Tuesday, 29 May 2018

West Coast Road Trip 4

A Road Trip

(West Coast 4)


Leaving Morro Bay topped up with a good breakfast at a harbour side cafe it was a grey misty start to the day. Solvang was a couple of hours away. Not a long drive but it would be Highway 101with only rolling countryside to see. We were well away from the dramatic coastline near Santa Barbara where rains of last year had washed away some of Route One. Solvang is a quaint town with local breweries and a place to taste some craft ales. We passed one on the way into town at, of all places Buellton (Solvang Brewery). It is also the nearest town to Ronald Reagan’s ranch and has Danish style architecture making it even less American. Still has a MacDonalds though!

Arriving early afternoon we had plenty of time to explore the town and enjoy its style. Two reasons for being at Solvang, one was its quaintness and the other, the Solvang Motorcycle Museum. This we would visit the next morning before going on to LA. Passing a restaurant at the end of the afternoon we stopped for a beer and had a Buellton 805. That evening we went in search of somewhere to eat and finally sat down at the Solvang Brewing company restaurant, had a rack of beers and some chicken. I like the idea of being able to try a selection of beers rather than halves or pints.
Another hearty breakfast then around the corner to the Museum. It is run by Jill at the desk taking your money and Virgil. Virgil is more than a rocket scientist and is a theoretical nuclear physicist. A very clever man with money and a passion for special motorcycles. We had some interesting conversations about a up-down flat twin racing two stoke Jawa that he had got from the factory. There was no information with it so everything is conjecture. 

Virgil believes it to be a factory prototype that has been put together to get around the vibration problems of a two stroke single. Thinking about it now the flat twin two stroke has also been done by Velocette in the Viceroy scooter. The Viceroy engine has a common crankcase and is balanced as the four stroke with pistons opposing each other. This two stroke had two carbs and basically two engines strung together. Set up as being opposed would give the best balancing but 90 degrees in a vee would give the better power delivery. My view on this layout was that it was a student or apprentice project with the simplicity and crudeness in the construction. Virgil disagreed with this in that as a prototype it didn’t need to be any better. I think that when someone designs and builds and engine they want to make it look the business even if it is not. Virgil went on to sign his books an I carried on looking around at some of the fantastic bikes in his collection. He has one of the eight Brittens in existence. I have now seen three, one was at the Britten Museum in Christchurch, New Zealand South Island the second in the Tao Papa Museum in Wellington, New Zealand North Island and now, this one.

It will only travel with him and will not get shipped anywhere. It is too much of a treasure to be shipped anywhere. I took so many photos but he has an original Mike Hailwood machine, the Vincent that did the speed record at Bonneville are just a few examples of the extraordinary collection and there is a lot more.

Some other special machines worth mentioning like the Guzzi Vee Twin racer, the supercharged BMW Rennesport racer and the NSU Rennemax.

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