighting and replaced it with modern units. Sitting inside the original headlight shell is a Xenon bulb, the headlight brackets also support a set of Motogadget M-Blaze Pin micro-LED indicators, while a set of micro-LED Shin-Yo pieces play signal duty in the rear, supplemented by a mini Kellerman Atto tail light sitting on top of the chopped aft fender. Powering the new setup is a Lithium ion battery that sits in a bespoke laser-cut battery now nestled beneath the new seat and subframe.

With everything else complete, the Spaniard turned his attention to the BMW’s livery. After going back and forth on a few ideas, Iñaki eventually landed on a hand-laid gloss black design with a silver double-stripe stretching across the tank along with the shop name between the knee-dents. The gloss black tone plays nicely off of the rest of the matte black elements while the white and blue from a new set of Roundels in the tank help to celebrate the brand that’s had Iñaki’s uncle on two-wheels for the last four-plus-decades.

The final result accomplishes exactly what Iñaki set out to do. While blatantly a custom build, the bike retains much of the donor R100’s original design language and DNA. It’s a collection of well-calculated tweaks that, when combined, come together to form something much greater. Do we like it? Let’s just say we’re glad we’re not in Iñaki’s uncle’s shoes, having to now hand this Bavarian beauty over.

[ ONIX Design | Photography by Juan Llobell ]

Virage8
21/01/2020
January Ride 2020

Le bonheur, c’est simple comme organiser un Ride et réunir celles et ceux de la Communauté Virage8/Motors and Soul qui précisément ont envie de partager leur passion. C’est ce que nous avons fait dimanche dernier.

La trentaine de participants qui avaient cru en notre choix de la date du dimanche 19 Janvier pour rouler ensemble sur les routes de la Vallée de Chevreuse à motos et en autos de caractère, avaient bien raison ! La météo resta au beau fixe avec un magnifique soleil tout au long de la journée avec une température hivernale, typique du mois de janvier, qui oscillait entre 4 et 6°C selon l’heure de la journée.

Ce January Ride 2020 fut une belle journée de Ride comme on les aime, avec de belles routes, de belles courbes, des paysages sympas, de belles rencontres, un déjeuner sans prise de tête à Rambouillet et un après-midi sur d’autres routes de la Vallée de Chevreuse avec pour point de mire le Musée de la Toile de Jouy à Jouy-en-Josas et son exposition temporaire sur le thème de la Toile de Jouy dans la mode, en plus de l’exposition permanente.

Mais plutôt que de vous dire combien c’était géant, laissons aux participants dire leurs ressentis tels qu’ils les ont partagés avec nous depuis dimanche soir …

Bruno Superbe, topissime, géant
Lili 
Un grand merci à vous tous pour ce vraiment bon moment partagé. Organisation au top, Road-Book extra, ambiance très sympa, je reviendrai
Marc Encore merci pour cette journée, c’était Top !
Pierre C’était géant !

Alexis C’était top, comme toujours !!! 
Jean-Marc Merci à vous pour cette excellente journée
Alfred Super Ride pour démarrer 2020
Frédéric Un pur bonheur toutes ces heures

Patrice C’était Top !
Jean-Pierre Très grand merci de cette belle balade, j’ai été très heureux d’avoir pu y participer: bon groupe, beaux échanges, belles routes
Olivier C’était vraiment une très bonne journée, la ride nous a emmené sur de bien jolies routes et l’ambiance du groupe était particulièrement agréable !
Annie et Thierry Nous avons passé une excellente journée. Bonne ambiance, bon état d’esprit, bref nous sommes ravis d’avoir fait connaissance des membres de Virage8 / Motors and Soul

Laurent Merci pour l’organisation, l’accueil, la passion, et cette chouette journée de ride ensoleillée. Evidemment à bientôt.
Laurence Merci encore de cette belle balade Virage8, toujours aussi conforme à l’esprit de la communauté. Un plaisir toujours renouvelé
Stéphane et Aurélie C’était super malgré la température sibérienne ! 

Un January Ride avec des motos et des autos de caractère réunies, de belles routes, un beau soleil, une température fraiche, une pause déjeuner sans prise de tête avec de beaux échanges, une bien belle journée pour commencer l’année 2020 sur une note 20/20 !!!

Notre prochain Ride au lieu les 20, 21 et 22 Mars 2020 à l’occasion de la 1ère édition de printemps de Motors and Soul @Exclusive Drive.

Crédit photos : Alfred Brindejont, Pierre Byu, Frédéric de Samoreau

Cet article fut rédigé et publié pour la première fois sur Virage8 le 21 Janvier 2020

 

L’article January Ride 2020 est apparu en premier sur Virage8.

G E O R D I E B I K E R
21/01/2020
Lawman

First Spread | Prog 2 March 5 1977. This is when Judge Dredd burst out of the page on his Lawmaster. Fine illustration by the unmatchable Carlos Ezquerra, who created the original look of the Judge’s, though the remainder of the strips pages were drawn by Mick McMahon who was to further refine the Dredd look over the following couple of years.

Virage8
20/01/2020
Harley-Davidson, quelles autres motos électriques après LiveWire ?

En 2018, présentant sa démarche ‘More roads to Harley-Davidson‘, le constructeur de Milwaukee indiquait son intention de décliner une gamme complète de motos à propulsion électrique après LiveWire. Début 2019, la commercialisation de LiveWire était annoncée pour l’année, et en effet les premiers livraisons ont été effectuées cet automne.

Entre temps, quelques photos ou dessins ont fuites, laissant entrevoir ce que pourrait être quelques motos, ou plus exactement, deux roues de la gamme électrique d’Harley-Davidson, laissant tout le monde dans l’expectative. Les choses se sont clarifiées avec la publication simultanée sur le site d’Harley-Davidson de deux concepts en cours d’étude.

Tout d’abord, le concept VE (pour Véhicule Electrique) léger conçu pour un avenir urbain. Facile à piloter, sans embrayage et sans changement de vitesse, le concept VE se veut un deux roues de très haute technologie pour se rendre au travail pour rendre la ville plus accessible et plus pratique.

Ensuite, Le concept VE de poids moyen qui souhaite relier la technologie VE d’Harley-Davidson à sa riche histoire dans le milieu des courses et à la légendaire XR750. A priori, nous sommes des rugissements gargantuesque du bicylindre course de 750 cm3, mais avec l’électricité, le couple maximum disponible dès les plus bas régime devrait assurer de belles accélérations à ce modèle de poids moyen. Quoi qu’il en soit, Harley-Davidson semble tenir sérieusement à ce concept VE de poids moyen puisque présenté déjà en 2018 avec un premier dessin, le voici avec un second dessin plus abouti encore.

Dessin de 2018

Dessin de 2020

Crédit photos Harley-Davidson

Cet article fut rédigé et publié pour la première fois sur Virage8 le 20 Janvier 2020

L’article Harley-Davidson, quelles autres motos électriques après LiveWire ? est apparu en premier sur Virage8.

Virage8
20/01/2020
Début de semaine

Un début de semaine comme un début de Ride, notre January Ride d’hier en l’occurence. Un soleil radieux, quelques autos et motos de caractère, le début d’une semaine qui s’annonce pleine et entière. Excellent début de semaine à toutes et à tous !

Crédit photo : Pierre Byu

Cet article fut rédigé et publié pour la première fois sur Virage8 le 20 Janvier 2020

L’article Début de semaine est apparu en premier sur Virage8.

G E O R D I E B I K E R
20/01/2020
You’re under arrest creep!

Joe | Needin’ a bit of lawman Judge Dredd and his Lawmaster bike ready to dole out justice in Mega City One; Twenty Second Century style.

G E O R D I E B I K E R
18/01/2020
Uber alternative

Boda Boda Madness | Dutch artist Jan Hoek and Ugandan-Kenyan fashion designer Bobbin Case captured the madcap Nairobi taxi drivers who elaborately design their bikes to attract customers.

