Table of contents
- Portrait of US collector Fred Mork Mork from the orc
- Collaboration with two-time world champion Jeff Smith
- What a variety of motorcycles!
- Fred is a walking lexicon
- BSA Gold Star 500 also from Dick Mann
- Quickly up the stairs!
The similarity between human and …
Tons of story (s): whether model kits, posters or “pisspott” helmet with glasses and Heinkel stickers …
Art, culture and passion: Fred screws, welds and studies – historical operating instructions.
To kneel down: Fred Mork likes his Aermacchi-Harley-Davidson 350 CRTT, short-stroke messenger of a crazy era.
Before the restoration: Velocette Venom in parts, as a tricky 3-D puzzle.
Toys also tell stories: from sheet metal to plastic and from cannon motorcycles (2nd from right) in times of war.
“With this Matchless G 50, Dick Mann got it in 1963
US championship. And I’m only the second owner! ”Fred Mork lets us know.
Fred knows his Pappenheimers: Old English ladies like to get incontinent. Smart man builds with an oil pan.
Shift change: Nowadays Can Am from Canada stands for three-wheel roadsters, but once built small two-stroke crossers.
Sweden trio: between Monark (left) and Husqvarna single-crosser (replica, right) the 500 factory Lito from around 1960.
One of only two examples: 500cc four-stroke motocrosser by Monark for Sten Lundin (Sweden, 1955/56).
Engine science 3:
Norton-dohc-Crosser, the only one built by the European Championship Champion Less Archer in the early 1960s.
… Mascot (glasses, mustache!) Is not accidental!
From the outside, his home looks typically Swedish, but is located in the hills north of San Francisco.
And inside? 115 very characterful motorcycles await us there!
And probably at least twice as many wrenches.
… Fred competes in classic road races.
Aesthetics in action: on this Norton Manx-dohc single-cylinder racer …
Nothing comes from anything: a wealth of suspension struts, frames, wheels, motors, tanks and many more …
… many …
… Spare parts.
The art of the motorcycle: works of art in oil as a tribute to …
… the moving and moving life on two wheels.
Engine science 1:
counter-steered V2 of the Excelsior Super X from Chicago (1928).
Engine science 2:
clean 500cc single motocrosser from ESO (1962, CSSR).
Beautiful wild cat: 250cc Moto Parilla as an Italian mechanical sculpture (“Wild Cat Scrambler”, 1963).
Sports & scene
Portrait of US collector Fred Mork
Portrait of US collector Fred Mork
Mork from the orc
Fred Mork is not from the planet Ork in the popular TV series. But his purely private motorcycle collection is quite unearthly. His collection of rare European (off-road) machines in the middle of California appears almost galactic. Nano-nano!
The farm in the hills north of San Francisco is somehow reminiscent of Sweden. “Hi, I’m Fred,” the owner of the farm greets me. He leads me to a long barn in the typical Scandinavian Falun red with white shutters. 115 motorcycles with flair and charisma await me there. Real two-wheeler personalities, well guarded by a true motorcycle enthusiast.
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We are standing in front of a Norton Manx, in classic silver-black. And a modern digital instrument next to the Smiths tachometer. “I drove with it at the last AHRMA race.” This stands for American Historic Racing Motorcycle Association, a non-profit organization with around 4,000 members. Here the 69-year-old competes in road racing as well as trials and motocross. Fred has been racing Classic since 1981, and he’s a big hit in the US vintage scene. Sure, as a member of the Velocette Owners Club, he was also one of the AHRMA chairmen for 15 years from 1988.
Collaboration with two-time world champion Jeff Smith
“During this time,” says Fred, “I was allowed to work with the two-time world champion Jeff Smith.” Two of Fred’s motorcycles once belonged to the champion, a matter of honor. Fred opens the door to his ranch’s treasury. The machines are sorted by motorcycle nations: England, Italy, USA, Canada, CSSR, Sweden, Japan, Spain and Germany.
The walls are adorned with sectional drawings of classic English engines, antique sheet metal / enamel signs, historical (racing) photos, advertising posters, start number fields, license plates and paintings of motorcycles in oil. There are toy motorcycles and rare collector’s models in glass showcases. Above are model kits, books, magazines from 1942 onwards and old operating instructions.
All portraits on motorradonline.de
What a variety of motorcycles!
Whether 175 Yamaha Trial or 350 Ariel Red Hunter, six-speed Bultaco or Honda CB 750 F, Suzuki RM 125 or Maico MC 350 from West and GS-MZ from East Germany: Fred celebrates a motorcycle festival here! A potpourri of classic series motorcycles and road racing machines. However, the focus is on historical off-road machines: speedway, flat trackers, scramblers, enduros and motocrossers. All neatly presented in two opposite rows and almost always ready to drive. Former tools used by connoisseurs and experts. “Off-road racing is harder than road racing,” says Fred.
The World Cup factory crosser from Monark, Sweden’s largest motorcycle manufacturer of the 1950s, is impressive. It is one of only two built, appropriately painted in the national colors blue and yellow. “It was the only four-stroke engine after the Second World War with the Hedlund Monark engine. Sten Lundin drove it for Monark, and in 1959 he became Motocross World Champion on an improved version, ”explains Fred. A Lito, another Swedish works crosser, is parked next to it: “Then Gunnar Johansson came second in the 1962 World Cup when Swedish drivers took the first five places!”
Motorcycles, wherever you look – cannot be avoided with 115 motorcycles.
