• DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!

    DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!

    Ronnie Staples’ flamed classic ’32 Ford has gone through a number of engine-transmission combos over the years, but it’s all sorted out now and ready for serious cruising thanks to a modern five-speed.

    DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!Ronnie Staples is a serious carguy with a very large garage filled with Pro Touring customs and hot rods that he drives as well as shows. His collecting mantra is simple: NO TRAILER QUEENS! Some are designed and engineered to “bring back the good old days”, while others feature state-of-the-art billet fabrication. All, except those still under construction, are plated, insured and road-ready.

    One of his favorite hot rods is this flamed, chopped ’32 Ford five-window coupe powered by a stroked and supercharged Flathead. Its top was chopped three inches and the roof section filled. Originally built in the late-1990s by Ohio-based hot-rodder, Greg Steiner and it was powered by a 302-inch Ford with three two-barrel carbs backed up by a C4 automatic. One of Ronnie Staples’s friends purchased it at the Goodguys event in Charlotte, NC in 1998. He swapped the 302 Ford for a vintage Joe Smith Automotive Flathead with a ¾-race Potvin camshaft and a new B&M blower topped with three Holley 94 two-barrels on an adapter. Unfortunately, he retained the C4 automatic.

    In 2002 Staples saw that the coupe was for sale and road tested it. “No power to say the least,” said Staples. “Two of the carbs were blocked off, so the blower was pushing air through two butterflies, less an one-inch-diameter each. He saw the potential and made the buy. And, he has never looked back!

    DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!One of the first decisions Staples made after purchasing it was to sort out the powertrain by modifying and machining the engine and mating it to a modern five-speed. Rod and custom craftsman Mike Griffin, at his shop in Sarasota, FL, executed the Chevy S10 five-speed transmission conversion, fabricated new engine mounts and worked on a number of detail body and paint modifications. While out of the car, Griffin epoxy and K36 primed, then painted the Flathead block and finned aluminum heads Torch Red.

    NO TRAILER QUEENS!What appears to be STAPLES finned aluminum heads on the vintage late-1940s Flathead are actually from Offenhauser. The Offy logo was milled off and replaced with composite letters that Staples had found on eBay! Engine displacement is 255 cubic inches thanks to a four-inch-stroke Mercury crank. Bore diameter is stock 3 3/16-inch. A pair of leaned-out Stromberg Super 97 carbs from Speedway Motors tops off the billet Roots positive-displacement supercharger, custom built for Staples by an old high school buddy in Virginia, Donnie “Duck” Townsen. “Duck is an artist with his CNC machinery and can make almost anything, including cutting my name into the lower sides of the custom blower housing,” said Staples.

    The unique twin-V-belt blower is over-driven 100-percent (3-inch blower pulley, 6-inch crank pulley) and makes 6 ½-pounds boost. Staples estimates a 50 horsepower increase over stock. With a 3.55 Posi rear, cruising at 75 mph in 5th gear, the stroked Flathead is running at just 2,300 rpm. Acceleration is outstanding thanks to a very low First gear.

    DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!Since there’s not a lot of room in a chopped ’32 Ford coupe, the rear package shelf was removed and the seats relocated rearward. Tracks were removed from the seats and seats were bolted directly to the floor. JR’s Upholstery, Venice, FL, is responsible for the custom “very” red interior. The ’31 Cadillac dash bezel was salvaged from junkyard back when Greg Steiner was building the hot rod.

    Sammy Long, with some help from Ronnie Staples, redid the chassis and suspension for increased suspension travel, improved ride and handling. The frame was C-notched to bring the car down approximately one-inch and the old crossmember was cut out and replaced with a tubular mounting for adjustable coil-over shocks. Dropped I-beam front axle, finned brakes, chrome tube shocks, and filled grille shell look as good today as they did in the 1950s!

    DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL!Ronnie Staples is a member of the Sarasota Café Racers and these photos were taken at the group’s carguy events and lunches. For more information about the Sarasota Café Racers and its satellites here and abroad, please visit http://www.sarasotacaferacers.com/home.html

    The post DUECE COUPE: OLD SCHOOL; NEW SCHOOL! appeared first on Car Guy Chronicles.

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  • New Gladstone Motorcycles SE Bobber Unveiled

    The new Gladstone Motorcycles SE has been unveiled, and it looks rather nice. The company was founded back in 2012 by TV presenter and biking enthusiast Henry Cole as a bespoke British motorcycle brand. And the SE is the follow-up to their original model, the Gladstone No.1 bobber, which appeared in 2013.

