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The Quail 2013

May 5, 2013

This weekend was the 5th annual Quail Motorcycle Gathering in the Carmel Valley, California.  It was great fun to see old friends and old bikes in the sunshine.  This was the first time that I’ve made it to the event, as it has previously been scheduled on the same days as the Bud Ekins Tour in Atascadero.P1030866


This 1915 Harley was about my favorite bike of the whole show.  Tom Holthaus restored it more than a decade ago and has ridden it extensively since.  Yet it still looks good.  And when he started it for us, a large crowd gathered around to hear it run and to watch the valves bump up and down.  I was lucky enough to be asked to judge the early machines, and was able to spend several hours going over each of them with the owners to hear their stories and to see the features up close.  The only downside was that so many of the bikes were very high quality, and there can only be one winner.  The differences amounted to very little, and scores were just a half point here or there.



Another great old HD was this outfit that Bud Ekins built up for a movie in 1971.  The bike has sat for three decades since, and was awarded the FIVA award for preservation. 



Tim and his blue BMW



A tasty Indian



I brought the Veloce with the new paint  on the tank and the new barrel too.



The pannier carriers on this bluebird are distinctive, even if they aren’t as elegant as some designs.



I loved this 1920’s BSA.  It was filled with lots of little details, including the de saxe motor, dummy rim brakes, chain drive and foot clutch.  And quite a bit of pin striping too!P1030875


The sprockets on the BSA have an interesting spiral pattern.P1030933 

 The Petersen Museum brought two bikes, including this 1904 FN four.


The Petersen group also brought this Jordan.  It is a one-off, made by an inventor who wanted to get sales via the CHP or the military.  The sheetmetal body is also the frame, and the motor features twin cranks in a side by side configuration.  Velocette fans will recognize that layout as used on the Roarer and the Model O.  With four cylinders, electric start, and disc wheels, it was an advanced specification for a bike at that time.  The styling is even more unconventional than the mechanicals.  More info here.


A nice 1910 Indian, from the Baja Cantina right across the street from the hotel.P1030883




That’s Fass Mikey Vils with his Excelsior from the first Cannonball.  P1030891


The nitrous oxide tank is on the frame downtube, feeding through a coiled pipe to the solenoid on the seat tube, which then allows the gas into the custom made airbox on the carb.


A cute little Guilietta



The FN has a finish on the tank that is a type of gun bluing.P1030910




It is a narrow bike.






This Enfield has four valves in the head, twin high pipes, a foot shifter and it sounded really nice.


An old racer; The Harley Eater.



Stacie B London’s race bike.



This one is from Fred Mork’s pile of race machines.P1030954 

Paul riding a space age cycle.




21 Comments leave one →
  1. May 5, 2013 11:25 pm

    fantastic shots pete. also, i love how you put your watermark on some photos….looks like you may have restored some of them and put water decals on frames footboards and exhausts….

    • May 6, 2013 8:31 am

      Hi Matt. I never used to bother with watermarks. But after doing this site for a few years, I keep seeing other websites showing my photos and sometimes my text without bothering to put in a link to the source. It isn’t a big deal, but it bothers me. I’m a pain in the ass sometimes… 🙂

  2. Anonymous permalink
    May 6, 2013 12:31 am

    WOW, Love this iron, CHRIS………. (UK)

  3. May 6, 2013 12:37 am

    These are superb, CHRIS……………

  4. Lindsay Brooke permalink
    May 6, 2013 5:40 am

    Pete, the quarter-round steel panniers on the early Triumph Thunderbird in your Quail report were made by a U.K. company called Rodark. They’re a perfect (and much sought-after) match for pre-unit Triumphs because their lids have identical surface geometry to the stock Triumph rear mudguard–even matching the raised center rib. The Rodarks look best on solo-seat machines. — Lindsay Brooke

    • May 6, 2013 8:29 am

      thanks Lindsay! I’ve seen them before, but didn’t know the story. they are nice, but maybe are an acquired taste? 🙂

  5. Debbie permalink
    May 6, 2013 6:18 am

    nice article and photos, looked for you but never saw you….

    • May 6, 2013 8:28 am

      Sorry Deb. Judging was work from 8am until 1:30ish, then a quick lunch and play with kiddos and wife and try to look at all the bikes and say hello to everybody. But then it was 3:30 and it was all over with! It went too fast. See you soon.

  6. Rick Yamane permalink
    May 6, 2013 6:49 am

    It was a great event, nice seeing you there Pete. I saw your Premire off in the corner by itself too.

    • May 6, 2013 8:27 am

      Hi Rick. Yeah, that was supposed to be the exhibit of bikes from the 2010 and 2012 Cannonball. But only my bike showed up! Mike Vils did bring two of his, but they were in another section. Good to see you, even if it was brief.

  7. Anonymous permalink
    May 6, 2013 6:51 am

    Super to see the Veloce up and running, with its clothes on. It looks a handsome bike now. Bet you are happy with the end result and well done.
    P.S. still got your clips will deal with them tomorrow

  8. Michael R. Cecchini permalink
    May 6, 2013 9:08 am

    Same boring bikes……..same boring people…… same BS.

    You’d do well to have this event every 5 yrs….. not every year.

  9. carl permalink
    May 6, 2013 9:37 am

    very dapper my man,allways the English gent

  10. May 6, 2013 3:29 pm

    any storey behind the machine Mr P d’o is riding or is it just an exercise in coach building. All be it nice I thought i spied a cast wheel and rear brake master cylinder.

    that Bud Ekins combi looked sweet and also the day looked to be an absolute peach; paint me green.

    • May 6, 2013 3:46 pm

      No story that I know of. He builds a number of these bikes and trikes with polished metal bodies, each looking much like this one. Not as race machines, more like displays. It has a HD motor that I could see through holes in the body. And probably a later HD chassis too? There is probably more info out there, but I was too busy to chat with the builder. Paul will probably post something about the event, and might have some links to the builder.

      • Dugan Byrnes permalink
        May 8, 2013 11:42 am

        One was a 70s Sportster chassis, the other a Piaggio 250 trike. Hit of the camper category was the DecoLiner. See

  11. May 7, 2013 1:57 pm

    So cool Pete!!! Great article & always fun to see you boys enjoying life. Best!!!

  12. May 8, 2013 1:08 pm

    Dear Pete Young,
    Thank you for the report and photos, very nice for those of us on the east coast who couldn’t be there. Lots of tasty looking machines and excellent photography! I’ve mentioned before that in the northeast we do a rally for old motorbikes at the height of the fall foliage called The Pewter Run. Unlike so many static gatherings, the Pewter Run is a road reliability trial for pre-1950 motorcycles and cycle cars. Several veterans are regulars…. lots of interesting machines. More info at: Hope you can attend some time.
    Thanks again,
    Mark Gibson

    • May 8, 2013 1:13 pm

      Hi Mark. I’d love to go sometime. Rides are so much more fun than displays at a golf course! When it gets closer to the date of your event, send me some photos and/or a flyer, etc and I’ll post them in an article for everybody. Maybe we’ll find some readers who live closer to you and can make it this year.


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