Wednesday, April 22, 2009

ITALIAN MOTORCYCLE NIGHT AT THE CANDY STORE

And what, pray tell, is the 'Candy Store'? It's complicated; about the swankest place to park your seven-figure car, a private club, a former Packard dealership, and a warehouse shared by a bunch of gearheads, who happen to be well-heeled.

Last Saturday night was the second 'Motorcycle Night', with members and friends supplying their special two-wheelers, as there are always crossover enthusiasts who like both cars and bikes. So, with some pretty spectacular sheetmetal as a backdrop, we had a few lovely Italian bikes to discuss before an informal buffet dinner and a few guest speakers.

The top photo is the former Packard display area; Packards are fine, but Gullwings and Spyders are better! Especially in company with a nice trio of Ducatis; '78 900ss (distinguishable by the Campagnolo cast wheels and black/gold paint scheme), '74 750GT (in Sport yellow paint and pipes, plus period-trick Marzocchi remote-reservoir shocks), and a nearly-vintage 888. A couple of nice Jags (XK 150 - the thick 'waist' gives it away, and a Series 1 E-type; I used to own a '62 flat-floor Roadster) and a prewar Rolls lurk in the background as well... oh, and the '67 365 California Spyder in burgundy.

A study in contrasts; a lovely little Capriolo 175cc ohv, ca '59, standing before a 300SL convertible, also resplendant in red (but I prefer silver Mercs...).

More Italian exotica; a ca. '57 Benelli Leoncino 125cc ohc, beatifully restored, complete with period-correct cast aluminum lion on the front mudguard - a pedestrian biter! Behind in blue is the first Lamborghini production car - a 350/400 GT, sitting next to the competition, a Ferrari 250 Boano. That's 25 cylinders...

Yet more Latin lovelies; up front is a Parilla 175cc ohv Gran Sport, which was ridden in the Motogiro USA last year (see my previous post). Not a true overhead cam design, the Parilla used a very high-camshaft design with short rockers opening the valves - they are very much sought after here in the US. Behind are a couple of Alfa Romeos; a 1930 6c 1750 GS Zagato, ridden regularly, and a blue 1951 Touring-bodied 6C 2500, which was truly a luxury car in its day.

That's John Goldman, and no those aren't his toys - we'll get to those shortly. But what toys indeed; no need to be demure, that's a Fly yellow Ferrari 275 GTB in the background. The motorcycle is another
Parilla 175cc, the 'street' edition. In the far background is Ed Gilbertson, chief judge of the Pebble Beach Concours, who announced that a Motorcycle class will be added this August to the Pebble lineup. It will include only one class this year, for British bikes pre-'57, made up of 8 machines total, which doesn't sound like much, but two of the bikes will be Rollie Free's infamous Vincent record-breaker, and George Brown's 'Gunga Din'. High-caliber entries indeed. And if you hadn't heard about Bikes at Pebble, well, you read it here first again!

John Goldman brought a few of his Mondials along for show and tell, and spoke at length on the history of Mondials and his bikes in particular - which you can read here, in previous posts from the Legend of the Motorcycle Concours.


Frank Scurria, who deserves a post of his own, spoke of his history racing a Ducati 350cc ohc in California way back in 1959, before the factory offered a 350cc machine. The US importer (the Berliner Co.) was besieged with requests for 350cc machines after Frank's success with his Duc; it took a few years for the factory to take the hint and produce one themselves (as was ever the case with Ducati - always producing models people didn't want, and under-producing what they did). Here he is pictured with Steve Allen of Bevel Heaven.

That's Bruce Bern on his (real) '74 Ducati 750 Sport - after the duck-egg green 750SS, the Sport is one of my favorite Italian motorcycles of all time. I toured extensively on one years ago, and the -very- uncomfortable riding position makes sense above 70mph and above, which the bike was happy to oblige for days on end. 'Long legs' indeed, although it helps to have long arms to ride the beast!

