Archive for July, 2013

July 15, 2013

To the Skies!

We had an exciting aerial excursion above the worldly skyscrapers if Chicago over the weekend. Marvelous clear blue-sky weather greeted our small whirlybird as we soared over the city’s highlights: ball-fields, harbors, parks, beaches, downtown, museums amongst it all. The Willis Tower and John Hancock stood mightily above all.

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My perch in the front next to the pilot gave an clear panoramic view envious of all bar the birds.

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July 14, 2013

Car Show

Last evenings car show was a grand wee trip: a jaunt along Dempster to Prospect Heights and a line-up in the Metra parking lot of choice American automobiles.

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Top: Chevrolet Impala, Bel Air, Corvette.
Middle: V8 Hot Rod, Ford Edsel, Cadillac model 75
Bottom: Pontiac GTO, Grande Parisienne, Chevy Corvette (C1)

July 13, 2013

Just Enough Essential Parts

At a vintage car show at Prospect Heights this evening amongst the Chevy’s, Fords, Oldsmobile’s and other American iron was this wartime utility vehicle. Willy’s 1/4 ton general purpose or ‘Jeep’. In olive drab green and all accessories to see you through the European theater it looked like a fun ride.

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A Swiss Army vehicle ready for anything. Indeed it is considered as the first SUV.

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July 12, 2013

Framed

A beat up naked forlorn frame from a mid seventies Triumph Trident 750 triple. On offer listen in the local Craigslist…

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Given a good hone, feeding up with a generous diet of mechanical bits and bobs it can become a glossy coated steed…

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July 11, 2013

Pin-Up

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After yesterdays graphic here’s a clean image of a moto a la wartime calendar gal. Its a hardtailed early seventies oil in frame bobber a choice look for a forties vision. Keepin’ the troops happy? Yessirree!

July 10, 2013

Chequered Flag

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A winning marque! The Triumphs swoosh logo within its distinctive triangular patent badge.

July 9, 2013

It’s Easy

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…on a Triumph. A smashing old poster regaling the virtues of two-wheeled transport; even when the roadwork season (summer) hold up traffic. The old tramlines offer a balance beam way over lifted cobbled streets. As always I love the inked brushwork of these classic bike adds. The intent and attire of the gal is spiffy too!

July 9, 2013

Filler

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A little too busy to put up a proper blog post so here’s a dirty desert sled for your viewing pleasure…. “Just look at the size of that chainring!”

July 7, 2013

A Road

The moto is looking happy and in need of miles under tire. The new ignition gives quick progress along the road, it’ll speed up easily to the eighties. I’ll need a good long clear smooth stretch of highway to check out a Ton on it!

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New knee pads are applied and add line to the tank, the disc braked front gives confident cornering and summer skies bring a smile to the face…

July 6, 2013

Cooler by the Lake

When the weather forecast says we might see upper eighties and high humidity I don’t head inland. Instead by keeping within a mile or two of Lake Michigan its cooling effect can refresh perfect leafy roads. Forest Way: the few mile winding lane along the lagoons is such a short respite from the world of nearby busy Saturday traffic.

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A refreshing Coke (Mexican style in a glass bottle made from cane sugar) whetted my whistle at a quick stop at Bob’s Pantry opposite the Ravinia Metra Station. All in all a nice wee jaunt…

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July 5, 2013

Truckin’

Weekend is here! And I hope people have a destination in mind for the road ahead. If the desert beckons and the trucks gas tank is full then saddle up pilgrim and get that hoss out!

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July 4, 2013

Fifty Years Ago Today

… One my All-Time favorite movies was released. And to celebrate the Fourth of July in “Great” style here’s a image as the Americans in the camp march with home stilled liquor and pipe a merry tune.

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left to right: James Garner as Hendley ‘The Scrounger’, Jud Taylor as Goff, and Steve McQueen as Hilts ‘The Cooler King’

Alas celebrations go awry when tunnel Tom gets discovered, Ives goes fence-crazy and is shot…

“Dedicated to the Fifty”

July 3, 2013

Lyon Heart

When Men were Men. So what do you do with a fast light engined Triumph? You go out and race of course! That’s what Irishman Ernie Lyons did after the War. He took a GP500 and went to the Manx Grand Prix in ’46, with a sackful of high speed talent went on to win in heroic style, and wet conditions.

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Not for the faint of heart even in perfect conditions. Apparently a longer touring mudguard was key to beating the conditions as well as Ernie’s undoubtable racing prowess. Look at that wet reflected road surface, slick.

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What’s more remarkable is that the hale Mr Lyons is still going strong in Ireland at the grand age of 99. There’s a cheeky youthful sparkle in that eye that’s for sure.

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Bill? Any more to add?

July 2, 2013

Airborne Auxiliary Power Plant

“A-squared P-squared”. A little more information on that GP engine. In a detuned state chugging along at 3000 rpm it originally provided rotation for the generators used to charge the batteries powering electrical equipment aboard the Lancaster bomber. The Lanc: Arthur “Bomber” Harris’ chosen tool of terror his ‘Shining Sword’. Its four Merlin engines and elegant form in flight making it one of the most successful bombers carrying Dambusting bouncing bombs, U-Boat pen penetrating Tallboys (also used on the Tirpitz) and many thousands of tons of munitions.

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Watch Richard Todd as Guy Gibson in the classic Dambusters movie and you’ll get the picture!
Back to our subject at hand- the generator… Here’s a marvelous and ‘restricted’ cutaway drawing of the unit. Showing fuel tank, oil tank, cylinders, head, crank, generator … The working Gubbins.

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…. I can hear ‘The Dambusters March’ playing in my head whilst typing this… Duuum dum DA dum dum DA dum dum…

July 1, 2013

Grand Prix Triumph

As hostilities came to a conclusion in ’45 the world was looking for any semblance of normality and fast motorcycles was one such distraction. As all manufacturing had gone into wartime efforts there had to be somewhat of a reuse of surplus items. Triumph had created a lightweight twin engine for use in generators. This seemed like a good start.

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The lightweight square barreled vertical layout could be rehomed in a frame ready for circuit, road; TT or race. Of course the engine geometry had been developed by Edward Turner in ’38 just prior to the outbreak and I’m sure the time spent during wartime tweaking this motor into a reliable power source would stand it in stead post war on the track and the road, eventually becoming the Bonneville.

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The GP engine seen here shows its origins proudly with mounting bosses cast mid fin where the generator components were bolted on.
But it’s the moto we’re interested in… It has a tight geometry for quick steering, 19 inch rear wheel and 20 inch front, low seating stance for a good clip and an intended fast look.

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Twist the throttle with intention and hold on. They were tough guys who rode these at speed for sure!

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Thanks to regular comment contributor Bill in Cumbria who noticed Beck’s sitting atop a GP a couple of days ago; I thought we’d better look into it. They are getting rarer than hens teeth, having been raced hard and blown up. People are now turning to the square barrels used on the early fifties TR5’s (like the Fonz’s ride in Happy Days)

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But what a cracker of a bike it is. I bet it belts out a heart thumping sound. And with an open primary the working mechanations are there for all to see.

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There’s more of a human story to this bike which I will cover later… .. But as an important part of Triumph history this is a key model. I think Hinckley Triumph should come out with a smaller, but fast, 500 twin now, combine it with: commuter, racer off road motorcycle models. Get the young uns onto bikes!