THE WALL OF DEATH RIDERS PT. II | LION TALES OF FUMES, FURY & FUR

TSY recenty received a scan of this great old Wall of death rider, along with the below note from the sender, Brian in Kansas City, MO. Anyone with knowledge of the rider, and/or this particular Wall of Death motordrome is kindly asked to chime in:

“…I am a collector of postcards and a while back I purchased a postcard of a man on a motorcycle riding in some kind of spectator show. Your article helped clarify a lot about the photo. I have attached the photo and thought maybe you have seen it before or could provide some more info.  The back of the card is particularly interesting. It reads: ‘About 1912– Later he was killed– Someone threw a peanut at him– caused him to dodge and lose balance, falling with cycle to bottom of pit killing him.’ Sounds likes sport spectators were not much different then as they are today.  I thought maybe the motorcycle may have been a Cyclone, however I don’t think it is. The lettering on his shirt may bring some clue as well…”

cyclone clark motorcycle wall of death

Back In Dec. ’09 TSY posted what remains today one of our more popular stories– Wall of Death riders with a lion, no less. I mean, really…old photos of a lion riding the Wall of Death is damn hard to beat…unless you have a video of said lion riding the Wall of Death! At that time there wasn’t a moving image to be found, but British Pathe, an amazing archive of historic film clips, uncovered a little gem of ‘Fearless Egbert’ giving his lion named Monarch a spin back in 1934. They also uncovered incredible film footage of ‘Tornado Smith’ with his Lion, ‘Briton’. It’s definitely worth a look…

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THE PHOTOGRAPHY OF HORST A. FRIEDRICHS | WIN A FREE SIGNED COPY OF HIS LATEST BOOK ‘DRIVE STYLE’

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Jade, Hot Rod Night, Ace Cafe London, 2013 — Image by © Horst A. Friedrichs

I’m a big fan of Horst A. Friedrichs. (I have literally worn the cover off of my copy of Or Glory, 21st Century Rockers.) His style is about as far away as you can get from the balls-out vibe in a lot of today’s lifestyle photography (which I also obviously love). In Horst, there’s a strong sense of controlled curation in every stunning portrait. No minute detail escapes his critical eye. Every subject is perfectly directed (dressed, coiffed, posed) to evoke the desired mood. Horst is much more than a great photographer– he’s an artist imposing his masterful will upon the subject and setting to create lasting images that move you through their overall flawless composition. In Horst’s latest book Drive Style he dives into Britain’s rich & eclectic car culture, capturing amazing rare, historical, and custom automobiles alone or with their owners, drivers, and spectators. Keep reading to find out how you can win a free copy signed by Horst A. Friedrichs.

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OILER’S CAR CLUB THE RACE OF GENTLEMAN, 24 HRS OF NEW JERSEY | SCOTT TOEPFER

sgtoepfer oilers car club

Scott Toepfer, a guy I’m humbled to call my friend, came to the Jersey Shore to shoot the second annual The Race of the Gentlemen organized by Mel Stultz (OCC) and put on by the legendary Oiler’s Car Club. It’s an event that can only be adequately described by someone who was actually there in the thick of it– and Toepfer was kind enough to share his personal thoughts with TSY on the sights, sounds, and experiences had by a California boy in Wildwood, Jersey. Great stuff, Scott!

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DOES ‘RUSH’ REFERENCE THE BLACK SPIDER THAT FATALLY STRUCK SEBRING BACK IN 1957?

Formula One World Championship
“Niki Lauda had raised concerns about the safety of the track at the German Grand Prix at Nürburgring, but couldn’t convince other drivers to join him in protest. Due to a reported rear suspension failure, coupled with a wet track, his car swerved off course, hit an embankment, and burst into flames. Trapped inside the car, Lauda inhaled toxic gases and suffered severe burns to his entire head, including his scalp and eyelids. Lauda lapsed into a coma and nearly died. Yet just six weeks later, he was back on the track—and on James Hunt’s tail.” via
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This past week, Lee Raskin (motorsports historian, author, and vintage racer) wrote and said he’d recently gotten some racing friends together for a Rush viewing night in Baltimore. He shared his educated theory on a deeply intriguing scene that seems to nod to an old school racing superstition. So with all due respect, esteemed Director Ron Howard, there’s a question that begs to be asked here…
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JAMES HUNT | WHEN PLAYBOYS RULED THE WORLD AND THE RACETRACK WITH A RUSH

© Copyright 2012 CorbisCorporation

James Hunt on the winner’s podium (L to R): Patrick Depailler (FRA) Tyrrell, second; race winner James Hunt (GBR) McLaren; John Watson (GBR) Penske, third. French Grand Prix, 1976. — Image © Phipps / Sutton Images / Corbis

