Sunday, July 01, 2012

VILLA D'ESTE REDUX


1960 Maserati 50/T2/SS moped, with clever spare-plug holder, and chin-pads matching the pedals. Cute enough to bite.
Reviewing my photos from the Concorso di Motociclette di Villa d'Este, I realized there were dozens of terrific shots which deserved publication.  A gorgeous event, in a stunning locale, made for easy photo-fodder.  I typically shoot 500 pix/day, even while judging, so parsing 1500 photos from a 3-day visit takes time...but the Web affords the luxury of unlimited photo uploads.  On a technical note; I shoot with a combo of an Olympus PEN EP-3 with a fixed 17mm lens, and a cheapo Sony Cybershot wide-angle - which was my only camera for several years, and makes up the bulk of The Vintagent's photographs (barring a few hundred from my iPhone!). 
Hard-to-see motor room of the Harley Davidson/Aermacchi 'Villa' two-stroke GP racer, the 350RA, with which HD earned a GP World Title in 1976 in the 350cc class.  The water-cooled racer put out 58hp @ 10k rpm.  Harley won the 250cc World Championship 3 years running, from '74-76, using a smaller-capacity version of this machine...the Only world titles earned by HD in its 100+ year history...
Prototypical pair; the BMW 'Concept 6'-cylinder sports prototype, and Husqvarna Moab concept bike.  The 1600cc BMW engine is 4 inches narrower than any previous production '6'...
More protos; this time the super-sleek BMW i8 used in 'Mission Impossible; Ghost Protocol'.
Much less sleek; the 1955 BMW R10 198cc prototype scooter...
The Campagnolo rear magnesium wheel of the HD 350RA racer; inside there's a conical disc brake integral with the hub, with hydraulic actuation.
Head of BMW auto design Adrian van Hooydonk (and now VP of BMW) explains the latest BMW sedan show car.
Rider's eye view of the fantastic 1921 Motosacoche 403 Supersport racer.  Note Gazda leaf-spring handlebars, intended to help rider fatigue by isolating road shocks from the hands, but heavy and wobbly-feeling, ultimately. 
Happy to post as many views of this machine as possible; the lovely Best-in-Show 1939 Gilera Rondine racer at rest, inside the show pavillon.
The 'other side' of the very symmetrical Gilera engine.  Note (starting at bottom, clockwise) circular crankshaft access door built into the frame, shift lever, giant fuel reservoir, double-vane Roots-type supercharger, finned plenum chamber with blow-off valve, near horizontal double-camshaft cylinder heads.  The engine is water cooled, with cylinders integrated to the crankcases.
Happy to be making noise with the 1939 Kompressor Rennsport; Concorso di Moto organizer Stefan Knittel, and Sebastian Gutsch of BMW Klassik
The Ducati 'Hillclimber' special built by Alain Wicki, former world 'skeleton' luge champion.  His Custom is intended to be completely functional and road legal, besides good-looking
A rare 1954 Hoffman S300 flat twin, with pressed-steel frame and super-streamlined engine cases, all the rage in the 1950s, the last days of Art Deco influence in design.  The most expensive 'lightweight' in Germany at 2450DM...only 50DM less than a BMW R50!
Tired of looking at vehicles?  Take a free spin in a J-Boat, although owning one will set you back a cool Million...
Discussing the merits of the 1921 Motosacoche 403 Supersport are Husqvarna's Raffaele Zacagnini and Jury president Carlo Peretti
The unexpected fly-by of the Kompressor over the gravel of Villa d'Este's genteel back garden...ruffling a few feathers, possibly even spilling a martini!  Sebastian Gutsch of BMW Klassik is the lucky handler of the RS255
The lineup in the Racing display...AMF/Harley Davidson/Aermacchi  350RA, 1962 Yamaha TD-1, BMW Kompressor, Gilera 4, Harley 8-Valve, Motosacoche Supersport...an exceptional collection of machines.
One of my favorite Ferraris, a 1964 250 LM, built for Le Mans with a mid-engine to skirt the rules...Enzo claimed it was a 'version' of the 250GTO, even though the 12-cylinder engine was moved behind the driver! So, what was designed as a 'sports racer' had to compete against pure racing cars, but did well against the Cobras and GT40s, winning at Reims, Spa, and LeMans that year.  I still have my Corgi version...
The solid yet feminine lines of the Maico 'Taifun', a technically fascinating and elegantly integrated motorcycle, although few were sold; the German motorcycle industry of the late 1950s was in serious crisis, and many mf'rs went bust.  Taifuns are rare, even more so in such condition. 350cc twin-cylinder two-stroke engine, Earles forks with a cast-aluminum main spar, footpegs which fold into the crankcases...
The elegant 1920 Mars A20 1-liter flat-twin, with fabulously complicated front fork, and box-section chassis, from which the motor hangs.  The engine was built by Maybach...hugely sophisticated for the day, but terribly expensive, and few were sold.