    Although the SE shares some of the key components and features from the No.1, the SE changes things a bit. Designer Guy Willison describes it as a “slightly lazier, earthier version of the No.1. We wanted to build a bike where we didn’t have any customers for it – this is what I’d build for myself as a personalised bike on the road. No outside influence – just me and Henry building what we want to ride”

    The Gladstone Motorcycles SE
    The new Gladstone Motorcycles SE bobber

    It turns out what Willison and Cole want to ride is a bobber which features some Gladstone trademarks. Those include a Metisse nickel-plated rigid frame, a bespoke alloy petrol tank and fake oil tank, and a 5″ Smiths analogue speedometer.

    Gladstone Motorcycles SE Rear Three Quarters View
    The new Gladstone Motorcycles SE uses a rigid Metisse frame

    But there are some significant changes from the nine hand-built No.1s that the company previously produced. Most noticeable is the paint, with the new model adorned in Aston Martin Rosso Red. That’s a bolder look than the original model, which came in black.

    The Gladstone Motorcycles SE also swaps out the 750cc Triumph T140 engine of the No.1, which came with a 5-speed left foot gear shift. Instead, you get a refurbished 650cc 4-speed Triumph T120R motor, with a right foot gear shirt and single carburetor.

    Gladstone Motorcycles SE Triumph T120R Engine
    The Gladstone Motorcycles SE Triumph T120R Engine

    There are now Norman Hyde M-bars, rather than the flat examples from the No.1. And the Gladstone Motorcycles SE also gets shorter, 720mm Ceriani front forks. Another change is that a Norton TLS front brake replaces the Ceriani replica Grimeca 4-leading shoe drum.

    Gladstone Motorcycles SE Seat
    The Gladstone Motorcycles SE Seat in Alcantara

    Rather than the Monza design used on the NO.1, the SE gets a flush-fitting petrol cap. And there are Doherty levers, plus natural rubber Tommaselli handlebar grips. The Alcantara seat comes with red stitching to match the Aston Martin paint. And the headlamp and tail light get brass bezels.

    Gladstone Motorcycles SE Brake Light
    The Gladstone Motorcycles SE Brake Light With Brass Bezel

    As a bespoke British motorcycle manufacturer, customers get to tailor the Gladstone Motorcycles SE to their preference. Which means you can request changes to the colour finishes, grips, saddle and more. But you also need to be a little patient, as there’s a 12-month delivery time from when you order.

    Gladstone Motorcycles SE Side View
    The new Gladstone Motorcycles SE

    Following the release of the 9 Gladstone No.1 models, the waiting list started for the new SE. And it’s a bit of an investment, with prices starting from £40,000. Hence why the company describe their customers as ‘discerning hooligans’.

    Gladstone Motorcycles Designer Guy Willison
    Gladstone Motorcycles Designer Guy Willison

    But you do get something created with the iconic classic Triumph engine, a rather lovely frame, and numerous other hand-made and bespoke features for things like pipes, brackets and more.

    Gladstone Motorcycles Founder Henry Cole
    Gladstone Motorcycles Founder and CEO Henry Cole

    So if you fancy ordering the new Gladstone Motorcycles SE bobber, and you have the finances, you can contact the company via their website to get the building started.

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  • Get Trials Style With The New Watsonian International Sidecar

    We all know how popular adventure sport and off-road style motorcycles have become. But what if you want to take more passengers or luggage than a motorbike can manage? Whether it’s for a round-the-world expedition or picking up the weekly shop? Well, now you can go trials style, with the new Watsonian International Sidecar.

    The New Watsonian International Sidecar

    The prototype version pictured will be close to the final release. It’s shown fitted to the Royal Enfield Himalayan, and Watsonian have also been hard at work creating a universal fitting kit for their current sidecars for the Enfield.

    Although it’s got off-road trials style, the new Watsonian International sidecar has been created primarily to use on the roads. As a result, it’s got a glass fibre body to be durable and easy to maintain. But it does have aluminium panels to echo the style of the original International, which was around in the 1940s and 1950s. And there’s an aluminium mudguard holding the indicator and brake light.

    There’s the off-road bench seat, under which you get your spacious luggage locker. And the the black metal rim for passengers to grab to keep them stable. Underneath the new Watsonian International sidecar is the tubular steel platform chassis Watsonian have been using for a long time, with elded joints and epoxy power coating.

    To keep things comfortable there’s  hydraulic suspension with a rising rate spring. And the sidecar is mounted on a 16″ stainless spoked wheel with a black powder coated steel rim and a Bridgestone Trail Wing dual sport tyre.

