Thursday, 27 December 2012

Laverda V6 soundtrack - Thor's own chainsaw

Various clips of the Laverda V6 in action with thanks to laverdafreunde Lovely

Tuesday, 25 December 2012


Great new resource (blog is too mean a word) by href
="">Benzina subscriber Buzz - the 8mm movies of Cook and Phil racing in the Seventies are particularly fine - more at href="">Ducatista

Friday, 21 December 2012

Department of Hen's teeth

So rare that most reference books don't mention it: a twin filler 450 Desmo, built in 1969. Some had a decompressor and some didn't and along with the 350 (there's a love-fest in Benzina#6) the twin filler fuel tank quickly became a single filler. Ducati don't even have records of this era, but only a few hundred of the 350s were made, and far less 450s. They make a roundcase 750SS look common, and the fact the fakers have left them alone tells how rare they are.

Yet you can own one - £16,000 from Made in Italy Motorcycles. With the far more commonplace Tartarini-styled yellow-peril 450 Desmo making £10k, (799 built) that almost looks reasonable

Sunday, 16 December 2012

Mike Hailwood post TT at Mallory Park

Thanks to Peter Tunas for this; must be the 1978 post-TT: as Pat Slinn (who ws part of the team) says "Before the race the Ducati was a long wheel based out of date slow machine, then Mike proceeded to give a lesson to all the so called fast men in how to race a motor cycle!"

Thursday, 13 December 2012

And finally some good news! Italian bikes keep selling

Press release from Ducati tells of largely good news - market share is up although perhaps tellingly they keep quiet on numbers, except for the Panigale: 7,500 sold since launch. To put that in perspective the original 851 sold barely 500 in its first full year of production, and both the 916 and Monster took two years to sell 7,500 when launched. But then, there were infamously problems getting suppliers to hand over unpaid for components back in the days when folk worried Ducati would go bust at any minute

Moto Guzzi have also done well with the revised V7, some model sales up 13%. Hopefully the new California will bring the world's oldest motorcycle factory (in continuous production since 1921) back to the prominence it deserves

Saturday, 8 December 2012

Christmas-is-a-coming part 2

Or how about this? The 1970s legend brought to life by Minichamps Paul’s Model Art, the masters of motorcycle modelling. 1:12 scale, around 7” long, and highly collectable including a fine presentation box. Bargain price of £63.50 is over 30% below RRP including UK P&P only: please email for overseas postage costs - Click here for more info

Christmas is a-coming

Sorting out the attic I came across some of our gloves that I'd thought had sold out. A few left, made for us by fourth generation glove makers who also supplied Barry Sheene (see page 86 of Benzina #6) and the UK's armed forces - in fact the black and tan officers' glove are identical to those seen on military parade grounds. Supersoft leather not only makes them comfy and warm, but remarkably sensitive; perfect around gloves for the discerning signore. The driving gloves are even nicer, and actually make great cycling mitts if you can bring yourself to chop off the fingertips, but not really up to motocycle use, although that doesn't seem to trouble the young lady above. Make a great present for the man who has (nearly) everything; I mean the gloves, not the young lady...Discover more by clicking here.

As would a bundle of Benzina one to four; we actually had more of these printed than later editions (#7 is all but gone, and #10 isn't far behind); so as a special offer all four of 1 to 4 posted to a UK address are just £25, or for a bit more we will of course post to the US/rest of the world or Europe. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 6 December 2012

Healey Ariel square four; part of an Italian job

Just back from a meeting at the UK's National Motorcycle Museum ; what meeting? Well, hopefully Benzina will be back bigger and better in 2013. The museum? Hmmm: lots of bikes, some very nice but little thought given to presentation, and the word "patina" doesn't seem to be part of the curator's lexicon. But it is great to have a national motorcycle museum, so mustn't grumble.

This is what caught my eye - the Healey; an updated Ariel Square four offered in the 1970s from the ashes of the great British bike industry (deceased). Brainchild of Tim Healey (and his brother, if memory serves) it was tested by the press under the banner "1000cc for £1000" - by this point a z900 was over £1500, and a Laverda Jota another grand. And there's the connection. When the Slater brothers invented the Jota they arranged for the tweaked 3Cs they were based on to arrive in the UK without exhausts - along with Tim, the Slaters developed a new 3into 2 pipe that Tim Healey made and the Slaters fitted. Full story's in issue 3 of Benzina

Monday, 3 December 2012

Moto Guzzi wind tunnel + Le Mans II

This is the Guzzi wind tunnel complete with Le Mans II and various V-twins at the factory test track back in the 70s. Groovy baby. Story goes that the Guzzi wind tunnel (like many) was only used at night because it used so much power the grid couldn't supply enough electricty if there were other significant demands. Bzzz, click. Spare Luigi a few lira for the meter...

Saturday, 1 December 2012

California sunshine in the UK

Corsa Italiana had one of the new Guzzi California's on show today - this is Benzina subscriber Dave Brown trying it for size. He has a lovely 1970s T3 Cali and we'll try and set up a Jimmy Saville style test (as in now/then, now/then) in the Spring. In the meantime even cynical old testers are coming back from the launch in Cannes highly impressed with the big Guzzi. Building on the success of the V7 and Griso, it finally looks like Guzzi are back from the brink, and doing what they do best. Hopefully the new 1400cc engine can find its way into a Griso.

In the meantime an original "loop-frame" California is below; these were styled in Italy, and painted black and white for export to US police departments. Demand was such that Guzzi offered a "Police Model" for general sale, soon dubbed California. The new Cali really was designed in California, which tells you who Piaggio (Guzzi's owner) are expecting (hoping?) to buy it.