Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Shameless Sham

Ah, more seventies sexism, this time courtesy of Italian helmet maestros  AGV. Their full face helmets were £45, (more than a Bell although they were only available in black or white) and half as much again as the Griffin fibreglass job most went for.

But if price was no object the Bell usually got the nod over the AGV, and it was Barry Sheene's helmet of choice. Once he started to get known he struck a sponsorship deal with King helmets, and wore...a Bell with badly applied King stickers; in period pics and videos you can clearly see the King stickers have been applied in a hurry. Ironically a Sheene replica King cost more than a Bell, and they still gets chased on eBay by Sheene fans, who perhaps don't know everything about their hero.

For 1979 Sheene struck a deal to wear AGVs, and the pro paint jobs make deciding if he actually stuck with Bell more tricky. But dig out a pic of Sheene in an AGV and consider the bottom photo here - in the ones I've seen, Barry's "AGV" visor doesn't have the finger tab at the bottom, and his helmet lacks the AGV's kick-up at the back to clear the neck; seen next to Kenny Roberts (in a Bell) their helmets look remarkably similar...

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