The motorcycles are all Indian made Bajaj 125’s.

Pipeburn.com
18/01/2020
CREAM OF THE CROP: Yamaha XT550 by Zombie Gelato

Written by Martin Hodgson

Wherever in the world you go, it’s not long before you find a kindred spirit who shares a love for motorcycles; it’s a truly universal language. But while that passion burns deep across the globe, nowhere is it so heavily ingrained in the national psyche than in the home of road racing, Northern Ireland. So it should come as no surprise that Chris Martin of Belfast got his first bike from his Granny when he was just a wee boy, went to the races with his Dad and now has turned his attention to hand shaping metal and building custom creations. His latest, a Yamaha XT550 will hoon up any hill, haul along on any highway and looks mega doing it.

“I’ve had a passion for motorcycles since I was given a hand me down Honda Chaly from my Granny when I was 7, I rode it in the field behind her house as often as possible,” Chris tells us. The love of two wheels was one shared with his Dad, attending the classic bike shows and sitting on grass banks watching the road racing. For a while, skateboarding took over, but when his Dad passed away in 2009, the Suzuki GT250 he inherited needed some work and the bug bit again. After the little ‘Zuk, things progressed to a BMW R80 that was beautifully transformed, aided by his graphic design background.

But like with any addiction things began to spiral and not content with bolting on bits, Chris bought a cheap English Wheel and started shaping parts. So good were the results, his XS Yamaha with hand made fairings and cowl was accepted into the Bike Shed Show. But it was on a return ride on his BMW with mates from Belfast to London for the Malle Mile that the story of this Yamaha begins. Heading home with the hill climb on their mind, they stopped in at a motorcycle dealer that specialises in importing bikes from the US and with his friend Roger did a deal on the XT.

But when the bike had arrived, parts had been acquired and work started, Roger decided it wasn’t for him and with a gentleman’s agreement Chris took on the project solo. “The plan was for a modern looking enduro scrambler for touring but as if made by someone in the 1950s.” The bike had arrived not running nor import approved, but it did have a powder-coated frame in perfect condition and that would remain uncut. With the bike stripped down, Chris could work out which parts to keep, what to throw in the bin and exactly where he’d apply his metal shaping skills.

But wisely he chose to first get the engine running and it required a total overhaul to get it back into the sort of shape needed to cover endless miles. With many Yamaha spares acquired, the motor is treated to all new bearings, gaskets, and seals, with the head ported and polished before being bolted back down. To ensure reliability in even the worst conditions the stock airbox remains while the rebuilt carb draws air through a replacement K&N filter. Finally, a custom touch is added to unleash some extra ponies and bring the thumper to life with a custom exhaust running tight to the frame.

Putting the Yamaha back into rolling form the front suspension is brought back to its best and the single-shock rear replaced with a new unit from YSS. The front hub is an early TT600 unit that’s rebuilt like the rear with new EBC brakes shoes. These, like the stock rims, have been vapour blasted for a brilliant finish and then all laced together with stainless spokes. To find the right rubber, Chris looked to the king of go anywhere bikes, the BMW G/S and selected the Metzeler Enduro tyre that was developed with the big Bavarian.

Now he could turn his attention to his new love, metal shaping and with a bigger English Wheel and quality Tig welder he set to work. “The tank style is based on the Yamaha XT500 but a bit bigger to take the rear shock through the centre, and I fabricated the rack to accommodate a large duffle bag or six pack of beer, whatever suits.” With the fenders and side covers continuing the theme and serving a very practical purpose. But it’s the front screen that gives the bike a Dakar like appearance and proves perfect for tucking in behind on the long highway stretches. Lights and LED indicators are brilliantly integrated, while a step back in time is preserved with original clocks restored to their 1980s best!

A set of alloy bars from Twenty and Chris’s own USB onboard charger and phone/GPS mount complete the build and he was ready to roll. For the ultimate shakedown run a friend joined him for the long ride from Belfast to Biarittz for Wheels and Waves. But while the small problems that surfaced with the XT were smoothed out, the other rider went high side and flew home leaving Chris to enjoy his finished steed, alone, on the roads and in absolute heaven! Now building a refrigerated sidecar for his R80, @ZombieGelato will become the home of customs and ice cream while @irishhareaeroworks is the place for all your metal shaping needs!

[ Zombie Gelato | Instagram ]

G E O R D I E B I K E R
18/01/2020
V for Victory

Snow in the forecast | winter is finally arriving here in the Midwest so let’s put our thoughts to the warmer days of summer.

Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
Norman Dewis: A Jaguar Legend

By Graham Robson

Like all the best racing drivers, Norman Dewis was a stocky little man. Like all the best racing drivers, he had boundless self-confidence. But although he looked the part, and was as fast as the superstars he befriended at Jaguar, Dewis was not a racing driver. Jaguar’s autocratic boss, Sir William Lyons, saw to that. Dewis, he insisted, was being paid to test and develop cars, not to race them.

Even so, if you’ve ever wondered why legendary Jaguars like the E-Type and the D-Type had small cockpits, look no further than test driver Dewis. Norman, a bustling little turkey-cock of a man, was also Jaguar’s sports car manikin. In those days, new cars often took shape on the workshop floor, with a body shell schemed up around a driver; at Jaguar, Dewis was that man. Which explains why, for years, larger racing drivers like Mike Hawthorn and later, Graham Hill, complained that they could not get comfortable in racing Jaguars.

Legends tend to feed on themselves. Dewis was Jaguar’s chief test driver from 1952 until 1985, when he retired, and his job title told an accurate story. Enthusiasts, however, saw him rubbing shoulders with superstar drivers at Le Mans, saw him make the first test runs—and even heard of him surviving spectacular high-speed crashes in race cars. Here, they thought, was a man with the best job in the world.

But it wasn’t always like that. Most of Dewis’s time was spent patiently driving the new cars, which would provide Jaguar’s bread-and-butter. Much of the time he’d be circulating the test track, checking out mundane things like ride and handling, damper settings, and the latest set of vibration-reducing engine bearers. Here was a man who had driven D-Types at 170mph and beyond, but who also could spend hours at 30, 40 and 50mph, chasing a vibration, a smell or a strange noise. Did you like Jaguar’s choice of ride and handling standards for the XK150, the Mk II, the XJ6, and the E-Type? Along with his boss Bob Knight, it was Dewis who made the final recommendations.

Although his working life at Jaguar included highlights like setting high speed records on the Jabbeke Road in Belgium, setting MIRA lap records in the one-off mid-engined XJ13 and shaking down all the newly-built ‘works’ racing D-Types, it didn’t start out like that. His very first job was in a green -grocer store—60 hours every week, starting at six o’clock every morning. Even so, Coventry-born Dewis always seemed to be close to motor cars. With two panel-beating relatives, and living in the absolute center of the British motor industry, he couldn’t help but be infected by the excitement of motoring. But it wasn’t easy. An application to Armstrong-Siddeley failed, he then worked in the Humber engine shops, but finally grabbed an apprenticeship with Armstrong-Siddeley in 1935.

This was one of the city’s most prestigious firms, which inspired the keen young Dewis for life. First as a young trainee test driver, and later in the aircraft engine section (war was imminent, don’t forget), he soon got a local reputation. Dewis loved it all, and would never leave it.

After serving as an air-gunner with the RAF during World War II, he returned to Armstrong-Siddeley, then moved across to Lea-Francis. As a talented driver, he took charge of road test and development work. Even though they had efficient four-cylinder engines, the Lea-Francis car was neither technically advanced nor attractive, so Norman began looking around. It was then that the ‘Coventry-mafia’ swung into action. Jack Ridley (Dewis’s boss at Lea Francis), knew that Jaguar needed a good test driver, who immediately contacted Dewis with an offer. Starting in January 1952, Dewis moved to Browns Lane, which was to be his beloved work place for the next 33 years.

