Friday, February 6, 2015

Motorcycles: When you needed a proper toolbox

Stylish kidney shaped toolbox on an AJS would open with a coin.
Note the hook to the right for the top end of the hand pump.
There was a time before motorcycles had nothing but cosmetic plastic "side covers" to hide their fiddly bits.

Instead, gracing the haunches of motorcycles, many British ones anyway, were useful metal boxes in which to carry the tools you'd need to keep the motorcycles running.

Blocky but probably useful toolbox on 1958 Ariel Red Hunter
shown by Tony Thackham of Dania Beach, Fla.
For 60 years, the Royal Enfield Bullet has offered handy toolboxes. Was this a competitive necessity? A selling point? Or just a natural feature no one would have dreamed of doing without?

It was fun walking around the 2015 Dania Beach Vintage Motorcycle Show Jan. 31, comparing the toolboxes an English motorcycle buyer would have sized up back in the day — before motorcycles were assumed to be, somehow, maintenance free devices.

Low-slung toolbox on 1947 Triumph 3T
shown by Roger Rodriguez of Hialeah, Fl;a.
There were lots of other details to delight the eye at the Dania Beach show. Here are a few:

Round metal toolbox on front fork of 1925 Harley-Davidson JD
shown by Eric Lachoff of Pompano Beach, Fla.
Handy horn on a 1957 Harley-Davidson Hummer
shown by Joseph Jones of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.
Pith helmet, ready for an explorer on BMW R75/5
shown by Jeff Neuwirth of Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

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