Who gets to define a man or woman? Who is permitted to evaluate the life and choices of a person? And who is to be believed? **Moving slightly away from The Vintage Motor Company’s main cultural explorations (motorcycles!), we’d like to examine a cultural event that effected all of us to some extent or another…
MOTORCYCLE PRESERVATION AND RESTORATION And so, given our discussion of the motor vehicle as both historical/industrial artifact and art object (our last article: Preservation and Restoration), what should we do with that old motorcycle in our possession? Preserve it for posterity, or restore it as art? In earlier times, contemplating simpler (non-industrial) objects, […]
Motorcycles as Artifacts In the course of this article installment I have used the Maico motorcycle as the lens through which American sport motorcycle culture was examined. Now, looking back to this motorcycle—material culture, art object, utilitarian racing machine, or however else we may wish to think of it—what are we now to do with […]
In the beginning The covering of the end of a motorcycle’s handlebar, allowing the rider to “grip” the metal bar and prevent his or her hands from slipping off, has been made of rubber and known by its function since motorcycling’s beginning. The handlebar grips on early motorcycles were a rather hard natural rubber sheath. […]
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 […]
The Motorcycle Bug Returns In 1986 I was a twenty-eight year old Marine captain in steamy Jacksonville, North Carolina, preparing to leave the military and get on with life. I was stationed at Marine Corps Air Station New River, across the brackish New River inlet from Camp Lejeune, whose thousands of Marines we supported […]