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OUTSIDE LOOKING IN…

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I love car and bike shows… probably a little too much since they seem to take up way more of my time than any normal person should allow. They are my obsession I suppose, but I just can’t help it. I love to see classic vehicles and all the things that their owners have done to preserve them. It’s educational, giving me a lot of ideas for my own projects. It’s nostalgic, reminding me of simpler times and the historical significance of the US auto and bike industries over the years. It’s therapeutic, captivating my thoughts for a few hours and allowing me to forget real-world issues and pressures that we all face in adult life. And it brings up fond memories of my youth that includes vehicles I’ve owned in years past and great times I’ve had working on them with my dad. IT’S FUN!!!

Yes… I’ve been known to wander a car or bike show from open to close many times, looking at the same vehicles over and over… but eventually the doors have to close and they kick me out for the night. Sometimes that’s when the fun starts though. I’ve noticed over the years that a lot of the best cars and bikes you will see at a show are not on the show floor but rather in the parking lot. All of the photos in this post were taken in the parking lot of shows I’ve been to. I hope you enjoy them and I also hope that the next time you’re leaving a show, you’ll keep your eyes open on the way back to the car. You might just see some of the best rides all day on the outside looking in.

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MOTION PHOTOGRAPHY

I’ve been messing around with motion photography. Here is my first real attempt… it will get better!

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A LITTLE SOMETHING TO WARM UP YOUR JANUARY

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So… here i sit in the middle of January with next weeks forecasted temperatures below the freezing mark. It’s not a good recipe for people like me who enjoy wandering through classic vehicles in the heat of the summer. Fortunately, I just came across a few pictures from a show I attended in Nashville back in September. It’s not exactly the same but at least I can re-live warmer times and some cool rods with these photos! Care to join me?

By the way… Alexander King & Hatfield Bloodline were the featured band at this particular show. If you’ve not seen them, I highly recommend you do when they hit your town. They are great and Alexander’s guitar player is the one and only Kenny Olson of “Kid Rock” fame.

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HOW TO BEAT THE DARK MONTHS!

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Let’s be honest… the “Dark Months” (that time between November 1st and March 1st when most days are dark, dreary, cold and filled with precipitation) are not fun. Classic cars and motorcycles spend a lot of time under wraps while owners look for ways to maintain their gear-head sanity. One way of doing so is to check out the local car shows… which is exactly what I did this weekend. The indoor event was just what I needed to give me a little boost while I wait for the Spring weather to break. I saw everything from Rats to Resto-Mod Corvettes and just about everything in between. Here are a few pictures. After you take a look, get out there and support your own local shows. It will do your motorized heart a world of good!

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A CLOSER LOOK AT THE DUCATI SCRAMBLER

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All you have to do is say the words “Ducati Scrambler” and those of us who love the two-wheeled life instantly perk up. At least those of us with a few years on our tires and sufficient memory to recall earlier days. The Scrambler was Ducati’s push into the US, back when bellbottoms and wide collared shirts were the fashion and it was the epitome of the “little motorbike” that everyone wanted. By 1968 standards it had “the” sporty look, a solid frame, responsive controls, perfectly matched powerplant options of both a 250 and 350 motor… oh, and perhaps most importantly… it was cool! Despite it’s success on the street, and even on the track to an extent, Ducati decided to suspend production in 1974 bringing an end to what we all thought was the Scrambler legacy.

But hold on… not so fast! After much anticipation, Ducati introduced four new Scrambler models in 2015 (Icon, Full Throttle, Classic & Urban Enduro) to the delight of old school fans and hipsters alike. The results have been impressive and according to Revzilla, Ducati delivered 7,309 units in April of 2015 resulting in the company’s best sales month in history! This is largely due to the introduction of the new Scrambler.

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As an old school kind of guy, my interest was more than peaked when Ducati started leaking information about this groovy little motorbike, so when the local Nashville Ducati dealer (Bloodworth Motorcycles) announced a factory demo day that included the Scrambler, I was all in. I signed up early and got to demo the new Scrambler on a 30 minute ride that covered everything from highway to backroads and even some good old urban bumper to bumper traffic. Here’s my take on the Scrambler.

First off, this bike is a real eye catcher. Even sitting in a line of high-powered, high dollar Ducati sport bikes, my eye instantly gravitated to the base model Icon Scrambler. It’s the perfect blend of old-school meets modern day motorcycle and practically begs you to ride it. When you first sit on the bike you will immediately notice that the handlebars are much like that of a dirt bike and you instantly get the feeling that this is a nimble and spry motorcycle. Seat height was very comfortable for my 5 foot 9 inch frame and all the controls were simple to operate and within easy reach.

