28 October 2019

Ford versus Ferrari - a legend of motorsport now on the big screen

#FordvFerrari | This story is one of the true legends of motorsport, portrayed by two of Hollywood's most accomplished actors. Anyone with even a passing interest in motorsport will want to see this movie.


Director: James Mangold
Produced by: Peter Chernin, Jenno Topping, James Mangold
Cast: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe, Tracy Letts, Josh Lucas

Official Synopsis: Academy Award®-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby (Damon) and the fearless British driver Ken Miles (Bale), who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

Australian Release Date: November 14, 2019

24 October 2019

First Ride: Harley-Davidson Low Rider S

Web Spin: Harley-Davidson MY20 Low Rider S

Low Rider S in Barracuda Silver (Nigel Paterson)

It’s big news every time Harley-Davidson rolls out a new model and there was certainly plenty of anticipation surrounding the release of the Low Rider S Softail.

To quickly recap the evolution of this model, the Low Rider first appeared in 1977 as a factory experimental (FXS) derived from the 1974 FX Super Glide. It was something of a hybrid, using Sportster forks on a big V-Twin chassis and it was an instant hit.

Following the ‘factory custom’ theme championed by Willie G Davidson himself, the Low Rider progressed to the FXRS in the early ‘80s and then to the FXDL Dyna Low Rider when the then-new chassis was introduced.

You can see there is a lineage that needs to be respected with this bike, so when the name was revived for 2020 in the new Softail 'S' incarnation, there had to be some continuity in design. To this end, The Motor Company has been successful, neatly capturing the original ‘70s feel in the latest chassis.

Let’s remember too, that Low Rider has been here since the full Softail range arrived in early 2018, although only in 107ci. This one is the ‘S’ which denotes the big 114ci Milwaukee-Eight engine and cool, blacked-out paint schemes. The solo seat is standard and only two colour options are available: Vivid Black and Barracuda Silver.

Low Rider S in Vivid Black (R Eime)

“The look of the new Low Rider S is really rooted in the legacy of the Low Rider models of the 1980s, that has a devoted following which has spread worldwide from origins in Southern California, and in the recent Dyna-based Low Rider S model,” said Brad Richards, Harley-Davidson Vice President of Styling & Design, in the upbeat press release. “We’ve applied that coastal style and performance-first attitude to the Softail chassis to create a Low Rider S that’s more powerful and agile than ever, with a heavy dose of tough-as-nails attitude.”

Soon after the bike’s launch in October, I ventured out with Australian Road Rider editor, Nigel Paterson, to see what all the fuss was about. Over the course of an afternoon, we both rode a Barracuda Silver example up and down the twisty Great Northern Road in the hinterland behind the NSW Central Coast, a road very familiar to Sydney weekend riders.

With way more road miles than me on a wider variety of bikes, Nigel approaches all new releases with a healthy cynicism, but Low Rider S seems to have hit a spot with him.

“This has to be the best handling Harley I’ve ever ridden - and the most fun,” he says, and I believe him.

“It has more clearance and is very comfortable. The mid-set (foot) controls are a bit unusual at first, but you quickly get accustomed.”

Nigel is 6-foot in the old scale and I’m shorter at 5’8”, so even though the seat height of 690mm is not particularly low for Harley Softails, it didn’t bother either of us one way or another. Compare 605mm for Softail Slim, 627mm for Breakout through to 755mm for the Street Rod.

The feature that took a bit of getting used to is the twin tank mounted analogue dials, which are an authentic throwback to the Dyna models. I might also ask my Harley-Heaven dealer to rotate the handlebar in its clamps toward me for slightly less stretch to the grips.

For the technically minded, you might appreciate that more ‘sport’ has been applied at the Low Rider S’s front end in the form of a second disc brake on the new 43mm Showa inverted fork. ABS is standard. And there’s greater agility thanks to the steeper rake angle by two degrees (to 28 degrees), which slightly reduces the wheelbase from 163cm to 161.5cm. For comparison, the old Dyna Low Rider used a lazy 32-degree rake on a 164cm wheelbase.