Dewis developed the Lea-Francis sports car before moving to Jaguar in 1949.

Dewis developed the Lea-Francis sports car before moving to Jaguar in 1949.

Jaguar needed Dewis. Their latest road cars were fast, their race cars were even faster, yet their long-serving test driver, Joe Sutton, had never lived comfortably at those speeds. So for Dewis, younger and braver, here was a heaven-sent opportunity. Bob Knight managed the department, Sutton soon retired, and Dewis did most of the test driving. These were the days when Jaguar was refining the C-Type race car (Bob Knight had designed the chassis, Malcolm Sayer the aerodynamic style), and when the very first Dunlop disc brakes were being tested. Dewis, seemingly without fear, got to know Dunlop well, and trusted what they were doing: “I became quite used to going off [the road…] with the C-Type when we were doing the disc-brake development. It was nothing to be coming down the main straight…into the tight bend at the bottom to find the pedal just go straight to the floor. So I became accustomed to running off the circuit and back on again.” Trust was certainly needed, for early disc brakes overheated, burst their seals, boiled their fluids, and grabbed – sometimes independently, sometimes in combination!

Months later, Dewis made his first appearance in a race car—sitting alongside Stirling Moss throughout the 1952 Mille Miglia, in a disc-braked C-Type. Retirement from the race followed a crash, which damaged the steering rack, but the brakes were fine.

Dewis also got all the high-speed delivery jobs. If a race car had to be driven across Europe to the start of an event (transporters were still a rarity in those days), Norman got the job. If a car had retired broken, then patched up, and needed to be nursed back home, guess who flew out to collect it?

The XK120 roadster was one of Dewis' first Jaguar assignments.

The XK120 roadster was one of Dewis’ first Jaguar assignments.

Even so, there were some escapades he would rather not have experienced. In 1953 Jaguar used the Belgian Jabbeke highway (it’s now part of the motorway from Brussels to the coast at Ostend) to set speed record with race-tuned and streamlined XK120, equipped with a tiny bubble-top canopy, and Dewis at the helm. The performance was fine—no XK120 ever again approached the 172.412 mph it achieved—but Dewis was nearly asphyxiated along the way. Body sealing was so good, and the canopy so restricting, that Dewis almost exhausted the available oxygen in a few minutes: “I thought, God, I can’t open it [the canopy], and to push my fist through it would ruin everything, so somehow I got back. When they opened it I was near to collapsing, and they said I looked like a tomato!”

Dewis at Jabbeke, with the record-breaking XK120 in 1953.

Dewis at Jabbeke, with the record-breaking XK120 in 1953.

Taming the D-Type

When the legendary D-Type came along Dewis took over all the high-speed testing and development. Although there were still occasions when he went out in a Mark VIIM, a 2.4 or 3.4-litre saloon, he spent much time pounding away, either at MIRA, where there was a 3-mile high-speed banked circuit, or up and down the two-mile runway of RAF Gaydon. This explains why Dewis gave the very first D-Type (OVC 501) its shake-down runs in 1954, but at the Le Mans test runs which followed in May he had to watch Tony Rolt and Peter Walker doing the driving.

He was at Le Mans in 1954 when the D-Types competed, and although nominated as a reserve driver, he did not actually drive.

The D-Type race car, in which Dewis was closely involved, used this multi-tube frame as its primary chassis.

The D-Type race car, in which Dewis was closely involved, used this multi-tube frame as its primary chassis.

Sometimes, though, he got the plum ‘publicity’ jobs, one of which was to demonstrate the Le Mans D-Type at the Brighton Speed Trials, on the promenade of Britain’s south coast town. This involved Dewis taking the car home from work on the Saturday morning, parking it in his Coventry driveway (yes, that is how things were done in the 1950s), and motoring sedately down to Brighton the following morning. Except that his alarm clock failed. He got up late and had to make a flat-out dash south. Starting up a D-Type at the racetrack is one thing, but starting it up Sunday morning on a peaceful street is another. The following day, they say, Dewis had to apologize personally to every one of his neighbors for the commotion. That was the occasion, Dewis once admitted, when he broke his own personal record for the Coventry to Central London trip, in the days before any motorways were built.

Finally, and in spite of Sir William’s reservations, Dewis got his ‘works’ drive, sharing a new D-Type with Don Beauman at Le Mans in June, 1955. In a race that will forever be tainted by the tragedy of Pierre Levegh’s Mercedes-Benz 300SLR ploughing into the grandstand opposite the pits, Dewis and Beauman got the D-Type up into fourth place, overall, before Beauman put the car off into the sand.

Weeks later Dewis shared Jack Broadhead’s privately-owned D-Type with Bob Berry (another Jaguar employee), to take fifth place in the Goodwood Nine-Hour race, but at the end of a traumatic season which included deaths in the Tourist Trophy race held in northern Ireland Sir William put his foot down and ended his racing career.

There was still, however, much high-speed motoring to be done at Jaguar, for the very first E-Type prototype was built in 1957, and the one-off racing prototype E2A, soon followed. For the next few years, Dewis was submerged in E-Type and XJ6 road-car development, including spending many hours in a tatty-looking Mark X, which just happened to have a prototype V12 engine under the bonnet. Even so, there was often the chance to work on the very specialised lightweight E-Type race cars which Jaguar developed for drivers such as Graham Hill and Roy Salvadori to race against the latest Ferrari 250GTOs.

Then, in secret, came work on the most amazing Jaguar prototype of all time—the mid-engined XJ13. First tested in 1967, this 500bhp/5-litre V12 race car was meant to herald a Jaguar return to Le Mans. Dewis, naturally, made the first test runs at MIRA, usually during weekends when no one was looking.

By mid-year the plucky Dewis had already lapped the banked circuit averaging 160mph—with top speeds of more than 180mph—and had also sampled a Ford GT40, which Jaguar had ‘borrowed’ for comparison. Even so, Jaguar swiftly sidelined the XJ13, putting it away under a dust sheet until 1971, when it was decided to show it at the launch of the new V12-engined Series III E-Type.

Once again, Dewis was asked to take the XJ13 around the MIRA banking, for the benefit of a film crew: “I was half way round the banking with the power full on, probably doing about 130mph, when I felt a sudden lurch from the back end. This turned me straight into the safety fence at the top, I grabbed the wheel, pulled it down from there, and I did a series of gyrations across the track, heading towards the infield…I feel sure one magnesium alloy wheel had collapsed through fatigue.” Having hit a marker barrel and rolled over several times, the totally wrecked car ended up in a field, right way up, with Dewis still on board. He never could explain how he survived, but happily pointed out that in all his career he never broke a bone in more than a million miles of testing. Thereafter, and for the rest of his professional life, he stayed away from racing cars.

To the end, when he moved to live close to Ludlow, Dewis was still a formidably fast driver. Having bought his retirement home well before retirement day, he got to know the main A5 road very well indeed—along with those who sometimes witnessed him passing them by. MM

2-53-1-web

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Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
“Yes. In This Car.”

By Roy Locock

I am a traveler, a gypsy, nomad, drifter or any of the names given to people who feel they don’t have roots. I have always been this way.

I am curious. I want to know what’s over the next hill, and then the next. Between my teens and my sixties I held back my natural instincts, and conformed to society’s norms. I wouldn’t even say I disliked it, as I was married to my ideal girl and had two beautiful children. But things change.

I was, unexpectedly, to break the mold at the ripe age of 59. I made an impulse purchase of a 1977 MG Midget 1500. After almost 40 years of driving around in company cars, I retired early and bought a sports car! And, having watched too many films, such as To Catch A Thief with Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, I believed everyone with a classic sports car drove around the South of France. So that’s what I did.

