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Thread: Solvang Antique Motorcycle Museum - A Photo Shoot

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    A visit to the Solvang Antique Motorcycle Museum

    Got a chance to finally make it to the Solvang Antique Motorcycle Museum.

    The motorcycles in the museum are from the private collection of Virgil Elings. He has been collecting motorcycles for 2 decades. The collection is quite broad with something for everyone, ranging from a 1910 FN to the present, and across all makes. The emphasis is tilted toward racing motorcycles since Virgil and his son Jeff were involved in vintage motorcycle racing, both motocross and road racing.

    The museum came about after Dr. Elings retired. He bought a home in the Santa Ynez valley and this business property, called Solvang Village Square, in Solvang, California. He decided to open the motorcycle museum as an afterthought, when he realized it would be a great place to store some of his rare motorbike collection. Prior to this, Elings kept his bikes in his garages, living room, family room, bedrooms, offices, and wherever else he could find space. He opened the museum to the public in March 2000.

    The Solvang Vintage Motorcycle Museum is an easy day ride northward out of Los Angeles, CA through the beautiful Santa Ynez Valley.

    The museum is located in the former Solvang Designer Outlet Center now owned by Dr. Elings. The museum rotates some of the bikes each month so that the bikes on display are constantly changing and expanding.


    A few pics.



    1904 NSU V Twin

    NSU was a German company whose motorcycles ranked along with BMW and DKW as Germany's most famous manufactures. They started making motorcycles in 1900 and their racing bikes won the 250cc world championship in 1953, 1954 and 1955. NSU became involved with the rotary engine with Felix Wankel in the 50's and 60's and due to engineering difficulties, was to spell the end of NSU. They were eventually bought by Volkswagen.




    Last edited by pashnit; 10-09-2004 at 08:01 AM.

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    1910 FN

    The Begian Arms company 'FN' was the first to make 4 cylinder motorcycles in 1905. This is a 500cc engine, as big as that in the Gilera, but doesn't look big because of the small cooling fins on the engine. These and other inline 4's would usually be limited by the back cylinder getting hot. This bike has no clutch. When you stop, you must stop the engine and then peddle to get started again.




    1920 ABC Sopwith

    Designed by the All British (Engine) Company (ABC) it was built by Sopwith Engineering, the same people who made the Sopwith Camel WWI airplane.

    This bike was very innovative and is generally considered as the engine that BMW copied in 1925 (BMW also made airplanes in WWI). This bike has front and rear suspension, overhead valves, a 4-speed transmission and an electric generator. These engines have a reputation that if you ever rev them too much, the pushrods fall out.



    AJS &

    1918 Thor

    The Thor was made by the Aurora Machine & Tool Company in Chicago, Illinois. They made the first engines for Indian in 1902 and then started their own line in 1903. The 1200cc motor in this bike was only made until 1915 but Thor assembled bikes up to 1918. Several thousand were built. Aurora also made home appliances and at one time sold a combination clothes washer/dishwasher, which probably speeded up their eventual demise.


    Last edited by pashnit; 10-09-2004 at 07:53 AM.

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    1925 DOT Racer

    This bike, like many early English bikes, had JAP (J.A. Prestwich) engines. Oddly enough, DOT stood for 'Devoid of Trouble'.







    Last edited by pashnit; 10-08-2004 at 09:40 PM.

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    1927 Henderson Four

    The Henderson Brothers were the fathers of the 4 cylinder motorcycles in America. The company was bought by Schwinn (the bicycle people) and the Hendersons went on to make the ACE, which was bought by Indian.



    1928 Neander (German)

    This bike was a Swiss engine called a M.A.G. Neander quit making bikes in 1929. Originally, these bikes are cadmium plated, including fender and tank. This bike was restored in Germany where cadmium plating is not allowed, so was painted with dull aluminum paint.




    Last edited by pashnit; 10-08-2004 at 09:59 PM.

