On Cars & Motorcycles & Coffee…….A Pictorial of sorts.

The weather over Memorial Day weekend was perfect for my hometowns monthly Cars & Coffee gathering in Greenville, South Carolina. Just like The Meltdown Vintage Motorcycle show that we rave about each year, our monthly Cars & Coffee is a great grass roots petrol fest of two and four wheels. People of all ages; Millenials, Geezers, Hipsters, Gen X,Y&Z, small kids, big kids, dogs…..all coming out to see, smell, and hear the sound of internal combustion engines housed in all kinds of sheet metal skin. As the temps are starting to get quite a bit warm, the usually large canine contingent was noticeably under represented this day.

So, enough words. Here are some of the more interesting, aesthetic, weird, freaky and WTF cars and bikes we came across. Enjoy!

Motorbikes had a good turnout

Modern and Vintage. It was all here.

A Thing? C’mon. Everyone remembers VW’s Thing. Soooo ugly it’s beautiful! And you too, can have this one.

A Cornucopia of really beautiful, really fast cars. Check out the kid, already pointing out the attributes of a Ferrari to his dad.

The French Invasion: a weird little car is this Citroen

The weirdness continues……………..

In the market for a beautiful, upscale, Italian Roadster? Alfa Romeo 4C. Where do I sign?

Back to the Bikes

You want patina? This guy’s got patina. Used to be called rust.

We’ll end with the freak in the room……………. WTF?

 

 

Land of the Noonday Sun

Nantahala. Cherokee language translated as land of the noonday sun. And that is quite precisely the only time that the Nantahala Gorge sees any sunshine, that small window of yellow light as the sun climbs over the easterly mountains to its zenith, and then immediately begins its westward descent, and the gorge is once again enveloped in shadow.

I was just up the mountain in Western North Carolina, attending the 10th annual Honda NC700 owners gathering at the Kickstand Lodge, a great place to moto camp or rent cabins when in the area. It is located in Stecoah, North Carolina, in the middle of nowhere between Robbinsville and Bryson City.

Kickstand Lodge

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The grounds are beautiful, the staff very friendly, and of course, there is a camp dog. Newly acquired at only four months old, this is Jo-Jo, a chocolate Lab. She loves belly rubs, and yes, that is my hand she is using as a chew toy!

Jo-Jo

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My riding this weekend would have me on two fantastic motorcycling roads: Wayah Road, accessed from the Nantahala Gorge, and the Cherohala Skyway, an indescribable twisty, 50+ miles one way from Robbinsville, North Carolina to the little hamlet of Tellico Plains, Tennessee. It had been years since I had ridden either of these roads. I was pumped. Both are very scenic, and, as I was zoned in on the curves on the Cherohala, I neglected to stop and take photos! Here are a few from Wayah Road:

Wayah Road begins its ascent up to Wayah Bald, where a hard pack dirt road and short hike will take you to the summit. I elected to forego the summit, having been there before. I was getting hungry, and Franklin, North Carolina was at the end of the road. So was lunch. The descent into Franklin is a nice twisty two lane, but caution is advised, as the in and out of sunlight plays tricks with your eyes and a crucial curve may be missed. How those Isle of Man TT guys do it I’ll never know. Finally pulling into Franklin and searching for a parking space on Main Street, I came upon this:

A car show!

As much a car guy as motorcyclist, this was a moto weekend, and I was hungry, so I passed the car show by.

Back in the saddle and onward to Tennessee via the Cherohala Skyway. As mentioned previously, no photos: I was in such a sweet spot winding through the Skyways curves that I didn’t want to stop and break the spell. What a fantastic road.

It was a long day in the saddle on curvaceous mountain roads. Seven hours and 230 miles later I was back at Kickstand Lodge and sufficiently tired. A shower, a couple of beers and dinner with the guys put a great cap on the day. Oh, and we found the true location of Sasquatch.

If you’re ever in the middle of Nowhere, North Carolina, check out these roads. And stop in at KSL and say hey to Jo-Jo (don’ forget the belly rub!).

 

THE MELTDOWN!

Spring! Our favorite time of year. Not only is the weather wonderful for introducing my motorbikes wheels to some lean angles again after a shitty winter, but end of April marks an event Roo & I wait for all year. Putting rubber to pavement in Hendersonville, North Carolina, the Ton Up Club of Highlands stages a fantastic vintage and café motorcycle street show: The Meltdown.

I have expounded profusely about this grass roots, family oriented, all-comers show in this blog every year. Young bikers, old bikers, non-bikers, women, kids, newbies, dogs. All gather here to ogle over beautiful vintage iron in all stages of preservation or restoration. And the majority of them  are ridden. No trailer queens in this group!

