Saturday, January 25, 2014


'Cafe Racers' cover by Michael Lichter, of Yoshi Kosaka's Rickman Triumph Bonneville...
The home page of Motorbooks now lists the book I've recently finished with photographer Michael Lichter, now called 'Café Racers: Speed, Style, and Ton Up Culture'.  The cover will apparently feature Yoshi Kosaka's original-paint Rickman Triumph Bonneville.  Looks like you'll be able to pre-order from Amazon and Motorbooks themselves...and when it's in print, I'll offer direct sales via TheVintagent for signed copies.  Stay tuned!

Here's the Motorbooks blurb:

"A photographic chronology of some of the fastest, most stylish, and most individualized bikes in motorcycling history.

Originally used as a slur against riders who used hopped-up motorcycles to travel from one transport café to another, “café racer” describes a bike genre that first became popular in 1960s British rocker subculture [sic; this is not what is explained in the book -pd'o]—although the motorcycles were also common in Italy, France, and other European countries. The rebellious rock-and-roll counterculture is what first inspired these fast, personalized, and distinctive bikes, with their owners often racing down public roads in excess of 100 miles per hour (“ton up,” in British slang), leading to their public branding as “ton-up boys.” Café Racers traces café racer motorcycles from their origins in the mid-twentieth century all the way into modern times, where the style has made a recent comeback in North America and Europe alike, through the museum-quality portraiture of top motorcycle photographer Michael Lichter and the text of motorcycle culture expert Paul d’Orléans. Chronologically illustrated with fascinating historical photography, the book travels through the numerous ever-morphing and unique eras of these nimble, lean, light, and head-turning machines. Café Racers visually celebrates a motorcycle riding culture as complex as the vast array of bikes within it."
And here's my Tintype of Yoshi from the Garage Company aboard his cover-girl Rickman


john said...

1960s café racers?? when I visited the ace café London in 1956 they had been running for some time

The Vintagent said...

Hi John,

of course Café Racers had been around before the 1960s, and in the book I detail the evolution of the species, with Clubman racers and Promenade Percy's before the Ace Cafe crowd, and waaay back to TT Replicas and Brooklands Road Specials from the 'Teens onwards.

But, don't expect a publisher's blurb writer to have read my text!

Anonymous said...

Great news, I just preordered my copy :-)


Anonymous said...

Well done Paul! Hope this is the first of many titles.

The Vintagent said...

Thanks will be! And it took long enough, eh? So many blog posts, so little paper on the bookshelf... all changing rapidly. First 'The Ride', now 'Cafe Racers', next 'Chopper' (should be out later this summer). After that...stay tuned.

Don OReilly said...

props to you Paul and Mr. Lichter, on what must have been quite a project. Looking forward to seeing it in print, in my library. Many thanks for all you do! Cheers, Don

Advie Motor Racing Shop said...

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