When the Petersen Museum announced that the first 150 motorcyclists who showed up got a free Sunday morning pancake breakfast plus two for one museum entrance tickets, people were setting their alarm clocks, this rider/writer included. In part it had to do with an exhibit of café racers on display, but any excuse to ride for free grub brought out a full menu of machines of all sizes and flavors, spanning the decades from 1960 to the present and beyond. You could say it was syrup on the pancake when this rider/writer showed up on the rooftop of the museum to encounter not only a bevy of about 100 bikes, but a slew of four-wheelers, including exotics like Ferrari, Lotus, Jaguar and classic ‘50s Corvettes as well as radical hot rods. Yes, bikes and cars living and playing together…who’d a thunk it possible?
SpecialK's custom BMW was built by Larry Romestant based around K1200 four-cylinder "flying brick.
Drew Newman gets some free consultation about the carbs on his 1978 CB750.
Bruce Hand rumbled in with his 1964 Lotus Super 7 “kit car” about the closest thing to bike on four wheels.
Highlights of the gathering including two examples of Larry Romestant’s bodacious beemers aka SpecialKs based around the BMW four-cylinder 1200cc K and K75 3-cyclinder bikes in custom café, cruiser and commuter variations. While the purists who love their twin opposed “airheads,” in effect pushing the K bikes out of the picture, there is renewed interest in the so-called “flying bricks” thanks to SpecialKs ability to fuse the best of classic Brit and European styling into their creations not to mention a stellar triangulated frame and handmade bodywork taking its cues from the likes of Ducati, MV Agusta, and Velocette to name a few. Receiving literally rave reviews, SpecialKs is probably the global leader in K bike forward thinking and their techno-art creations offer unique styling, turbine smooth power, and legendary BMW dependability.
“Yes, I liked the pancakes…”
Two “classics” share the road…..1965 Jaguar XK-E and Josh Withers “toaster tank” BMW.
Also in attendance were Osh Minetian and Josh Withers, the tream recently launching a classic ‘70s BMW focused shop called Oshmo where they both restore and build custom twin-cylinder bikes and selling them to customers as far away as Monaco. Osh comes from a background in hypo BMW cars, named one of the Top 10 Tuners by Autoweek Magazine. Josh rode in on his awarding winner “California sky blue” 1973 “toaster tank” Beemer.
Was it really him?
Adam Gaspic gives the thumbs up to his Gasser Customs Honda 750.
At the opposite end of the spectrum were the “plug-in and play” stealth machines rode in by U. of Pennsylvania graduate electrical engineer Harlan Flagg and his buddy Thomas Ito. Their shop, Hollywood Electrics, is a center for electric powered bikes including leading brands Zero and Brammo and they also offer their own performance mods. You could say they definitely put the zip into zap, the new ebikes a force to be reckoned with.
Says Harlan, “We sell more electric motorcycles out of our little place than anyone else in the world. Our bikes can do 0-60 in three seconds. Top speed exceeds 100 mph with170 miles cruisin’ around times as far as range. And the batteries have a 100,000 mile warranty.”
Another SpecialK's K-bike shows Ducati styling influence.
Asked if he heard about the Harley-Davidson electric bike, Harlan replies, “I rode it. But can you buy it? They’re testing the waters, but I think they will come out with them.” Then Brian says, “We have a race team that’s compete at Laguna Seca and Willow Springs and one of the bikes we sold just won the Vetter Eco-Fuel Challenge. We raced Pikes Peak the last two years and this year we made it to the top in 11 minutes and 59 seconds on a modified Zero FX with Jeff Clark riding. Electric bikes at the Isle of Mann averaged 117 mph so they’ve come very far. You could say electric bikes are the current future.”
The Alligator got more teeth, and 1820cc S&S V-twin motor, and now called the “Instigator” and may rise again.
Taking another wild tangent was the appearance of one of the 36- produced Dan Gurney radical “Alligator” bikes powered by a specially modified Honda 350cc engine but also a new prototype called the “Instigator.” The bikes are produced by a division of All American Racers and their rep Chris Rhys explained the history of the bikes, saying “Back in the 2003 there was a production run of the Alligator, one of those seen here. There were also four prototypes for the new higher performance version. The first was powered by a 126 inch motor and that one went to the Barber Motorsports Museum. The one seen here has a 102 cubic inch S&S engine, modified by us including fuel-injection and with fly-by-wire.” Something like this machine will go into probably within the next two years. The prototype brought to the Petersen event to offer a taste of things to come, tips the scales at about 550 lb. with fuel, and puts out 150 HP with130 ft/lb of torque. So far it’s been tested at 150+mph.
