Classic Captions – Fisher Body Edition


As a kid, I couldn’t help but notice that my dad’s Chevy and my mom’s Oldsmobile both had “Body by Fisher” emblems riveted to the door sills. This was confusing to me. I finally asked my dad why General Motors didn’t stamp their own body shells. Dad explained the whole concept of a wholly-owned subsidiary, but frankly it all sounded unnecessarily confusing and complicated to me. In some respects it still does, because I can’t figure out what the business case was for Fisher Body to advertise separately from the General’s motor vehicle divisions. But advertise they did, all the way up into the 1960s. This 1958 ad is certainly remarkable, showing happy passengers flying through space without a need for any form of propulsion. Or life support, for that matter. I guess it makes about as much sense as Fisher Body advertising to consumers in the first place. So head to the comments and either try to make this image make sense, or simply highlight its absurdity. Or just go with some amusingly random non-sequitur, which often turn out to be the best comments of all. This image certainly deserves it.
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Two-Wheel Tuesday: Harper’s Auction Was A Field Of Dreams


Most vintage bike enthusiasts who’ve lived anywhere close to the center of the USA know the name Mike Harper. If you’re a Moto Guzzi aficionado, you’ve probably at least heard of Harper’s Moto Guzzi, and have more likely ordered parts from them at some time or another. After a storied career that stretches back to the 1960s, Mike’s turning the Guzzi parts business over to his son and retiring. He decided it was time to sell off his collection of nearly 350 motorcycles, innumerable frames, engines, parts and accessories, plus cars, trucks, even some oak parts cabinets from the original Indian factory. In what was billed as a “living estate sale,” motorcycle auction house J. Wood & Co. held a no-reserve auction last Friday, September 9th at Mike’s farmstead in Greewood, Missouri, just southeast of Kansas City.

Here in the Midwest, big sales like this are decidedly uncommon, so it was kind of a big deal for those us of nearby. For a fee, prospective customers could get in to inspect the auction items the day before the auction. I had long heard claims and rumors about what Mike had (I, myself, had sold a pickup-load of parts bikes and spares to his son about 20 years ago), so I was eager to eyeball his collection. I got there about 40 minutes before the 5PM closing time on Thursday and paid $10 to look around. It had rained heavily the night before, so the field was a muddy mess, but I was soon face-to-face with an amazing selection of rare models, many I’d never before laid eyes on in person. Mike was a dealer in obsolete parts, not a museum curator, so very few of the bikes were in top shape, but with this sort of  selection that didn’t matter much.

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False Neutral #29: LeMons Rallying With Jeepjeff

This week, Hooniverse regular Jeepjeff joins us to share his crazy (and fairly unwise) adventure, crossing Death Valley on his Yamaha TW200 during the recent LeMons Hell On Wheels Rally. We also discuss Allen Millyard’s trip to the Isle of Man, plus find out how and why Garrett got a painful case of roadrash on his…new Supermoto conversion.

False Neutral – LeMons Rallying With Jeepjeff

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Classic Captions – 1971 Nissan Cherry Coupe Edition


One of the amazing things the Internet age has brought us is the ability to interact more expansively with cultures other than our own, to increasingly become World Citizens, as it were. In this case, one random click of my mouse was all it took to discover this warmly-hued photo from the Japanese-market dealer brochure for the Nissan Cherry line-up. Prior to DARPA allowing all of us to wander around in their series of tubes, the odds of any of us in North America or Europe laying eyes on this particular image would be much, much slimmer. It makes me wonder where these two bright youngsters are today, now in their mid-’60s at the youngest. Is the Western-looking male still living in Japan? Did she continue modeling? Did the photographer ever figure out how to properly color-balance his shots? What fender on the Cherry rusted through first, and which scrapyard melted it down into chunks of pot-metal? So many unknowns. But there’s one thing we do know: you guys will find plenty here to riff on in the comments.
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False Neutral #28: Rusty Spokes

This week Pete’s old friend and long-time riding buddy Rusty Spokes joins the crew. We discuss his new Africa Twin including Honda’s DCT with somebody who actually rides one this time, and how it compares to his V-Strom 1000. We ask him about his past bikes and future riding experiences. Meanwhile, Eric rode a BMW C650GT scooter in Canada.

