Italianiron & Britiron Classics Celebration of Vintage Racers in the Picturesque American Southwest

Posted by Scot Wilson on

Italianiron Classics was founded in the mid 1990's from a race effort when I was campaigning a 1973  Spaggiari Scuderia Ducati 750 ss replica and later adding an 01 Ducati 748 rs. This was after trying my hand at racing on an old Norton 750 Commando before discovering how brilliantly the power delivery and longer wheelbase of the early Ducati bevel drives fit me better and my approach to racing. This was also a time when I started my hobby of restoring old Ducati bevel drives when I could still purchase "basket cases" for $3,000 US. Those were the days! However, my motivation comes from a strong desire to create works of art thus my preoccupation with vintage Ducati and Norton motorcycles. It is my belief that vintage motorcycles and race bikes do have a "soul" and it is up to the artist to bring it out. Vintage motorcycles and Ducati racers in particular are not only great performers at the track but also serve as creating artistic inspirations like in the photoshoot below where two of my bevel drive Ducati restorations compliment perfectly the color profile of the vintage Shell gas station created by a restorer there in the Sonoran Desert of Tombstone, Arizona USA. 

It has been said that at Italianiron/BritIron Classics, let us "Fuel Your Race Passions" is not just a slogan but a commitment, whether you are restoring a Ducati Bevel Drive, building a vintage TT racer for competition, a Ducati F1 vintage street bike or a classic Norton Commando, Atlas, Dominator, G50 or 7R racers. As a result, we are focused on and primarily committed to supporting the sport of Vintage Motorcycle Racing worldwide. Maintaining a quality offering is our most important goal. Our race spec items are race tested for quality and assurance of structural integrity, performance, for light weight and for reliability. We also strive to maintain a "race team mindset" where we preserve the core of the machine but work to enhance performance and safety through the advances in available modern technology. As a result, we are proud to be dealers for the industry's most advanced flat slide carburetor, the SmartCarb2 manufactured by Technology Elevated here in the US. Our Ducati vintage and modern engines love the "fuel injection" like performance enhancements from our SC2 carbs that have a 50 plus year history of innovation in carburetor technology. More information is available in the 13 blog posts written on our successes with SC2

 

https://www.italianiron.com/blogs/news/the-benefits-of-smartcarb-pressurized-float-bowls

We will always love supporting the enthusiast of Ducati bevel drives with our OEM spare parts for bikes like my Ducati 900 ss MHR. This Ducati square case bevel drive remains a favorite rider on Ducati club rides when we can travel up the mountain roads of Tucson, Arizona. Our Ducati 900 ss MHR loves the additional power and fuel economy of our SmartCarb2 flat slides as we run up from 2400 ft level to 10,000 ft level without fuel delivery interruption to the top of Mt Lemmon. This 40 year old Dr. Taglioni created masterpiece pulls like an absolute "freight train" up our mountain roads due to the patented pressurized float bowls of the SC2!! Unfortunately, Ducati bevel drive bits are becoming more and more scarce but we continue to have a good selection of engine parts. We also love living and working here in Tucson, Arizona as we can ride or go to the race track almost 12 months out of the year. Many craftsmen have retired here and we have a very strong vintage motorcycle community with expertise in machining, fabrication, painting and upholstery just to name a few. There is also a majesty to the culture and to the topography of the American Southwest that makes living and working here very inspiring.    

In late 2016, we decided to expand our offerings to include Ducati F1TT racer spare parts when we became dealers for Two Wheel Classics in the UK as they had been manufacturing copies of Tony Rutter's World Championship winning racer chassis and bodywork kits for decades. It was wonderful to connect with the UK where I was brought up and to make these specialty bits available from our base here in the American Southwest. However, it took Andy Molnar of Molnar Manx and TGA/Molnar Precision LTD in the UK to purchase TWC in 2019 and to transform the quality and to expand the depth of our Ducati F1 & TT offerings. Additionally, through our affiliation with Molnar Manx, we have been able to reconnect to our roots with the Norton marque as we can now offer specialty spare parts for the Molnar Manx, Seeley MK2 and the Norton Commando racers and street bikes. As part of our dealership agreement with TWC, we built three brilliant TT racers to include our TT 2 in our yellow on red livery, our TT 1000 in our silver on red livery and our TT 1 with our blue on red livery. What can we help you build?    

Shown above and below are photos from one of our favorite photoshoot locations where we found that we could celebrate both our colorful portfolio of TT racers and our beautiful community in front of a mural on the side of Brooklyn Pizza Company on 4th Ave in Tucson, AZ. Thanks to owner Tony Vaccaro and his team who love all things Italian for allowing us access to his facility for the photoshoot!! As Tucson has a very strong art community, one of the difficult jobs is to find a mural among the many within our community that is the right size (proportional), with the least amount of obstructions and for the color pallet of the mural to reflect the American Southwest and to compliment the color of the portfolio of our racers. What inspires many enthusiasts love of their Ducati's is multifaceted. However, many Ducatisti would contend that in addition to race passion, that artistry in design, excellence in engineering and a captivating use of color are also motivating factors that drive fans to the marque. Shown below is one of our most popular uses of our chrome-moly TT chassis & bodywork kits, the TT 1000 with Monster S2R engine.  

