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"Brit Iron" #33
October 21, 2014

"BRIT IRON" takes you behind the scenes at

Oct 2014 - Issue #33

HOWDY - Howya' doin'?

HOT LAPS - Ride in a pace car at Laguna Seca

'ROYAL CLONE' PROJECT BIKE - Glacial progress.


NEW FACEBOOK PAGE - Like me, oh please, please, please...

VEGAS, BABY! - Auction Week is right around the corner

AMERICAN-MUSCLE-CARS.NET - The same, but...different

WEIRD STUFF - "Raindrops keep fallin on my cannon..."

Hope all is well with you. Things are going swimmingly here. Lots going on, all good. Our internet traffic continues to grow, as do our advertisers. The Vegas Motorcycle Auction Week (it really more like 4 days) is right around the corner. And our other website continues to grow by leaps & bounds, just 10 months after launch. The only thing not going very well is the progress on our project bike, the Royal Clone. Oh, and last Sunday I got a ride in one of the pace cars at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey CA. Like I said...lots going on.

Our sister site, has a contributing editor named Matt Connolly, who does brilliant writing for us along with excellent picture-taking. He also happens to be a pace car driver at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey CA. When I discovered this, I shamelessly begged him for a ride. Last week, he came through big time. Matt sent me two tickets for Hot Laps in an official Mazda pace car at the 2014 SCCA Runoffs. My brother-in-law and I got the rides of our lives around that iconic racetrack. What a ride! There’s nothing like hot-shoeing it with a professional race car driver. And what a day. The races were awesome, each only 40 minutes long, or 20 laps, whichever came first. And this is the ‘winner-take-all SCCA (Sports Car Club of America) Runoffs, and 27 National Championships were awarded during this 3-day event, running Friday through Sunday, October 10-12. Check out the whole story. I’ll have the video out soon on YouTube and will alert you of it.

ABOVE: Spec Fords blasting through the world famous "Corkscrew", falling 12 stories in a couple of seconds through a quick series of S-curves. My turn was coming.

BELOW: My ride is here. I'm sitting shotgun in this red hot Mazda 3 Official Pace Car, as we pull out onto the track for 2 blistering hot laps.

Well, our project bike just inches along. For those of you just joining us, we’ve gone completely through a ’79 Triumph T140D Bonneville Special mechanically, and restyling it to look like (or almost like) an ultra-rare UK-spec 1981 Bonneville Royal Wedding Commemorative. Only a couple hundred were ever built, few have ever been seen, but I’ve always loved the looks of the bike. It’s almost like a negative image of a typical Bonneville. Instead of a black frame, it has a silver frame. instead of a polished aluminum engine, fork sliders, triple clamps, etc., they’re blacked out. Of course, mine isn’t going to fool anyone, nor is it meant to. This is just as close as I can come to having the look I’m after without breaking the bank buying a real one, then hammering the life out of it as a road bike. Like classic cars, it would be crazy to pay big bucks for an ultra-rare bike then ride it on the street. I’d be worried about it all the time. This way, I can have some fun with it, and ride it like a normal bike...that is to say, a normal classic British bike, one that needs constant tinkering. But who doesn't love that, right?

So, last issue, we assembled the primary side. This time it's the timing side, including the oil pump (a Morgo unit). I have a few things to do before I’m ready to tackle the outer gearbox cover. But soon, I’ll be buttoning up the engine, and it’s on to the rest of the bike. I can’t wait. Not looking forward to the break-in and the tuning process. It takes copious trial-and-error to get them running right, especially with those dreaded Amal Mark II carburetors. One lesson I’ve learned through all this though is that I should never have let so much time lapse before I got to the reassembly. I took it all apart, but it’s been so long now that I can’t remember exactly how to get it all back together again. Which bolt goes where? Does this one get a washer? And if so, the flat one or the cupped one? There are all sorts of subtle intricacies involved in working on Brit bikes, and I’ve waited too long & lost my momentum. Don’t let it happen to you! If you have a project in a box, put it together, at least as much of it as you can, while its still fresh in your mind. More to come...