And then I had to see more. I wanted to discover the mass of Spain that the average British tourist didn’t see, and then, following the classical route across the South of France through Nice and Monte Carlo, enter Italy at Via Reggio. I would then follow the west coast of Italy all the way down to the “toe” in Calabria, and following the East coast back to the Italian Lakes. Then I headed home.

What I wasn’t prepared for, but discovered anyway, was freedom. Absolute, total, unqualified, freedom. I could drive wherever I wanted, when I wanted, and stay for as long as I wanted, without anyone questioning it. This was what I, as a child, believed ‘grown-ups’ did every day and… they really should!

Returning to the UK after four months of freedom, I decided two things: Firstly the car, having behaved impeccably, should get a makeover; and secondly, we should do it all over again, but this time we’d travel a little further and take a little longer!

I set to stripping my MG down to a shell for a re-spray including a color change from its original black to British Racing Green with interior trim in light tan. I hadn’t worked on a car in over forty years, so stripping it down was a good way to get to know it. I was never a mechanic, but have always been able to take things apart and reassemble them again, without too many bits left over. I felt that particular skill, and a general understanding of how an engine worked, should be enough to enable me to repair and maintain the car almost anywhere, as long as I had replacement parts.

paint prep-web

It was whilst going through the throes of the Midget’s rebuild that I got into conversation with a good friend about what I would do when the work was completed, and I jokingly said that I would drive it around the world. My friend voiced his doubts as to a MG Midget’s ability, and my personal resolve, to navigate around the world—which more or less settled the matter. I picked a date when I would leave.

The trunk of the Midget was filled with spares, behind the seats I crammed my emergency kit, including a tent and sleeping bag. My clothes, lacking formal attire, were packed in two sports bags and dumped in the passenger footwell. Armed with a compass and a map of Europe, I started my journey from outside of the building that used to be the administration headquarters of MG in Oxford, England.

Before I embarked, I was interviewed by BBC Radio and they summed it up with: “So Roy, just so that we understand, you alone are going to drive a totally unsuitable car around the world, whilst not having any mechanical training and only speaking English.”

And Away We Go

At approximately 2:00pm on the 28th of June, 2008 I started my MG Midget and steered her onto the Abingdon Road. My car, nicknamed ‘Bridget,’ and I embarked on a journey that would take us some 39,000 miles. Preparation for the adventure had taken just twelve weeks, mainly devoted to obtaining visas for the immediate countries outside of mainland Europe: Turkey, Iran, Pakistan and India. I decided that, apart from adding a sump guard, I would not make any changes from the standard factory produced “rubber nosed” Midget.

The drive through Belgium, Germany, Austria, Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria was relatively uneventful and quick, as I had visited most of those countries previously and wanted to see fresh pastures. It also served as a good shake down for Bridget.

Bucharest Romania Parliament nearly got arrested for this one-web

I admit to being a little nervous as Bridget and I approached the customs post entering Turkey, as this was the first time we had crossed an international border outside of Europe. My main concerns were the immigration processes and legal requirements for the car, and what the various customs officers would make of the car’s licence plate ‘SPY 122X.’ As we pulled up outside what I thought was the Turkish Customs Office, the door flew open and a young, smartly dressed officer appeared looking very serious. For a moment I thought I must have driven the wrong way. The customs officer strode purposefully towards Bridget and as he drew level with the driver’s door he stopped, bent down and asked: “Mr. Bond; James Bond?” With that he smiled broadly and marched off down the road. He clearly had seen Bridget’s licence plate on CCTV and found it amusing.

Wagah-Border ceremony-web

Border crossings generally follow more or less the same format everywhere. A person has to pass through customs where they may be searched for contraband, then immigration, where any visa requirements have to be met. It is much the same for cars, too. Vehicle insurance has to be purchased and presented, and then the immigration process takes over. I obtained a Carnet before starting an international tour. This document acts as a sort of passport for the vehicle, allowing temporary import into each country and guaranteeing export when you leave. Immigration will register and stamp the Carnet on entry to the country, checking the engine number and chassis identification. When leaving you have to remember to get an exit stamp on the Carnet to prove you removed the car from the country, otherwise a large financial penalty can be incurred.

The processes of border crossings can take anywhere between an hour to a week! Extreme scenarios occur in locations where bordering countries do not get on with each other. For example, the crossing between Pakistan and India would close for days during diplomatic “incidents.” Some countries also have additional processes, such as local taxes that have to be paid, or the local equivalent of a road safety examination of the vehicle.

It was July and the weather in Turkey was very warm and sunny. Roads generally were in good condition and traffic was relatively light compared to the UK. I entered Istanbul and started two days of exploring. I normally do no research on places that I am going, preferring to explore for myself. Although not keen on cities, I enjoyed the energy of Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar. Throughout the Middle East and Asia, you should expect to be hustled by traders enthusiastically plying their wares. In Istanbul, almost every taxi will offer a free ride in exchange for being allowed to take you to a Turkish Carpet outlet. You are not compelled to make a purchase, but they will apply pressure.

Leaving Istanbul I invoked my right to go wherever my heart led me and instead of making my way directly to Ankara, which was the original idea, I drove south to Izmir and Gokova. Some 400 miles off course, I visited the ancient Greek ruins at Ephesus near Izmir then spent a couple of days in Gokova taking in the sun.

above Gokova Turkey-web

Bridget and I took a further two weeks to find our way across Turkey and arrive at the border with Iran. Once again I was a little nervous, not this time because of the processes, but because George W. Bush had just accused Iran of being “The Axis of Evil.” Thanks George, good timing. All I knew about Iran was what I had read in newspapers and that it was a restricted currency economy. This was a new one on me and it required some advance planning. No type of credit card was valid anywhere in the country, therefore I needed to carry adequate funds in Sterling, Euros or US Dollars to cover my stay.

The UK government’s advice on traveling in Iran stated, “avoid gatherings of people,” as they might be construed as anti-government by the authorities and you might be accused of incitement. Within 30 meters of the border post I parked the Midget whilst I went to purchase my car insurance. On returning I found a large crowd of curious locals around the car! A police officer was hurrying over to find out what was happening, so I quickly started Bridget and drove away.

The people of Iran (Persians) are the absolute opposite of what the western officials would have us believe. They are warm, generous and well educated. They are not narrow minded but well aware and tolerant of other cultures and religions. Certainly they are fiercely proud of their country, but shouldn’t everyone be? I left Iran reluctantly and entered Pakistan resolute in my intention to return in the future.

Pushing Through Pakistan

During the immigration process from Iran into Pakistan, I met an Englishman traveling in the opposite direction. He was the driver of “The Ozbus,” a bus catering to backpackers travelling between Sydney and London. When he saw my MG and I told him what I was doing, he said, “You’re bloody crazy, you’ll never make it.” It transpired that he had broken the bus’ rear axle on one of the roads in Pakistan.

The road from the Iranian Border to the city of Quetta is some 400 miles and runs parallel with the Afghanistan border for most of its length. Although it is the main highway to Iran, it’s only a single lane and in quite poor condition. Every time a large truck came towards me it was necessary to drive deep onto the shoulder to allow it to pass. These traditional trucks are highly colorful, hand painted and often grossly overloaded. I was stopped several times at police checkpoints and at the second one along the road I was asked, “Where is your escort?” When I said I had none they insisted I wait whilst they whistled one up. This happened several times and the escort was usually a Land Rover with four to six armed police officers.

colorful trucks-web

Quetta was a British Army garrison town originally and today still has a large military presence, although Pakistani of course. This part of Pakistan used to be part of Baluchistan and separatists have been fighting the Pakistan Government for over forty years trying to gain independence. I was due to leave at 8:00am in the morning and a police escort was supposed to be coming to the hotel for me. At 5:00am I woke to the sound of incoming Mortar fire and RPGs followed by over an hour of small arms fire. At 8:00am the police had not appeared and were not answering their phone, so I just left. A mile down the road I joined the back of an army convoy heading in the same direction and hoped they would act as a deterrent to any “hostiles.”

