October 23, 2010


Francois Knorreck, of Saint-Etienne, France, is a
master motorcycle designer who works as a hospital technician by day.

M. Knorreck invested 10,000 hours, 10 years & 15000 Euros to create
SNAEFELL, named after the Iceland Volcano. The SNAEFELL sidecar is
powered by a triple-engine 1000cc Laverda engine on a car chassis made
of parts from a Volkswagen GTI, an Audio 80 and taillights from a Citroen Xantia. The headlight is from a Kawasaki 1000RX bike.

Click To Enlarge
The SNAEFELL is signed with the Francois Knorreck logo, a reversed F in a K. 
Among many creations, M. Knorreck built The Amphibian Motorcycle (on a Yamaha base) and used it to cross the Loire river.


October 19, 2010


Farmers and shopkeepers in Nottinghamshire, the Dunhill family moved to London to establish a linen drapers business in Oxford Street. Capitalizing on the number of horses in London, they soon branched out, and built up a successful harness business on Euston Road that also sold accessories for gentlemen including pipes and tobacco.

 In 1893,  innovative Alfred Dunhill, 21, took over his father’s saddlery business. It was the dawn of the motorcar era, and Alfred zeroed in on the opportunity, converting the horse carriage accessories shop into Dunhill’s Motorities, providing ‘Everything for the car but the motor’. This first collection included car horns and lamps, leather overcoats, goggles, picnic sets and timepieces.

In 1915, Alfred Dunhill's Motorities patented and began manufacturing a triangular form of motorcycle sidecar chassis, catering to the gentleman motorcyclist. Dunhill created superior quality products from home furnishings to jewelry, timepieces, pens and more. The company pays tribute to Alfred Dunhill's sidecar with its Sidecar Pen and Leather Goods collection. The collection's torpedo design is homage to Alfred's sidecar design.

The company is currently owned by Richemont.

October 3, 2010


Many of us associate sidecars with fun and recreation, but these workhorses have served in the military for almost a century. We've seen movie stills or faded black & white images of German soldiers in World Wars I & II riding on the VW-166 Schwimmwagen and (shown below) the BMW R/75 746cc motorcycle equipped with sidecars.

The U.S. military also used motorcycle sidecar rigs, the first appearing in WW I combat as a machine gun-equipped sidecar unit. The two-man crew consisted of  rider plus gunner who fired from a seated position in the sidecar.

Thousands of motorcycles were furnished to the armed forces and other government agencies during WW I. About 41,000 of these were Indian's. The first 20,000 had been contracted for by the War Department at $187.50 for solo machines and $47 additional for the sidecar. Harley-Davidson made some 15,000 motorcycles for the war effort while a lesser number were Excelsior's and Cleveland's.

By the 1920’s, mass production and assembly techniques used in the American auto industry drastically cut the cost of building cars. This enabled car makers to price their products within reach of ordinary working people.  As a result Jeeps displaced motorcycle/sidecar units in our military.

Around the world the Marine Corps began to use motorcycles primarily for messenger, convoy & military police duties.

The primary manufacturer of motorcycles for the U.S. military during World War II was Harley-Davidson who began producing the WLA in their Milwaukee, WI factory in 1940. During the war, Harley-Davidson produced more than 88,000 WLAs, shipped to U.S. forces as well as to Allies (especially the Soviet Union) under Lend-Lease.

Equipped with Model UA Harley-Davidsons sidecar rigs, the Motorcycle Marines delivered machine guns, ammunitions and first aid supplies, transported the wounded and escorted convoys of ammunition trucks in conflicts ranging from The Vietnam War to The Persian Gulf's Desert Storm, where terrain issues often favored a motorcycle with sidecar over a wider Jeep vehicle.

Currently the U.S. Army employs Kawasaki KLR250 D2 (four stroke and Sidestrider machine gun carriers) in Iraq and Afghanistan.