 

We have been very excited about the enthusiasm for our TT racer chassis and bodywork kits as there seems to be a genuine passion for the heritage of the vintage racers and in particular our larger capacity TT racers. Internationally, the sport of Vintage Motorcycle Racing has developed a new race series for the Ducati 1100 cc and Ducati 1000 cc engines that must use carburetors that we are supporting. In addition, as many more riders are taking their Ducatis to the race track for amateur racing or track days, having an inexpensive track day "weapon" has become more appealing as the cost of the new generation of "super" bikes continues to rise. The effective balance of power:weight ratios historically is what made the first TT 2  so successful in Formula 2 when ridden by Tony Rutter and tuned by Pat Slinn to 4 World Championships. The excitement of racing for me is to witness the technological advances made by each team and manufacturer as they work tirelessly to find ever more performance and getting ever greater horse-power to the ground!!

https://www.italianiron.com/products/ducati-tt-900-complete-chassis-bodywork-kit-by-two-wheel-classics-uk

We work with many professional bike builders as well as enthusiasts internationally in supporting their TT racer and F1 street bike builds. We do have everything that you may need to build that specialty Pantah, F1 or TT racer and can bolt-in Ducati belt driven engines into our chrome-moly chassis kits from a Ducati 350 cc Pantah engine to the current Ducati 1100 cc Monster engines. Further, complete Ducati donor bikes or many different belt driven Ducati engines can be found very inexpensively. We enjoy supporting the technically proficient builder as well as the amateur enthusiast. In our attempt to enhance greater power:weight ratios, it was interesting to note that when we weighed our TT 1000, that it was 342 lbs (155 kg) "wet" which is 50 lbs (23 kg) "less" than the Ducati 1000 S2R street bike! The Ducati factory has published that the 1000 cc S2R engine puts out 95 HP @7500 RPM. Our efforts to shave 50 lbs of excess weight off a street bike makes for a lighter, more responsive and therefore more powerful machine and in turn, makes for a greater overall package. This will certainly enhance the fun factor and the safety factor dramatically for all riders. In addition, there is no question that you will have built a striking looking "vintage" Ducati that is a beauty to behold as well.

Our love of color and artistic influences from our desert topography of the American Southwest has also served as an inspiration for other Ducati  projects such as one of four Ducati 851 Tri-colore builds with our interpretation of the Italian flag color scheme and using a Ducati 996 cc power plant before it became popular as shown below. Since I find that I cannot leave things alone, I did change a few things like the paint scheme by extending the green through to the front fender/mudguard. Ducati does design beautiful and purposeful motorcycles which has provided a wonderful "canvas" to use to make art. Additionally, my philosophy is to bring the most current upgrades for greater performance, reliability and safety. In the case of our Ducati "896" Tri-Colore, we used a modern (at the time) Ducati 996 S power plant for the improved power delivery of the "long stroke" 996 cc engine. Fortunately, I had an adjustable Ducati 888 Corse rear suspension linkage where we could adjust the suspension height to use the Ducati 851 swingarm with the stock 996 engine. This was before the factory built the Monster S4R that is effectively the evolution of the Ducati 851/888 frame with a Ducati 996 Superbike engine. 

 

Love of Motor Sport and British racing motorcycles all began for me when I was growing up in Edinburgh, Scotland and later Cambridge, England in the late 1950's, 1960's and 1970's when the British Industrial Complex was the envy of the world. I idolized racers such as Mike HailwoodPeter Williams, Jackie StewertPhil ReadDave CroxfordPaul SmartGeoff Duke and John Surtees to name a few. Additionally there is the historical significance and heritage of motor racing that evolved after the end of the Second World War that keeps us enthralled to this day. Our goal at Italianiron & Britiron Classics, therefore, is to build upon this extremely rich history of racing heritage with significant innovations and developments of speciality spare parts to assist vintage racers and builders to maintain the operation of these special, vintage "thoroughbreds". Our goal is to assist each racer's success regardless of the racing class that they participate in.



https://www.italianiron.com/blogs/news/britiron-classics-norton-racers

It has been great fun getting reacquainted with the Norton and other British marques that contributed immensely to my discovering my passion for motor racing in general and specifically for the sport of Motorcycle Racing. As such, we also desire to pay homage to the late, great Peter Williams and his John Player Norton factory racer. As mentioned previously, I am a huge fan of the Italian aesthetic with regard to design and to the use of color in my bike builds as a rule. We are currently building a Norton 850 JPN with one of our aluminum 920 cc Commando barrels as well as using numerous other specialty billet items and also restoring a Dunstall Norton 810 .There will be no deviation from that rule with regard to the use of color or to the use of our specialty, newly manufactured Norton Commando spares! Shown below is the build so far with a blue powder-coated frame to compliment the blue of the Union Jack before we were distracted by two customer projects. Tires are mounted on newly built 18" wheels from Buchanon's and just waiting on a very nice billet set of yokes/triple clamps to hold our dual disc Norvil front fork set-up.

  

https://www.italianiron.com/products/norton-commando-barrels-by-molnar-manx

At Italianiron BritIron Classics, we offer a wide spectrum of race quality spares for the Ducati TT, Pantah, F1 racers as well as for the Norton Manx and Norton Commando racers. We also have a large amount of OEM items for vintage Ducati's and Nortons. Check out our Italianiron.com website for Ducati and BritIron bits. We remain committed to supporting the world of Vintage Motorcycle Racing as well as to supporting those specialty bike builders as a supplier of quality chassis, bodywork and specialty racing spare parts. As mentioned before, at Italianiron.com, let us "Fuel Your Race Passions" is not just a slogan but a commitment whether you are building a vintage TT racer for competition or a Ducati F1 vintage street bike. We are also excited to support enthusiasts for Norton Manx and Norton Commando racers through Molnar Manx and BritIron Classics


Share this post



← Older Post


  • Well done site!

    David Corey on

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.