Monday, March 15, 2010


By Martina Rua

"Ignacio Acebedo Sigrand (31), never imagined that the curiosity which led him to type the name of his maternal grandfather on his computer, would plunge him into the greatest adventure of his life.

In May 2008, bored in bed from a knee operation, Ignacio reflected how little he knew of the life of his grandfather, Roberto Sigrand, whose history belonged to a family past silenced from a bad relationship with his grandfather one of his sons.  He wrote Sigrand's name into a search engine. To the surprise of Ignacio, the name appeared on several sites, but one especially caught his attention.
"I found a blog from an American collector of motorcycles [The Vintagent] and saw my grandfather Roberto mounted to a motorcycle. I felt the urgent need to move towards that history, with the help of my aunt and my mother, who knew this bike, the Zenith SUPER KIM.   My grandfather had reached 250 km per hour resulting in the 30 South American speed records",  enthused Acebedo. But the powerful machine was lost after the death of Sigrand in1974 when the factory where the bike was displayed was sold, and the trail was lost.
Acebedo began a regular exchange of emails with Paul d'Orleans, American collector and the blog owner, who suggested the information about the history of the SUPER KIM was very valuable. "I immediately rejected that idea because the motivations were never profitable, but sought to give birth to the family history and know the bike," he says. This surprised d'Orleans and gave him the confidence to reveal that he had sold in 2002 to one of the largest collections of motorcycles in Germany and acted as intermediary to generate a match.

During these months of research he discovered that Roberto Ignacio Sigrand was anything but an ordinary man, "Born at sea in 1908, he grew up in Argentina, Bolivia and Paris, fell in love with an athlete who he saw in a magazine and chased her to France and married her, faced down Perón, went into exile in Chile and made history in national and global motorcycling, " he says, pointing to an old photo album with clippings from the 30s and 40 in Argentina. Months of emails back and forth with photos, videos and documents, then Ignacio decided to take a trip to Austria. The new owner of 'Super Kim', a German billionaire (who asked to remain anonymous for security), agreed to restore it to running condition and display it, in exchange for having the incredible story behind the motorcycle. "I met with the bike and first met my grandfather. It was an indescribable feeling, very intense and moving, not only the sound of an engine after 75 years standing,  it was a relief, a powerful cry."

The intervention of technology in family history Acebedo was so basic and essential. "The Internet, blogs, information exchanges with Europe and North America were the key to this reunion, the technology was vital and today we are all very happy," Acebedo closes.

A family's past and a history as fascinating as the most amazing novels, could have been veiled for ever, but the SUPER KIM insisted on living to roar again, 75 years later. "

[Thanks to Jorge Pullin for sending the  link!   Check out the original, with video, here.

If you want to read more about the amazing saga of 'Super Kim' and the Sigrand family, follow these posts.

The story of 'Super Kim' will continue on the Vintagent.  Ignacio has sent a mountain of information, which I am in the process of sorting, and will be shared here.  Stay tuned!]


Grandpa Jimbo said...

Paul:You can never know how many lives you can touch through a simple blog. Jim A.

Slow Rider said...

Una historia preciosa¡¡

Fritz said...

the whole story is very cool!

Jon Dudley said...

I want this if possible.

Anonymous said...

What a fantastic story. Machines are ALWAYS about the humanity behind them. Thank you Paul. -JZ

Snurfys said...

Great Story !

I'm from Argentina too. Internet rules, I hope it will do more for this planet.

Cheers !!

Don O'Reilly said...

whadda story!

I get a little misty reading it... I'm reminded of my own family's black sheep, and what a remarkable, yet troubled man he was. whew!

Even an old print media guy like me loves every pixel. It may have really dampened my bottom line a bit, but the net certainly has it's virtue.

Paul, your blog is one of the best. I don't know how you do it, but please keep on rollin.


Anonymous said...

I wanted to drop you a line to let you know how much I'm enjoying your site. I've found some great sites, but many of them are just pictures or are focused on the mechanical side of things. I really appreciate the history that you include; the stories and the people behind the bikes in addition to the photos and some mechanical info! It's very well done. The Vintagent has the great short stories of vintage motorcycling; perhaps one day you'll expand these short stories into a book?


Paul Luc

Brian b said...

Or movie script which stars famous motorcycle enthusiast Brad Pitt/Keanu Reeves/Jason Lee
Or better yet a bio pic about famous board track racer who took their Indian from grass tracks, to board tracks, to the Isle of Man or Brooklands.