It took me eight days to make it up to the city of Lahore where the border crossing into India is located. Except for the occasions when it is closed because of a political spat there is an entertaining pageant held every evening at 7:00pm. It occurs on both sides of the border and is choreographed by both the Pakistan and Indian armies. It is a ceremony of lowering the countries flags and closing the border gates for the night.

I crossed the border the following day with only a short delay caused by the Indian Customs computer system being down. That evening I enjoyed my first beer in over a month. Both Iran and Pakistan have religious objections to the consumption of alcohol, and I always like to respect the culture of my hosts. I was in the city of Amritsar, which I knew relatively little about. It transpired to be the location of the Golden Temple, the religious center of the Sikh religion. The temple is breathtaking, especially as I had no expectations, not realizing it was there.

India Dhauladhar mountains prayer flags-web

From Amritsar I drove through Ambala turning left and making my way up to Dharamshala in Himachal Pradesh. The scenery of the Himalayan foothills is otherworldly, and I promised myself that I would return to explore it at length at some stage in the future. I stayed for a couple of days before heading back through Ambala and down to Delhi and Agra to do the usual tourist thing. The Taj Mahal was something of a disappointment. I felt the Taj was dirty and unloved and fell very short of my expectations, particularly compared to the Golden Temple, which is maintained by the religion’s believers.

Jaipur-web

Driving in India is a unique experience. All the normal rules do not apply. Officially, vehicles are driven on the left-hand side of the road, the same as the UK. In reality they use the left, right and center of the road depending on how they feel. Not only do drivers ignore road signs and traffic lights, but they don’t often obey policemen on traffic duty either. And when in India, beware of cows. It is somewhat disconcerting to take a bend at 60 miles an hour and find one ton of beef lying across the road. The Hindu tradition is to honor cows and treat them with great respect. Killing one, even accidentally, can leave you in great trouble with the police or local authorities.

jaipur car wash-web

From Agra, I made my way through Jaipur to Udaipur. Up until this point Bridget had behaved very well, only requiring her carburetors to be tuned regularly and minor repairs to a wheel bearing and a rear shock absorber. However, as I drove into Udaipur her engine was sounding poorly. After checking into a hotel I was crossing the courtyard to the restaurant when a man approached me. He said he was in the reception area when I arrived and, if I would forgive him saying so, he thought my engine sounded as if something was wrong. He went on to say that he had a garage in town and if I wished he would be prepared to take a look and see if he could sort out the problem. The fact that the guy recognized a problem, only hearing the motor for a few moments, gave me confidence. I accepted his offer, and he left me with the address of the garage, and we agreed I would be there in the morning. The “garage” turned out to belong to The Udaipur Palace Vintage and Classic Car Collection! The man was in fact the head mechanic of Udaipur’s Maharana. He kindly showed me around the collection of cars, which includes a 1948 MG TC, before lifting Bridget’s bonnet.

palace collection-web

My carburetor issues were really a combination of my total lack of experience, which meant that I was still learning how to set them up properly, plus the fairly extreme temperatures as I proceeded into the Indian continent, and finally—and this is the one that I didn’t fully appreciate until recently—the varying quality of fuel. Several European countries had introduced Ethanol into their petrol which caused the engine to run hotter and the spark plugs to foul, and the further I went from Europe the lower the fuel octane became. Several countries could only supply 84 Octane, and in many instances in remote parts of Pakistan I suspect the fuel was contaminated with water. I was able to mitigate the worst of this by filtering the fuel using a “Mr. Funnel” that I bought from an American supplier.

From Udaipur, Bridget and I drove south through Goa before dropping down to Mangalore where we turned left and made our way across India to the port of Chennai. I carefully stowed Bridget inside a 20-foot container and forwarded her to Australia for the next leg of our journey. Meanwhile I made my way to Thailand for a well-deserved holiday. MM

In the next issue: crossing Australia and exploring the Americas.

An e-book of Roy’s Round the World travels titled “Not In That Car,” is available on Amazon.com. Also, visit his travel blog at www.bridgetthemidget.co.uk

Roy plans to attend MG2020 with Bridget this June in Calgary, Ontario, along with other events in Canada and the USA. Moss Motors will send email updates of Roy’s plans prior to and during his travels.

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Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
The Triumph That Could Have Been

By Peter Brock

In the late 1960s, RW “Kas” Kastner was British Leyland’s visionary Director of Motorsports for the entire United States in the final days of the SCCA’s rather blurred concept of “amateur” road racing in America. From their small office in Westport, Connecticut, the elitist officers of the SCCA were trying to maintain an Olympian ideal of the sport for their mostly northeastern constituency. Kastner, based far to the west in Los Angeles, in addition to his task of developing parts and tuning secrets for all Triumph racers, was in the center of a political and philosophical revolution regarding the future of sports car racing in America. He was having a difficult time convincing his directors in England that Triumph’s future in America was facing an economic reality that required greater success on the track if it was to continue in the increasingly competitive sports car market.

While most sports car activity in the US had been under the control of the SCCA since the late ’40s, a fast growing “outlaw” group of competition oriented enthusiasts in Southern California, made up of racers, garage owners, hot-rodders, car dealers, and a scattering of performance industry leaders, banded together to form the Los Angeles based California Sports Car Club. Their goal was to make road racing better and safer for drivers, course workers and spectators, but also to tap the full potential of the sport by encouraging the development of specially designed racing circuits, like Riverside Raceway, specifically to meet the growing enthusiastic support of road racing. The “Cal Club,” as it was known locally, was the antithesis of everything SCCA. Even though the Westport pharaohs did have a local Southern California Region, there was little support in the local car community for its tame TSD “rally” events and simple gymkhana type autocrosses. Cal Clubbers were essentially hard core racers with the business acumen to grow the sport in ways never envisioned in Westport.

This budding transitional era, from amateur to professionalism, was led in part by Triumph’s strong support of its amateur racers but also by similar programs being backed by Porsche and Datsun (Nissan), all working to insure that each manufacturer had top level teams capable of qualifying for the SCCA’s prestigious National Championships, which were being held alternately at major circuits in various parts of the United States.

At the peak of this inaugural amateur era, just prior to the advent of real “professional racing,” like the SCCA’s finally pro- sanctioned CanAm and TransAm series, the sport’s national and media focus was on the few manufacturer backed teams in the SCCA’s highly competitive C Production category. Although the sport was still supposed to be “amateur,” Porsche, Triumph, Datsun, and even Toyota for one year, all backed well financed semi-professional teams in those SCCA regions with the highest concentration of serious racers. Triumph, of course, led with its Kastner backed teams on the west coast while Bob Tullius carried the Triumph flag on the east coast out of Falls Church, Virginia. Porsche, with its fleet of potent mid-engined 914-6 roadsters contracted top ex-F1 star Ritchie Ginther to lead its west coast contingent out of San Diego while highly respected American star Bob Holbert did the same on the east coast. Datsun used SCCA veteran Bob Sharp to run their team of 240Zs on the east coast, while my shop, Brock Racing Enterprises (BRE), did the same with two Z-cars in El Segundo in Southern California. Even Carroll Shelby was contracted in 1968 by Toyota to develop and race its new 2000GT coupes for a single season.

With ever increasing sales competition from Europe and Japan, Triumph’s now rather aging TR series roadsters, as fast as they were under Kastner’s keen development program, were obviously nearing the end of their potential. It was here that Kas and I, fierce competitors on track but good friends off, started discussing over dinner one evening our racing futures. In those days, more so than today, success on the track translated to sales on the street, so we saw it as our job to raise the manufacturer’s image with improved quality, performance and appearance. We also realized the media value of racing victories also depended on the quality of the competition. Without the credibility of each marque’s solid performance on track the importance of our own success could be diminished. We felt that a newer, faster, better looking Triumph would improve racing and sales for all, especially in America with the increasing media coverage now being devoted to the highly professional “amateur” racing series in the SCCA C Production class.

