TSY’s FAVE FIVE ON SOUTHSIDERS MC | ICONIC BIKES THAT MADE HISTORY

Our friends over at SouthSiders MC run one of the hands-down, best bike sites going, and were kind enough to feature TSY in their ongoing feature called “Your Favorite Five”, which pretty much speaks for itself.  Picking just five bikes is near impossible, so there may be a sequel coming up…

\Via SouthSiders MC–

Blogs have become an incredible tool of communication, bringing over a decade a level of power to the multimedia publishing that print barely reached in a century.

Nevertheless, the rules remain the same : real & exclusive content, real writing, real photography make the difference that provides readers and not zappers. The Selvedge Yard is among the best true web publications. Based on the fascination for “Americana” and the American style, his maker, Jon Patrick is also a fashion contibutor to the Italian men’s fashion ruler GQ. Jon’s roots are plugged into the American Movie History.
*
Some for beauty, some for brawn – all for their importance. How do you pick five? Should I stick to the classics, so its apples to apples? We’ll see…

Harley Davidson XR-750

Harley Davidson’s dominating, and sexy as all hell, flat track racer. First introduced in 1970, and seriously upgraded in 1972 as the aluminum “Alloy XR”, it not only became an icon on the dirt track, it was also Evel Knievel‘s weapon of choice. With its classic H-D orange/black graphic appeal and clean, uncluttered form – it’s a bike for the ages.

Husqvarna 1970 400 Cross
*
Husky’s icon that became synonymous with another icon – Steve McQueen. Featured in his 1971 film, On Any Sunday, Husqvarnas were the most badass and beautiful motocross bikes of their day, with their 400 Cross becoming a highly coveted classic. The legendary Malcolm Smith tore it up alongside McQueen on an innovative eight-speed Husky 250, which he also used to handily dominate the competitive off-road circuit. Hell yeah, Husky!

1953 Triumph Blackbird

In the 1950s, there were more Triumphs sold in the U.S. than any other country. Their top-end Thunderbird 650cc vertical twin, with a little tinkering, could top out at 130 mph. A great bike, but fairly limited in offering. They were available in one color only – blue. So when public demand cried-out for a black Triumph, they finally released the Blackbird in 1953 – and it still slays me every time I lay eyes on her. Another important note – Brando, a motorcyclist himself, rode his own ’50 Thunderbird in the iconic film, “The Wild One”.

1940 Indian Scout

This beauty once belonged to none other than, you guessed it – Steve McQueen. Here you see the motorcycle company’s iconic Indian Head logo on the fuel tank. I personally prefer the pared-down Scout over the heavy-looking Chief, but they are beauties too. By the 1940s, Indians began to sport stunning paint jobs with up to 24 colors available, and several two-tone options – making them some of the most beautiful bikes ever produced.

Harley-Davidson Captain America Chopper

Growing up in the ’70s, there were 2 bikes that were emblazoned in my mind – Evel Knievel’s H-D XR-750, and Easy Rider’s Captain America Chopper. The vision of Peter Fonda, it was built by (I love this part…) a Black brother – Ben Hardy from Los Angeles, starting with an old ’52 Panhead Hydra-Glide bought at a Police Auction. It became an instant icon that brought choppers to the forefront of motorcycling, and really raised the bar for custom builds. Two were built for Easy Rider – one survived. Hell yeah, Captain America!

It’s hard to stop at five, I feel a “Part II” coming on…

JP

Continue reading

STEVE McQUEEN | HOLLYWOOD’S ANTI-HERO & TRUE SON OF LIBERTY

Steve McQueen– ironically displaying his signature, perfect balance of allegiance and rebellion.

*

“I live for myself and I answer to nobody.”

–Steve McQueen

*

Steve McQueen personified the “anti-hero” in Hollywood at a time when the emerging counterculture in America was challenging the very definition of what a true “hero” is.  Maybe a better way to look at it is– heroism is an act.  To live an idealistic, heroic life without fault is ultimately impossible.  We all struggle with aligning our beliefs and goals in life with what is truly right.  The fact is there are grey areas that we have to be honest about.  We saw the good and bad in McQueen, and loved him anyway– in fact, we loved him for it.  He was honest about who he was.

