Is this about the coolest photo ever taken of a man on a motorcycle? Phil Schilling on Old Blue, aka The California Hot Rod. Cook Neilson wrote in Benzina #1 that the name change was because “California Hot Rod” became a bit of a mouthful in the workshop, and the blue and silver paintwork meant that the Old Blue nickname just became more natural. And that Phil was in charge with anything that had to do with the word “shim”. Benzina #1 available via the shop page. But Phil is really most famous for inventing the phrase Universal Japanese Motorcycle, in a Kawasaki Z650 test. His gripe was that this was pretty much like the Suzuki GS750, which was pretty much like the Z900, which was pretty much like Honda’s CB750 that kicked off the four cylinder ball. Honda were livid that the phrase and “UJM” quickly entered motorcyclist’s vocabulary, having gone racing with fours to deliberately associate the inline four with Honda in the public’s mind, ready for the CB750. And by the time Phil wrote of the Universal Japanese Motorcycle Honda had released four cylinder 350, 400, 500, 550 and 750 four-strokes, while their compatriots had been previously associated with two-strokes. But far from railing against Cook and Phil as the originators of UJM they invited them to a secret meeting after the launch of the CBX. The CBX and CB900F actually represented the end of Honda’s inline multi-cylinder project and they were keen to move on. What to build next, they asked Phil and Cook. 90 degree Vs came back the answer. Next up came the VF750, NR500 and the start of something big. That’s how influential the Ducati duo were and I couldn’t help smiling at the irony of Phil being inducted into the US’s Motorcycle Hall of Fame at the same time Classic Bike ran an article headed "How to kickstart a bike", without an shred of irony.
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