Saturday, September 19, 2009
Book Review: The Vincent In The Barn
I was hopeful about "The Vincent In The Barn" because the "I heard about a Vincent/Indian/Harley in a barn" story really is classic story and a common thread in the imaginations of lots of motorcycle guys like myself. I was predisposed to like the book. In fact though, in the book there is no breathless story of finding a Vincent in a barn as the title might lead one to believe. There are mostly just recitations of stories of people, often wealthy collectors, acquiring bikes they already knew or suspected existed or in one case found while looking for a rare automobile. The bikes found in that particular story were merely consolation prizes resold to offset travel expenses in the hunt for the rare car and that is not exactly a story of motorcycle passion and the bringing to light of a two wheeled treasure.
Yes there are stories of Vincents or Indians brought to light and revived but somehow the stories managed to come across more like vintage bike club newsletter stories or perhaps a vintage bike blog entry than "Indiana Jones and the Last Vincent." A few stories have some charm and hit a little closer to home for the average motorcycle guy like one man's search for a Honda of the type his parents owned when they were first married in the early 1960's.
Some stories run just a few short paragraphs, not enough to really hook the reader, and about a third of the way through the book I was losing all interest in reading further but soldiered on hoping to find something truly engaging. In the end I cannot think of a single story of the forty in the book that really sticks in my mind as a "Wow, that was amazing!" tale.
If you are into old bikes you will probably find enough of interest amongst the pages to enjoy the book. It is a nice collection of little stories but I was expecting much more of an epic tale about "the thrill of the hunt" for old motorcycles and their rejuvenation than what "The Vincent In The Barn" delivers.
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"When my mood gets too hot and I find myself wandering beyond control I pull out my motor-bike and hurl it top-speed through these unfit roads for hour after hour." - T.E. Lawrence
An Important reminder from the past:
"I believe there are more instances of the abridgment of the freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations." - James Madison