Sunday, April 22, 2012

I went to a show I had heard about at the Reynolds art gallery in New Haven, Ct. (, of 'Wheels'.  This included cars, motorcycles and bicycles.  I rode my daily beater up to Rich Hosley's shop in Branford, Ct., and from there I rode Rich's '73 Norton Commando Fastback and he rode his '54 Norton International the eight miles back to New Haven with Rich's friend in his '53 Buick Skylark following.

 There were some interesting cars: two Bentleys and a Rolls, a custom bodied MG TC(?), a unrestored '31 Graham, and four  Studebaker Avanti's.  But, the motorcycle turn out was thin.  Other than Rich's two Nortons, there was an XS 650 Yamaha bobber and several V-twin choppers made by E-Fab.  I don't have much use for choppers, but these deserved some attention.

This one, 'Icarus',  had a Lycoming airplane cyl./heads/pistons on a H-D clone lower end.  The motor is well oversquare with a bore of 4+" and a stroke of 3+".  It has Lectron flat slide carbs.  Details included a beautiful throttle assy. that was totally hidden in the handlebars, with a cable spool and bellcranks mounted on the head steady.  The seat was suspended with air springs and four pivot points.

'speed fetus' had all these apparently cast pieces-levers, cranks, brackets-and a really interesting finish.  I can't help feeling it's a waste for this very high level of craftsmanship to be expended on such uncomfortable, impractical machines that say 'look at me' rather than 'let's go ride'.  But, who am I to say.  To each his own.
Rich and Bill Burke and I retired to New Haven's Little Italy district a few blocks away and had pizza at Pepe's, which was both Rich and Bill's second choice, but Sally's was closed.  I thought the pizza was excellent.
I hadn't ridden a Commando for ages, maybe since I sold the '74 Mk IIa Interstate I bought new at Lloyd Bros. in Hamilton, Scotland and kept for nine or so years and put 40K miles on.  Rich had to start the motor for me, as I couldn't seem to manage with my chronic right ankle.  The ankle is a legacy of a crash I had on my Commando on the off ramp of the Goldstar Memorial Bridge in Groton, Ct. in 1977, when I hit the spilled diesel fuel and slid feet first over the kerb and under the guardrail, breaking my right talus.  The ankle has deteriorated ever since, the deterioration accelerating recently.  So, this was a marker of my aging.  I'm past owning a big, kick start only m/c.  Not a big deal, really, as I can manage my 250cc, 7:1 compression ratio, Moto Guzzi Airone just fine.  And, now we have the miracle of push button staring.  So, I'm adapting to my 'golden years' just fine.


  1. Dave: Would like to see the TC(?) racer. I raced an MG-TF1500 special that I built up for 6 or 7 years in the late 1970's. There was one fellow, Beau Gable, who ran a tricked out TC racer with cycle fenders. Wouldn't it be a riot if these two turned out to be the came. Jim A., Tucson, AZ

  2. Jim, I don't think it's the same car as this wasn't a racer; more like a custom GT coupe. I've added the only picture I took of it to the bottom of the post.

  3. Hi - great pictures! "speed fetus" quite a curiosity. Great reading, as always.