Back to Back Issues Page
BRIT IRON takes you behind the scenes
January 08, 2018

January 2018

Since 1990, every January, throngs of the motorcycle faithful flock to Las Vegas for the world's largest motorcycle auction. I have attended this annual pilgrimage myself nearly every year, taking pictures and videos for my website It's that time again, and I'm planning my next Vegas trip now. Mecum Auctions (famous for their huge classic car auctions on TV) bought MidAmerica Auction Co, the ones who started the whole Vegas thing nearly 30 years ago, and have taken this already epic auction to new heights. MidAmerica managed to grow the Vegas event from a one-day sale with a couple hundred bikes up to a 3-day sale with 700 bikes. Since Mecum took over a couple of years ago, it has grown steadily. By 2017 it had grown to 4-days and 1,000 bikes! Wow! This year, it's grown again, now to 5-days and 1,750 bikes. The Mecum Auction will take place at the South Point Resort & Casino from Tuesday, January 23, 2018 through Saturday, January 27, 2018. But let's not forget about Bonham's Auction Co. They return to Vegas this year with another one-day Sale on Thursday, January 25 across town at the Rio Hotel & Casino, with around 200 bikes on sale. It promises to be one heckuva week, nearly 2,000 bikes in all. I'm not buying or selling this year. Just taking tons of gorgeous pictures and video for you, my loyal followers. We stay at the South Point when we go, which is not only convenient, but has us sharing elevators and gaming tables with other bike nuts like ourselves. An added bonus. Maybe we'll see you there.

While at the Las Vegas Motorcycle Auctions, Tuesday, Jan 23 through Saturday, Jan 27, I’ll be sending out Live Feeds on our Facebook Page. Please visit CBM’s Facebook Page, enjoy the Live Feeds, and while you’re there, please “Like” some of the content you see. Thanks.

As if Las Vegas Motorcycle Auction Week isn’t enough, the week before Vegas is the grandaddy of all Auction Weeks, Scottsdale Auction Week. But, it’s not motorcycles. Scottsdale is all about classic cars, of every type, more than you can shake a stick at. There will be thousands of classic, vintage, racing and custom cars of every type at 5 or 6 major auctions throughout the Scottsdale AZ area from Saturday, Jan 13 through Sunday, Jan 21, plus several smaller auctions. The entire city shuts down for this thing and there is car-guy stuff everywhere! I’ve never been there for Auction Week, but I’m looking forward to it. I’m covering this one for my car site, And just like with my bike site, I’ll be doing LIVE FACEBOOK FEEDS all week long from Scottsdale. So, if you like classic cars, tune into our Facebook Page during the week of Jan 13-21. See you there.

ABOVE: My buddy Andy Mattos was instrumental it getting Yellow Bike running again.

For those of you who have been following the story of Yellow Bike (my ’73 Bonneville custom cafe racer), as you may recall I sold it at the Vegas Auction in 2009, and always regretted selling it. I tracked it down last year and bought it back from the guy. He never even started it, and it still had the same gas in it, which had turned to solid varnish. I had the good folks at Raber’s sonic-wash the carbs and rebuild them, and there it sat. The project stalled as I got busy, distracted, sick, etc, etc. Then my good buddy Andy Mattos whom I hung around with in my old home town of Hanford CA, has now moved to Sonora, where I live, and he’s a diehard Brit bike fan. In fact, he’s worked side-by-side with legendary Brit bike restorer Don Harrell, from Visalia CA, for many years. Andy kicked me in the butt and got me to bring Yellow Bike over to his new home where we worked a few nights on it, getting it ready to start. Parts needed to be ordered, etc, and since this is a custom bike, nothing is simple, many of the parts are not stock. But, today, we put the last of it together, at least enough to start it, and after a few hardy kicks, it started and ran! I warmed it up, set the idle, and rode it around Andy’s neighborhood. Wow, what a revelation. I haven’t been on it since 2009, in fact I sold it at the 2009 Vegas Auction which was almost exactly 8 years ago. I’ve been riding my ’08 Harley Dyna a lot over these last few years, and I was struck by just how light and agile these oil-in-frame Triumph twins really are. My Yellow Bike has been lightweighted, and I estimated its weight to be somewhere around 350 pounds. My Harley tips the scales at over 700 pounds, and is quite a big longer and wider.

Anyway, the Yellow Bike is running again and back in my shop at home. Now, I need to do all the detail and cosmetic work to it. I took the sheet-aluminum side covers that I’d fabricated for it off the bike, with plans to replace them with customized (shortened) ’79 side covers, along with more work under the seat, and the swapping of the old Zener diode for a modern solid state rectifier. My gorgeous yellow UK-spec tank had developed a crack/leak along the back edge that had to be welded. The required that the tank be totally stripped inside and out. So, now it’s black primer with all the warts exposed. I need to find a good body/paint person to clean it up and paint it, along with my new sidecovers and both fenders, just the perfect shade of yellow. I’ve still got to locate the Triumph decals I had before I paint it. While the Yellow Bike was always a head-turner, I was never that crazy about precisely that shade of yellow. It was, in fact, a PPG pigment, not a color. It would form the basis for all other yellows in the PPG spectrum, mine had no other colors added, it was in theory pure yellow. But I still didn’t like it. So, I’ll be looking for the absolute perfect shade, and I’ll get it. My goal is to join my friends from the BSAOCNC on their Gold Country Ride by late March, and probably also the Rio Vista-Delta Ride in late April. Andy Mattos and I will like truck our bikes there together. He has an absolutely totally-original 1973 Bonneville, and I have a highly-modified 1973 Bonneville cafe racer. It will be fun. More on Yellow Bike soon.

Of our our loyal followers, Larry Orlick, traveled to the Isle of Man last year for the Manx Grand Prix. He took tons of great pictures and wrote a dynamite article about the experience. Not just the race, although he covered it brilliantly, but the travel to-and-from, the people, the surroundings, the whole thing. Great article, please check out the 2017 Isle of Man Manx GP.

If you haven’t already, you’ve gotta’ get a new calendar bud. It’s 2018 for crying out loud. Buy that new calendar here. We have an excellent selection, low prices and fast shipping. Please check out all our ONLINE STORES. Buying your motorcycle stuff here really helps, it’s how we support this website. Thank you in advance.

Back to Back Issues Page