Southern Appalachian Brewery offers up food trucks and their excellent libations, while in their courtyard bandstand two or three bands play good old rock n’ roll and rock a billy, befitting the era of these motorcycles.

Oh yeah. THE MOTORCYCLES!

DID THE KING OF COOL RIDE THIS BIKE?

The Meltdown is a very Cool moto show. The bikes here are Cool. Way Cool. One motorbike in particular could be The Coolest. Not because it is exceptional, it is. Not because it is an uncommon ride, it is. But because it may have been ridden by the King of Cool himself, Steve McQueen.

It is known that McQueen had an affinity for the Rickman Metisse, and is believed to have had one built. If it was this particular bike, no one knows. What is known (from the current owner) is that Bud Ekins, McQueens good friend and stunt double in The Great Escape, did own this particular Metisse. So, it stands to reason that during Ekins ownership, McQueen could have thrown a leg over this Rickman. Did he or didn’t he?  We’ll never know. But it’s Cool to imagine that the King of Cool just might have.

IF YOU MADE AWAY WITH THIS BIKE, YOU COULD TELL YOUR FRIENDS YOU’RE TAKING A WHIZZER!

RANDOM MOTO PICS

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As mentioned earlier, this is a grass roots event, showcasing bare bones motorcycling as it was in the 60’s and 70’s. Real bikes, real people. No poseurs (bikes or people) were to be seen. No riders dressed like pirates or space aliens. Almost all the bikes we saw were ridden to the show. Of the very few that were not, they were trailered by vehicles like these. Doesn’t get any Cooler.

THE CAR ENTHUSIAST IN US WAS SMILING:

A HOT ROD

AND THEN, NOT SO MUCH. A JUSTY??? IT ACTUALLY DROVE HERE!

Our time at the show was winding down, and we needed to head back down the mountain to the waiting beagles. But there was one more machine that caught our eyes that we had to see up close and personal. It put a smile on our faces, even though I was only five or six years old when this motorbike came to the US. Roo wasn’t even born yet. But we knew the history. This bike changed the course of motorcycling in America, and changed Americans perception of motorcyclists and motorcycles forever. It was a Honda, and Honda’s marketing team hit a home run with their “You meet the nicest people on a Honda” campaign. It was the Super Cub, and it’s back for 2019.

2019 HONDA SUPER CUB

” YOU MEET THE NICEST PEOPLE ON A HONDA.”

See you at The Meltdown in 2020!

Life on the Orient Express at Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and Motoring Festival

World War I had just ended, hard times for most everyone in Europe. WWII was within sight, and sandwiched right in between was the Great Depression. Tough times for nearly everyone here in the States and Europe. However, for Europe’s upper echelon and the ultra-rich, these decades were to become one of the most opulent and exciting the continent had ever seen. Two words capture the period perfectly: Elegance and Speed.

1939 Delahaye Type 165 Cabriolet (web photo)

Roo and I were really excited about this exhibit here at Hilton Head. The cars during this period were just extravagant works of rolling Art Deco. But they performed also. As was written in Britania.com, “Speed took on a new form of social significance. Someone who lived fast lived well…and incautiously. Moreover, speed also implied elegance.”

1938 Dubonnet Hispano Suiza (web photo)

The Elegance Class here at Hilton Head featured English cars like Rolls-Royce, Daimler, Jaguar, French cars such as Bugatti, Delahaye, Voisin, Spain’s Hispano-Suisa and Italy’s Issotta Fraschini.

The Speed Class showed “open” cars that were deigned to travel fast like Jaguar, Peugeot, Dar’l Mat, Alfa Romeo, and Lancia. These sporty cars were as luxurious as their saloon counterparts.

1938 Talbot Lago T150-C-SS (web photo)

These were the automobiles owned by the same people who rode the Orient Express, the super fast, super luxurious rail line that people with means chose for long distance travel.

As mentioned, these were extravagant automobiles designed to showcase the Art Deco style of the time. Long and low, sweeping flared fenders with running boards, beautiful swooping wheel covers. These cars were built to make a statement, and they did, loud and clear. Roo and I drooled over these masterpieces of fine art.

This was the most opulent exhibit in the Motoring Festival, with doscents and car owners alike dressed in period costume as they walked back in time to the 1930’s.

Well, as if planes, trains, and automobiles weren’t enough, how about………… boats! Beautiful wood boats from the early days of power boating were also on display here.

Power boating in style 

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BEST IN SHOW

Sunday was wet. We didn’t stay long. But the show must go on as they say. So we stayed long enough to see the Best in Show award given to this beautiful 1931 Stutz.

1931 Stutz DV32 Convertible Victoria

RANDOM BITS

There was so much to see here at Hilton Head. Here are a few random pics of other great looking and interesting automobiles.

