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V.I.S.I.T: Ural 750- A Great Escape from sobriety


I recently had cause to partake in a corporate event. It was based at the London Shuffle Club, Europe’s first all shuffleboard venue. The club premises drip with character; based in part of the old Truman Brewery in Shoreditch, London, only the bare minimum of gentrification has been performed before the doors were opened to guests.

Along with ‘distressed’ peeling paint, ‘authentic’ rusting metalwork and ‘chic’ exposed concrete, the atmosphere of the club was further enhanced by a certain amount of set-dressing. Lighting was provided by strings of exposed bulbs, old industrial furniture was placed along side modern desks and facilities, and there were plenty of details that had obviously endured their fair share of history. Prince among accessories, though, was that which housed a Prosecco dispenser.


Apologies for the grainy pictures, but my phone camera is less than competent in the dark, and I had consumed a fair volume of the delicious liquid that this sidecar mounted Prosecco fountain pumped forth. A military-themed bike and sidecar was the last thing I was expecting to see inside a converted brewery that had been re-purposed for playing genteel ocean-liner deck sports.

And Prosecco was the last thing I expected it to be vending, but there you have it. Nestling comfortably in the sidecar, a removable (e.g non-permanent) structure supports a wooden worktop and encloses a damn great tank which, presumably, can be filled with whatever fine liquid its owners wish. It’s an amusing contrast – the military austerity of the bike, and the alcoholic high jinks of the delicious, chilled fizz.

It’s also the first time I’ve seen a mil-spec Ural 75o sidecar outfit outside a museum. Most interesting of all, though, was what I found when I looked closer.


Curiosity got the better of me, and I unscrewed the fuel cap and took a sniff. Rich, fresh petrol, no less crisp than the sparkling fermented grape on tap nearby. Furthermore, a stealthy root around the side carrier (I hesitate to use the term ‘pannier’) revealed a part-used bottle of lead additive. The signs were that this little beauty had been fired up and ridden fairly recently. So, naturally, I ran its registration through the Government look-up system.

And I found out good things! It had been initially registered in the UK in 2014, with a registration plate sensitive to its 1970 year of manufacture. It also currently carries a full and valid MOT inspection certificate, and is officially legal for road use! Colour me impressed.

What’s the most quietly awesome piece of automotive set-dressing you ever encountered?

(All images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2016. With great thanks to the London Shuffle Club, which is excellent)

  • evan r

    Interesting find! In the US, that bike couldn’t be indoors & in a public place with fuel in it. That’s considered a fire hazard.

    • I suspect the actual fuel level was very minimal. But that’s a good point. There must be special rules for car and bike showrooms.

      • cap’n fast

        may be the customers ovah there are considered to be intelligent enough to not use the fuel tank cap for an ash tray

  • discontinuuity

    I’m surprised they were still making flathead engines in 1970.