We all know McQueen raced cars and motorcycles, but his story goes a lot deeper than that.  His father abandoned him and his alcoholic mother when he was just six-months-old.  Steve locked horns with his new stepfather, whom he called “a prime son of a bitch”.  He struggled with dyslexia in school and was partially deaf.  The young McQueen soon fell in with a street gang, and ran away from home at 14, joining the circus for a short time, and was eventually turned over to the California Junior Boys Republic in Chino Hills, California.  McQueen later worked in a brothel, on an oil rigger– and was even a lumberjack. When he was old enough he enlisted in the U.S.M.C., went AWOL and spent 41 days in the brig.  McQueen decided then and there to embrace the Marines’ discipline and beliefs and better himself. He did just that and later saved the lives of five other Marines during an Arctic exercise, pulling them from a tank before it broke through ice into the sea.  In 1950, McQueen was eventually honorably discharged.

After the Marines, McQueen used his G.I. Bill to study acting at Sanford Meisner’s Neighborhood Playhouse. He brought home extra dough by competing in weekend motorcycle races at Long Island City Raceway.  His big break came in 1958 when he landed the role of the bounty hunter, Josh Randall, in Wanted: Dead or Alive.  Steve McQueen became a household name, and his image as the anti-hero was forged through his character’s detached, mysterious, and unconventional ways– like carrying a sawed-off Winchester rifle, the “Mare’s Leg”, instead of typical six-gun carried by other gunslingers. Hollywood soon came calling, and the rest is history.

All this from a kid born into what many would consider a throw-away life.

*

“When I believe in something, I fight like hell for it.”

–Steve McQueen

A young Steve McQueen

Steve McQueen in a studio still shot from The Great Escape.

*

Continue reading

THE BRUCE LEE HOLLYWOOD POSSE | TINSELTOWN’S ELITE UNDERSTUDIES

 Bruce Lee

Bruce Lee, circa 1972.

.

There are certain moments in life that you never forget.  Oddly, I still remember the evening when as a kid I got a glimpse of Bruce Lee on the tube in Game of Death. It was the immortal scene where Lee, at all of  5′ 7″, squares-off against 7′ 2″ basketball great Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and his unending Plastic Man-like reach. My heart was pounding out of my chest, and I couldn’t take my eyes off the sinewy, screaming, leaping Bruce Lee– I’d never seen anything so crazy and exciting in all my short life. He seemed more full of life, energy and determination than anyone I’d ever seen– yet, I was watching a man onscreen who had already passed away. It seemed almost unbelievable that he was gone– I think that pretty much sums up the effect he had on a lot of people.  He was so skilled, entertaining and charismatic that you couldn’t take your eyes off him, because if you did– you might quickly miss out on something that’s never been seen before. You were sure there was no one person in the world that could take Bruce Lee out. He seemed to be invincible onscreen– which makes his mysterious passing all the more ironic.

.

Bruce Lee Kato Green Hornet

Original caption from 1966– Bruce Lee, who plays Kato in ABC-TV’s Fridays, (7:30-8 P.M., EST) springs into three of the basic positions of Kung Fu, the ancient Oriental art of self-defense of which Bruce is a master.

.

There’s an interesting bit about Bruce Lee’s relationship with another Hollywood icon he hung out with– Steve McQueen. Among the many stars that Bruce Lee counted as his pupils and friends (James Coburn, James Garner, etc.) none were bigger than McQueen. Obviously both were highly competitive guys, so when Bruce Lee’s star began to rise it caused notable tension between the two that almost destroyed their friendship.

Continue reading

WHEN THERE’S NOTHING ELSE TO LOSE, AND NOTHING LEFT BUT THE WIND…

Get yourself a motorcycle. ‘Nuff said.

paul newman dirtbike Paul Newman — this pic is flawess. From the white jeans, to the boots, to the dirtbike. 1971 ~ Paul Newman in Oregon on the set of “Sometimes a Great Notion,” boning up on his off-road skills under the wing of the great J.N. Roberts – a top desert / off-road racer in the ’60s – ’70s. Roberts (along with his teammate Malcolm Smith, Steve McQueen, and others) tore it up onscreen in Bruce Brown’s seminal (1971) motorcycle film, “On Any Sunday.”

