When I first got into the vintage motorcycle scene, it was suprising to find out how many pilots owned and rode old motorcycles. Flying a Jumbo jet all over the world or performing impossible manoeuvres in a Pitts Special with South Africa’s elite stunt flying team are far removed from riding a basic vintage motorcycle at a maximum speed of 80km/h. Yet there the pilots were, as passionate about these sedate machines as they were about the state of the art aeroplanes that they flew for a living or as a hobby.
For whatever reasons, throughout the history of motorcycling, pilots have been motorcyclists. Many of the WWII pilots, together with other military veterans returning after the war, found themselves uncomfortable with the routine of civilian life. To satisfy their need for adventure they bought ex army motorcycles, which they stripped down to increase performance. Mudguards were cut or “bobbed”. If it wasn’t for these pilots and soldiers the “bobber” style of motorcycle may never have been born.
“Bombshell Bonnie” pays tribute to the planes and pilots of WWII who played such a crucial part in creating those first bobbers. This Triumph bobber has the tank painted like the fuselage of a fighter aircraft, rivets and all. The Union Jack is a clear indication that the bike is British and the Iron Crosses indicate the number of German machines, probably BMWs, destroyed in battle.