Abhi Eswarappa brought the 1967 Honda S90 for his girlfriend and like his T-shirt says….
1980s Honda Ascot done up nicely show the single cylinders offer plenty of bang for the café buck.
Japanese bikes were also in abundance including the debut of a very tidy 350cc twin Honda powered café racer built for actor James Cromwell back in the late 1970s. Its new owner, Sean Gordon, a Hollywood special effects expert, spent 15 years trying to acquire the bike, eventually taking it home in 2011 and just recently completing its full restoration. A 1978 CB750, also café’d out, and making music through a vintage Kerker pipe, was ridden in by Drew Newman. Another top custom was a 1975 CB750 F model Super Sport showed up from Gasser Customs with its honcho/builder Adam Gaspic at the controls. The concept was ‘50/60s hotrod inspired and features included a 836cc Wiesco kit, custom tank and seat, plus a front end and rear swingarm grafted from a 1984 VF 750 Honda Interceptor.
1965 Gilera and 1978 Suzuki from Random Cycles.
While downsized in cc’s but still tons of fun were three small displacement, single cylinder thumpers brought by Abhi Eswarappa (all original 1968 Honda S90), Christian X (restored 1976 Suzuki A-100) and Damien Saaverdra (restored 1965 Italian-bred Gilera).
Zero to 60 in 3 seconds flat…on a specially equipped ZERO E-bike ridden by the guys from Hollywood Electrics, center for all bikes that go Zap!
Catching up with the Petersen Museum’s Michael Bodell, he tells us that this time was the first Sunday cruisin’ event where motorcycles joined the car guys and it was such a success that the museum plans to continue outreach to the bike community to encourage their attendance in the future. Says Bodell, “We definitely enjoyed having the motorcycle fans show up. We had help from Hollywood Electrics putting out the word and we also had help from Deus ex Machina for the display of café racers in the museum lobby plus the pancakes were dished out by Johnny Rockets.”
If you got bikes you need a truck to haul them…right…? Jessie brought his 1956 Chevy in military olive green.
Alloy gas tank forged by master of art Evan Wilcox reflects Ducati Emola Green paint.
Keep in mind the Petersen is just about to go into remodeling mode, expanding their motorcycle gallery, so the last top-of-the-museum last-Sunday-of–the-month free pancake events is this Sept. 28., then the rally moves to a new location to be announced via their blog carstories.com where they would also like people with interesting vehicles and bikes to send in photos. Bottom line, relative to hot pancakes and cool vehicles including bikes, get your licks in by the end of September before the famous L.A. museum goes into sleep mode.
A Ducati rider wingin’ it along with a Lambo….
This way to the free pancakes…!
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THE PETERSEN AUTOMOTIVE MUSEUM
The two unique features that separate the Petersen Automotive Museum from other automotive museums are the Streetscape diorama, and the rotating exhibit spaces. To keep The Museum fresh, relevant, and to keep visitors coming back, it was decided from the beginning not to display the entire Museum Collection at once. In the 300,000 square feet that comprise The Petersen Automotive Museum, only about 150 vehicles are on display at any one time. The other half of the 300+ vehicle collection is in on-site storage, awaiting the chance to go on exhibition. Depending on the chosen subject, the rotating exhibits can range from 100% Petersen vehicles to 90% on loan.
A large part of The Museum's focus is to collect and preserve historic vehicles, and a great deal of importance was placed from day one on acquiring a great number of significant vehicles of all shapes, sizes, makes, models, and purposes. As the Museum's popularity grew as a 501 (c)(3) nonprofit educational institution, people came to realize that it was the perfect tax deductible home for their prized possession. Our first donation was a beautifully restored 1952 Mercedes-Benz 300 Cabriolet from Annapolis, Maryland. Since then, we have taken in donations from all over the world varying greatly from single vehicles, to multiple vehicle collections, rare automobile components, artwork, photographs, books, and automobilia.