I’m stoked to see Rush this weekend– the much anticipated film by Ron Howard on one of Formula One’s most talented and notorious drivers ever, James “The Shunt” Hunt. The seemingly insatiable ladies’ man was estimated to have had 5,000 trysts in his lifetime. History tells of a wicked weekend where buddy and fellow (motorcycle) racing legend Barry Sheene tallied 33 BA stewardesses lined-up at the door of their Tokyo Hilton suite. It’ll be interesting to see if Chris Hemsworth is able to capture his wit and charm, and if he can keep his muscles from overshadowing the memory of Hunt’s lean, lanky frame hard-earned by a physical exercise regiment consisting largely of driving, and shagging. The perfect primer for Rush is the documentary When Playboy’s ruled the World which accurately and colorfully takes you back to the glory days of Hunt & Sheene when driving was dangerous, and sex was safe. More epic photos of James Hunt in action after the video…

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FRANCE’S FAIREST EXPORT– FRANCOISE HARDY | IMMORTAL BELOVED STYLE & MUSIC MUSE

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Francoise Hardy on the ‘Grand Prix’ set seen wearing co-star James Garner’s helmet, 1966.

Francoise Hardy was a wistful breath of fresh air during the sex, drugs & rock ‘n’ roll of the 1960s. Mysterious, sweetly naive, and utterly desirable. She was adored by Bob Dylan, Nick Drake, Mick Jagger, David Bowie, and more. The incredible enduring images of Hardy, particularly those by famed photographer Jean-Marie Perier (who shot her donned in Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, Andre Courréges, and Paco Rabanne), made her an instant and timeless style icon. With her faraway gaze and lazy smile, Francoise Hardy is like a melancholy dream that you simply don’t want to wake up from. Her unease with fame and adoration is at times clearly evident in her photos– serving only to make her even more alluring.

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THROTTLE MERCHANTS | SO CAL’S PRE- 1940s FORD HOTRODS & VINTAGE BIKES

Throttle Merchants Magazine is the photobook project of Matt Porter & Aileen Aquino. Their passion is shooting SoCal’s amazingly rich Hot Rod culture, focusing primarily on pre-’40s Fords, and vintage motorcycles. Looking at the images of these incredibly crafted machines and their unique creators, one is impressed that this no hobby. This is what they live for. To that point, Matt and Aileen are big on keeping the pages of Throttle Merchants all about the stories being told through the photography, and have strayed away from ads & sponsor revenue. Check out their website here to see how you can help support their vision. The much anticipated Issue 4 will be available on 8/24, kicking-off that night with a release party at Old Crow Speed Shop in Burbank. Check it out.

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Bobby Green — Photography by Matt Porter and Aileen Aquino © Throttle Merchants Magazine

“A friend of ours recently called Throttle Merchants Magazine a “passion project”—and with that we would totally agree. We started photographing the hot rod culture back in 2008 and have self-published four magazines since then as a side-project. The term magazine can be somewhat confusing to people— none of our work contains articles, advertisements, or editorials. There are no staff writers, nor do we have a creative director. We simply take collections of our own images and let them tell a story. All photographs in each magazine are shot by us (Matt Porter and Aileen Aquino), and are then laid out by us before being sent to press. We’ve been nursing our latest work for a couple of years until now. To finally have the finished project—a tangible compilation to share with everyone—has set our minds at ease. Volume 4 includes Lucky Burton, Bobby Green, Billy Branch, Robert Lomas, Chris Casny, Jack Carroll, Jose Gonzalez, and more.”  –Aileen Aquino

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Billy Branch  —  Photography by Matt Porter and Aileen Aquino © Throttle Merchants Magazine

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“Can’t Stay” Jose  —  Photography by Matt Porter and Aileen Aquino © Throttle Merchants Magazine

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HURST RACING TIRES ~ SINCE 1961 | MADE BY HAND IN OREGON CITY, OR

ray gordon hurst racing tires

Here’s a cool video by Ray Gordon on the story of Hurst Racing Tires– owned and operated by Cody Adams & Steve Adams since 2005 in Oregon City, OR. They make each tire by hand, using the original equipment acquired by Ron Hurst himself when he started making racing tires back in 1961 to supply the local racers in San Diego, CA. You get a real appreciation that some things are just better when done by hand, using quality materials and time-honored craftsmanship.

