The New Breed, The Show-Bikes. Just in! Another neato article on the early custom bike scene from 1961. My own fascination with customized vintage Triumphs started with a large collection of automotive magazines dating from the '50s & '60s that my uncle gave me when I was a teenager. I had built my share of plastic hot rod models and fighter airplane kits when I was a kid in the 1970's and had drooled endlessly over the 1960's ads in older magazines for Ed Roth Monster gear and all things linked to the Red Baron and Maltese crosses, but the articles that caught my interest the most as a young man were these infiltrators into the car scene. Titles from Peterson Publishing such as Hot Rod, Car Craft, Rod & Custom and other smaller car magazines had hidden treasures inside of these wild bikes built for shows and drags. Most of the bikes were Triumph's, so popular with the American Gearhead due to their versatility, beauty & high performance. After living in Santa Cruz and Frisco in my early twenties and seeing the occasional Triumph street bike the obsession started and a couple project bikes were bought. The task of learning the skill of Brit Bike wrench turning and tuning was taken on with lots of help from my Dad who ran his own automotive machine shop at the time. The life long interest and learning process had begun. The hunt for rare parts, old speed equipment and printed information is a ongoing effort and I still get excited when I get a new to me, 48 year old magazine that I had to pay 10 bucks for even though the cover is taped on and the edges are stained from being in some damp basement for decades. What does it, is that elusive article with some bikes you've seen before and some you have not, bits and pieces of forgotten information that help you put a few more pieces into the puzzle. The musty old magazine smell making the experience that much better. I have been lucky to hold parts in my hands that were used on some of these old magazine bikes and meet and talk to some of the guys that built them. This blog thing has become my outlet for sharing this collection of stacks and stacks of slowly decaying printed paper. Besides the effort to find more bikes and parts, my hope is that this website will educate potential owners of some of the period builds and hopefully help foster an appreciation for what has survived and to inspire traditional custom builds that are PERIOD CORRECT.
1961 Car Craft