2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara First Test: Duality

Revamping an icon is never easy, especially when that icon’s history is as storied as the Jeep Wrangler’s. I’ll spare you the details that you (probably) already know, but the all-new 2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara, in all of its heated leather seats and Apple CarPlay glory, is the modern day descendent of the World War II Jeeps that helped roll back totalitarianism in Europe in Asia.

Basically, the new 2018 Wrangler has some pretty big shoes to fill. And a lot of boxes to check, too.

Code-named JL, the new Wrangler replaces the decade-old but beloved JK-series Wrangler. Associate editor Scott Evans did an excellent job digging into all the changes, big and small, made to the 2018 Wrangler in his First Look and First Drive, so I’ll keep things brief. Basically, the Wrangler is new from its axles and frame on up to its three new (still removable) roof options. Jeep’s goal for the new 2018 Wrangler is to balance the dueling demands of those who buy Wranglers to adventure off-road and those who buy ’em to drive around town because they look cool. Of the three versions of the new Wrangler on sale (Sport, Sahara, and Rubicon), none sums this duality up better than the luxury- and street-oriented Sahara.




With the Wrangler Rubicon expected to capture the hardcore off-roaders and the Wrangler Sport serving as the jack-of-all-trades entry into the lineup, the Wrangler Sahara is aimed mostly at buyers who prefer streets to slick rock. Its standard features and options list reflects that. Standard are four doors (every other Wrangler variant is also available with two doors), street-oriented tires, chrome accents, and body-color fender flares that’d get pinstriped off-road. The Wrangler Sahara’s option list is long, but notable is a Sahara-exclusive Selec-Trac full-time four-wheel-drive system, which is ideal for those only using their Jeep’s four-wheel-drive system in inclement weather.

Aside from the optional Selec-Trac transfer case, the 2018 Wrangler Sahara shares the rest of its powertrain with its Sport and Rubicon stablemates. Under the hood is a retuned version of the JK Wrangler’s 3.6-liter V-6, in the Sahara making 285 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed manual is standard, but our tester is equipped with an optional eight-speed automatic. A new 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making 268 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque is optional, and a 3.0-liter turbodiesel V-6 is expected to join the lineup next year.








At the track, the 10 years (and roughly 200 pounds) separating the new Wrangler from the old JK model is readily apparent. Stomp on the accelerator, and the 2018 Wrangler Sahara accelerates from 0 to 60 mph in 6.9 seconds and goes through the quarter mile in 15.3 seconds at 89.9 mph. That’s a drastic improvement over the last JK Jeep we tested, a 2016 Wrangler Unlimited Rubicon equipped with a soft top and five-speed auto. It needed 8.2 seconds to hit 60 mph and 16.3 seconds to get through the quarter at 82.5 mph. The new Jeep stops and turns way better than the old one, too. It’s best 60–0-mph performance was 128 feet, and it lapped our figure-eight course in a respectable 28.3 seconds at 0.58 g average. The 2018 Wrangler beats the old one at the pump, too; it’s EPA-rated at 18/23/20 mpg city/highway/combined versus 16/20/18 mpg. In our mixed testing, we averaged an indicated 19.7 mpg.

The performance improvements seen at the track are even more apparent out on the road in the real world.

I spent the week leading up to testing the 2018 Wrangler driving around in my mom’s two-door auto-equipped 2015 Wrangler Polar Edition, and the difference between JK and JL Wrangler is like the difference between cheeseburger and a rib-eye steak—both are still good, but you’d rather have the rib-eye, wouldn’t you?








Whereas the old Wrangler was charmingly sluggish and rough around the edges, the new Jeep drives like a modern pickup. It still feels like a Jeep, yes, but the ride is buttoned-down and forgiving, the front end doesn’t wander waywardly over bumps, and the Wrangler’s steering, although still a slow ratio for off-roading, is well-weighted and accurate on the road.

The Wrangler’s new eight-speed automatic significantly livens up Jeep’s 3.6-liter V-6, too. The new eight-speed shifts quickly and unobtrusively and is happy to hold a lower gear going uphill during passing or downhill to help you maintain speed. Finally freed of the boat anchor five-speed, the V-6 feels quick and athletic, with plenty of passing power on tap. I’m told you’ll want that optional 2.0-liter engine if you drive it, but if you never bother I think most will be satisfied with the V-6.

