The trend for customizing 1970s and 1980s motorcycles continues apace. The blinged-out chopper with raked forks and shiny paint is officially dead: today, customers are demanding sleek, minimal café racers.
The shift was inspired a few years ago by workshops such as Denmark’s Wrenchmonkees. Today, builders like Café Racer Dreams (Spain) are buying up and stripping down old Hondas and BMWs. Like the CRD machine we’re looking at here. Called “Brownie”, it’s a 1980 Honda CB750 on a diet.
It’s also a textbook example of the mods that custom bike fans are looking for in 2012. The electrics are hidden—even the battery—to throw focus on the mechanical components. The brown, gold and black color scheme is low-key but luxurious, like a fine piece of leatherwork.
Unlike many builders, Pedro Garcia of CRD is not a one-trick-pony. His latest creation is a 1971 BMW R75/5 (above) converted for dual sport use. When not being ridden around the streets of Paris by its new owner, it’s blasting down fire trails and kicking up dust.
And the Wrenchmonkees, who kick started it all? Things are good in the state of Denmark. There’s a clothing line in the works and they’re collaborating with major brands such as Levi’s. They’re even getting commissions from switched-on nightcubs, with the “Club Black” series of display bikes (above). - Chris Hunter, editor of Bike EXIF
Is there anything that Marc Newson hasn't designed? We are running right out of superlatives describing one of his fairly recent collaborations, the Aquariva by Marc Newson luxury yacht. We tried looking away, yet here we are, talking about it.
Everything about the ridiculously cool and expensive arrow-of-a-speed-boat is a bit much. Yet it is also deliciously good-looking in its faux mahogany, retro turquoise upholstery and overall 60s vibe.
To create the Aquariva, the Australian-born, London-based mega-designer collaborated with Officina Italiana Design of Bergamo, Italy. It is the studio that for the past two decades has been in charge of designing yachts for Riva shipyards, established in 1842 by Pietro Riva. Riva is one of the brands in the Ferretti Group portfolio.
Aquariva by Marc Newson was introduced last fall but paraded again at the beginning of this year not at a lowly boat show or even a luxury yacht salon, but Arte Fiera, the 36th annual, historical art fair in Bologna.
Only 22 of these beauties were manufactured and they are sold though the New York-based Gagosian Gallery and also by Riva dealers, apparently at $1.5 million. The sales pitch is no doubt rich with superlatives and absent of the word recession. - Tuija Seipell
It would seem a shame to take one of these black retro beauties out into the unforgiving streets of a Detroit winter. It might be best to display the hand-crafted Madison Street bike indoors, perhaps in the living room, nicely leaning against the mantel. It certainly deserves a place next to other pieces of art.
Detroit Bicycle Company founder, Steven Bock, builds each bike to order from the finest parts. For those who appreciate high-quality bike parts, all frames are made with Columbus SL CRO-Mo tubing and Nova lugs. The Madison Street's main attractions are the beautiful copper-plating of the Campagnolo and Cinelli parts, track rims with Vittoria Zaffiro tires and the inimitable Books leather saddle.
Each bike is customised, so prices vary, but we've seen complete bikes priced at $3,200 and up. - Bill Tikos
Our latest car porn introduces Lamborghini's new super sports car Aventador with its 700 HP bull power - powerful and classy just like his namesake, Spanish bull legend Aventador - relentlessly fighting the forces of nature in a 3-minute special effect thunderstorm, shot in the Californian desert Coyote Dry Lakebed and directed by Ole Peters.
The era of chrome-and-billet choppers is drawing to a close. Even Harley-Davidson dealers are swapping the leather tassels for carbon fiber and murder-black paintjobs. In the UK, a south coast dealer called Shaw Speed and Custom is setting the pace, creating show bikes that win at the world’s top custom motorcycle shows—and beating the Americans at their own game.
In the build-up to the AMD World Championship held at Sturgis, the latest two bikes from SS&C are creating a stir. The ‘Nascafe’ is a low-slung, dragster-influenced machine created in association with the American watch manufacturer Bell & Ross. Embedded in the tank is a $4,000 BR 01 Carbon timepiece, a further touch of originality.
The XLST3 is another radical departure from the norm. Dirt-track tires and race plates give the bike a sporty look rarely seen on Harleys, and the stock suspension has been replaced by high-performance items more commonly seen on superbikes.
These are not the sort of motorcycles the Teutel family builds on American Chopper, and they’re all the better for it. Harley-Davidson is taking note too, with a new ‘Dark Custom’ range designed to attract younger, more style-conscious bikers. - Chris Hunter of Bike EXIF
Some design is classic. Some design is innovative. And some of the most interesting design seamlessly blends classic styling with innovation.
Vizualtech's Bo Zolland specializes in technical illustration and custom design - using modern influences to transform the chassis of cars from new to old.
