Monday, September 12, 2011

Radnor Hunt Concours d'Elegance 2011

Each year, the Radnor Hunt Club in Malvern Pennsylvania, hosts it's own Concours event, pulling over 100 exotic cars and motorcycles for a very-well dressed crowd to ogle over. I, however was there to gawk at the vehicles powered by their single rear wheel only. Ok, the cars were stunning, but this is a motorcycle website, so thats what I mainly documented. This years featured motorcycle marquee (organized by John Lawless) was Ducati, but also included other Italian bikes from the 50's and 60's. Pictured above is the 1953 Ducati 65. This was a minor upgrade from the prior years 60cc version, but basically the same design. What makes this series special, is that it was the first Ducati motor that sat inside of a Ducati-built frame - versus the earlier motors that were clipped into bicycles. One could say this is the third year of Ducatis actual motorcycle line. The 65cc motor was a 4 stroke OHV motor and could push a man lighter than I approximately 45 mph. A very appropriate speed as this bike oozes style so you want to make sure you're going slow enough to be seen!

Moto Guzzi is another of Italy's major exporter of motorcycles. This interesting military bike is a lot newer than it might look, post dating WWII by 6 years. The Alec, as it was called, had actually been in production since 1938 and continued throughout and after the war. By the 1950's, most european bikes had dropped the girder front end for telescopic forks - this bike actually has a girder rear end so to speak. It's actually a rigid frame but the passenger not only has a set of grab-bars, but there's a girder suspension to keep the seat and fender underneath, nice and smooth over the rough bumpy back roads. The driver still has to rely on the rear tire for any type of shock absorption. 

Grand-Prix racing resumed in the years following the war and Italy was quick to come up with a number of small displacement sport bikes that dominated the 125 and 250 classes.

This Moto Rumi was designed for everyday or competition riding or both if you so desired. The Junior Gentleman boasted 124cc's of two stroke glory. The road going version of the Junior had a low profile headlight bucket and windscreen. Very sporty indeed. Moto Rumi closed down in the early 60's when founder, Donnino Rumi decided to follow his first passion of fine-art and sculpture. One could argue that he had already accomplished his masterpiece with one of these well thought out machines.

Another Rumi 124cc. Check out the megaphone exhaust. Most two stroke motors rely on an expansion chamber in the exhaust to create horse-power. This bike, however, does not seem to work on those principles...

Moto Parilla was another small displacement (350cc and less) company that produced stunning sport bikes from 1946 to 1965. This 1957 MSDS is a 175cc street and track bike (depending on the removable front number plate covering its headlight) was raced at the Giro D'Italia (site is Italiano) by it's owner Frank Smith.

Another beautiful 1957 175cc Parilla

MV Agusta is one of Italy's finest motorcycles to this day, though their history dates back to pre-war aviation and it wasn't until after WWII, that they began to produce motorcycles as a way to not only stay in business and keep jobs, but meet the new demand for cheap post-war transportation. This MV Turismo was 1957's top of the line touring/commuting bike with a 175cc four stroke motor.

A 1956 MV CSTL has some impressive details. Check out that air filter!

MV Agusta was resurrected in the late 90's after a decade or so of extinction. The new bikes are as fast as they are beautiful. But nothing beats the line on the old air cooled alloy-finned head!

Moto Morini (above) is another example fine classic Italian engineering. Again a 175cc four stroke (see a pattern here?) single OHC with a beautiful restoration to match.

The very rare 1954 Moto Comet, an off shoot of the Brevetti Drusiani Bologna Co., was a twin, 175cc, 4 stroke with a SOHC and could pull 77mph!

love the "globe logo"

Motobi was the Italian market name for what most American would've known  as Benelli (their rebadged export model) This twin beauty was powered by a single carb and 198cc of power! Remember, power to weight ratio on these bikes made them incredibly fast and agile, especially on the tight twisty tracks and roads of the GP circuit.