The new transmission also has the added benefit of helping make the Wrangler’s cabin quieter than before by keeping engines rev lower. The cabin of our loaded tester, equipped with an optional hard top and hard top headliner, leather, and heated seats, is a much nicer place to spend time than the previous Wrangler. I wouldn’t go so far as to call the Wrangler Sahara’s cabin luxurious, but it feels premium, with soft, high-quality leather, soft-touch plastics, comfortable seats, and a modern infotainment system.








Arguably Jeep’s biggest challenge with the new 2018 Wrangler was ensuring it hadn’t gone soft on off-road performance. I’m happy to report it hasn’t. I spent a rare rainy Southern California morning exploring the state’s Hungry Valley off-road recreation area. I started out familiarizing myself with the new Wrangler on a particularly easy course that nonetheless required four-low from a couple of Japanese SUVs when I was there recently for an upcoming story. As I motored up the steep hill climb in two-wheel drive, the Jeep started to slip a bit, so I shifted into the Wrangler Sahara’s 4A mode, and it continued up without skipping a beat.

Confident I was familiarized with the new Wrangler’s dimensions, I headed out for more challenging trails.

Call it typical millennial anxiety, but I’m always reluctant going anywhere off-road by myself without the most capable hardware possible. When alone, I rarely go exploring anywhere off-road that I don’t think I can get myself out of, but regardless I still want aggressive, puncture-proof off-road tires, low range, and locking diffs front and back. Despite the Wrangler Sahara’s road-oriented tires and lack of locking diffs, the Jeep never once made me anxious; it easily tackled whatever I threw at it. On the toughest obstacle I faced—a steep, heavily rutted hill climb with loose-packed dirt and mud that frequently put me on three wheels—the Jeep was struggling a bit for grip in 4H, so I shifted down to 4L. In that mode traction control comes off and the electronic brake lock diffs go into action; I could feel the calipers being grabbed as the Jeep routed power to the wheels with most traction, and without any further delay, it motored right on up.

Just about the only place the new 2018 Wrangler can’t match the old is in price. With JK Wranglers already flying off the lots, Jeep upped prices across the board on its new JL Wrangler. Prices for the 2018 Wrangler Unlimited Sahara start at $38,540 for a soft-top, six-speed manual-equipped version. Our nearly loaded tester stickered for $50,220—though it’s worth noting if you spec an identical Wrangler Sahara on Jeep’s configurator the cost has crept higher, to $51,115, due to some option package changes. A similarly equipped 2018 Wrangler JK Unlimited Sahara will set you back $45,640, a $5,475 difference. That’s a significant price increase, but given how much nicer the new Wrangler drives and the newfound interior quality, it’s worth the premium.

After all—this Jeep is the first Wrangler to actually be as nice to drive on the road as it is off. The 2018 Jeep Wrangler has some pretty big shoes to fill and some competing goals to accomplish, but Jeep’s absolutely nailed it. Welcome to the 21st century, Wrangler.

2018 Jeep Wrangler Unlimited Sahara
BASE PRICE $38,540
PRICE AS TESTED $50,220
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, 4WD, 5-pass, 4-door SUV
ENGINE 3.6L/285-hp/260-lb-ft DOHC 24-valve V-6
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 4,391 lb (52/48%)
WHEELBASE 118.4 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 188.4 x 73.8 x 73.6 in
0-60 MPH 6.9 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.3 sec @ 89.9 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 128 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.73 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 28.3 sec @ 0.58 g (avg)
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 18/23/20 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 187/147 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.97 lb/mile

































































































































































































































































































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An Electric Jaguar XJ is the Latest Buzz

The Jaguar XJ competes with the BMW 7 Series and the leader of large luxury sedans, the Mercedes-Benz S-Class. But when it enters its next generation, Jaguar will position it against the Tesla Model S as an electric car, a new report claims.

According to Autocar, the next-generation Jaguar XJ will also keep its saloon look but will switch to a five-door layout. The report says that the design team has completed work on the new electric car, which will launch at the end of this year before going on sale in 2019. The model will reportedly debut a new design language that will reverberate through the Jaguar brand.