.
Continue reading

THE FORD MUSTANG GT350 | CARROLL SHELBY & THE AMERICAN PONY WAR

*

Carroll Shelby, whose Ford powered cars have been a constant contender in International racing, plays a toy flute to charm a toy Cobra out of its basket on the hood of his latest offering to the automotive world, the Mustang GT 350, at the first showing of the car- January 27th, 1965 in Riverside, CA.  The Shelby is a modified Ford Mustang Fastback, with a 289 Ford Cobra engine, front disc brakes, and improved suspension for road racing or high speed driving. -- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

Carroll Shelby, whose Ford powered cars have been a constant contender in International racing, plays a toy flute to charm a toy Cobra out of its basket on the hood of his latest offering to the automotive world, the Mustang GT 350, at the first showing of the car- January 27th, 1965 in Riverside, CA. The Shelby is a modified Ford Mustang Fastback, with a 289 Ford Cobra engine, front disc brakes, and improved suspension for road racing or high speed driving. -- Image by © Bettmann/CORBIS

*

Carroll Shelby was undoubtedly the greatest single force behind American auto racing over the last 60+ years.  From his legendary racing career, to reinventing the image of American road-racers in European competitive racing and beyond.  In 1962, and with no official engineering background, Carroll Shelby created the legendary, stallion-slaying Cobra, which soon ended Ferrari’s all-out domination of the World’s Manufacturing Championship.  For him, the recipe was simple and oft repeated– put a massive engine in a lightweight, nimble car.

In 1965, the Shelby Mustang GT350 made its production debut setting off  a legendary battle for power and prestige between rival Detroit automakers– which would from that day on be known as  the “Pony War”.

*

The legendary Shelby Mustang GT350

The legendary Shelby Mustang GT350

*

Continue reading

REQUIRED VIEWING “BULLITT” | THE GRANDDADDY OF CAR CHASE SCENES

BULLITT

To say that Bullitt had a car chase scene is like saying Steve McQueen was a good actor. Both are arguably gross understatements. The history-making car chase from Bullitt is still considered the gold standard for which all such scenes are held to today.

McQueen hadn’t planned on a driving double– in fact, he firmly insisted on doing all the Mustang stunt driving himself.  But that all quickly changed– while shooting an early scene (that can be seen in the film), he missed a turn pretty hard and nearly lost it.  The studio exec’s immediately pulled the plug on McQueen’s plans and tapped professional stunt drivers with a little more practical experience and skill. As fate would have it, main driving duties were handed over to none other than McQueen’s good buddy (and auto and motorcycle racing legend) Bud Ekins.

The story behind the filming of this ground-breaking scene (I hate to say it) is more fascinating to me than the whole of the film itself.  Read on for great behind the scenes details on how history was made in pulling-off this incredible piece of work– the likes of which had never been attempted before.

BULLITT STEVE MCQUEEN

Continue reading

THE TSY FRIDAY FADE | STEVE MCQUEEN’S DUNE BUGGY DAYS

 

Steve McQueen enjoying a cigar behind the wheel of the "TCA" dune buggy.

Steve McQueen– rockin’ the Aran sweater & enjoying a smoky treat, behind the wheel of his dune buggy from “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

.

Steve McQueen & Faye Dunaway with the dune buggy from The Thomas Crown Affair.

Steve McQueen & Faye Dunaway with the dune buggy from “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

.

Steve McQueen's highly customized, Corvair powered, Meyers Manx dune buggy.

Steve McQueen’s highly-customized, Corvair-powered, Meyers Manx dune buggy from “The Thomas Crown Affair.”

.