Benelli, and to a lesser extent Motobi, were very active on the racing scene and famous riders include Renzo Pasolini, Mike Hailwood (who's son David was a Judge at this years Radnor Hunt Concours), Tarquino Provini, Silvio Grassetti and the Benelli 250cc World champion in 1969, Kel Carruthers. Read more about the Motobi/Benelli Circuit here!

One of the best engine deigns - so very telling of the 60's-Italian, optimistic view into the future!                                                                                           

1957 Moto Islo 175cc Carrera.  Islo motorcycle factory was the first manufacturer of motorcycles in Latin America. Label was founded in Saltillo - Coahuila state capital. It was established in 1955, Isidro Lopez shortly after his return from Italy, where deeply fascinated by motorcycles, diligently studied the functioning of the local market for two wheelers. Then only some factories could afford to produce all parts to their motorcycles.Most manufacturers amounted components from leading companies - mostly Italian. It was no different in the case Islo. Isidro Lopez signed a contract for the supply of Franco Morini engines, suspension provided a firm Ceri, frame and tank came from Pieracci. To this came the Del Orto carburetors, sofas Giuliare and Grimeca brakes. Isidro Lopez gave his name ISLO bikes - consisting of the first letters of its name. For the first year of production company specialized in the production of solid motorcycles intended primarily for use couriers and postmen. Islo quickly gained recognition in the local market mainly because of their durability and reliability. Demand driven manufacturing, which continues to rise, surpassing even competitive Gilera, which had its factory in Argentina. But sir, Lopez was still in the memory of the famous Italian racing motorcycle and his son Javier dreamed of creating in his factory sport motorcycle. This dream was indeed a very pragmatic basis. Commonly known was the fact that motorcycle, who won a well-known Italian long-distance race such as: Milano-Taranto and Giro famous Italian pięciodniówkę de Italia, the very next day sold in stores like hot cakes. Won in a spectacular Italian race was the key to commercial success in Europe Islo. This info and much more on the ISLO motorcycle, can be found on this comprehensive site by clicking here.

Beautiful Italian styling.

Check out that tank rest!

Below is another beautiful Moto Parilla. This bike, is a 250cc (I believe) and while similar in styling to the Parilla  MSDS pictured earlier, this machine has many subtle difference. Not the rear frame design. A beautiful specimen if I do say so myself.

Made in Italy!
Another 1957 Moto Rumi Gentleman Junior. The Italian/Checkered flag combo on the tank specified this bike was made for both on and of the racing circuit.

Is that a forward rotating Kickstart?

Beautiful lines and color scheme.

A 1967 Ducati Sebring 2500cc single. Named after the track of the same name, this 250 single sports a bevel drive OHC, heal/toe shifter and street trim.

The blue on the exhaust header indicates this bike is a rider, not just a trailer queen.
beautiful engineering on the overhead cam box.

1965 Ducati 175cc Gran Sport. This beautifully restored machine was raced in Italy's Moto Giro. Again, track/street configuration as with many of the Italian bikes of this period. They were small, fast and suitable for competition - yet practical enough for the road.

Check out those exposed hairpin valve springs. Certainly helps with air cooling.

Two 1957 Ducati's the Sport (foreground) and the SS (background). Both are subtlety different, but share their magnificent two toned paint-job and the iconic "jelly mold" tanks which made these bikes a crowd favorite. Both were dominant in the Moto Giro races and highly collectible today.

The Sport
The SS

A well raced Ducati with all the right patina and track scars. A true survivor!

The Ducati 250 Diana Mk3 produced an impressive 30hp at 8300 rpm's. Check out a cool spec sheet on this bike by clicking here.

This 1965 Ducati Mach 1 Special earned it's postscript by many performance enhancing modifications which pushes this 250 single into the triple digit speed zone. Front fender, tank, seat and exhaust are are custom fabricated items.

check out the vented clutch!
With the advent of the 70's we see a shift in styling, epitomized by the silver metal flake paint job on this 1972, 250cc Ducati "Silver Shotgun". This is one of the last 250 Ducati's as motorcycles were increasing in size and capacity with the new decade.

