Benzina #4 - can you compare those who could ride different bikes (and cars) in different disciplines to today's specialists?
Yes, said Ivar - if they can excel in different disciplines: Dr Costa was his example (he's a bit more than just the Clinica Mobile) and maybe Troy Bayliss's pro-standard cycling puts him up there too.
But for me the guy in modern times who stands out is Leo Tartarini - knowing this, Benzina contributor and friend Cedric Janodet sent me a copy of the excellent French magazine Cafe Racer which had a great piece on him: winner of the first Motogiro, head of Italjet, and a stylist who had three bikes in the Art of the Motorcycle exhibition. There's a CV for a modern Renaissance man, if ever I heard one.
(You can also get Cafe Racer from the excellent Magazine Man )