The XJ is said to receive a new aluminum architecture. Its drivetrain is expected to deliver high performance as well as a range of more than 300 miles. At this time, Jaguar is not pursuing a hybrid option.

In a statement to us, Jaguar said, “We can’t comment, confirm or deny any future product plans.” But if the report is true, an electric powertrain could help the XJ stand out in a segment with strong competitors but slowing demand. It can also help Jaguar more firmly establish itself as a maker of electric cars, and that could benefit the brand in the long term.

Jaguar will introduce the I-Pace, its first electric car, this March. The model will have a significant technology transfer with the XJ, Autocar points out.

Back in September, design chief Ian Callum told the publication that the XJ should remain the brand’s flagship instead of an SUV. He also noted saloons need a makeover in a new era of electrification and amid the rising popularity of SUVs, without making specific reference to the XJ. Jaguar will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the XJ this year.








The post An Electric Jaguar XJ is the Latest Buzz appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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SS1000SCM

Simone Conti‘s Ducati SS1000 custom – Full aluminium jacket!

Entirely redesigned and rebuilt from scratch: handmade aluminium bodywork and swingarm, reengineered electrics w/ xenon lights, Alpina spoke rims, Custom exhausts, custom paintwork and much more.



SMC

Shot @MBE 2018 in Verona by and for Inazuma Cafe

Source: http://ift.tt/2jgWT4U January 23, 2018 at 10:27AM

BMW At Auto Expo 2018: What To Expect

While most brands go with one or two show stoppers at the auto expo, BMW is coming in all guns blazing At the 2018 Delhi Auto Expo, BMW is going to showcase everything from the mildly updated M4 and petrol powered X6 to brand new models, including those from its BMW i range. This is an exhibit you dont want to miss and with this ZigTalk, we give you the low down on everything you can expect. Source: http://zigwheels.com

Riding the Abandoned Pennsylvania Turnpike

I have a certain fascination with and interest in exploring abandoned manmade things. There’s a surrealness that comes with being in a place that is in between urban and wild, developed and natural. Rusty metal, crumbling concrete, smashed windows. The ruin, decay, and nature taking over, perhaps as it should have been all along.

I love to wander through old, dilapidated buildings and ride decrepit stretches of road, though oftentimes, these places aren’t open to the public and perhaps that adds to the fun. But there’s something to be said for getting to enjoy them without worrying about consequences.

One such opportunity to do this is on an abandoned stretch of the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Breezewood. Thirteen miles of the road was bypassed in 1968 in favor of a newer route that did not require the use of tunnels, which had been causing a lot of bottlenecked traffic issues on the old road. In 2001, the Southern Alleghenies Conservancy, an organization that seeks to preserve natural, cultural and historic resources in south-central Pennsylvania, bought the property and it is now open for hikers and cyclists to explore.

Plans to convert this section of road into a multi-use trail called The Old PA Pike are underway, but for now, the cracked and crumbling roadway exists in a very raw and untouched way (except by graffiti artists) that is reminiscent of apocalyptic times. In fact, scenes from the post-apocalyptic film “The Road” were filmed there.

The section of former highway includes two tunnels, one of which is almost two miles long – long enough and sloped enough that you can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel until you get halfway through.

Above each tunnel, there are rooms that house giant fans that were used to provide ventilation via a channel running above the ceiling of the actual roadway. Holes in the ceiling allowed air flow from the tunnel itself to and from this channel. There are also remnants of other infrastructure in this secret raised cavity, such as a rail line that was presumably used to transport building or repair materials into the depths of the tunnel. It’s worth it to take a moment to get off your bike and check out all the little rooms above and beside the road itself; it’s pretty interesting, if you’re into that sort of thing.

The bikeable section of abandoned road ends at a second parking area and back road that makes for an excellent connector if you want to do a longer ride in the area that includes B-roads and gravel as well as the Pike 2 Bike. Or you can turn around and ride the nine miles back for a total of 18 miles and it’s still a fun ride that is relatively flat and easy. It’s a great ride for families or people who might not ride a lot, and the extra element of history and exploration add to the fun factor for those who might need a little extra incentive to jump on a bike. Though be warned, some of the graffiti in the tunnels is not exactly family-friendly, so just be aware and be prepared if you’re sensitive to that.