Say goodbye to the small singles of the 60's and get acquainted with the 1972 Ducati 750 SS V-twin. This particular bike is one of three pre-production bikes and was once owned by famed Cycle Magazine Writers Phil Schilling and Cook Neilson (also a land speed racer on his famous heavily modded Harley Sportser). Paul Smart took one of these bikes to victory in 1972's Imola 200 which launched Ducati into the Super Bike market of the 70's and beyond.

Absolutely superb styling and color scheme

Look at the engineering on that motor. Apparently not the easiest engines to work on.

This 1968 Ducati 350cc racer was 1 of 6 factory productions for the European Formula Three class. In original condition, Johnny Dupont now owns this piece of racing history.

More bikes and cars picture below from the 2011 Concours d"Elegance at Radnor Hunt. Too many to talk about but none worth overlooking.

The shift from the 70's into the 80's see's more contemporary motorcycles like this Moto Morini twin.
One of this years special guest judges was David Hailwood, son of famed Mike "the Bike" Hailwood. David also races in vintage classes and is very active in the European racing scene. David talks to fans of his late father and obliges them with stories and inside information. David is very knowledgable and a hell of a nice chap to boot.

1979 Ducati MHR (Mike Hailwood Replica)

Another beautiful 1965 Ducati. This 350cc racer, fully faired, started life as a 250 Diana but was heavily modified. It was raced in the vintage circuit until very recently

Classic style with modern tires from it's recent racing history.

Riders view. Watch out for the crowd straight ahead!
2011 Concours Judge and former AMA pro Gary Fisher.
More cars than I could possibly cover, but below are a few more I found particularly interesting.

1937 Jaguar SS 100 3.5-Litre Roadster

1969 Ferrari 365 GTB 4c

This 48 H.R.G. was my personal favorite. The lines, the simple color scheme and those super sporty dual windscreens made this a hard car to capture on film due to the crowds consistently around it.

1964 Porsche 365C Coupe
Bikes of the 2011 Radnor Hunt Concours d"elegance
Below, a couple who really got into the spirit of the Concours d'Elegance. This is a dressy affair!

Crowds take in the sites, Judges determining awards to be given.
The overcast skies threatened rain all day, but not a drop fell. It was very reminiscent of a typical day on the Isle of Man, where many of these classic bikes, or ones just like them, were campaigned.

Grey turns Green.

My other favorite was this 1961 Jaguar E-Type roadster.  Yeeeeeooooow!

1913 Marion Speedster Bobcat. Check out the windshield and the owner behind it!
The wives in their Concours dresses. The other halves of Smith and Lawless

A young girl plays with a walkie talkie with her friends who stood behind me. I think they could hear each other without the battery operated communication devices, but they were having fun among the 100 motor cars of Radnor Hunt. The Concours is a family affair, both in the "immediate family" sense and the extended family of people who love classic motors. 

Despite this years event falling on the anniversary of the tragic events of 9-11, people gathered at The Hunt Club seemed upbeat and optimistic. There was a moment of silence followed by amazing grace on the bugle, which was a moving gesture, plus the subtle flags placed at every motor car and bike. A reminder that we are fortunate to live in a country where an event like this can take place and will continue to forge ahead as a nation.

Not going end this on a somber note - so... after the threat of rain for several hours, the sun finally burned through and the blue sky enveloped the distant green fields with warmth and light. Car owners (especially ones with convertibles) breathed a sigh of relief. Awards were announced  and results should be posted on Radnor Hunts site very soon.  My personal car pick would hands down be the '48 H.R.G.. As for motorcycles, I loved them all. I am particularly fond of the late 50's early 60's small Italians, but if I had to choose one, I'd probably go with the 750SS for its style, innovation, rarity and over all good looks.

My wife and I ended our day with dinner with her mother (as we were all dressed up with no place else to go). If you missed this event and live in the Pennsylvania vicinity, make sure you mark your calendar for next year - it's always the 2nd Sunday of September. Bring your family, join our family, socialize, spectate and make sure to dress SMART!

9-11-2001 10 years after. Never forget.
-Matthew Smith


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