Proven with numerous National Championships for Triumph, Kastner’s development of the TR series chassis had given it excellent performance, but the car’s handsome classic English styling limited top end performance as well as some sales appeal on the street. I suggested a new aerodynamically efficient body designed specifically for the existing TR chassis, using Triumph’s new 2.5 liter six cylinder engine, would solve both problems. Having had some recent spectacular success with a similar design concept for Carroll Shelby’s World Championship winning Daytona Cobra Coupes, built on AC’s now ancient Cobra roadster chassis, I knew using a similar concept for Triumph would work. The financial advantage to British Leyland being that the development and manufacturing costs would be minimal, as only new body tooling would be necessary. The existing production TR chassis, engine and running gear were still proving effective.

Since there was no way a one-off hand-built concept could be raced in the SCCA, as the required numbers for official homologation had not been produced, Kas and I focused on the idea of building and running a “production concept” in the Prototype category at the 12 Hours of Sebring in 1968. Since this prestigious international event also had classes for existing production cars, it was expected that a works backed Porsche team (who we considered our major competitor in SCCA) would be running 914-6s set up with their latest racing specs preparing for the following season’s major SCCA events. The target then was to build a one-off “concept” to full street production specs, using a full windscreen, side-windows, interior and all the lights and running gear required for a properly street licensed vehicle, but modified for SCCA “production” racing. In this manner the proposed “production” Triumph could still be compared directly against its real production adversaries even though it wouldn’t be running in their class. Better yet the international exposure of this event would allow British Leyland’s executives to gauge public acceptance of the new design without themselves having to do more than agree to its construction with minimal financial risk.

With Kastner already scheduled for his semi-annual visit to British Leyland’s main office in the UK, he also arranged to stop over for a few hours in New York City to visit with Leon Mandel, the editor of Car and Driver magazine. In preparation to divulge his plan, Kas took with him a drawing I had hastily sketched of the car along with the Sebring race proposal. Mandel, enthused by our outrageous plan quickly agreed to allot the cover of Car and Driver, complete with a multi-page story, on the concept. That “gift” alone was worth thousands in positive credibility for Triumph’s future in the American market. With the sketch and the added promise of Car and Driver’s coverage, Kastner headed on to England and there eventually convinced a highly conservative B/L management team that his plan had serious merit. However, with British Leyland’s financial future in doubt there was little if any monetary aide available. But a very convincing Kastner was still able to extract a few thousand Pounds toward the project; hardly the full amount needed to build the car but it was a start. Most of the required funding would eventually be extracted from our own annual competition budgets.

Upon Kas’ return, he and I met again to reassess the program. Without the funds needed to build a coupe as I had originally planned (so that the car could run at Le Mans later in the year if it was successful at Sebring), it was necessary to scale back to a simpler roadster version and concentrate on Sebring. Kastner pulled a bare TR4 chassis and new 2.5 liter six cylinder engine from his warehouse and turned it over to my shop to do the necessary modifications to fit the new body. All suspension and engine modifications would be accomplished on its return to Kastner Engineering after the car’s main components had been relocated. A generous weight distribution improvement was accomplished by repositioning the seating, engine and transmission as far rearward as possible within the stock frame and then fabricating a lightweight tubular sub-structure around the new cockpit dimensions to support the new windscreen, doors and instrument panel.

What began as a drawing was then sculpted to quarter scale in clay. My original aero-efficient roof I quickly scraped away, creating a high-backed roadster. A full-size wooden buck was built off the scale plans and sent to California Metal Shaping in downtown Los Angeles for the main alloy panels to be formed. Cal Metal had long been a fabrication staple of So-Cal’s best race car builders. Using large industrial power-hammers left over from WWII aircraft manufacturers, Cal Metal made raw body panels for everything from Indy roadsters to Bonneville streamliners. Once these raw panels were completed and Kastner’s frame had been properly tuned to competition spec, the combination of components was taken to the small fabrication shop of Don Borth and Red Rose who had worked extensively with me when building the Daytona Cobra Coupes at Shelby American. Their fabrication skills created the final form to exactly match my clay model.

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Without the necessary budget to build special wheels for the new car, I acquired some suitable mag wheels left over from the construction of one of Jim Hall’s early Chaparral specials. This was just one of the detail compromises made to finish the car in time for Sebring.

Without the trailer load of spares normally required for such an endeavor, both Kas and I knew we’d be gambling with fate for the 12 Hours, but at least the car was complete and ready to run. I took the freshly painted TR250K to the desert for some early morning photography for the Car and Driver cover shot and returned it to Kastner for final detail work. Without adequate time or money for testing and development on track, Kastner loaded the car and sent it off to Sebring for one morning’s compressed on-track testing before the start. Kastner had selected the country’s two top Triumph drivers, Jim Dittemore and Bob Tullius, to drive the K-car in the 12 Hours.

Testing on the fast but rough Sebring circuit soon proved the value of the car’s adjustable rear spoiler. When Dittemore had been unable to make it through a set of long fast sweepers without lifting, the spoiler was set to a slightly higher angle and with the improved downforce he easily went through flat out. Had he actually been in the class for 2.5 liter production cars, his time would have been a lap record. On track aero-tuning was still an unfamiliar concept in those days, and the TR250K was years ahead of its time.

In the first couple hours of the race the TR250K easily out-performed its target speeds with laps faster than most of the works-backed Porsche team cars. Had the car won its class against its German rivals its future may have been a bright one, but it was not to be. One of the mag wheels failed, ripping away part of the car’s braking system. With no spares to make the repair it was a disappointing DNF. Still, as the response to the Car and Driver article proved, it was resounding aesthetic achievement.

In the end it wasn’t that the directors at British Leyland were unimpressed with the car’s appearance or its performance at Sebring. It was simply that such a radical new design from “outside,” especially from America, was simply misunderstood. Even the logic of building a faster, better-looking TR that was already underway, for far less than an all-new car, simply had no support from anyone within British Leyland. No one in management had any understanding of what was really needed to compete in their prime market, America.

Today the TR250K is owned by Bill Hart of Redmond, Washington, who graciously allows it out on track once every two years to be expertly driven and displayed by tuner Tony Garmey who also maintains and preps it for racing. Kas and I thank them both for bringing it to Buttonwillow Raceway last year for the 2019 Kastner Cup. MM

Brock & KastnerTR250K Buttonwillow 2019-web

See the TR250K in action, and hear more of the story of its development from Kas Kastner and Peter Brock at: classicmotorfilms.com/tr250K

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Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
How To Build A Legacy

By Doug Ruth and Vahid Schwart

In over 60 years of working on cars I have amassed a number of tools: old ones, new ones, shiny ones, worn ones, useless ones, broken ones, and borrowed ones. But by far my most valuable tool is the person working with me, a willing friend who believes that what we are working on has, or will have some value. In all my years of sports car racing I always had a crew of some sort, guys who wanted to share in the fun and glory. Having a good friend to work with on a project, any project, makes it much easier and enjoyable.

In 1963, as a college sophomore I bought a 1951 MGTD off a used car lot for $850. I didn’t know any better so I drove it everywhere in western New York, rural Pennsylvania, and finally, while in graduate school, around southern Ohio. I only had one breakdown—a snapped axle on an icy road one Thanksgiving. By 1972 the TD was showing too much age and suffering from a broken rocker arm, so the time came to restore it, which meant I totally disassembled it and put it in boxes. Lots of boxes. Unfortunately those boxes became its permanent home for nearly 40 years while I spent my time, and way too much money, to go racing.

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Fast forward to 2007, when the next friendly “tool” came along just at the time I decided to turn those dusty, crumbling boxes back into a car. Enter Vahid Michael Rajabian-Schwart, an energetic, fresh out of high school, stock boy at the local Kroger’s.