But, as they say in the classics, “the proof is in the pudding” so get yourself into your nearest Harley-Heaven dealer for a test ride.

18 October 2019

Touring the Blue Mountains in a 90 year old Cadillac

Flora and owner, Donald, pictured outside the 100-year-old Palais Royale Hotel in Katoomba (Roderick Eime)

Flora is 90 years old and still runs around the block like she’s a teenager.

She loves to make new friends, go to weddings, visit parks and gardens and be with her sisters, Ava and Ella.

No, Flora is not some miraculous nonagenarian. You see, she is simply an example of what can be achieved with love and careful, regular maintenance.

'The very essence of  beauty, chic, smartness and luxury'
- 1929 advertising tag line

Flora has, however, a proper pedigree. She is a 1929 Cadillac-LaSalle 4-seat Phaeton, a revolutionary car for its time with such modern wonders as the world’s first synchro-mesh manual gearbox, meaning you could change gears in one motion and not crunch between changes. LaSalle was a General Motors brand and known as a “companion marque”, a half-notch below Cadillac in the luxury range.
click to enlarge

A ‘phaeton’ was a term inherited from a type of sporty horse-drawn carriage designed to be lighter and more nimble than the larger ‘sedans’ or ‘limousines’.

LaSalle was only produced from 1927 to 1940, and like so many prestige brands, was affected by the depression but persisted until the war whereupon it was decided to bring LaSalle back under the Cadillac brand entirely.

“When most regular cars could be bought for around $500 in 1929,” owner Donald Millar tells me, “this LaSalle would have been more than $2500, so it was quite a luxury item.”

The 1929 LaSalle was similar to the 1928 model 303. Power was from a 90-degree 328 cubic inch V8 engine. There was a selective transmission with synchro-mesh and 15-inch drum brakes on all four corners.

Donald’s father saw Flora languishing in a Parramatta Road used car lot in 1954 and vowed to liberate her then and there. She’s been in the family longer than Donald.

Ava and Ella have similar stories although Ava, a 1928 LaSalle 5-passenger Coupe, was found in a very poor state sharing a paddock with two donkeys in much better condition.

Today Flora can be hired for special occasions from Blue Mountains Vintage Cadillacs who operate the three rare vehicles. Even a simple tour around the beautiful leafy streets of Katoomba, Leura and Wentworth Falls will allow anyone to get a feeling of what this exclusive enclave would have been like during the ‘Roaring Twenties’.

She’ll love you for it.

Contact: Within Australia 0455 352 976 International +61 455 352 976
or email info@bluemountainslimo.com.au

Website: www.bluemountainsvintagecadillacs.com.au

11 October 2019

A Million Miles on a Harley-Davidson


Just like cars, you can expect a long service life from your Harley-Davidson motorcycle.

The new Milwaukee Eight engines haven’t been around long enough for any real high mileage tests, but owners of older models have racked up some impressive numbers on their faithful Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Scanning the forums, it’s easy to find owners who have great reports of their ownership experience.

HDTimeLine member, flh canuck says: “As a professional mechanic who worked for years in the automotive trade, I find the Harley-Davidson motorcycle to be an absolute joy to work on and maintain compared to previous Japanese bikes I have owned. I have since owned four different Harley Davidsons since 1998, all purchased new, and each one absolutely trouble-free. A properly maintained modern Harley-Davidson is every bit as well made, if not better, than any other motorcycle on the market but the difference is, it will still be going down the road long after many modern Japanese bikes have been recycled back into Tupperware or Fisher-Price toys.”

Another member, Rob Gray says: “I've got a Road Glide with 94,000 miles on it”

Over on harley-davidsonforums.com, member Thunder~Struck reports: “Had a 100K on my 83 80" Shovel with no rebuild. Just a top end for the unleaded conversion.”