Rider's eye view of the 1937 Mercury with 600cc Scott engine, converted to rotary-valve induction. Complicated, a bit heavy, but a vision of 'futuristic' motorcycling from a 1930s perspective.  Note the integrated ignition/air levers atop the forks, the flush-mounted speedo/ammeter/tach, and reverse levers (technically outdated, but a mark of elegance a lá Brough Superior and BMW)
A late, four-wheel ca.1960 FMR Tg500; FMR took over production of the Messerchmitt KR200 'Kabinenroller', continuing the 'wingless aircraft' postwar production of this famous make.

The microcar lineup at Villa Erba, set up all weekend for public enjoyment.  Visible at the rear is the Show Pavillion

The fantastic, original-condition 1928 Opel Motoclub with 500cc sv Opel engine.  Opel purchased the chassis rights from Ernst Neumann Neander, the eccentric design genius who penned and built the cadmium-plated machine.  This engine appears to be derived from the Kühne engine from Dresden (designed by Franz Gnädig), one of the few 'loose' engine suppliers in Germany of the 'Teens and early '20s. (Many thanks to Ralf Kruger for the info). I'm well overdue for a full appraisal of the Neander/Opel story - but I've been waiting for a road test!  Perhaps next time I'm in Germany...


Handling the outstanding original-condition Opel Motoclub with white gloves...
Michael Paula kickstarts a sulking Brough Superior SS100 with 'MX'  Matchless engine...in his Birkenstocks!
All the way from Michigan; Peter Heydon discusses his 1941 Chrysler 'Woody' Town and Country wagon, a strange fish at Lago di Como, but much appreciated.
No ordinary Norton; this is the 1979 'P42' prototype Wankel-engine Norton, which was never produced in civilian livery, but became the 'Interpol II' in 1984.  Not to be confused with the 'Classic' of 1987, which had many changes.  While Norton only produced rotary-engine machines in the hundreds, they had great success on the race track (in F1 racing and a win at the Isle of Man in 1992), and a variant of their David Garside-designed engine powers US military drones today...
Nice 'pit bike'; the BMW R68 which lurked around BMW's moto-concorso offices...
Fabulous little OSCA 1600SP beneath Villa d'Este's spreading Plane tree.  With similar logic to the Ferrari 'Bread Van', a 'Kamm tail' blunt rear end (named after aerodynamicist Wunibald Kamm) aided airflow by simulating the ideal 'teardrop' shape, but little need was found in practical terms to extend the rear to a point, and the Kamm-tail gave more stable handling.
'Old #49' at rest; the spirit of Georg Meier hovers near this machine...
The 1938 Taurus Sport, a very rare and stylish Italian machine



Fantastic 1930s graphic expression
The power plant of the 1962 Yamaha TD-1; a two-cylinder 250cc two-stroke based on the German Adler design, with crankcases unaltered from their roadster-origin YDS-1 model, Yamaha's first production racer came with a completely new chassis and upper motor.
The TD-1 was the thin edge of the Japanese wedge in racing; inexpensive and very fast, taking a  championship suddenly came within the grasp of privateers the world over.  The dominance of exotic multi-cylinder four strokes in GP racing would soon be over...
The prototype Piaggio 'Vespa' of 1947; right the first time
The AMF/Harley Davidson/Aermacchi 350RA, with inboard-disc Campagnolo magnesium wheels.  Good enough to take the World Championship in 1976

For such a rare car, the Avions Voison T35 has been a staple of big auto show for a year; a different car won Pebble Beach, another sat on the Mullin auto museum stand at Retromobile, plus this one.  Common!








Coaxing a truculent Porsche 917K to life means shifting a lot of bodywork!
A lady and her Porsche...


Dr. Ralf Rodepeter and a charming young guest amble across the red carpet in a BMW Isetta...
1935 BMW R5SS, a rare production racer
This young fellow enjoyed showing the ease of bonnet-lifting on this Reliant 'Bond Bug'



Love, American style; '37 Cord 812 S/C...which means, of course, supercharged
Benito Battilani brought period accessories to ride his '21 HD 8-Valve...
Classic Bike's Hugo Wilson sneaks a photo from the Winner's Circle...
Automotive Concorso emcee Simon Kidston and the esteemed judges of the cars...


Brutale.  The '72 Lamborghini Miura SV/J.





Leslie Kendall of the Petersen Museum chats with an admiring lad from the Petersen's outrageous Art Deco Rolls...






2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Bella oltre ogni descrizione. -JZ

Anonymous said...

Magnificent, thanks for sharing.

Carl Thys