Sunday, December 29, 2013

Mike's 1929 Motobecane Type H 550cc Sidevalve finally made it.

Today's Coming Out (of the crate) party was a huge success and was well attended.  4 berets in 3 colors worked out to a pretty good participation rate among the group.  I'm quite satisfied that we were about as French as we should have been.  I know that I was certainly feeling it.

Early October was when the French bike, in France, first made it on to Mike's radar.  Correspondence happened, agreements were made, papers signed, funds sent, shipping arrangements agreed upon and a degree.  France to London, New York....or was it Chicago??  Luckily, Minneapolis was indeed the final destination.  A late October delivery date to Minnesota was planned and much hoped for by Mike whom was quite excited about the 'present' arriving on or very near to his birthday.  Shipping snafu's, Customs, shippers, confusion about what the difference between an airplane versus what a ship is, all contributed to an October arrival date slipping by more than just a few days.

October didn't happen.

A November date was missed.

December was to finally be the charm and today, in Steve's nice warm garage (-5F with a windchill colder outside) a few of us gathered to welcome the old motorcycle to the north central plains of the U.S.A.  Steve's old Ford cabover wrecker truck w/flathead project patiently shared the warm space and at least for today, had to play second string to the exotic old bike's unwrapping.

Mike, trying not to watch the clock, as people arrived and the minutes counted down.

When first seen, the crate was lying on its side......When I was told, the first image in my head was of Mr. Burt Munro's shipping crate arriving in this country.......I wasn't the only one with that image in my head.  Only a bit of outside damage was visible and until today the condition of the internal contents unknown.

Footprints on the side that was NOT marked "UP"

While we waited for everyone's arrival and watches to be synchronized, we all got a chance to get a better look at Steve's truck project.

The old Ford, dutifully carrying our snacks today.

I did overhear someone mentioning...."wonder which project will be completed first?"

Tension was building as more people arrived.

Witnesses were being corralled and documented but this was nothing compared to when the wrappings started coming off.

Rick couldn't take it any longer...... then tools, both battery powered as well as cord powered started appearing from all directions.

Poor Mr. Kodak......

Yes, there was some internal witnessing.......

Just like at Christmas.....Some Assembly Required

And finally......The Happy Couple


  1. Definitely an exciting arrival ... and a great excuse for a get together.

    1. We had a lot of fun on Sunday and almost did too much teasing of Mike's tardy shipment. He's blessed with patience and a good heart; we all felt his frustration at having to wait so long.

      Now the tough part, deciding exactly what to do next and how it will fit into the long range plan.......we've offered more than a few opinions :)

  2. Pull engine and tranny... get them squared away.. toss back into the frame.. ride for a season.. get gremlins worked out.. then decide on the direction... restoration... or remain with the " patina "... :)

    1. Sounds like a good plan to me. Anxious to hear it and see it propelled.

  3. Coop:

    That is a nice project. I would be inclined to get it operational and just leave the patina the way it is and polish up the chrome. Keep it in survivor condition

    Riding the Wet Coast

    1. I have to agree Bob. To make it mechanically runnable, working hard to disturb the rest as little as possible would be my goal.