Clearly, with regular scheduled servicing, a new Harley-Davidson should deliver as many miles/kilometres as most cars.

Dave Zien put a world record one million miles on his 1991 Harley Davidson FXR Super Glide

Some people, of course, like to go to extremes and in a feat that took nearly 20 years to complete, former Wisconsin senator and US Marine Corp veteran, Dave Zien put a world record one million miles on his 1991 Harley Davidson FXR Super Glide. Zien began the journey in 1991 hitting the million mark on April 4, 2009. The effort earned him a place in the AMA Motorcycle Hall of Fame.

Not every Harley-Davidson owner is going to run up this kind of mileage, but nevertheless, your Harley-Heaven dealer offers extended warranty and peace of mind for up to three years in addition to the 24-month factory warranty. Choose 12, 24 or 36-month warranty terms, with unlimited kilometres for each term.

The benefits of HARLEY | EXTENDED WARRANTY™ include:
  • Available at point of sale only for Harley-Davidson® motorcycles up to 24 months old which have travelled less than 50,000 km
  • Provides peace of mind riding for up to 3 years in addition to the 24-month factory warranty
  • Choose 12, 24 or 36-month warranty terms, with unlimited kilometres for each term
  • Genuine Harley-Davidson® Motor Parts means genuine peace of mind
  • Repairs carried out by factory-trained technicians
  • Covers parts and labour costs
If you sell your motorcycle privately, the remainder of the warranty period can be transferred to the new owner (note that it is not transferable if the bike is sold to a motor dealer or motor trader)

Click to find new or used Harley-Davidson motorcycles

02 October 2019

World's Fastest Harley-Davidsons


Some Harley-Davidson motorcycles are born fast. Others have reached incredible speeds with a bit of tinkering. We’ve scoured the record books and come up with these stand-out superquick Hogs.

Harley-Davidson VRSCR (V Rod)

During its 16-year production lifetime, the 1,247 cc (76.1 cu in) water-cooled 60° V-twin was The Motor Company’s fastest production motorcycle. The venerable US motorcycle publication, Cycle World, timed the V-Rod from 0-60mph at 3.5sec. Compare this to most current 114ci Softails which run mid-4sec times in standard trim. But hold onto your hats, because the new electric LiveWire is going to wipe that slate clean with 0-60mph times as low a 3secs dead. (Think Porsche GT3 or BMW M5)

The fastest street legal (sit-on) Harley-Davidson is almost certainly Hiro Koiso’s 2006 Dyna Super Glide FXD/I which is powered by a 135ci JIMS131 Twin Cam engine modified by T-Man Performance to produce around 400hp.

At the famous Bonneville Speed Trials his team set two new FIM world and four AMA national records in 3000cc Blown classes. That included a one-way top speed of 193.596 mph without fairings!

Koisi’s team created a streamlined body fairing kit that allowed him to reach a staggering speed of 260mph over the measured mile. His aim is to go faster still.

Let’s not forget that in 1970, renowned racer Cal Rayborn rode the 90ci Harley-Davidson Sportster Streamliner to set a new land speed record of 265.492 mph on the Utah Bonneville salt flats, a record that remained unbroken until 1975. The streamlined, stiletto-shaped machine was equipped with a Sportster engine that ran on 70 per cent nitro-methane.

Twenty years later, drag racer Dave Campos smashed the motorcycle land speed record with a specially built 7-metre-long bike called the Easyriders Streamliner. This wild machine was powered by two 1500cc Harley-Davidson engines and reached an eye-watering 519.609 km/h (322.870 mph). This record stood for 16 years.

In drag racing, Australian Nitro Harley racer Adam Layton is aiming to break the world record for nitro V-Twin Harleys. The Australian record is the 6.3s time of Mark Drew, while the world record is 6.1s.

While you may not be aiming to break any world records, your Harkey-Heaven dealer can help you with performance parts to put some hurry-up in your Harley-Davidson.

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