A nice Motobi 175cc ohv ex-Giro machine sits before an interesting 1955 'Hagemann' Jaguar special with a one-off aluminum body; very Italianate!

From the header to the footer, a Bugatti always deserves two photos; a ca.1925 Type 35 Bug in French racing blue (how they always look best), with two MV Agustas old and new, and a Model T ice cream truck! An odd combo, but a lovely shot of the late afternoon sun on an unreinforced masonry wall...

10 comments:

info said...

First off, I enjoy your blog immensely. There's a good mix of old and new, good variety of topics and photography. My initial reaction to the "Candy Store" is that I hate these guys! Of course I don't really, and in the end I admire guys with a few bucks that are keeping these old nails alive and keep them in roadworthy condition. Not being so well heeled I guess my job is to admire the cars/bikes and let them know they are appreciated in the end. Thanks again and I do spread the Vintagent gospel where I can.
Regards,
Duane

Anonymous said...

Hi Paul.

In an article in RoadRacingWorld on 4/15, Sean Jacobs is accepting entry applications for bikes at Pebble Beach. So maybe there will be more than just 8 bikes in the show. There is more info in the artcle, here is a link:
http://www.roadracingworld.com/news/article/?article=36157

ciao
pete

Anonymous said...

Great story, as always. Mention of the (former) Berliner Corporation recalls my
many visits there when I was growing up in NJ. I could still find the site, I'm
sure, though it's almost certainly now buried in some industrial park (sic). I
Wonder if you might turn your indefatigable research skills to a story on the
influence of an importer/dealer like Berliner not only on motorcycling in the US
but also on motorcycle design and production back at the factory. The AMC works
in Woolwich was certainly responsive to the Berliner brothers' suggestions on
how best to compete against the front runners (Triumph, BSA) and as a result we
got, among other things, the fine Matchless G15/Norton N15 "desert sleds."
Fortunately, Frank Wentworth's story and photos on these are still online at
realclassic.co.uk. Lou Branch in LA had somewhat the same effect with Velocette,
I believe, although Hall Green operated on a much smaller scale. In any case,
something you might wish to pursue.

Too bad the Berliners couldn't hang on, as there's certainly a market for
Ducatis these days.

Jim

Brian B said...

Reading the bio of Frank Scurria you have linked, I look forward to any post you have of him and his bike. Hoping also you do a post on his competition with Orin Hall and his "Gadget" Parilla.

Brian B said...

Reading the bio of Frank Scurria you have linked, I look forward to any post you have of him and his bike. Hoping also you do a post on his competition with Orin Hall and his "Gadget" Parilla.

Anonymous said...

is there a law on the great state of cali banning , unstable people from guns and as a addmendment cameras ? that picture of the mondials should get you horse whipped at the next moto giro , the last excuse was my battery was flat and i used a camera phone , whats this one "i forgot to take my motorcycle goggles off? " maybe we could use the horse whipping as a charity fund raiser and get you a pair of glasses ( helps with focus) and maybe a very cheap didgital camera thats almost fool proof lol but i did enjoy the read anonymous dave

Anonymous said...

i just clicked on your link for gunga din what a piss poor picture , even if i did steal it from taff the horns site for the silver dragons aka the welsh tt and photoshop the fook out of it gunga din is #87 nice crop , fook george is dead anyway , but not to tell the story , realy , the mondial folks and the velocette folks are about to form a lynch mob

Affer said...

Am I alone in finding the idea of Gunga Din in a 'Concours' meet strange? I doubt it was ever Concours condition when it raced!

Anonymous said...

Paul,

I love your site. Well done.

Thanks,
Peter

Anonymous said...

Hello Paul. at last I found your site, presumably this is the same Candy Store that has existed for years. For now I will include a picture of this Jag powered Bike and mail you again later, If you can take a look at our site, Regards, Bill Brady


William Brady
yourcar@earthlink.net
http://www.101classiccarrental.com