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Friday, July 3, 2015

On seeing another Royal Enfield motorcycle in the U.S.

Sightings of Royal Enfields are so rare in the United States that I invariably snap
a photo when I see one. This one was parked in Miami Beach.
It was a bitter cold day in Washington, D.C. as my daughter and I waited to walk across an intersection. My chin was down to protect my neck from the wind and my hands were thrust deep into my pockets.

It was the sound that made me look up.

"That's a Royal Enfield!" I exclaimed, amazed that anyone would ride a motorcycle on such a harsh day and on a rarely seen Royal Enfield, too.

That was last winter and today is summertime in hot and humid Fort Lauderdale and I happened to look up at an intersection.

"That's a Royal Enfield!" I exclaimed.

That makes two this year!

This tells you a little something about how often I see Royal Enfields rolling along the roads in the United States. (I've seen a couple, in different places, parked along the street as well, but only these two moving examples.)

This is actually a tremendous improvement. I never used to see Royal Enfields at all unless I happened to look at my own, or was at a vintage motorcycle show (even then there might not be any at the show except mine, in the parking lot).

But, clearly, with all its success, the day is coming when there will be Royal Enfields all over the United States.

How will I feel about that?

Will people quit stopping me to ask what is that I'm riding? (I doubt it.)

Will I have to stop listing Royal Enfields for sale because there are so many? (Maybe.)

Will I get over feeling so special when I ride my Royal Enfield? (Never.)

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@gmail.com

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.

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