Scott has been known to photograph some rare motorcycles from our history, but I don’t think anything could compare to the rarity of his newest motorcycle painting. This painting I’m about to share is one that he has been working on for over ten years! You can imagine how excited we all are to see it finished.
First, I’d like to share some information on the motorcycle company.
History of the Cyclone
Cyclone is a motorcycle that was manufactured in St. Paul, Minnesota by Joerns Motor Manufacturing Company from 1912 through 1917. It was a short-lived brand but made its mark by breaking records on the board track racing circuits of 1910 through the 1930s.
Unfortunately, because of Henry’s Model T and the Great Depression, Joerns Manufacturing Company was out of business by 1916. There are only a handful of Cyclone’s left in the world and that’s what makes them so famous nowadays.
In 2015, a 1915 Cyclone Board Track Racer previously owned by Steve McQueen was sold for $852,000 at Mecum Auctions which broke the record for the highest sale price of a motorcycle at the time.
The Story Behind This Bike!
According to the AMA Motorcycle Museum Hall of Fame, “Don Johns was a leading motorcycle racer in the early era of the sport. He competed as a professional from 1912 to 1916 and is the racer most closely associated with the Cyclone, considered the fastest racing motorcycle of its time. Johns was an ace at board track, dirt track and road racing and won a number of FAM Championships as well as numerous regional titles.” (Source.)
Part of the reason why it dominated the racetrack was because it was the first full-gear drive overhead cam ever made, which made it extremely fast.
Click for more history. Article by Moto Freako
Who Is Jim L.?
Before I go back in time, let me first fill you in on how Scott and Jim met.
It was about ten years ago during the La Jolla Concours d’Elegance when our neighbor, Theresa – who was married to a fellow motorcycle restorer – introduced them. She knew that with their shared interest in motorcycles, they’d get along.
Jim had a large display of vintage motorcycles set up at the event. They quickly hit it off and Jim invited Scott to come to his museum to photograph any bike from his collection.
Scott remembers his first impression arriving to Jim’s shop, “it has to be the largest collection in Southern California that I know of. One time I was there, Jim and I counted over 206 bikes and an Indian Motorcycle that dates back to 1901!”
Now that you have a brief explanation of how they met, it’s time to share the unique and humorous story of when Jim acquired this rare motorcycle.
After Cyclone went bankrupt, the few bikes that were already made were sold through an Indian Dealership. This is where a man by the last name, Sangaly purchased the bike. He was only able to make one payment before being deployed in WWI. The dealership agreed to let him have the bike and defer payments until after the war.
When Mr. Sangaly passed, his family made an agreement to sell the motorcycle to Jim in 1984. The only problem was that it was located in Northern California when Jim lived in Southern California. That meant an eight hour drive… Ick!
The night before his trip, Jim and a friend enjoyed a little too much scotch… or should I say, too many bottles of scotch. The following morning, Jim’s girlfriend, Deanna went to wake him up but he was still drunk! He told her that he didn’t want to go anymore and to forget about the whole thing; he’d rather sleep all day. Deanna knew how important the motorcycle meant to him, so she dragged him out of bed, placed a coffee in his hand, and hopped in the driver’s seat to start their journey North.
When they arrived later that day, he stumbled out of the truck and to the door where he was greeted with some bad news. The Sangaly Family no longer wanted to sell the motorcycle!
In between deep breaths and trying to control the urge to punch the man with the bad news, Mr. Sangaly went on to explain that his family was fighting over the money that would come from the sale, so they decided they wanted to GIVE Jim the motorcycle to avoid any drama.
What?! A free Cyclone?! That’s insane! I bet he was not expecting that!
Jim happily accepted this bright yellow gift and drove his new toy back to Southern California where it’s lived ever since.
The Cyclone sits undisturbed behind a glass case where admirers can drool over it without worrying about getting it on the paint.
Because of this motorcycle’s history, Scott knew he wanted to paint it someday, so he photographed the bike through the glass case. The photo quality that he worked from wasn’t great, but you can’t even tell in the finished painting below.
I’m still amazed at Scott’s ability to recreate parts of a painting that are blurry or unseen. I wish Scott saved the photo research for me to show you, but he threw it away, so all I have is this photo showing half of the photograph he worked from. Talk about blurry and washed out! :O
Here is a photo of Scott’s painting just before he started putting the finishing touches on it.
The Finished Painting, “Cyclone”
Click the Image for Information
I hope you enjoy this unique beauty!
Until next time,