This is a great Concours event to put on your calendar. Besides the Concours itself, this is Hilton Head! You’re on a beautiful island, gorgeous beaches, golf, hiking, bicycling, history, nightlife. Who needs the Caribbean?

The Most Elegant at d’Elegance: Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance & Motoring Festival

 

Pebble Beach, California. Amelia Island, Florida. Hilton Head Island, South Carolina. Three of the most distinguished Concours events in the country. Pebble Beach is the creme de la creme in the world of Concours d’Elegance events. Amelia Island is a very close runner-up. And now, Hilton Head Island is making a name for itself in these, the most exclusive of collector car and motorcycle venues. It is not by accident that these three Concours events are held in resort towns where the wealthy tend to congregate and show off their two and four wheeled prize possessions to the masses.

With the weather reading sun in the sky perfect for the event, Roo and I left the Upstate South Carolina foothills and zoomed straight across our home state to the island resort of Hilton Head. The stunningly beautiful Port Royal Golf Club is the venue for Hilton Head’s Concours d’Elegance, and it does not disappoint.

Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and Motoring Festival is somewhat unique. It  is actually three events in one. First is the Aero Expo, where vintage and new aircraft and automobiles from the same era as the aero-plane, are displayed. This event is held a short shuttle ride away at the Hilton Head airport. Second, is the large Car Club Showcase, where automobile and motorcycle clubs display their vehicles on the greens and fairways of the Port Royal Golf Club. Then on the final day of the weekend, the by invitation only Concours d’Elegance takes center stage. All three events are judged and awarded ribbons, culminating with the prestigious Best In Show on Sunday.

Saturday morning, brimming with excitement and anticipation, Roo & I took the shuttle trolley to the Port Royal Golf Club. In true Southern style, we walked through the tunnel of Live Oak trees dripping with Spanish moss, and knew we were in for a beautifully spectacular event.

THE AERO EXPO – WINGS & WHEELS

We missed this event on our last visit. My bad. Mismanaged my time. But this time around, the Aero Expo was our first stop off.

Vintage and new aircraft mated with Concours cars of the same era. A great concept. I love small aircraft, and as a motorcyclist, I can appreciate the skill set that the pilots of these machines must have to fly safely.

It wasn’t all vintage. Honda had it’s new light jet plane here.

Here is a gallery of some of the beautiful aircraft that were on display:

Walking through the entrance gate and onto the golf course, we were treated to these beautiful vintage autos from a long bygone era, on the green.

THE CAR CLUB SHOWCASE

The car club showcase celebrates it’s fourteenth year at the Hilton Head Concours. National and local car club members enter their cars at this prestigious event, wowing us spectators and some of the judges also. Clubs here include BMW, Ford, Ferrari,Cadillac LaSalle Club, Georgia Corvair Club and many others. Included in the Car Club Showcase is the “Life on the Orient Express” exhibit, showcasing the cars of the 1920’s and 1930’s that the wealthy were driving while everyone else was grappling with the Great Depression. So here is a sampling of the clubs and their cars in the Car Club Showcase (not all clubs are represented here).

CAR CLUB SHOWCASE

We’ve never seen an M1 anywhere prior to this. As we strolled along the line of M1’s, I said to Roo “These are BMW’s? They look so ………. Italian! Those of you who are BMW connoisseurs know the story. For those of us who are not ………………….

The M1 was to be BMW’s first Supercar in 1974. As designed, BMW lacked the capacity to build the M1 in-house, so Motorsport contracted with Lamborghini (Ah! There’s the Italians!) for 2000 cars in 1976. Right after the first prototype was built, Lamborghini collapsed and BMW scrambled for a replacement outfit. Enter Ital Engineering, TIR (an Italian bodyworks firm) for the fiberglass body, and Italdesign for the initial assembly. Long story short, that is why the M1’s look like 1970’s era Lambos! And we love the design!

Who doesn’t love a Sunbeam? They’re so cute! (OK. That was Roo). These are cool little cars and have quite the following. There were so many of them here at Hilton Head, they could have staged their own show!

These cars are stunningly beautiful. Not knowing anything about them, for the longest time we thought they were French built. We have since come to learn they are distinctly American, produced in the 1940’s and ’50’s.

Two American Classic Car Clubs: Mustang and Thunderbird 

A pony and a bird. Two cars that came to symbolize and change the automotive landscape of 1950’s and ’60’s America.

Ford’s pony car claimed new notoriety once Carroll Shelby put his name on it

Ford’s Thunderbird didn’t quite live up to it’s sports car moniker, but the porthole on the hardtop became a unique symbol of the 1950’s T-Bird.

Next post: Life on the Orient Express at Hilton Head Island Concours d’Elegance and Motoring Festival.