Past Hooniverse articles starring Rusty:

False Neutral – Rusty Spokes

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Classic Captions Holiday Bonus – 2014 Honda Grom Edition

2014 Honda MSX125 Grom
It’s Labor Day in the USA today, which means most Hooniversalists are out somehwere, eating grilled food and hopefully blasting around in a boat, in their car, or on their bike. But for those of you who are in other nations, forced to work today, or simply don’t go outdoors, here’s a bonus edition of the Hooniverse Classic Captions Contest for you.

I’ve been holding onto this image for a while, unsure of what kind of response it might generate. It’s only a couple years old, so it’s not exactly “classic,” and bikes in general are a bit of a niche interest on the ‘Verse. But today is a bit of a throwaway, site-traffic-wise, so why not? It’s such an interesting throwback in this era of political correctness and liability fears: here’s a manufacturer’s press photo showing rider doing a burnout while a morsel of cheesecake (fresh from filming a Busch Beer ad, I’d guess) looks on enthusiastically. As for the significance of the ceramic dog and the pop-up shade tent, your guess is as good as mine. In one nod to modern litigiousness, the rider is admittedly pretty ATGATT.

Surely, there are a couple of clever captions for this photo already popping into your head.
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False Neutral #27: Ride That Thing!

So many of our recent conversations have been about bikes — colors, prices, configuration, wrenching — that we decided it was time to talk about, you know, actually riding the dang things. Before we get to that, we discuss Kawasaki Zephyr 750s and Garrett’s troubled cruise in our “old business” segment. Then, Eric, Garrett, and I delve into the risks, rewards, and hassles of riding motorcycles, from commuting (and why none of us does it too regularly) to the differences between two and three wheels, to day trips and multi-day tours. Skype and audio equipment issues did their best to thwart our efforts this week, but in the end we managed to put together what I think turned out to be a better-than-okay episode.

The YouTube video I mention that demonstrates SMIDSY crash avoidance is embedded after the jump.

False Neutral – Ride That Thing!

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Classic Captions – 1979 Ford Van Edition


You can count on Classic Captions to bring the retro. Today we risk overdosing on it, with a gale-force assault of ’70s cliches: multicolored tape stripes, porthole windows, white spoke wheels shod with Goodyear Polyglas tires, and that’s just the vehicle! To that, add such tastefully period touches such as the Honda XL dirtbike, a white cowl-neck knit top, wicker platform wedges, plus a director’s chair and a folding web lawn chair. Stare long enough and you can almost hear strains of England Dan and John Ford Coley emanating from an unseen cassette player. The only question is whether it’s a Sanyo or a Panasonic. If you can’t come up with a clever witticism in response to this, your creative juices have turned to powder inside you, like the blood of those victims in The Andromeda Strain. Or perhaps you’re just young enough to have no idea who England Dan and John Ford Coley are. Um…were.
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False Neutral #26: Bold New Graphics! Part 2


In the conclusion of our discussion about color schemes, graphics, and racing team liveries, we look at Italian bikes and cruisers, before things go further afield (as usual). The merits of gold paint, Buells and mauve racebikes are pondered. Eric goes down a disturbing Japanese Internet rabbit hole, and Garrett follows him.

As always check out pictures of the bikes we discuss on the other side of the jump — 31 this week!
WARNING: several TDR250 images cannot be unseen.

False Neutral – Bold New Graphics! Part 2

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Classic Captions – ZAZ 968 Zaporozhets Edition

Certain types of ads are richer veins of Classic Captions gold than others. For example, advertising images for malaise era luxury cars, anemic ’80s domestic “sporty” cars, and overly trendy ’90s cute utes each promise a giggle of anticipation even before you’ve seen the ad in question. Now, let’s add to that list Eastern Bloc cars. Communist promo photos of the Soviet era tirelessly mimicked the bright, cheerful sophistication of Western consumer advertising, which only highlighted the somber oppressiveness of life behind the Iron Curtain and the crudeness of the cars built there. This marketing image could almost depict a happy Floridian at Cypress Gardens in the early ’70s. But not quite. Even if the viewer blots out the Zaporozhets, something remains just a bit off. It’s like they were trying a little too hard. And that awkwardness should make it easy fodder for your cleverest comments.
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