The abandoned turnpike also passes through Buchanan State Forest, which offers singletrack and snowmobile trails open to mountain biking that connect directly to the Pike 2 Bike, so opportunities for continued exploration abound even if roads aren’t your thing.

If you go:

  • Parking is available on either end of The Old PA Pike. One parking area is just off Rt. 30 east of Breezewood on Tannery Road (it’s just a gravel pull-off). The other is off of Pump Station Road in Waterfall, PA.
  • The surface of the abandoned turnpike is a bit rough and crumbling in a lot of spots. I wouldn’t recommend taking a true road bike with 23c tires on it. Gravel/cross bikes, hybrids and even mountain bikes will offer a more comfortable and enjoyable ride. Basically, anything you’d ride on gravel would be fine.
  • Be sure to bring a light.
  • As always, be respectful of the land and other users, and be safe and use common sense.

——————–


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All-New ‘Twin Turbos’ Series to Premiere on Discovery

Doug and Brad DeBerti are a father and son duo that are as real of a gearhead family as they come. Doug has worked in the custom build industry for 25 years creating one-off cars and trucks. His projects are bespoke for clients and include unique designs like a drift racing truck and a truck modeled after a fighter jet.

The DeBerti’s have also done work in the form of racecars or even show cars for OEMs. The money they generate from their garage goes straight into Brad Deberti’s racing career.

Brad DeBerti won the 2015 Pro-Light Rookie of the Year and 2016 Lucas Oil Off Road-Pro-Light championship with his father acting as both his coach and spotter. His bourgeoning career almost crashed to an end when he was hospitalized after his racing truck flipped seven times.

The near-fatal accident almost ended Brad’s career, and as a result he took a break from racing for a year to recover and to grow the family business with Doug. Now he’s back to work pursuing a NASCAR career with driver Joey Logano as his mentor.




To fund Brad’s racing career, the DeBerti’s will continue to build cars and trucks for customers as the audience follows their journey.
You can catch the first episode of “Twin Turbos” on Wednesday, February 28 at 10pm ET/PT on Discovery.

The post All-New ‘Twin Turbos’ Series to Premiere on Discovery appeared first on Automobile Magazine.

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Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel

Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel

The Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racer

This Norton is a racing special built by legendary California Norton dealer Sonny Angel for racing duties in the USA. A Norton Featherbed frame was used as the starting point for the build, a favorite among motorcycle racers of the era and a design that was widely copied by other manufacturers.

A 1962 650 Norton parallel twin was fitted, after it was bored to 750cc, and fitted with twin Amal carburetors sporting alloy velocity stacks. Up front a pair of Norton Roadholder forks were installed, topped with clip-on handlebars and a tachometer – there was no need for a speedometer, headlight, or blinkers, as it was never intended to pass a road licensing inspection.

An open single-chain primary connects the 750cc parallel twin to the 4-speed Norton gearbox used extensively right through to the end of Commando production in the 1970s. Interestingly, Sonny Angel and his team fitted an NSU rear wheel to allow for quick gearing changes. He was also an NSU dealer, so he would have had ample supply and experience with the twin sprocket wheels, and the benefits of being able to change a racing motorcycle’s final gear ratio in a matter of minutes would have been valuable.

A single seat with a bump stop was installed behind a large-capacity Manx-style fuel tank, with a strap to hold it in place and knee indents on either side to accommodate the rider’s legs. Hand-painted number “5” plates were applied to both sides and the front, and short exhausts were fitted with no cross-over, and the smallest mufflers that could be found – noise complaints would be unlikely.

In recent years the Norton has been rebuilt, and it’s now listed as running strongly. It’s a unique piece of British/American motorcycle history and with an estimated price of between $16,000 to $20,000 USD it could very well be greeted by a sea of waving paddles when it crosses the auction block with Bonhams in Las Vegas on the 25th of January. If you’d like to read more about the bike or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Sonny Angel Motorcycles

Sonny Angel travelled to England as a young man and ended up spending two years working in the Vincent Motorcycle Factory in Stevenage. He was part of the team that built the final Vincent in the factory before it closed down, and his connections to British motorcycling wouldn’t end there.