“Doug struck up a conversation with me at work one day. He said he had just completed a 24-hour race. I was pretty impressed and I reassured him that he sure looked like it. We found a common connection when I told him how I wanted to study to become an engineer. When Doug invited me to join him working on several cool projects including a Ford Model T, a Triumph Trident motorcycle, and an MG TD, I had no idea of what I would be getting myself into.” —Vahid

In spring of 2008 Vahid stopped by the house to see for himself the pile of rusted sheet metal and the dusty corroded car parts littering the floor of my barn. I convinced him we could turn this forlorn British pile into a running car, and when we did, I told him I would give it to him when it was finished.

Vahid knew nothing about cars. He was a computer hacker, skateboarder, video game kind of guy—a clean slate for me to start with. The frame and suspension had already been done in the back in the 80s during a short release of pent-up guilt, so he and I started with the wood frame, most of which I had thrown out. The first of many orders were called into Moss.

Now these were the times that really tried our patience and friendship. Those of you who have ever assembled a TD wood frame from scratch will understand. There was one piece we spent weeks trying to get correct, but through this, Vahid had his first experience working on cars, namely woodworking!

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Next came the sheetmetal. Most of it was unworkable rust, so I held up a large 4×4 piece of galvanized paint-grip sheetmetal and told him all we have to do is remove the non-MG part. We did. Here lessons in metal working, welding and bondo-applying were given and learned. This took many weekends and thousands of calories. A teen boy has to be fed every two hours or you risk serious grumpiness and lethargy. I like to cook so it was easy. We shared countless fine meals together (and still do) and in trade he taught me to play video games. Old people cannot learn to do this, trust me, but I gave it my all. He once commented on the age of my TV, being older than him, so I bought a huge flat screen so we could play Wii tennis when Call of Duty got boring.

Wood frame on, sheet metal all attached, it was time for… the doors. We spent an ungodly number of hours working the hinges, the latches, hinges, and then the latches, and did I say the hinges? I ended up completely re-engineering the latches to finally get that satisfying Rolls Royce “thunk” on door closing.

Next was final body assembly and painting. Vahid once again learned valuable skills in: bondo, sanding, more bondo, sanding, and finally painting. BRG was his color of choice, so it was to be. The BRG we used was actually 1987 Jaguar green. For a first time effort he did an outstanding job. Concours? GOF Finalist? No, but we never intended it to be that, just a fun car to drive. The final touch was installing all of the freshly re-chromed pieces, which had to be farmed out at great expense, I might add.

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“We started working and kept at it through cold winters, final exams, girlfriend breakups, internships, and everything else in between. As I reflect on this project, I can humbly say that perhaps my most valuable contribution to our project was inspiration. Doug’s superb engineering expertise and persistence in making progress, often requiring him to tread forward without his faithful assistant, ultimately ensured we completed this project. For in the end that pile of parts did indeed come together, just as Doug had reassured me countless times. We went for our first ride on the country roads of rural Ohio in 2017 on a beautiful spring day, and a year later, Doug made me the proud and responsible owner of the MG. He passed on the passion for working on MGs to a younger generation in his act of generosity, and hopefully one day I can do the same. Throughout long work sessions and tinkering with Whitworth tools, it was not only our enjoyment for working on cars that kept us going, but more than that, it was our friendship that developed from it. What started as a fun project for a car tinkerer and a young apprentice developed into a true friendship that continues to this day. Doug cooked and fed me delicious meals, helped me move countless times in college, helped me with tedious home renovation work, and the list goes on and on. To all of those things, I say thank you Doug. You are truly my best friend!” —Vahid

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And lastly, engine assembly. All the engine parts went to a machine shop and so did Vahid one day to get a tour of an old shop full of unclaimed engine blocks, cylinder heads, grease, dirt, machine tools and a very talented engine guru who does the fantastic work needed to make motor parts like new again. Some patience is required. Eventually we had all the parts ready to be put together, time for him to learn the difference between a camshaft and a fan blade.

By this time Vahid had graduated college with a degree in computer science and was working in a research lab eight hours away. But there were enough visits to have him do most of the assembly. I did the actual engine installation, and it was a cold and lonely endeavor. However, eventually I fired it up for the first time in almost 40 years, and I made sure Vahid was on the phone to hear it.

In the fall of 2018 the young man was given the car, the title and all the future excitement only an ancient British car can bring. To this day and forevermore we are best friends. I could never have done this restoration without Vahid’s youthful enthusiasm and friendship. MM

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Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
Ssh… I’ve Got a Secret

by Robert Goldman

Actually, I’ve got two secrets, and they’re busting at the seams to get out. They say, if you tell too many people it won’t be a secret any more, so please don’t share what I am about to tell you, except with folks you trust.

Ten plus years ago, we relocated our east coast warehouse from New Jersey, to Virginia. The move gave us almost ten times our former space, more than we needed, but it future proofs us in terms of growth. You see, the plan/hope was to expand to fill that space.

Just over two years ago we purchased a west coast Jaguar parts company, XKs Unlimited. They’re on the west coast. Did I already mention that? Let’s see, new line of Jaguar parts in California… extra warehouse space in Virginia. To paraphrase an old line, yes Virginia, you’re getting a new supply of Jaguar repair and restoration parts. And they’re right in your own back yard.

We now have the XKs business integrated into our primary ERP (Electronic Resource Planning) system, and this means we can finally process Jaguar orders in Virginia. While there will be a minor ramping up process to inventory availability, our east coast friends can expect to see a significant reduction in shipping times.

As with all of our British business, there is a process to balancing inventory. Odds are we need more rust repair panels on the shelf in VA than in CA. That should be obvious. However, there will be a few inevitable hiccups as we balance inventory demands. Making the process even more challenging, as we stock up in Virginia, we are also sending Jaguar inventory to Moss Europe. Ooh, a bonus secret revealed. Moss Europe is going Jaguar, too.

AL Moss Sports car hall of fame wheel

Moss Motors has a long history in the Jaguar market. In fact, at one time we were a Jaguar car dealer. Heck, my mom even crashed a Welbike into the door of a Jag sedan at the Santa Barbara Airport Races. I wonder where the car is today? The Welbike is still around. It needs a new front fork, but those are available in the UK.

The second “secret” I wanted to reveal is what the gentlemen behind the Coventry Foundation (coventryfoundation.org) are up to. They have emerged as a shining example of what a few dedicated individuals can accomplish. Not only have they established a vibrant and growing backstop of Jaguar knowledge and original factory tools and materials, but they have also recently branched into another highly creditable venture.

So now, channeling Monty Python, we out secret number two. The British Sports Car Hall of Fame is not dead yet. After a stellar beginning in 2017, the Hall has had some minor stumbles. As indicated in their press release (page 24 in this issue), the Coventry Foundation have stepped up to carry forward John Nikas’ original vision. I’m not privy to all their plans, but I believe we can expect the British Sports Car Hall of Fame to become a primary and lasting resource in the preservation of our British sports car heritage. Congratulations to the Coventry Foundation. You folks are great, and will no doubt do a fantastic job.

I love spilling the beans. MM

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Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
Dear Sir…

By Frank Hughes

I am writing you for some advice.

I am the owner of a 1962 Triumph TR3. I am the original owner and with your indulgence I’ll tell you about it and then solicit your recommendations.

April 19, 1962 I was on spring break from the United States Naval Academy and looking forward to three events that would change my life forever. In no particular order, my parents promised me a car if and when I graduated. I had a choice between a used Austin-Healey and a new TR3. The second event was to graduate from USNA and enter flight training as soon as possible. The third event was to marry my first wife (she’s my only wife and hates when I say that) who I met on a blind date during my freshman (plebe) year.