His penchant for Scandinavia is no coincidence: Fred’s father’s family comes from Finland, but the name Mork is of Swedish origin, “mork” means dark. Fred began driving black motorcycles in 1958 at the age of twelve (!) And tinkering with them: “A friend and I planted a side-controlled 500cc Powell engine with a two-speed gearbox in a 125cc James frame.” Later, Fred rode a 200cc Zundapp Comfort to high school. He drove his first off-road race in 1964. His collection came about unplanned, step by step. “Somehow the right machines always found their way to me.”
Mister Mork likes motorcycles with a known origin and specific racing history. “All of my motorcycles have a story.” Dick Mann, Jeff Smith, Roger Reiman, Joe Leonard, John Brittain, Alistair King, Eric Cheney and Sten Lundin are some of the ex-drivers of Mork’s machines. The Crosser based on a Norton Manx “was designed by the British off-road driver Les Archer jr. built and driven. The Six Days participant and EM motocross champion even used it in a Motocross World Championship run! ”Something like that makes Fred’s collector’s heart happy.
Fred is a walking lexicon
A highlight of his street racers is the Matchless G 50 in Bordeaux red. This made US racing legend Dick Mann (born 1934) US champion in the 1963 season. “It was nice and fast, won seven national AMA races up to 1965.” Fred is a walking lexicon: “Dick Mann took eight of his 24 AMA victories on Matchless.” The 50 hp of the G 50 had an easy job with a vehicle weight of 150 kilograms : “It went 135 miles.” That is 217 km / h! Fred also competed in the Matchless, with his number 91.
Matchless only built 180 G 50s between 1958 and 1962. Dick Mann sold his first-hand example with the engine number 102 to his friend Fred Mork in 1989. “All the parts were still there, I just had to rebuild and restore them a little.” Next to her is a closely related AJS 7 R “Boy Racer” from Alistair King: classic black with gold trim on the tank. Her long-stroke 350 ohc single cylinder delivered a whopping 38 hp at 7200 tours.
BSA Gold Star 500 also from Dick Mann
Dick Mann also owns the BSA Gold Star 500. “The Flat Tracker won many national championship races from 1957 to 1967.” The model with engine number 123 and original BSA Flat Track frame adorns a fiberglass tank from George Curtis and lots of magnesium parts. One of the highlights in Fred’s collection is the award-winning Royal Enfield K1 with 976 cubic V2 from 1930. “The first registration in England was not until 1934.” “Today’s oil is too thin for the transmission, it should contain more grease,” excuses Fred the little puddle of oil underneath. He likes “clean”, clever constructions. And motorcycles from Europe: “The machines of my youth.”
For example the Moto Parilla Wildcat Scrambler: “I bought this model in 1963 and had a lot of racing successes with it.” Mister Mork has a weakness for the little Italians because he has four other Moto Parilla: a restored 250cc Tourist from 1964 and a beautiful Grand Sport Cafe Special 250, also from the 60s. Also a 175 Grand Sport from 1959 and a 250 Grand Sport from 1963, both in their original condition. What sets Fred’s private collection apart from public motorcycle museums is the meager handwritten explanations. And only for the most important bikes. Fred and his visitors just know what he’s got there.
Tons of spare parts: from engine housings and clutch packages to pistons and cylinders, everything is there.
In the workshop I see a sandblasting machine and lots of spare parts: engine housing, pistons, cylinders, clutch packs, gear wheels – everything sorted by manufacturer and model. Many a treasure awaits its destination in cardboard boxes or metal drawers. The trained sheet metal fitter with his own company for heating and ventilation construction can flex, drill and weld. He mills fork bridges, rotates axles and soldered fender brackets. He even made the sleeves of the famous Norton Roadholder fork himself. He only leaves the honing of cylinders, paintwork or other “tricky things” to specialists.
“I bought some of my motorcycles restored, with others I just had to do it myself,” explains Fred succinctly. “Most of my machines aren’t over-restored – they’re just as good as they need to be. I like to completely rebuild motorcycles: If they drive really well afterwards, then that has a kind of revitalization. ”This is what happened with the 1967 Harley-Davidson KR 750 TT in the factory colors black and orange. “It achieved an average speed of 100 miles per hour at the 1967 TT, later it ran at 149.9 miles per hour in Daytona!” Wow, that’s 150 mph!
Quickly up the stairs!
On the first floor, Fred Mork shows me lots of other parts. In between, a BSA Scrambler as a “rolling chassis” is waiting for the restoration. There are also three Can Am two-strokes: a Crosser, a road conversion and a “forest and meadow bike”. Not to forget the frame collections from Aermacchi, Harley-Davidson, Velocette and Moto Parilla. “If I need something, I know where to find it.”
Others appreciate that too, because after my visit, Fred parted with some of his treasures in January 2015. At the Bonhams auction in Las Vegas, 21 of his motorcycles went under the hammer, twelve of which found new owners. Including the ex-Dick Mann Matchless G 50, which sold for $ 115,000. The 1928 Excelsior-Henderson Super X, with only 4,400 miles on the clock, was not a bargain, and was worth $ 89,700 to a buyer after fierce bidding competition. Fred had once bought the Excelsior “authentic, unrestored” from the widow of the longtime owner: “The Super X was a real survivor – there wasn’t much to be done about it.”
That means: “Clean, oil everything and check the mechanics. Then rebuild the magneto and put on replica tires, that’s it. ”Fred himself only drove 100 miles on the very light block-engine V-Twin with 737 cc. Doesn’t sell him? “No,” replies Fred, “we are all only temporary owners or custodians of such machines. I just ran out of space. So it was time to pass them on to a new home. ”Fred Mork still has 95 motorcycles left. He is now devoting himself more to the core of his collection. He still has gasoline in his blood. Have fun with your off-roaders and classics, Mork vom Ork!
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