Motorclassica 2012 motorcycle highlights

What a weekend! First up was the 2012 Motorclassica at the Royal Exhibition Center in Melbourne with Luke from Fuel Magazine, then it was off to the Camperdown Cruise for a day filled with Hot Rods, Rockabillys and Rock n Roll with Jimmy from Oil Stained Brain. While the Camperdown Cruise is primarily a car meet Motorclassica never fails to impress with a modest collection of rare and vintage motorcycles. I took a camera along and snapped some shots of the stand out motorcycles and have pulled them together with a quick overview here.

The majority of the bikes on display were restored or original but there were a few exhibitors on site showcasing their best custom builds. Jon Munn of Classic Style was there again this year with a recently completed Cafe Racer build named the Norton 810 CR. 
The attention to detail on this bike was amazing, to say it was spotless would be an understatement. Based on a Norton 750 Commando Jon completed a full ground up rebuild and Cafe Racer conversion on the lovely old Brit. Modifications included the full alloy body work (tank/side panels), upgraded Suzuki front drum brake, increased capacity to 810cc and countless hours of polishing.
Other Classic Style bikes on display included the sweet looking Douglas you can see below and a handfull of beautifully restored examples from Jon’s personal collection. 

Irving Vincent had 3 of their stunning track bikes on display which managed to draw a constant crowd of jaw dropped, Motorclassic patrons. The story behind these bikes goes something like this…

In 1936, talented Australian designer Phil Irving went to England to work for the Vincent Motorcycle Company. He introduced many design innovations in his pursuit for racing excellence, including radical frame arrangements, new suspension systems and improvements to engine components.

Over 60 years later we used the basic engine and motorcycle design from the original 1946 Phil Irving bike. The engine and all components were fully redrawn and engineered by Ken Horner applying modern technology improvements. These improvements amounted to an increase of over 120 brake horse power from the original design. KH Equipment produced everything except the brakes, wheels and suspension.

In 2008 Irving Vincent took their fully engineered, Australian built Vincent to Daytona Bike Week to race in the legendary event. In the ‘Battle of the Twins’ Championship race their bike took out first place and secured their stance as one of the best replica Vincent manufacturers in the world. From there Irving Vincent has gone on to build several successful race bikes and custom made bikes for privileged customers.


This BSA was another beautiful rest that stood out from the rest. The 1954 BSA A7 Shooting Star was built by Andrew Hoseman. 

The resto on this Andrews BSA took two years, this bike was easily my pick for the motorcycle Concours first place.  

From England to Italy the Europeans also got a look in at Motorclassica.

This ’73 Ducati 750GT restored by Ian Falloon took out the award for best Post-War Motorcycle. There’s no denying that it’s bevel-gear 90° V-twin is one of the sexiest Ducati engines ever built and Ian has done it justice by complimenting it with a classic black/red Ducati paint scheme.

Indian motorcycles have never been a favourite of mine as I usually associate the brand with outlandish cruisers covered in leather tassels and oversized seats (I’m gonna get slammed for that!) but the following two Indians have certainly helped open my eyes.

An original 1920’s ‘Murderdrome’ racer, this Indian Altoona 8 valve held several speed records. In 1924 I set a new record of 86mph which it maintained through the final years of Motordrome racing here in Australia. After the dromes closed the bike was configured for high speed beach runs where it was clocked at around 125mph. The geometry on this bike is amazing, the twin 30 x 3 wheels with the motor suspended between them is an awesome design. I’d love to see someone do soomething similar these days.

The beautifully restored Indian Velo 500 was certainly an interesting sight. One of only approximately 150 ever produced it looked like it had just rolled off the showroom floor. These Indians represent Floyd Clymer of Clymer Magazines attempt to resurrect the Indian brand in 1967.

Built around an Italian made frame and a Single cylinder, 4 stroke, Velocette factory built engine it produced around 34hp. Sadly it was released around the same time that Honda released their 750 four and it simply couldn’t compete in the new market. If I had to choose between the the Velo or a CB now it’d be a pretty tough decision to make!

Lastly I had to add this awesome piece of motorcycle design failure. In an attempt to ride the Easy Rider wave of Chopper popularity, Norton America decided this awkward looking Commando was the way to go. The Norton Hi-Rider’s impractical 9 litre fuel tank, non-functional pillion seat and awkward steering set up were the main changes to the original Commando design which were all pretty feeble attempts at making a “cool” motorcycle. Strangely though despite its impractical design it was quite popular and sold well in America’s mid-west. It is also regarded as the first factory produced “custom” motorcycle ever made and is now a desirable addition to any collectors garage. What I also liked about this bike was the amount of fresh oil that had run out of the cases onto the drip pan below…priceless.