    The new Watsonian International Sidecar will be available in Spring 2019 and will cost £3,995 including VAT. The Royal Enfield Himalayan Watsonian fitting kit costs £450.

    The Original Watsonian International Sidecar:

    Inspiration for the trials and off-road style of the new Watsonian International sidecar actually comes from the firm’s original creation launched in 1938.

    The first International featured a lightweight all-aluminium body. But production was interrupted due to the outbreak of the Second World War. So it didn’t actually become available to buy until 1950.

    The original 1950s Watsonian International Sidecar

    But when the original aluminium Watsonian International did reappear in 1950, it competed in the International Six Days Trail at Llandrindod Wells. And was regularly used by the company management team of Ron Watson and Cliff Bennett in a variety of trials events during the early 1950s.

    You can certainly see echoes of the original outfit in the new Watsonian International sidecar. And while it might not be suitable for off-road competition, it should be rugged enough to cope with whatever adventure you might fancy on the roads.

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  • Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich

    German BMW parts specialists Wunderlich must like the BMW R nineT. They’ve already built 10 custom versions of the bike using the products they make. And now the Wunderbob custom BMW R nineT Bobber from Wunderlich is the eleventh, and probably most radical, creation.

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich

    The bobber style means plenty of changes to the stock BMW motorcycle. And it will all be something you can potentially achieve for your own bike in the future. Wunderlich is developing the individual parts that were custom made to be on sale from around Spring 2019. And there’s possibly also a complete Bobber kit in the works, although it hasn’t been confirmed yet.

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich Bars and Risers

    The Wunderbob custom BMW R nineT Bobber from Wunderlich starts with raised, wide handlebars. And lowering the Wunderlich suspension by 25mm. The challenge was to then convert the style of the bike without losing the defining elements of the BMW.

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich BST Wheels

    Head of Product Management and Development, Felix Wunderlich: “We wanted our bobber to be more powerful and lighter while at the same time emanating an air of nonchalance. The challenge was a demanding one, as traditional bobbers are usually based on transversely installed two-cylinder V or in-line engines, which present far fewer structural and design restrictions than the BMW Boxer due to the arrangement of the footrests alone”

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich Dash Close-Up

    The Wunderbob custom BMW R nineT Bobber from Wunderlich gets a minimalist dash display, which streamlines the front of the bike. And fits nicely with the new handlebars. And the dark blue metallic paint, which along with the black finish and saddle, gives a fairly subtle and classy look.

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich Footpegs Close Up

    The fully adjustable footpeg system will help to make sure you’re comfortable in the new saddle position. Which has now been relocated with a tubular loop frame. That means the rear light and indicators are incorporated, and also cleans up the rear of the bike above the new rear mudguard. The mudguard itself was custom-made to accommodate the BMW swingarm, and wider Bobber rear tyre.

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich Seat Close-Up

    Frank Hoffmann, Wunderlich Managing Director: “Our portfolio of concept bikes ranges from the Wunderlich G 310 GS, which we are giving away here during the Intermot, to our Pikes Peak hill climbing motorcycles. With the WunderBob we are presenting the first Wunderlich Bobber, which also represents our eleventh R nineT conversion. Anyone who knows us, knows we thrive on difficult challenges – indeed we go looking for them! Half-hearted solutions are frowned upon for us. Especially half-hearted retro! We have transformed the R nineT into a bobber that is a contemporary reinterpretation of the Bob Jobs of the 40s and 50s, while losing nothing of the R nineT‘s iconic appearance.“

    Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich Tail Unit Close-Up

    So the Wunderbob Custom BMW R nineT Bobber From Wunderlich gives you a mix of retro and modern style. Plus you get German reliability underneath it all. And the BMW badge has become a pretty familiar part of the modern custom motorcycle world.

    As mentioned above, if you want to create something very similar, you should be able to buy the parts individually from early 2019. And Wunderlich might also offer a complete conversion kit if there’s enough demand.

    So what do you think of the modern BMW Bobber? Good, bad or indifferent? Drop a comment below to share your opinions…

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  • Awards for Britain’s best used cars

    Audi has scored a hat-trick of category wins at the What Car? Used Car of the Year Awards 2019. The German car maker won Used Family Car of the Year (Audi A3), Used Luxury SUV of the Year ((Audi Q7) and Used Coupé of the Year (Audi TT). However, the 2017 Mercedes E-Class Estate claimed …

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