The Horseless Carriage Club of America’s “Visit America” Tour

Last week I was in Colorado to attend  the Lambretta Club USA’s annual meet, which unfortunately was cancelled due to the Waldo Canyon Fire west of Colorado Springs.  We personally witnessed the devastation the fires caused so a cancelled Lambretta Jamboree was the least of our worries. We still managed to see some very cool things on our Colorado adventure…

I apologize my CB antennae is in the way.

 

While en route from Lake City to Colorado Springs along historic Highway 50, with its breathtaking views of the Arkansas River, we were amazed to pull behind a Ford Model T.   Highway 50 is one of the most scenic and fun roads in the United States, but it was even better with some antique cars.  My friend, Oliver, and myself  found ourselves on the road with The Horseless Carriage Club of America’s “Visit America” Tour. My head almost exploded from Transportation Geek Overload (GTO).

A few early automobiles or “horseless carriages” were clamouring along at 40 MPH. Mind you, this is a very tight and twisty road through the mountains that’s not super easy in a modern vehicle.  We spotted them around Cotopaxi, Colorado and they had already driven over 1,000 miles from San Diego, California.

The Horseless Carriage Club of America is a nationwide motoring club whose focus is Brass Era Automobiles manufactured prior to 1916. Their goal is to “preserve originality or restore these automobiles to their original condition, use them for their original purpose of driving and completing tours, and promote the preservation of their historical value” and I’m pretty sure these guys met that goal.  The Visit America Tour is part of the 75th Anniversary of the HCCA Club.

 

A Buick pulling over to let cars pass.

Denver & Rio Grande Railway's bridge from our moving vehicle.

 

A 1912 E-M-F.

 

I thought this sign was very appropriate. We pulled over at the Cotopaxi General Store to take pictures of the cars putting by.

A big thank you to my friend, Oliver, for snapping some of the pictures while hanging upside down from the passenger window. Please “Like” the Sir Wheelsy Facebook page and thanks for checking us out.  More pictures of the cars and the Tour are found here.  - Grant Griffin

 

Share on Facebook

A Lambretta Dealer’s Family Photo Album

As promised, here are more family pictures from the owners of the local Lambretta, Cushman, Mustang, Norton, and Ducati Dealer during the late 1950′s and ’60′s. Cushman pictures will be up soon.

A few motorcycles out front on South Jennings Avenue, just south of downtown Fort Worth.

I’ve said it before, but the Fauber’s photo album is a treasure for us who love the antique metal-bodied scooters from the 1960′s. From their photos it appears they loved their Lambrettas more than most.

Dealer lists from 1962 show just five Lambretta dealers in Texas and down to two by 1965.  We may have red 1964 Sears Allstates (the Vespa 125) in every shed and barn, but Lambrettas are still pretty scarce.

Innocenti, the parent company of the Lambretta brand, had high standards regarding the layout and organization of the dealership.  Thanks to Kyle’s Scooter Shop for saving this scarce dealer manual, “How to Organize the Lambretta Service”,  from a barn in Kansas.

The Lambretta corner of the shop with some of the famous Lambretta advertising and dealer posters.

The service entrance behind the shop. 1959 or 1960 model Series 2 LI's and a two-tone TV 175 on the right.

 

Anyone know more information about the Lambretta scooter for kids?

I imagine this guy was one happy customer as he shows off his new Series 2 LI 150. Appears to be a 1961 model.

Lambretta Series 2 TV 175

 

A strange Lambretta cut-down with Dad and the kiddos. Thanks to Crashtest for correctly identifying the family car as a Studebaker Lark.

"Helmets? We don't need no stinkin' helmets!"

 

 

Camping trip to Inks Lake in Burnet, Texas with a Series 1 LI. I love the Studebaker camping rig as well.

I think Grandpa would rather be driving...

 

A camping trip to New Mexico with a 1962 TV 175.

 

 

This 1964 LI 125 was found in a garage in Irving, Texas a couple of years ago. The second owner remembers it was always in the neighborhood and came from the local dealer, which would have been the Fauber's dealership in Arlington. This was the maiden voyage to The Dubliner after it had been sitting partially disassembled for years. The scooter is now in excellent original condition thanks to The Berglar.

 

Share on Facebook

The Innocenti Factory, An Italian Lambretta Holiday

As an avid collector of vintage motor scooters, I have always loved the Lambretta. Beautiful Italian styling, the ride, and technology sets it apart from everything else.

The service entrance with some Series 2 Li's and a TV175.

Lambrettas were manufactured in Milan, Italy, by Innocenti and  other worldwide licensees starting in 1947.  Production  continued in Spain and India long after Innocenti closed.