Zolland created a series of renderings of a 1955 Ford Thunderbird for a client. The car will be built from the body and components of a 2009 Ford Mustang, but will be completely remodeled to resemble the classic lines of the T-Bird - proving that the reverse can be true: from the new can come the old. - Andrew J Martin
The motorcycling world loves a ‘barn find’—an old, obscure machine wheeled out of the woodwork for the first time. And this is one of the biggest revelations of recent months. It’s a 1930 Henderson that was customized before WW2 by a fellow called O. Ray Courtney and fitted with ‘streamliner’ bodywork.
The art deco influence is obvious; legendary automotive designer Harley Earl could have drawn those curves. It’s all the more unusual because the mechanicals are hidden: even at the height of the Art Deco movement, most motorcycles were a triumph of form over function, with exposed cooling fins, brake drums and suspension springs.
The bike is owned by collector Frank Westfall of Syracuse. It caused a stir in June 2010 when it appeared at the Rhinebeck Grand National Meet, a motorcycle show held a couple of hours drive north of NYC. Grail Mortillaro (of the chopper blog Knucklebusterinc) had a camera to hand, so we have him to thank for these images.
Henderson was a Chicago brand and one of the American ‘Big Three’ (with Harley-Davidson and Indian) until the onset of the Great Depression. It went bust in 1931. But you can see the influence of the ‘streamliner’ style on another contemporary North American brand—Victory. If there’s a spiritual successor to this Henderson custom, it’s the Victory Vision Tour, a gargantuan cruiser with completely enclosed bodywork and not a leather tassle or saddlebag in sight.—Chris Hunter of motorcyle design website - Bike EXIF.
This little blue boat may be beyond our budget but some powerboat collectors will take advantage of the opportunity to bid on RAL5105 on July 20, when it will be auctioned off at Hôtel Hermitage in Monte-Carlo by the Parisian Artcurial.
RAL5105 is estimated to fetch 180 000 - 220 000 Euros. The “monochrome nautical sculpture” is the latest masterpiece of Parisian multidisciplinary artist Xavier Veilhan (born in 1963) whose work we’ve featured before. John Dodelande invited Veilhan to think about creating a boat, and after accepting, Veilhan worked with the 80-year-old Frauscher shipyard of Gmuden, Austria, to make it a reality.
Potential buyers had a chance to view it in Paris at Hôtel Marcel Dassault in Paris till June 14th. From there, it moved on to Saint Tropez (June 15 to July 12) and then to Monte Carlo on July 20th.
As the 6.9 meter, eight-person blue beauty is equipped with a MerCruiser 220 HP motor, the owner will most likely want to actually drive this boat, not just look at it. - Tuija Seipell
There’s not much about American muscle cars that scream hot pink, but the 2010 Dodge Challenger SRT8 manages to elegantly blend the strength of the form of the iconic design with the unexpectedness of the bold fuchsia color. The limited edition ‘Plum Crazy’ model comes with a matching seat-stripe insert, and holding true to the Challenger heritage, the hood has a raised center, black stripes and functional dual scoops. Of course purists can choose from more standard colors, but we all know the more vibrant option certainly caught our eye.
The philosophy “race inspired, street legal” underpins all Dodge models with Street and Racing Technology (SRT), and the Challenger is no exception. Muscle car enthusiasts can expect high performance in a car ready to tear up the streets – so anyone behind the wheel can look bad-ass – even in fuchsia. - Andrew J Weiner.
We are wondering why it is that car manufacturers are tripping over each other inventing boring and redundant “super modern” and “high design” cars, when the end result is a sea of lookalikes. One can no longer recognize a “premium” make from a lower-end car, certainly not by distinctive and recognizable design features.
They are unimaginative, uninspiring and suffer from a serious case of follow-itis. As opposed to being leaders and, in particular, design leaders. We see design tweaks and add-on features advertised as if they were a revolution when in fact, there’s nothing really significantly new or exciting. No wonder so many are giving up cars altogether. Why spend all that money to get what?
Our hopes are up a bit with a sighting of the carbon fiber-bodied “Bella Figura” Bugnotti. It is Delahaye USA’s tribute to Ettore Bugatti’s son, Jean, and it was inspired by the 1937 classic Type 57S. This retro beauty will debut at the Retro Auto at the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance Aug. 13-15 in Monterey, CA.
We are all for going back to the basics, to looking at the best and most beautiful models of the past and resurrecting them. For example, there is nothing to add to the iconic design of a classic Saab. It was designed for minimal drag and that was partly the reason why the Saab was such a hot ticket as a rally car in the 1960s. And they had 3-cylinder engines, too.
Imagine if we could again drive cars this cool? Of course, they’d have the relevant and useful modern technology and electric power as well. Why is that not possible? - Bill Tikos