As you know, here in the motoring department of The Weekend Australian business section, I have to write about motorcycles at least every six months to keep my job. So today we are going to thoroughly investigate sex, leather and motorcycles.
Former decorative paint specialist-turned-motorcycle history and culture maven Paul d’Orleans alerted me to the very important cycle movie from 1968, The Girl On A Motorcycle (also known as Naked Under Leather for reasons soon to be revealed), in his blog thevintagent.com.
Marianne Faithfull, Alain Delon and some others best forgotten star in this story of a young woman getting out of her Swiss husband’s bed, putting on her very tight, but fleece-lined, one-piece leather riding suit over what can only be called bare skin and riding off on her 1967 Harley-Davidson Electra Glide to drop in on her former French lover, Delon, who gave her the bike.
For the next 90 minutes (which seems like a year), Marianne zips and unzips her leather suit, has very erotic psychedelic fantasies about her two lovers and male persons she meets that feature a lot of horizontal folk dancing with no clothes on, and then she crashes into a truck and dies. This is a welcome relief probably for her, her two lovers and the rest of us.
As one reviewer said: “Girl on a Motorcycle, it’s 90 minutes of great shot after shot of one of the hottest women ever born riding a motorcycle in a leather catsuit or else having that same catsuit removed by a Frenchman’s teeth.” You can watch the trailer (recommended) or the movie (don’t blame me) on Paul’s website.
In an interview via his blog, Paul says sex and motorcycles are “heady old cocktails stretching back to Art Nouveau posters with bloomer’d ladies astride crude motor-trikes: hardly rousing now, but straddling and riding was understood as the sole turf of Victorian sex bombs. Women are the fastest-growing segment of motorcycle sales today and, despite cliches of choppers draped with bikini babes, female riders imagine new scenarios of sexuality and power with bikes”.
Surprisingly, the hot woman on a hot bike movie genre is bigger than you think. There’s Carrie-Ann Moss as Trinity, computer programmer, first mate on the Nebuchadnezzar and rider of a 2001 Ducati 996, in Matrix; Rose McGowan, activist for women’s rights and critic against misogynistic portrayals of women in all forms of media, as Cherry Darling, former go-go dancer whose leg was torn off by the zombies but now is shooting undead persons with her prosthetic machine gun leg while riding a West Coast Choppers Grindhouse Chopper in Planet Terror; Uma Thurman as Bride (Black Mamba), a former member of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad who was shot in the head and now seeks Japanese martial arts revenge, on a Kawasaki ZZR 250 in Kill Bill; and Angelina Jolie as Evelyn Salt, an alleged Russian sleeper agent out to clear her name, on a Triumph Street Triple R in Salt.
If you are hooked by all of this then here’s your big chance. A few years back, Germany’s Universum Film released a Planet Terror steel box collector’s edition that came with the famous barbecue sauce (hint: human blood was involved) recipe for JT’s Bone Shack diner and two scratch-and-sniff discs of the film that smell like the barbecue sauce. The pack also contains a limited edition Planet Terror blood pack. Of course the best two lines in the movie were Cherry Darling’s: “You’re a doctor?” Dr Dakota Block: “Hmm. I was earlier tonight” and “I’m gonna eat your brain and gain your knowledge”. And the best tune from the soundtrack is Nouvelle Vague’s Too Drunk To Truck.
Taking people out of the equation, the sexiest bike in the world is the very reasonably priced MV Agusta ($31,000 drive away, no more to pay except for a prosthetic machine gun leg) that weighs in at 173kg and packs a 108.8KW engine.
If you like the Marianne Faithfull look from her bike movie then you need to know it was based on the gear worn by motoring journalist and pioneer campaigner for women’s rights on motorcycles Anke-Eve Goldmann. Anke-Eve worked with German leather-maker Harro to design the one-piece suit. Harro stopped business a few years ago but www.rennweste.de is churning the suits out again for about $2K.
OK, if you want the bike as well as the gear, get yourself to Julien’s Auctions at Planet Hollywood Resort & Casino in Las Vegas on June 23 where Darren Julien will be selling more Hollywood motor trinkets than you’ve had wheelspins. For starters, there’s Marlon Brando’s 1969 Harley-Davidson FLH Electra-Glide ($200k), Fonzie’s Happy Days 1949 Triumph Trophy TR500 ($200k), Arnold Schwarzenegger’s army-green Harley Davidson FLSTC Heritage Softail Classic with a colour-matched half helmet and pair of leather gloves ($50k) and Donald Trump’s favourite ride, his boardroom table from The Apprentice ($20k).
While Bonhams will be selling a 1949 Vincent 998CC Black Lightning for somewhere north of $500k in October, prices of 1970s and 80s bikes, like cars from that period, have been moving up.
Ducati’s 750 V-twin and the MV Agusta 750 four are easy choices. In the big bike auctions in Las Vegas last year, a 1977 Suzuki 500 Works MX Racer brought $100k; a replica 1971 Triumph Trident Gene Romero built in Birmingham was well sold at $70k; a 1973 Ducati 750 Works Endurance Racer, race-department-built, spare bike for the factory race team at the 1973 Bol d’Or 24-Hours, went for $52k; and a very dodgy 1971 BSA Rocket III was unbelievably well sold at $40k.