 

 

The Lambretta was a constant rival to Piaggio’s Vespa throughout the 1960′s and the Golden Age of the Italian motor scooter. Sales of scooters started sliding during the late 1960′s and Innocenti ceased production in 1972.

 

 

The Italian Lambrettas are the most coveted and sought after by collecters around the globe. For a complete history of the Lambretta, check out Vittorio Tessera’s  book, Innocenti Lambretta: The Definitive History.

A 1966 Lambretta Special X200.

 

Last year, through the Lambretta Club USA, I came in contact with the family that owned the local Fort Worth and Arlington, Texas dealerships in the late 1950′s and  1960′s. Their family photo album is an absolute treasure of Lambretta photos from that period. More posts will be coming with their photos, but I thought a few they received after a trip to Italy would be a great start. In November 1963, US dealers were invited to the Innocenti factory for an Italian Holiday.

The owners in the Lambretta corner of the Ducati, Norton, & Cushman Dealership.

 

The back of the original Innocenti factory photo.

The Lambretta Club of Milan.

A row of Li150 Specials on the right with an Li125 on the left.

Thanks for dropping by and please “like” the Sir Wheelsy Facebook Page if you enjoyed the photos. More Lambretta pictures will be coming soon.

I encourage anyone interested in vintage Lambretta’s to join  LCUSA.  - Grant Griffin

A recent shot of a few local Lambrettas. Picture courtesy of Anthony Armstrong.

 

UPDATE:

A fan of the Sir Wheelsy blog sent us a picture to share. Adrian is a motorbiker with Lambrettas in his blood from the Podgorze district of Krakow, Poland. Here is a picture of his parents in 1974 on Strzelecka Street. The Lambretta is a late 1950′s LD 150. Thanks, Adrian!

 

Share on Facebook

All British & European Car Day 2012

Gallery

This gallery contains 30 photos.

Last Sunday was the All British & European Car Day on the shores of beautiful White Rock Lake in Dallas. Many topless English sports cars and European rarities line Dreyfuss Club Point for the day. This is truly one of my favorite automobile events in … Continue reading

Share on Facebook

2012 Pate Swap Meet

Gallery

This gallery contains 28 photos.

This year marked the 40th year of the Pate Swap Meet at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth, Texas. This annual event brings people from all over the country to see and swap  automobile related items, motorcycles, vintage collectibles, and … Continue reading

Share on Facebook

An amazing collection….

I recently got to see a truly amazing collection of motorcycles and bicycles owned by my friend Matt. He used to race Motocross back in the day and has admited to spending too much time over the years searching for rare and interesting things with wheels. Everything in his house and garage has a unique history and story, and each piece deserves it’s own post. Here are just a few pictures of his collection. The Pro Circuit bike ridden by Ricky Carmichael may have to wait until next time.

As you walk inside his house to you can’t help but notice vintage dirt bikes and racing artwork.  I’ll give major credit to Matt’s wife for allowing such things inside.

Kelly Telfer's painting captures the spirit of Danny "Magoo" Chandler. Magoo signed the painting just before his death in 2010.

A Honda CR125 Elsinore makes a great piece for the foyer.

 

A 1973 Honda XR75 in the office.

 

This little bike came out of Weatherford, Texas and is almost perfect condition. Yes, that's original paint.

The first glimpe into the garage is overwhelming from all the eye candy. Even the walls are covered in Motocross memorabilia including Matt’ s own motorcross gear. Being a car junkie myself, I first gravitate to the impeccable Porsche 944.

The first glimpse into the garage is overwhelming from all the eye candy.

 

Only 24,000 miles on this 944. It just needs a dirt bike hauler to carry the vintage Honda MR50.

 

Am I only the person that sees 1980's cool in a US-spec low-impact bumper?

Original FMF Team Replica BMX bike from 1976.

 

1975 Yamaha YZ125

An Original Pro Circuit Team Honda from 1991.

 

Derbi GPR 50

1997 Bimota YB11.

1978 Bimota KB1 that recently came out of a backyard in Dallas.

Original patina and Campagnolo rims.

 

2009 Viper ACR.

Big Thanks to Matt for showing me everything. I learned a lot about bikes I’m not too familiar with and now I’m inspired to keep an eye out for a BMW rim for my backyard.     – Grant GriffinUPDATE: New addition to the collection, a Montesa Grey Ghost MX 125.  Number 711 of 1,884 made between 1970 and 1972.

Share on Facebook

Dallas Rockers vs Mods #6

Last weekend marked the sixth annual 2012 Rockers vs Mods Rally in Dallas. It just keeps getting larger every year and this year was no exception.

A rare Vespa Grand Sport 160 (Mark I) with period-correct accoutrements.

