Part 1: The Success Years: Ake Jonsson “Watch Ake slice inside his line and pass him, seemingly with no effort. What makes a man ride like this?” “I think Ake was probably the best motocross rider, ever.” The Vintage Motor Company is proud to release part 1 of a 2 piece series […]
(From the Beginning to the 1970s) The cubist, brightly-colored motorcycles that fascinated American racers originated in a small automobile repair shop in post-World War I Germany. Maico (“Maisch & Company”) was formed in Poltringen, an industrial town in the southwest corner of Germany. The year was 1926—the same year the reparations-wracked and starving country was […]
The United States after World War II had become a consumption-oriented society. There were better wages for most workers, a high standard of living, inexpensive mass-produced goods, and a culture infused with the appropriation of material goods. Available to Americans at the time were a myriad of exceptional motorcycles from around the world.
T.E. Lawrence (“Lawrence of Arabia,” 1888-1935) loved to ride his motorcycle. On a damp early morning in 1925, former Lieutenant Colonel Lawrence, now living incognito as the lowly Royal Air Force enlistee Airman Shaw, rose and slipped into his breeches and puttees in the dark. By 4:00 a.m., Lawrence finished breakfast at his quarters. He […]
“We were just kids who wanted to race.”[i] One of the most recognized images of off-road riding, and possibly the sport’s most iconic photograph, comes from the early years when motocross first captured the American imagination. It is that of a lone, airborne motocross racer. The image was first seen on the December, 1972 […]
Do you want to get started enjoying the fun of old motorcycles? One of the best ways to learn about the hobby is to attend a vintage motorcycle event. These are often referred to as “swap meets” or “bike shows.” Let’s get started!
The Beginning of a Phenomenon The T-shirt with printed image—a phenomenon dating largely to the 1950s, exploding in popularity in the 1960s, and with its ancestral roots in post-World War I returning servicemen—is an ideal medium for proclaiming classic motorcycles. Interestingly, Marlon Brando, the actor whose portrayal of a motorcyclist in 1954’s The Wild One […]
Recently, while returning home from a business trip, I decided to take the long way home and visit my favorite art museum. On special exhibit at the museum were tow collections of drawings and paintings—the first was an expansive collection of Andrew Wyeth watercolors, while the second consisted of a compilation of landscape paintings by […]
A Social History of Motorcycle Technology This post and many to follow is a social history of a technology. By this I mean that it examines an item of technology—in this case the German-made Maico motorcycle—and explores the links between the object and that segment of humankind who interacted with it.
Validation The key reason owners/restorers bring old motorcycles (or old cars) to events, to compete for awards, or seek to display them, is essentially validation. By this we mean that the restorer wants to have someone say, in effect, “You did a good job restoring that,” or “That’s a nice motorcycle.”