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Friday, June 26, 2015

Real Royal Enfield Constellation in painting still exists

Ian Cater's painting of a Royal Enfield Constellation.
My recent blog post about artist Ian Cater's new painting of a Royal Enfield Constellation speeding into the evening light brought instant recollection for reader Julien Audor of Austria.

He believes he owns the motorcycle shown in the painting!

Cater had told me he based his painting on a photo he'd seen of "a guy belting a Constellation along... I just tried to give it as much impression of movement and speed as I could."

Audor not only has the motorcycle, he also got hold of photos of it as it looked in a magazine story. He emailed them to me, writing:

Royal Enfield Constellation
on 1998 CBG cover.
"I am the present owner of the bike painted by Ian Cater. I bought it in England four years ago and one of the former owners told me that it had been featured in a magazine (Classic Bike Guide, Issue No. 85, May 1998). The front picture is the one used by the artist as basis for his painting. The same pictures are also shown in a book 'The History of British Bikes' by Roland Brown in 1999...

"This Connie was dispatched in May, 1960 to Walton & Coombes of Altrincham and it still has matching engine and frame. Registration shows 1964 which is mysterious..."

Audor would like to know more about his Constellation. Its registration number back in the day was LKE274B .

"In case someone can help tracking the bike's history I would be delighted!" You can write him at

Julien Audor's Royal Enfield Constellation as it looks today.
The Royal Enfield Constellation is still undergoing restoration.
As for the original photograph on Page 63 of "The History of British Bikes," it's credited in the book to "Phil Masters/Roland Brown." The book has several similar shots of this same rider posing aboard different British motorcycles.

I wrote to both men at addresses I found online, hoping to ask for more information about the photo shoot that day and the motorcycle, but there has been no reply.

Friday, June 19, 2015

A Happy Father's Day, from my closet biker chick

Anna posed with me on my dual-seat Honda,
years ago, but never went for a ride.
I've never taken my wife or daughters for a ride on my Royal Enfield Bullet. In fact, I intentionally never purchased a pillion seat, to avoid even the temptation.

Didn't want the responsibility and, besides, I'd promised the insurance company I wouldn't carry passengers.

Little did I know!

The other day an interesting looking letter arrived here from an insurance company, addressed to daughter Anna (long since grown up, moved out and married).

"Who's as passionate about motorcycles as you?" the envelope demanded.

I couldn't resist opening it. Inside, I read:

"Dear Anna, This letter is to inform you that we know what you're up to."

Anna? Up to something? What could it be?

"You think about motorcycles a lot."

Anna? Really? I had no idea. She never said a thing to me about motorcycles.

"When you got up this morning, did you look out the window and wonder, 'Can I go riding today?'"

My Anna?

"When you hear a loud bike go past, and your spouse complains about the noise, you think, 'Sounds like the exhaust baffles are missing.'"

I'll have to ask Anna's husband if she ever mentioned that.

"When you get dragged to a party, you scope out the vehicles in the parking lot to see if there's any chance another enthusiast will be there so you'll have someone to talk to, right?"

Something amiss here. No one ever had to drag Anna to a party.

"At GEICO, we have insured motorcycles for more than 30 years — back when Shovels were new, two-strokes were tearin' up the mud, and British bikes still had sketchy electronics."

Now I know something's wrong. British bikes with sketchy electronics 30 years ago?

I don't believe they had them at all.

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