Rockers vs Mods is a scooter and motorcycle rally that pays homage to  Britain’s Rocker and Mod youth subculture and the now legendary skirmishes at seaside resorts such as Brighton. If you have no clue what I’m talking about, go watch The Who’s 1979 film Quadrophenia immediately (or at least the trailer).  Then you’ll be up to speed on what’s going on with the glamed out motorscooters, dandy suits, cafe bikes, and leather. This is not your grandad’s or your accountant’s Harley rally.

Here are some of the pictures I took over the three day event.

Friday evening started at the historic Belmont Hotel in Oak Cliff were hundreds of scooters and motorcycles faced off.

Are you a mod?

Carlos Cardoza with his custom suit and custom Mod Vespa. If you know Carlos, you're aware of how camera shy he is. I couldn't believe I was able to get this shot.

Are you a Rocker?

Peter Gould and his Ducati.

 

The Saturday morning ride had the Rockers and Mods split up for lunch. Vespa Dallas threw a great party for the Mods while the Rockers went to RPM Cycle.  Afterwards we rode downtown and across the newly-opened Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge.

My Son, Barron (2.5), learned the differences between a Lambretta SX200, Silver Special, and GP150.

Mark Roberts, our fearless leader and event organizer on his Vespa Rat Bike.

Scooters as far as you could see on Greenville Avenue.

Notice the newly inked tattoo.

Saturday afternoon’s event had great bands and cold beer to help keep cool. It was the last day of March and the Texas sun was brutal.  There were some amazing bikes you don’t see everyday.

An Ariel Leader.

I won’t incriminate anyone with photos from the late night party. I  don’t think I was the only one who didn’t make the Bomb the Bridges run Sunday morning either, but I heard it was a blast.  Early afternoon meet-up was at The Dubliner on Lower Greenville, the Get Bent Scooter Club’s usual Sunday afternoon hangout.  Sunday events at most rallies are dead, but the place was packed and going strong.

Mod vs Rocker.

 

Close up of the Honda Z50 Mini Trail.

The famous Rocio Ildemaro and renowned master scooter restorer, Vic Fletchall. Rocio's Vespa 150 Super is lovingly nicknamed, "Mustard Asshole."

The End. Thanks for checking us out and please “like” the Sir Wheelsy Facebook page.                - Grant Griffin

Share on Facebook

Automobile Spotlight: A Porsche 993 RUF Turbo R.

I recently met my neighbor, Patrick, when he became the owner of my 60 Series Land Cruiser. When you meet another automobile enthusiast you seem to always end up talking vehicles you’ve had or would love to buy.  I was pretty excited to hear that Patrick is the owner of one of my favorite cars, a 1997 Porsche 911 Turbo. I’m not talking about any run-of-the mill  Porsche 911 Turbo either, but one that has been converted to a RUF.

 

First, some back story on the original car. The 993 is the Porsche internal designation for the model of 911′s available between 1995 and 1998. Porschephiles and the purists have referred to the 993 as the last “true” Porsche.

1968 911

 

 

 

It is the last one with that Flat Six air-cooled motor and the styling cues that go all the way back to  the 1963 originals.

1975 911

If you compare the roofline, windshield, and overall shape of the car, you’ll see not too much has changed from the ’68 to ’74 to ’97 models.

 

 

 

The 993 RUF

As earlier mentioned, this car isn’t just a 993 either; it’s a RUF.

The rear Whale Tail spoiler is pure Porsche.

RUF Automobile GmbH is recognized as a Automobile Manufacturer in Germany because they install many of their own engineered parts into unmarked Porsche chassis. The company was founded in 1939 and is headquartered in Pfaffenhausen, Germany. There is a RUF Centre in Dallas too.They are the truly the ultimate for extreme porformance Porsche-based automobiles.

 

The badges and RUF wheels are the only exterior modifications.

Here is a RUF Yellowbird for sale and here is some information on the 2012 RUF Rt 35th Anniversay just unveiled at the Geneva Motor Show.

 

This car has a well-documented history as well. The first owner picked up the US-spec Guards Red 911 in Germany through the  European Delivery Program.  In 2001 it was sent back to the German RUF Centre for the conversion to a RUF Turbo R. This very detailed process included new turbos, camshafts, exhaust system, remapped computer system, and some “RUF secrets” to increase the horsepower from 408hbp to 490bhp.

A very practical yet elegant interior includes a RUF steering wheel.

Patrick purchased the car in 2008 and  saved it from from a boring life of just sitting in a garage.

If you are ever in the twisties and switchbacks in Northwest Arkansas or driving through the mountains of Colorado and get passed by a red streak of lightning, it might be Patrick and the 993 RUF.

