Alejandro de Tomaso divides opinions like no-one else in the Italian motor industry, I wrote in Benzina 2, as part of a Benelli story. What I didn’t add was I’m a fan. Aged 13 I was persuaded to join a new Air Training Corps detached flight by friends who had RAF connections. So on one Thursday evening in 1972 I arrived at the Wyvern Centre on Devizes Green to have my head turned forever. Casually parked outside was a lime green De Tomaso Pantera. I knew this because it was w
Another example of Steve McQueen’s golden touch is this 1938 Triumph 500cc 5T Speed Twin, which he had Bud Ekins restore. Bonhams sold it for $175500: over £143000 to us Limey’s, so ten times what you might otherwise expect.
Still, a lovely bike and the vertical twin template for the entire British motorcycle industry. Edward Turner first considered the idea at Ariel, as half of his Square Four. When Ariel bought Triumph in 1935 Turner embarked on creating the Speed Tw
A two-stroke even I love. Before celebrity endorsement was commonplace Husqvarna already had two big hitters: all-round racer Malcolm Smith and Steve McQueen, movie star and uncontested arbiter of what was hip and cool, both rode Huskies. This 400 Cross was McQueen’s and featured in On Any Sunday, fuelling the rise of Husqvarna and motocross. Plus my wife’s sewing machine is a Husqvarna (she made her wedding dress with it) so I love their history.
Perhaps more than any
The AJS 7R was launched in 1948, a 348cc SOHC single that looked remarkably like an updated Velocette KTT, although that was hardly fair. But, like the KTT, the 7R (quickly nicknamed the “Boy Racer”) was intended to be sold as an over the counter racer that would allow privateers to be competitive in grand prix racing, if not fighting for the podium. Nonetheless Geoff Murdoch took his 7R to fourth place in the 1948 Senior TT, only beaten by Manx Nortons with an extra 1
The AJS Porcupine won the inaugural 500cc world championship, the only time a twin cylinder motorcycle has won the top flight 500 / MotoGP world title. Swipe left for more photos. The Duke of Edinburgh started the Senior TT, the opening round of the blue riband 500cc class, which saw a tie for the lead at the end of the first lap between the AJS Porcupine of Les Graham and his team-mate Ted Frend. Unbelievably, they were being chased by Bob Foster’s Moto Guzzi Bicilind