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Soon I was off on an adventure in the middle of a 12 bike pack. The first part of our ride took us down a stretch of interstate that allowed me to see what the 803cc motor had to offer. It did not disappoint and I was pleasantly surprised at how much torque the Scrambler had. Of course, with no wind screen, it was not the most comfortable ride at 70 miles per hour but then again, long interstate rides are not what this bike is built for. Next we made our way through 11 miles of twists and turns. This is where the Scrambler shined for me. I expected it to be a bit top-heavy under hard cornering but to my surprise it was smooth as silk and gripped the road admirably. The dirt bike “feel” was evident here again and I had no problems laying the bike over and hanging with the sport bikes in the group. The six-speed transmission and super-responsive clutch performed flawlessly and added to the fun. This road did reveal my biggest complaint about the Scrambler however. I found the tachometer to be painfully hard to read, especially when navigating sharp turns and trying to sneak a quick look at the RPMs. It’s not a deal-breaker but I hope that Ducati will address this issue going forward.

On our way back to the dealership we got caught in rush hour traffic. It lasted about 5 miles and gave me the opportunity to test out the Scrambler in a real-world situation. The bike performed great. It’s light enough to maneuver easy and has enough torque to get you out and away from tight situations. I could easily see this bike as a daily commuter but I do have to say… one drawback would have to be the hot exhaust pipe just under your right thigh. It’s positioned just where you can really feel it and on a day that saw over 90 degree temperatures, I was more than aware of it. Again… not a deal breaker but something to consider.

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All in all, I’d have to say that the Ducati Scrambler is well worth a look for the rider who wants a reasonably priced (starting at $8595 MSRP) smaller, fun bike for either canyon carving or commuting. I could easily see one in my garage and I suspect that if it were there I’d probably be pulling it out more than any of the others because of it’s size and “fun” factor. Check one out for yourself!

PROS:
– Looks Fantastic
– Lots of Torque
– Very Manuverable

CONS:
– Poor visibility of the tach
– Warm Exhaust Pipe

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Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned.

This review indicates my own personal opinion of this product and should be taken as just that. Yours may vary and you should try this product yourself before drawing any conclusions about it.

© 2016 Biker Swag, All Rights Reserved. No part of this review may be reproduced in any format without express written permission.

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1968: The Third Generation of Corvette Begins!

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When you say the words American sports car, most immediately think of the Chevrolet Corvette. And why wouldn’t you? The fiberglass bodied wonder has been captivating men and women alike since it’s debut in 1953 and continues to make the hearts of the young and old in 2016 race a little bit faster at the sight of it’s seventh generation curves.

C7Did I say seventh generation? Yes, the Corvette has gone through seven major designs and re-designs since it’s inception and along the way has brought about technological advances that have kept it ahead of its competition and added new generations of fans and enthusiasts that have fallen in love with the Corvette model. But before I get too caught up in the beauty of the new C7 Corvette, let me step back in time and focus on my personal favorite generation of Corvette… the C3 or third generation and in particular… the 1968 model which ushered in a 15 year run of beautiful “Coke Bottle” shaped Corvettes.

Following the highly successful 2nd generation of Corvettes (1963 to 1967) was no easy task. The “new” design was a stretch for it’s time, drawing inspiration from a now legendary and MAKOthen quite futuristic 1965 Mako Shark II concept car. With it’s radical new body lines and completely re-designed interior, the 1968 Corvette was first met with skepticism but soon won over the public and the industry “experts” with its performance, eye-popping beauty, removable roof panels (T-Tops), flush door handles, front fender cooling vents, aviation inspired instrument cluster and a new optional Turbo Hydramatic 3-speed automatic transmission. Within months, the third generation Corvette was a major hit and kicked off the longest generation of Corvettes, lasting all the way up until 1982… and even surviving an assembly plant relocation from St. Louis, Missouri to Bowling Green, Kentucky during the 1981 production year.

And speaking of the Bowling Green, Kentucky plant (the current home of Corvette production and the National Corvette Museum), I recently had the privilege of attending the Bowling Green Assembly Corvette Club annual cruise-in held on the plant grounds, and spotted these two fine examples of ’68 models. The Rally Red car is a restored car and the Lemans Blue model is slightly modified. Both cars are perfect examples of the C3 Corvette and either would be welcome in my garage!

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AN AWESOME 1977 BMW R100/7

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I spotted this way-cool 1977 BMW R100/7 at a local show this weekend. The bike was modded into a cafe’ style by a chap named Bob Long in Sevierville, Tennessee. Here’s what he did:

  • Completely disassembled the frame and cleared all unnecessary mounting lugs
  • Painted frame and components with PPG PR4 Red.
  • Painted side covers, tank and rear fairing in PPG WA600R Black and PPG GAN Silver
  • Rebuilt forks and stiffened with 8mm bushings.
  • Replaced rear shocks with Hagon SA adjustable coil-overs.
  • Added Burley Cafe’ rear tail section and custom seat cover.
  • Added Cat Eye tail light and BR sport mini turn signals (front and back).
  • Added European spec “low bars.”
  • Added “Pea-Shooters” slip on mufflers and header wrap.
  • Deleted rear fender and shortened front fender.

I think the results are fantastic… I love this bike!

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