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VINTAGE MENSWEAR | A COLLECTION FROM THE VINTAGE SHOWROOM’S BOOK

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I was pretty stoked when Doug Gunn sent me a copy of — Vintage Menswear — A Collection from the Vintage Showroom — as I’ve long been an admirer. Being in the menswear trade myself, London has always been a favorite stop for inspiration, and there’s no better place to be inspired than The Vintage Showroom. The collection is insane and beautifully presented, covering everything from academia, sporting, hunting, motoring, military wear, workwear, denim– it’s no surprise that they are one of the most complete and prestigious vintage dealers in the world. Of special interest to me are all things related to motoring as you see below including vintage leathers, Barbour, Belstaff, etc., and all the great snippets of the history, construction, and function behind the pieces.

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CHAMPION CAR CLUB JACKET, 1950s– “This is a simple, zip-up cotton jacket with fish-eye buttons at the cuffs and a short collar. What it signifies, however, is so much more. The hand-embroidered, chain-stitched imagery on its back places it squarely in the 1950s, at the height of the hot-rodding craze in the US. Hot-rodding was said to have been driven by young men returning from service abroad after World War II who had technical knowledge, time on their hands, and the habit of spending long days in male, if not macho, company. Rebuilding and boosting cars for feats of both spectacle and speed — often 1930s Ford Model Ts, As and Bs, stripped of extraneous parts, engines tuned or replaced, tires beefed up for better traction, and a show-stopping paint job as the final touch — became an issue of social status among hot-rodding’s participants. This status was expressed through clothing too. There were the ‘hot-rodders’ of the 1930s, when car modification for racing across dry lakes in California was more an innovative sport than a subculture, complete with the Southern California Timing Association of 1937 providing ‘official’ sanction. But by the 1950s, hot-rodding was a style too.  decade later it was, as many niche tastes are, commercialized and mainstream, with car design showing hot-rod traits.”  –Vintage Menswear, Douglas Gunn, Roy Luckett& Josh Sims

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STEVE McQUEEN AKA HARVEY MUSHMAN RIDES AGAIN | VINTAGE SI

A great article from 1971 unearthed from the Sports Illustrated archives– Steve McQueen discussing desert bike riding with Bud Ekins & Malcolm Smith, Racing in the 12 Hours of Sebring with Pete Revson, The Great Escape, his son Chad, and much more.

McQueen even recalls exactly when he was bitten by the off-road bug– “Well, I was riding along Sepulveda with Dennis Hopper when we saw these guys bopping and bumping through the weeds near there, off the road. It was Keenan Wynn and another guy on these strange machines, dirt bikes they called them. We asked Keenan if he could climb that cliff. ‘Watch this,’ he says. Varoom! Right up to the top. Dennis and I were standing there with our eyes out to here. The very next day I went out and bought me a 500-cc Triumph dirt bike.”

Read on friends, read on.

Steve McQueen riding his Husqvarna 400 motorcycle. Below is an article from SI magazine, 1971.

HARVEY ON THE LAM

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By Robert F. Jones

By any name, Steve McQueen gets all revved up over dirt bikes.

Slamming one across the California Desert is now his Great Escape.

*

The opening scene: California’s Mojave Desert at high noon. Dead silence. Through the shimmering heat waves, Mount San Jacinto seems to writhe on the horizon like a dying brontosaurus. The spines of the cactus at foreground right are in sharp focus, the gleaming spearpoints of a vegetable army. In the shadow of a boulder, sudden movement. A Gila monster raises its beadwork head and flicks its tongue, alert to the distant sound that is just beginning to insinuate itself into the desert’s quiet. A sudden, ululating whine, the invading noise rapidly gains strength as four distorted dots on the horizon weave closer. The dots take on color and shape s they approach: a quartet of red and chrome motorcycles, stunting and racketing through the puckerbushes, their riders vaulting the ridges and slaloming through the cactus at 70 mph. Their ominous, mechanical verve sends the Gila monster– descendant of the dinosaurs– scuttling for shelter. The camers zooms in on the lead rider’s face, sun-blackened and jut-jawed under his helmet. Up music and credits: hold onto your popcorn, folks–

Harvey Mushman rides again!

That scenario, or one like it, takes place nearly every weekend in the desert surrounding Palm Springs. Harvey Mushman is the ocassional pseudonym of Steve McQueen, movie actor and motor sportsman, when he goes a-racing. His companions on those fast, racking transits of the wasteland often include the best of the desert-riding breed: Bud Ekins or Roger Riddell, Mert Lawwill or Malcolm Smith. Now and then a smaller figure on a smaller bike trails behind, slower but only a touch less skillful in his handling of the desert’s harsh nuance– Chad McQueen, the actor’s 10-year-old son.

June 13th, 1971 – Steve McQueen riding his Husqvarna 400 motorcycle in the Mojave Desert — Photo by Heinz Kluetmeier/Sports Illustrated/Getty Images

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