After traveling back to California and opening Sonny Angel Motorcycles, his own dealership, he would take part in countless road races, drag races, off road races, and he went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1955, where he would ride his custom Vincent Rapide to a speed of 144.69 mph.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Sonny saw what was happening to the British, Italian, and American motorcycle industries as the glut of cheap Japanese bikes flooded the market. He recognized the importance of the Honda CB750 and realized he could build a faster and better handling competitor for it using little more than a rolling Norton Atlas chassis and the engine from a Hillman Imp.

Though on the face of it it might seem absurd to put a car engine into a production motorcycle, it was actually remarkably clever. The Hillman Imp engine was closely based on a Coventry Climax unit that had enjoyed some racing successes. It was a lightweight, inline-4 that was cast from aluminum alloy and used water-cooling. It had a single overhead cam rather than the more common pushrods, a displacement of 875cc and 51+ hp depending on the state of tune.

Sonny built a working prototype with his team, but couldn’t get Norton to show any interest in a production model. The company was struggling with low sales and financial problems, but if they’d put Sonny’s Norton-Coventry Climax into production they might have been able to compete more effectively with the Japanese.

Sonny sold his dealership a few years ago and retired, he’s now in his 90s and still enjoying life. If you’d like to follow his Facebook Page you can click here. They share stories and imagery from his illustrious life, including a number of pictures of the machines he rode.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

The post Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel appeared first on Silodrome.

Source: https://silodrome.com January 23, 2018 at 06:23AM

Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel

Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel

The Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racer

This Norton is a racing special built by legendary California Norton dealer Sonny Angel for racing duties in the USA. A Norton Featherbed frame was used as the starting point for the build, a favorite among motorcycle racers of the era and a design that was widely copied by other manufacturers.

A 1962 650 Norton parallel twin was fitted, after it was bored to 750cc, and fitted with twin Amal carburetors sporting alloy velocity stacks. Up front a pair of Norton Roadholder forks were installed, topped with clip-on handlebars and a tachometer – there was no need for a speedometer, headlight, or blinkers, as it was never intended to pass a road licensing inspection.

An open single-chain primary connects the 750cc parallel twin to the 4-speed Norton gearbox used extensively right through to the end of Commando production in the 1970s. Interestingly, Sonny Angel and his team fitted an NSU rear wheel to allow for quick gearing changes. He was also an NSU dealer, so he would have had ample supply and experience with the twin sprocket wheels, and the benefits of being able to change a racing motorcycle’s final gear ratio in a matter of minutes would have been valuable.

A single seat with a bump stop was installed behind a large-capacity Manx-style fuel tank, with a strap to hold it in place and knee indents on either side to accommodate the rider’s legs. Hand-painted number “5” plates were applied to both sides and the front, and short exhausts were fitted with no cross-over, and the smallest mufflers that could be found – noise complaints would be unlikely.

In recent years the Norton has been rebuilt, and it’s now listed as running strongly. It’s a unique piece of British/American motorcycle history and with an estimated price of between $16,000 to $20,000 USD it could very well be greeted by a sea of waving paddles when it crosses the auction block with Bonhams in Las Vegas on the 25th of January. If you’d like to read more about the bike or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Sonny Angel Motorcycles

Sonny Angel travelled to England as a young man and ended up spending two years working in the Vincent Motorcycle Factory in Stevenage. He was part of the team that built the final Vincent in the factory before it closed down, and his connections to British motorcycling wouldn’t end there.

After traveling back to California and opening Sonny Angel Motorcycles, his own dealership, he would take part in countless road races, drag races, off road races, and he went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1955, where he would ride his custom Vincent Rapide to a speed of 144.69 mph.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Sonny saw what was happening to the British, Italian, and American motorcycle industries as the glut of cheap Japanese bikes flooded the market. He recognized the importance of the Honda CB750 and realized he could build a faster and better handling competitor for it using little more than a rolling Norton Atlas chassis and the engine from a Hillman Imp.

Though on the face of it it might seem absurd to put a car engine into a production motorcycle, it was actually remarkably clever. The Hillman Imp engine was closely based on a Coventry Climax unit that had enjoyed some racing successes. It was a lightweight, inline-4 that was cast from aluminum alloy and used water-cooling. It had a single overhead cam rather than the more common pushrods, a displacement of 875cc and 51+ hp depending on the state of tune.