I picked up my red TR3 with red interior and white top in Miami on April 19, 1962. $2,203.30 tax, tag, and title. This started our journey. I drove non-stop, except for gas, following the engine break-in instructions: “Vary the speed constantly, do not exceed 50 mph”… except on random occasions when I could accelerate for brief periods, not to exceed 70 mph. I drove to Norfolk Virginia where my soon-to-be wife was living to show her “our car.” Then on the road again immediately to Annapolis where I would hide the car in a garage I rented until graduation. Midshipmen were not allowed to have cars until after graduation.

Graduation was on the 6th of June and after the ceremony I drove to Norfolk to get married three days later. Immediately after our wedding my new bride and I started the drive to Pensacola, Florida, to start flight training. I have heard about this concept of a “honeymoon” all of my married life, but being the daughter of a Naval officer and Aviator, my wife somehow understood that all Navy pilots have an obsession about flying. Some call it having a screw loose between the ears.

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This painting I commissioned from a good friend, Jim Dietz. Jim is a noted military themed painter with work hanging in museums and Pentagon offices. This one he called “Last look,” and it’s of my squadron as we were deploying to Vietnam. The TR3 is mine and the lovely lady is my wife. When Jim visited my A7 squadron, I took him through the simulator and then to happy hour. He is really a neat guy and very humble person.

Next stop, jet training in Kingsville, Texas, and I was the first in my class to get my wings. But more importantly, my beautiful daughter was born as I was getting my wings of gold. From Kingsville we traveled to Jacksonville for fleet training and the bassinet fit nicely behind the seats.

Next an operational A4 Skyhawk attack squadron with multiple cruises in the Mediterranean sea and Atlantic Ocean. But war clouds had formed in the Tonkin Gulf. A phone call conveyed orders to report to an attack squadron in Lemoore, California, that was getting ready for a combat tour aboard an aircraft carrier. Our happy bank piled into a Ford station wagon towing a red TR3 with daughter and new baby boy on the road once again.

A very tough and costly cruise ended with many combat casualties and a devastating fire on the carrier.

Again, message orders to my dream assignment to the Empire Test Pilot School in England. What better place to take the Triumph but home, even though the steering wheel was on the wrong side. After ETPS came Patuxent River, Maryland, the Navy’s aviation test center and lots of opportunity to fly some neat stuff.

As our journey in the Navy progressed, I was honored to command a carrier-based attack squadron, and here a major change to our steed took place. Immediately after assuming command the maintenance chief came to see me and almost apologetically said, “Skipper, I know you love your car but red is the color of our sister squadron and we are the blue tails. If you buy the paint, our guys will paint your car on our off time in my garage.”

And so as you can see from the photos I have attached, the Triumph is now blue.

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Now the dilemma. Our three kids are grown and we have beautiful grandchildren and a new great grandson. None of the kids are that interested in taking over the care and feeding of our Triumph. I’ve now turned 80 and discovered that in Florida, over the course of several years in the garage, the space for our Triumph has shrunk. I have contacted several Triumph clubs both nationally and locally with no success in finding a reasonable offer. Triumph is not a show car but has been carefully maintained and still a fun car to drive. If I can find a reasonable offer from someone that would enjoy the car I would reluctantly part with it. Any suggestions? MM

Dear Frank,

When customers ask for advice on selling their beloved cars, my first response is: let the British car clubs around you know you’re looking for a new caretaker. The ladies and gentlemen in their membership can also help spread the word and may know people on the lookout for cars like yours.

And then, of course, there’s the internet. Moss Motors supports an online classified site created by a long time Moss parts distributor. The beauty of this site is that it only caters to British cars. It’s well done, inexpensive to post an ad, and definitely worth a look.
The site is called: BritishCarClassifieds.com

~David Stuursma

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Moss Motoring
17/01/2020
Nineteen Again

By John Russell

The 1930 Ford Model A pickup truck sat in the woods, surrounded by trees, its canvas roof hanging like Spanish moss.

I had put a lot of time into my brother’s 1928 Model A pickup—he could drive and I had no license, being too young. But I wanted my own.
“Would $50 be too much?” the owner asked me.

I was 14 years old, that amount of cash seemed like a fortune. I had worked in a cherry plant all summer in 1962 to raise the money. It sure disappeared easily.

I purchased the truck and my brother and I towed it home with my father’s Pontiac—with a Michigan State Police car trailing behind us. The trooper was himself a Model A owner and didn’t ticket me, instead he became a good friend and source to repair the ‘A.’

The truck had no box, and it didn’t run. The tires barely held air and the six-volt Wonch battery was leaking. It was a two-year project, and it became the first car I drove legally after getting my license.

How does this all fit into owning a British car? The story continues with more Model As and a 1923 Ford Model TT truck found beside a barn in rural Northport, Michigan. I was told it was the first wrecker in Leelanau County. No hook, not running, but cute and restorable, its half-moon cab solid. We towed it to the farm where my girlfriend lived and commenced to take it apart.

I had joined the Antique Automobile Club at 16 years of age, and met a man from Elk Rapids, Michigan who collected and restored classic autos. Ed Grace was a machinist and had a barn with some old cars, some of which he wanted to sell to fund the building of a Hupmobile. One car that he wished to sell was an old English car. At 76 years old, Ed had too much difficulty getting in and out of it. I told him I wasn’t interested. The car probably leaked oil. But the draw of wandering through his car barn was too tempting. I drove my Model A north to the village with my Bassett Hound for company and peered through the dusty barn windows. “Oh, no,” I thought, “he didn’t say the car was a classic MG,” which I identified even with a cover on it. He came out and uncovered a beautiful autumn red 1953 MG-TD roadster. All original.

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He wanted $1200. This was 1968, a whole lot of money for a 19-year old. I told him about my schooling at Michigan State University and that the price was a tough one for me. He responded by telling me to counter-offer.

“$950,” I said.

He considered for a moment.

“$900,” he said.

“You’re going the wrong way,” I told him. He responded that he wanted me to have the car, he knew it would get a good home and be kept in running condition. Where do I get that kind of cash, I wondered. Sell a car? Yup. The Model TT was sold to the first caller, and I drove the MG home on April 28, 1968, in a snowstorm. I was wet and cold, having no idea how to put up the side curtains. Nor could I figure out the wiper motor. But the car drove beautifully. It even leaked a little oil.

By the fall, I had figured out the car’s operation, and discovered over the summer what a chick magnet it was. It had to go to college with me.

Working my way through school with two jobs, the car was handy on campus. I could fold the windscreen down, drive under the teacher’s parking lot barrier at the Journalism Building, and go to classes. I figured the campus security would never think a student would drive a car like my TD, and I drove it through graduation, never getting caught.

Stored in the winter months, it was fun returning to campus each spring with my little British car. A broken axle shaft and a spun bearing in the engine were quickly repaired with little else to fix for years to come.

Upon graduation, I returned to Traverse City where I was hired on as a photojournalist at the local newspaper. The car was my lifeboat, taking me away from garages where my Oldsmobile was being serviced, repairing my moods when girls came and went from my life, and opening whole avenues to driving fun.

I drove the car in rallies with the Twin Bay Sports Car Club, drove in a local hill climb (‘Y’ Class, as in, “Why is he running?”), drove on color tours in the fall, and faithfully put her into storage for the northern Michigan winters.

I added a wife and family to my life. She drove Triumphs in her youth so she knew what she was getting into.

I’m not sure if some vehicles are better built than others or if quality is a byproduct of the joy of upkeep and usage, but the little red sports car has become part of the community and a huge part of our lives. There have been a lot of trophies, lots of Moss Motors parts and even a stint in the showroom at Hagerty’s world headquarters in Traverse City. The car is still used each summer traveling life’s highways, enjoying club events and activities. I just celebrated 50 years of ownership with a party at our farm. A young woman asked me how I felt when driving the car every year for so many years. “I’m 19 again,” I told her. No matter how many years pass, I’ll remain 19 years old until I can no longer drive. MM

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