 

Here is a link to the Autoweek Video of the car in action on the Great Texas Beer Run.

 

 

 

Thanks, Patrick, for showing me your amazing car. I hope you’ll let me drive it next time.    –  Grant Griffin

The Man and his Machine.

 

 

Share on Facebook

Il Museo Piaggio

A few years ago I made the pilgrimage to Pontedera, Italy (map), the birthplace of the iconic Vespa motor scooter. My wife thought the “old scooter museum” was just a little side trip from Florence to keep me amused, but little did she know our entire two-week and three-country vacation was centered around the Museo Piaggio. We surprisingly both agreed it was one of our favorite parts of the trip.

Piaggio & C.SpA is the parent company of the Vespa brand and has been an industrial giant since the late 1800′s.  The company manufactured railway cars and   airplanes prior to World War II, but was completely destroyed by Allied bombing. Enrico Piaggio shifted focus to motor scooter production during the post-war reconstruction. He hired  aeronautical engineer Corradino D’Ascanio to design an easy-to-use scooter to help get affordable transportation to the masses. With it’s bulging rear section to house the motor, skinny floorboard “thorax” and a large leg shield to protect the rider, the little motor scooter came into being. Mr. Piaggio proclaimed “It looks like a Wasp” (Vespa in Italian) and the icon was born. The company  is still the 4th largest producer of Scooters and Motorcycles to this day. The Vespa is  the flagship marque of all Piaggio’s brands, and the designs of the Modern Vespas are reminiscent of the many classic models.

 

 

I’ve been a motor scooter collector for nine years so I’ve always wanted to visit the Piaggio Museum. Seriously, this little industrial town in Italy is hallowed ground to us scooter junkies. Every antique Vespa I’ve owned (way too many to list) was born at  the sprawling factory in the Italian region of Tuscany.

My 1966 Super Sport 180 and 2005 PX150 Sidecar Rig.

Getting to Pontedera, halfway between Florence and Pisa, was an easy train ride through the beautiful countryside. As soon as we stepped off the train at the little station we were staring right at the Piaggio factory.

The Piaggio Museum opened in 2000 in one of the factory’s old warehouse buildings. It is now home to original airplanes, iconic advertising, Gilera motorcycles, and of course, Vespa scooters.

 

The entrance with a Piaggio train car.

An entire wall showcasing Vespa models.

The Museum has a great collection of prototypes and some of the rarest Vespa motor scooters.

The model in front is the MP6 prototype from 1946. The little blue car is a 1957 Vespa 400.

A 1950's French Airborne Vespa 150. These carried an M20 cannon and were actually used in the Algerian War. This was Martha's favorite.

 

The Salvador Dali doodled Vespa.

 

The Vespa Ape had many different commercial applications. There are a few in the States at reasonable prices, no matter what those two Picker guys say.

Yeah, it's big.

Even with all the cool stuff inside the museum, just walking around the factory (as much as I could) was exciting. Apparently they don’t have ground floor windows to keep Vespa collectors from taking pictures of the assembly lines and scooters being made. This was a truly amazing experience and I would recommend the Museum to anyone who is a scooter junkie or not.

Thanks for taking the time to read about my adventure. Ciao.

- Grant Griffin

 

Share on Facebook

A few vehicles and locations from Bottle Rocket.

 

Wes Anderson’s first movie, Bottle Rocket, was released in 1996 and was the first glimpse into the world of Mr. Anderson. Just like his subsequent films, the automobile, a bicycle, or even a minibike or go-cart adds a new dimension to his perfectly-placed characters and scenes. There are always some interesting vehicles in his movies.                 Yeah, he gets it.
There are a few locations from the film still standing around Dallas and Hillsboro, Texas.

“Whose house is this?” was our first quiz question and we had someone correctly answer that is was  Bob Maplethorpe’s. I wished I would have taken that picture before I sent my Honda Trail 70 to live out on the farm.

The driveway of the Frank Lloyd Wright designed house in Dallas:

Dignan riding a Honda Trail 70 (CT70). Candy Ruby Red was an original color from 1969-1972.

Bob’s getaway car:

Mercedes-Benz 280S (W108).

I believe the building used for Mr. Henry’s hideout has been demolished. If it’s still standing and someone can find it, please let me know. I’ll send them a copy of the film.

Is this Applejack's or Mr. Henry's Chevrolet Monte Carlo?

The guys try to rob Hinckley Cold Storage at the end of the film.

2005 Vespa PX150 on location at Hinckley Cold Storage.

Thanks to the Internet Movie Car Database for some of the images. Please be sure to ”like” the Sir Wheelsy Facebook page.  Thanks! – Grant

Share on Facebook