Sonny built a working prototype with his team, but couldn’t get Norton to show any interest in a production model. The company was struggling with low sales and financial problems, but if they’d put Sonny’s Norton-Coventry Climax into production they might have been able to compete more effectively with the Japanese.

Sonny sold his dealership a few years ago and retired, he’s now in his 90s and still enjoying life. If you’d like to follow his Facebook Page you can click here. They share stories and imagery from his illustrious life, including a number of pictures of the machines he rode.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

The post Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel appeared first on Silodrome.

Source: https://silodrome.com January 23, 2018 at 06:23AM

Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel

Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel

The Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racer

This Norton is a racing special built by legendary California Norton dealer Sonny Angel for racing duties in the USA. A Norton Featherbed frame was used as the starting point for the build, a favorite among motorcycle racers of the era and a design that was widely copied by other manufacturers.

A 1962 650 Norton parallel twin was fitted, after it was bored to 750cc, and fitted with twin Amal carburetors sporting alloy velocity stacks. Up front a pair of Norton Roadholder forks were installed, topped with clip-on handlebars and a tachometer – there was no need for a speedometer, headlight, or blinkers, as it was never intended to pass a road licensing inspection.

An open single-chain primary connects the 750cc parallel twin to the 4-speed Norton gearbox used extensively right through to the end of Commando production in the 1970s. Interestingly, Sonny Angel and his team fitted an NSU rear wheel to allow for quick gearing changes. He was also an NSU dealer, so he would have had ample supply and experience with the twin sprocket wheels, and the benefits of being able to change a racing motorcycle’s final gear ratio in a matter of minutes would have been valuable.

A single seat with a bump stop was installed behind a large-capacity Manx-style fuel tank, with a strap to hold it in place and knee indents on either side to accommodate the rider’s legs. Hand-painted number “5” plates were applied to both sides and the front, and short exhausts were fitted with no cross-over, and the smallest mufflers that could be found – noise complaints would be unlikely.

In recent years the Norton has been rebuilt, and it’s now listed as running strongly. It’s a unique piece of British/American motorcycle history and with an estimated price of between $16,000 to $20,000 USD it could very well be greeted by a sea of waving paddles when it crosses the auction block with Bonhams in Las Vegas on the 25th of January. If you’d like to read more about the bike or register to bid you can click here to visit the listing.

Sonny Angel Motorcycles

Sonny Angel travelled to England as a young man and ended up spending two years working in the Vincent Motorcycle Factory in Stevenage. He was part of the team that built the final Vincent in the factory before it closed down, and his connections to British motorcycling wouldn’t end there.

After traveling back to California and opening Sonny Angel Motorcycles, his own dealership, he would take part in countless road races, drag races, off road races, and he went to the Bonneville Salt Flats in 1955, where he would ride his custom Vincent Rapide to a speed of 144.69 mph.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s Sonny saw what was happening to the British, Italian, and American motorcycle industries as the glut of cheap Japanese bikes flooded the market. He recognized the importance of the Honda CB750 and realized he could build a faster and better handling competitor for it using little more than a rolling Norton Atlas chassis and the engine from a Hillman Imp.

Though on the face of it it might seem absurd to put a car engine into a production motorcycle, it was actually remarkably clever. The Hillman Imp engine was closely based on a Coventry Climax unit that had enjoyed some racing successes. It was a lightweight, inline-4 that was cast from aluminum alloy and used water-cooling. It had a single overhead cam rather than the more common pushrods, a displacement of 875cc and 51+ hp depending on the state of tune.

Sonny built a working prototype with his team, but couldn’t get Norton to show any interest in a production model. The company was struggling with low sales and financial problems, but if they’d put Sonny’s Norton-Coventry Climax into production they might have been able to compete more effectively with the Japanese.

Sonny sold his dealership a few years ago and retired, he’s now in his 90s and still enjoying life. If you’d like to follow his Facebook Page you can click here. They share stories and imagery from his illustrious life, including a number of pictures of the machines he rode.

Images courtesy of Bonhams

The post Norton Featherbed 750 Road Racing Motorcycle Built By Sonny Angel appeared first on Silodrome.

Source: https://silodrome.com January 23, 2018 at 06:23AM