If you didn’t know already, the biggest best classic motorcycle auction in the world takes place every January in Las Vegas. For the past 23 years, MidAmerican Auctions has sold thousands of incredible classic bikes, but they were just acquired by Mecum Auctions, so this year’s event will be by Mecum. As always, it will be held at the South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas NV. It includes over 750 classic motorcycles for sale in auction, along with vendors, entertainment, food, and even flat track racing. I go every year and it’s always a blast. We’re going this year also, and staying at the South Point. The action runs from Thursday, January 8 through Saturday, January 10. As always, it’s fun, exciting, lots of iron changes hands, and the action runs non-stop. After that, my wife & I are driving down to Scottsdale AZ for the big Classic Car Auction Week down there, headlined by Barrett-Jackson Auctions. Classic bikes and classic cars...I’m in heaven!! Come to Vegas. You’ve got to see one of these incredible auctions in your life. Maybe we’ll see you there.

I launched on October 19, 2010, 4 years ago to the day from yesterday. I remember each year because it also happens to be my father’s birthday (dearly departed). In these 4 short years, we’ve gone from nothing to 219 pages of high-quality content on the subject of our sacred machines, the likes of which are not easy to come by. We’ve done pages on all the major Brit brands: Triumph, BSA, Norton, Matchless/AJS, Royal Enfield, Ariel, Vincent, Velocette, even Rickman. We’ve broken most out by Models, and some of those are broken down year-by-year, each with their own pages, like we did with the Triumph Bonnevilles. We’ve covered countless motorcycles shows, auctions, rides, clubs, and visited some cool shops. Today our internet traffic is over 140,000 hits per month and growing steadily. So, Happy 4th Birthday to many more!

By the way, we just set up a new Facebook page for our favorite site. Please go to it & check it out: If you have trouble, just search for “Classic British Motorcycles” and you should find it. Once you have found it, please mark it on your favorites so you can go back to it often. Then, please ”Like” it, and Like everything we post whenever you see something new. And please, please feel free to post your own comments and/or photos. Let’s spread our Brit Bike Mojo to the world. And please tell your friends about us.

As you may have heard, we’re doing the same thing for American muscle cars that we have been doing with classic British motorcycles. Like, is an online index broken down by Make, then Model, then Year, with each one having its own page. We’re not there yet, there are still some holes in the lineup, but they’re filling up fast. Each page has killer pictures of the cars inside & out, along with specifications, history & more. We cover classic car events, etc., just like we do with Brit bikes. We launched it in January, and we’re already at around 14,000 page-views per month (hits), and I’m having a blast doing it. I grew up with these cars when they were just used cars, nothing more. I’ve spent my life adoring them, and just like with my Brit iron, now I get to write about it and take lots of eye-popping pictures. If you do Facebook, please visit our new Facebook page: and be sure to ”Like” it.


I wasn’t sure what to offer up, for this installment of ‘Weird Stuff’, then today as I’m driving west on Highway 580 just past Tracy CA, I see this guy towing a trailer with a Civil War-era cannon on the back! I conjured up all sorts of thoughts, ideas, explanations of what this guy is doing with it, and where he’s going, or where he came from. Did he just get it restored? Did he just buy it? Is it off to be in a movie somewhere? Heading off to work to settle a score with his boss, perhaps. Or is he just carting it around to look cool? I’m voting for the latter, since any of those other guys would have hauled this thing in an enclosed trailer, or at least covered it in a tarp. Look at those menacing clouds overhead. If you had just spent a fortune on a Civil War cannon, would you let it get soaked in the rain and the road grime? Weird, huh? Hence this issue’s installment of...Weird Stuff.

Thank you for your interest in, and thank you for sitting through yet another of my rants. I've redoubled my efforts to complete the site, by adding more pages to cover individual models. Some are just pictures for now, I'll fill in the Specs and Text later. Some nice examples you might check out are our new pages on the Matchless G3 and the G80, and the Velocette KSS. Rest assured, we work tirelessly to make this the best Brit bike site on the planet!

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