Steve McQueen on the “Thomas Crown” Dune Buggy–

“Crown lives at the beach, and he has a sand Dune Buggy.  I helped them design it, so I’m kind of proud of that.  What it is, it’s set on a Volkswagen chassis, with great old wide weenies – big wide tires on it with mag wheels. Corvair engine stuffed in the back, and a semi reclining position, somewhat like my formula 1 car.  It’s very light, you know, I think we are around about 230 horses, and the vehicle weighs about 1000 pounds.”

A

All the Dune Buggy stunt scenes from The Thomas Crown Affair were performed by Steve McQueen himself– with actress Faye Dunaway bravely sitting by McQueen’s side like a true sport.  Man, how I love the howl of that souped-up Corvair engine in the clip below–

Continue reading

HUSQVARNA | THE SCREAMIN’ SWEDE THAT STARTED A RACING REVOLUTION

The bike that got American motocross off the ground-- the 1963 Husqvarna (Husky) Racer.

The bike that got American motocross off the ground– the 1963 Husqvarna (Husky) Racer. This unrestored bike is No. 59 of just 100 250cc race machines Husqvarna built in ’63.

*

With its signature red and chrome glistening gas tank, the Husqvarna (or “Husky” as it’s affectionately known) was a stunning beauty of a bike, and a mud-slinging beast on the American motocross circuit. Back in the 1960s, the increasingly popular sport of American motocross was bogged down by clumsily modified (not to mention heavy) Harley-Davidson, Triumph & BSA road bikes.  It was lumbering in antiquity and in dire need of innovation.  Enter Edison Dye.

While on a motorcycle tour of Europe, Dye took particular note of European motocross and the lighter-weight, nimble, two-stroke bikes that were in stark contrast to the American scene.  Swedish maker Husqvarna particulary stood out with their alloy engine components, and distinctive exhaust.  He asked motorcycling legend Malcolm Smith (Steve McQueen’s riding chum in “On Any Sunday”) to take a Husky and put it through its paces for him.  Upon Smith’s glowing review, Edison Dye decided to sign on as Husqvarna’s U.S. importer.  The Screamin’ Swede was about to take American motocross by storm.

*

Heikki Mikkola, the “Flyin’ Finn” was one of the most popular and feared motocross racers of the 1970s. During his illustrious career, Mikkola collected four World Grand Prix Motocross Championship titles.  Mikkola won the 1974 World Grand Prix 500cc Championship on a Husqvarna.

Heikki Mikkola, the “Flyin’ Finn” was one of the most popular and feared motocross racers of the 1970s. During his illustrious career, Mikkola collected four World Grand Prix Motocross Championship titles. In 1974 he won the World Grand Prix 500cc Championship on a Husqvarna.

Continue reading

VINTAGE RACING STYLE | Legendary Drivers Crushing It On & Off The Track

An autographed photo given by the great Formula 1 driver Juan Fangio to Harold Cole of New Smyrna Beach, Fl when Fangio made a visit to the Daytona Speedway in 1979.  Love the crazy printed shirts, especially the incredible equestrian horse-bit motif on the left-- very Hermes chic.

An autographed photo given by the great Formula 1 driver Juan Fangio to Harold Cole of New Smyrna Beach, Fl when Fangio made a visit to the Daytona Speedway in 1979. Love the crazy printed shirts, especially the incredible equestrian horse-bit motif on the left– very vintage Hermes chic.

*

Sometimes you just strike gold– like this amazing photo series of incredibly stylish race car drivers from back in the day when the world had class.  I wish guys still had enough knowledge of the classics, and confidence in themselves to dress like– well, men.  There’s definitely an equestrian tie-in going on with these two pics– check out driver Peter Gregg (below) wearing classic horse-bit Gucci loafers with his race garb.  Even better still if he actually drove in them. A very ironic, yet fitting homage to horsy equestrianism by masters of raw manmade horsepower.  Gotta love it.

*

Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood drove a Porsche 911S in the 1972 12 hours of Sebring. They finished 5th.

Peter Gregg and Hurley Haywood drove a Porsche 911S in the 1972 12 hours of Sebring. They finished 5th place in the race, and 1st place (in my book) for personal style. via Louis Galanos

*

Continue reading