I would finally get the opportunity to walk through the factory gates and step into motorcycling history that started back in 1917 during the First World War. At the time, three young Italian pilots were fighting for their country in the Italian Air force: Carlo Guzzi, Giorgio Ripamonti and a well-known racer of the day, Giovanni Ravelli.
Maybe you're too young. Or perhaps you are not intimately acquainted with automotive racing history. Whatever the reason, if dark and light blue stripes with red fail to make your heart go pitter-patter, you might miss the inspiration for the Ultimate MotorCycling Ducati 1098 Special.
The year 1967 was awash in monumental events. Summer of Love bromides aside, the image of Hendrix immolating his Strat at Monterey is a visual time stamp of a convulsive year. Change and upheaval, among other things, were in the air.
Ever try to put lipstick on a Pitbull? It's a hazardous enterprise. Blood is spilled. Fingers vanish. Michael Vick leaves nasty messages on your voicemail. Ignoring the obvious peril, the brave souls at Big Dog Motorcycles have given their vicious, 10-year-old Pitbull a complete makeover for 2008. Admirers of the ill-tempered street dog need not fear—this is no Queer Eye, metrosexual de-fanging.
Scattered like seeds in the wind, the 10 existing Britten motorcycles have blown to the far corners of the earth. Metallic reminders of one man's motorcycling dream, they stand as silent testimony to the drive, vision and genius of the late John Britten. Exquisite motorcycle artwork in their repose, they once were warriors, possessed with a great spirit from the Maori nation of their birth.
“Accomplishment is about believing in a concept and your ability to follow it through,” says Jim Giuffra, founding partner of world champion metric bike builders AFT Customs. “Credere”—its name purposely chosen from the Italian verb “to believe”—affirms that philosophy. AFT's rendition of Honda's respected VTX1300 cruiser embodies Giuffra's sculptural vision and celebration of the female form.
In the concrete cocoon of Ecosse Moto Works' Denver warehouse, Donald Atchison forges his industrial art, spurred by his deal with the demons that drive him and stoked by the inspiration of his heroes and icons. One is met at the entrance by neat rows of classic bikes, from Nortons to Velocettes. Upon a diamond-plate dais, the Heretic Ti holds court.