Thursday, 12 December 2013

Teaming Up With Old Empire Motorcycles

Over the last year I have met with Alec and Rafe from Old Empire Mortorcycles (OEM) at a number of events over the past year. Seeing that we all have a mutual appreciation for the hand made OEM  asked whether I'd like to contribute to their build process by creating hand drawn concepts for their builds. Here are a couple of the concepts that we have worked on.

OEM Gladiator

(digitally painted ink sketch)

Based around a Victory Highball this bike was designed to be a street bike with the ability to be used as a longer range tourer with it's custom panniers. 

OEM Osprey

(digitally painted ink sketch)

This is the latest of our build concepts has been a collaboration with ODFU, which is Kev Wilsons clothing company. The build is based around a Suzuki GN400. OEM love to strip their bikes down to the bear minimum and this one is another example of this style continuing to build "pure motorcycles".

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, Birmingham NEC 2013

Having missed this show in previous years this was my first time at the Lancaster Insurance Classic Motor Show . The NEC shows are always packed with machines to see and this is no exception with all the halls full with Cars and Motorcycles alongside an auto jumble and various presentations throughout the weekend. As usual I spent my time sketching and chatting with people about their machines….

1933 Bugatti Type 51A Roadster

(ink sketch)

I couldn't miss the opportunity to sketch this rare Bugatti, it was shown at Goodwood earlier this year but who knows when it will be shown in this country again. The bodywork on this Roadster has proved to be a mystery, no one knows who built it, it is believed to have been fitted in Paris before WW2, but that's as far as that side of the story goes. The other side to this cars story is even more exciting. The original chassis this bodywork was built on was from a Grand Prix car fitted with a supercharged type 38 engine, and campaigned by Madame AnnCécile Itier. She competed for 5 seasons in more than 30 events with the car, one of the events being a race against a plane at the banked circuit at Monthlery, France. The original chassis and engine have now been removed from the roadster and rebuilt into the car as supplied to Madame Anne Cécile Itier.

1958 Fairthorpe Electron Minor MkI

(ink sketch)

This car caught my eye, not only with its interesting mouth shape but the small compact almost microcar look is always something that appeals to me. In the 50s a lot of small operations were building their own cars or providing kits for people to build their own in order to avoid purchase tax. Fairthorpe started out building microcars with motorcycle engines in the back, none of these survive today, or at least no one has found one yet. Fairthorpe then progressed to larger cars still using motorcycle engines and then onto cars like this Electron Minor. This particular car was built from by Frank Collins in kit form in late 1958 and was part of the Fairthorpe works team. The car runs a Standard 10 engine with twin SU Carbs. The car not only competed but took Frank and his wife to be all the way to Italy for their honeymoon. The car was sold on in '64 due to Franks expanding family and was not seen again for another 25 years. Franks son Martin had a chance encounter with the owner of the car at a kit car show in the late 80's. Martin bought the car back and completed the restoration in 2009. Frank passed away in September 2012 having taken his last ride in the car on a sunny afternoon 2 weeks earlier.
I'm always happy to see these small production cars and am grateful to the owners for keeping them going as without them the unusual history of these machines would be lost. 

For more information on these great little cars 

GPO BSA Bantam

(ink sketch)

Having a love of Bantams myself I stopped at the BSA Bantam Club stand for a chat. I was more than happy when I was asked to sketch this GPO Bantam that belongs to Dennis. He learned to ride on a GPO Bantam and is now on an eternal quest to find his trusty GPO Bantam ALC 167B. If you know the whereabouts of this machine please get in contact.

1960 Austin Healey Frog Eye Sprite

 (ink sketch)

Another sketch request for the weekend was this Frog Eye Sprite. This may look like a straight Frog Eye but it has been modified to be more usable on long journeys, having a 1275 engine instead of the usual 948 and a 5 speed gearbox and many other improvements.  This car was completed in the nick of time for the 4th Austin Healey European Meeting and was  driven over night with the hood down to the meeting. The owners had never entered a concours event before but they were encouraged by friends to enter, and to their surprise they won their class, 2nd in Peoples choice and Overall Winner  this being the first time in the Austin Healey European History that a Frogeye Sprite has won Overall Winner over the Big Healeys but this has been so well done it is well deserved.

1963 Jaguar E-Type 3.8 Series 1

 (ink sketch)

Another request from the weekend is this Series 1 restored by Performance Bodyshop. It's always a challenge to get the lines on this type of car correct, and I always enjoy the challenge.

More Photos….



Wednesday, 23 October 2013

20th Carole Nash Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show

Stafford Comes but twice a year and it's always a great opportunity to catch up with people that I have met at shows past. I also got some sketching in too...

1954 Rennfox / Sportmax 

(ink sketch)
Well I couldn't let this one get away. NSU only made 6 of these GP bikes and this one is sporting a factory fitted 250cc engine rather than the standard 125cc. The Original 125 engine was taken from this bike to power the Baumm II which took world records in 1956, one of them stood at 150.3mph.

1923 Cotton

(ink sketch)
I'm a sucker for a Blackburne engine and the triangulated frame of a Cotton always looks dynamic. Apparently this machine is good for 70mph not bad for a 90 year old machine.

1924 Norton Big Four

(ink sketch)
Norton Flat tanks always look good and this is a particularly early example, plus it was the only bike on the Vintage and Veteran Stand that I hadn't sketched. 

Twin Pot Cycle Master

(ink sketch)
I alway look forward to seeing what the NACC (National Autocycle and Cyclemotor Club) bring to the Stafford show and this year they didn't disappoint. I had to look twice when looking at this machine as it has two engines instead of the usual one hidden away within the specially adapted bycycle hub. Apparently the owner and builder of this wonderful machine got fed up of having to push it up hills. The Cylinders are opposed which apparently makes it sound good but if they worked in unison they would probably produce a bit more poke.
Bespoke chokes made from matching ha'pennys by dates

 Other Stafford Finds....

 1937 Motorconfort
If I had the cash I would have snapped this up.

 Zedel engine on the 1904 Peugeot on the Vin & Vet Stand
 Yamaha Scooter in the Autojumble
 Something about this CMZ...
Wemoto's Coccinella TT50 Mk1
Built from a combination of bycycle and moped bits this was a great little build. 
 Great lineup of trials bikes in the jumble
 Love these JAP Speedway bikes.

Monday, 14 October 2013

Scammell Pioneer Sketch Session with Stefan Majoram

After a Facebook post by Stefan Marjoram asking about a truck he had found at a local sports ground, Stefan and I couldn't resist making an impromptu trip to get some sketching done.

(ink sketch)

Stefan's sketches can be found on his wonderful Sketch Blog. Stefan was kind enough to send me one of the sketches as a gift, what a wonderful bloke.

(Stefan's ink sketch)

We didn't meet the owner of this wonderful vehicle but we guess it is an army truck. 
768 Scammells were built from 1937 onwards. 
They were used in the war to tow artillery such as the 7.2 inch howitzer

 Love this 6 cylinder Gardner, it produces 102bhp
 Some great large shapes on this beast of a truck.