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    1933 Matchless Silverhawk

    Hi tech of the 30's from the English. This engine is a V4 overhead camshaft and the fram is a swinging arm with the springs under the seat. None of the other 30's bikes in teh museum have any rear suspension. Did the bike sell? No, bad timing - the depression stopped it.


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    1936 Nimbus w/ Sidecar

    OK, you Vikings, here is a real Danish motorcycle with sidecar from Denmark. Notice the interesting contrast of technology. A four cylinder overhead camshaft engine with a foot shift and shaft drive, contrasted with a frame made from flat strips of steel.










    Note the open valve springs. Nowdays found underneath the valve cover.

    Last edited by pashnit; 10-09-2004 at 07:51 AM.

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    1946 Indian Chief

    Recognized by its deeply valanced fenders, the Chief was first made in 1922 and production stopped in 1953, when Indian quit making its own motorcycles and started selling British bikes with the Indian label. Oddly enough, one of the DuPont family took control of the company in 1930, making the full range of DuPont paint colors available on Indians in 1931.







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    1947 Triumph Speed Twin

    Designed before the war, this was Triumph's first "verticle twin" - two cylinders beside each other. During the war, engines like this powered electric generators.

    Last edited by pashnit; 10-08-2004 at 09:35 PM.

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    1949 Vincent Black Lightning - Supercharged

    This is one of only 30 Black Lightnings ever made and was the first one in the USA. This bike held the 1-mile world speed record (unsupercharged) in 1953 and then held the American record of 182 mph supercharged. This is probably the meanest pre-1950 bike you will ever see.




    On a cool Monday morning on Sept. 13, 1948, Rollie Free lifted from Harley Davidson the US national motorcycle speed record by riding the first Vincent HRD Black Lightning racing motorcycle to a speed of 150.313 m.p.h. When Rollie's leathers tore from early runs at 147 mph, he discarded them and made a final, heroic attempt without jacket, pants, gloves, boots or helmet.




    Aboard the motorcycle owned by the California sportsman, John Edgar, this final run resulted in the most famous photograph in motorcycling, the "bathing suit bike" shot taken from a speeding car on the Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah. Rollie lay flat out on the motorcycle wearing only a speedo bathing suit, shower cap and a pair of borrowed sneakers.


    One of the more famous pictures in motorcycle history.




    The AMA certified Free's record. Special features included the first-ever Vincent use of a rear shock absorber, the first Mk II racing cams and horizontally mounted racing carbs."





    More info on the Vincent - Clicky

    The new Vincent Configurator

    Enter Bernard Li, an entrepreneur with over 20 years of experience in the automotive industry, who acquired the Vincent trademark in 1994 and is the president of Vincent Motors, which is based in San Diego. A design and engineering team has given form to Mr. Li's idea of the modern Vincent and with the help of Roush Industries, four running prototypes were unveiled at his house in Ranch Santa Fe in early October. With a styling blend giving a nod to the early days of the Vincent, form is uniquely combined with modern design and components. Carbon fiber gas tank, fenders, fairing and chain guard, LCD instrumentation, USD forks, a cantilever-style monoshock rear suspension with multi-adjustable shock and Brembo brakes all say that the new Vincent is ready for the modern world. A black, round tube, triangulated frame holds not only the motor, but the oil as well.

    The New Vincent Website

    Last edited by pashnit; 10-09-2004 at 07:41 AM.

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    1950 CZ Racer Double Overhead Cam Racer

    CZ was a Czechoslovakian armament firm (CZ stands for Czech arms) which made mostly 2 cycle bikes. They and Jawa were nationalized in 1945. This is a 4 cycle 125cc racer which has a "dustbin" faring which were popular in the 50's. These fairings were made illegal in the late 50's after riders had the problem of being blown off the track in high winds from the side. CZs were not very competive in the world championship road racing.




    Last edited by pashnit; 10-08-2004 at 11:14 PM.

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