In total contrast to my previous post on a photo shoot, Garage magazine shot a feature spread on ‘motorcycling gear through the decades’, using the San Francisco Motorcycle Club as their backdrop (the SFMC is the second-oldest m/c in the US, and the oldest continuously operating). This was an expensive studio shoot, with stylists, makeup/hair artists, hired models, a photographer and assistants, lots of lights and camera eqp’t, and several vintage bikes as props. It hurt to be relegated to ‘prop’ status, but I’m always happy to help encourage the old bike scene.

My contribution to the photo shoot: my 1926 Norton flat-tank Model 18 racer. [Paul d’Orléans]

Top pic is my 1926 Norton Model 18 racer, looking spooky in the dark with some up- and back-lighting on wall of the SFMC. This was ‘Jimmy’s bike’ – it has a history going back to Jimmy Shaw (a ‘works’ rider for Norton in the ‘teens thru ’30’s), and was claimed to be a factory race machine. It was restored about 15 years ago by Ken Blake in England, then my friend Ken Boulter purchased it to settle the unpaid restoration bill(!), and he sold it to me about 8 years ago (after much needling, I assure you). It’s a bit of a bear currently, as I need to rebuild the carb and replace the magneto (very hard to start), and the soldered-up gas tank is a little leaky. Still, the bike is fast, having been timed at 94mph, and handles beautifully.

Interior of the SFMC, with a foosball table, flat-track Aermacchi racer, and lots of memorabilia from the 120+ years of the club. Nicole is being prepped for the shoot. [Paul d’Orléans]

The interior of the SFMC is packed full of photos, memorabilia, and trophies on the walls, with two bikes hanging from the ceiling – an Aermacchi/Harley Davidson CR flat-tracker with a custom chrome-plated frame, and 1904 Curtis v-twin in original condition. Plus, there are pool and foosball tables, and a full bar. Pretty much ideal, really. 

Anoush having her hair done in a very nostalgic venue, with a backdrop of vintage racing photos – mostly of former SFMC members through the decades. [Paul d’Orléans]

 ‘Slim’ Jim Hoogerhyde, SFMC member and vintage racer, who’s modeling a pair of odd German goggles I found on ebay. Slim let everyone into the building and hung around all day during the shoot…which might be seen as tough duty, but there were 3 beautiful women changing clothes there all day. He doesn’t look bothered at all.

‘Slim’ Jim Hoogerhyde not looking bothered. [Paul d’Orléans]


Stephanie sitting on Stewart Ingram’s little Morini racer (don’t know the model, but I think it’s a 175cc Settebello, with cool little Fontana brakes), amongst all the light boxes and light stands, etc. The Curtis and Aermacchi can clearly be seen hanging from the ceiling. The stylist was fussing constantly over the girls, getting hair and clothing just so, as lights were adjusted and the photographer crouched all over the place taking photos. [Paul d’Orléans]
This pic of Stephanie shows everything in place and ready; what you can’t see are all the clips and clothespins which are keeping her leathers tight against her hips, and her blouse pulled back to reveal her racy curves. ‘Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!’ [Paul d’Oréans]
Photographer Ed Fox setting up some of the lights to shoot John Goldman’s ’47 Bianchi, which is a totally original machine, except for the seat cover. [Paul d’Orléans]
Anoush sits before the bike in the finished shot, backlit against the wall of photographs. She’s actually wearing a new Belstaff waxed cotton jacket, cut very Brando-style (‘whaddya got?’). There was
another Belstaff in white cotton, which was very chic but looked pretty useless for a bike, as it wasn’t waxed cotton or particularly waterproof. [Paul d’Orléans]

I’ve owned Belstaff rain gear before – once it’s been ridden in the rain for a few weeks, you don’t want it anywhere near nice clothing, as it will leave dirty streaks! It also tends to collect cold water in the crotch after about an hour in a steady downpour… I have bitter memories of a ride through the Tatra mountains in Czechoslovakia, after leaving communist Poland (1987), being completely soaked through despite my waxed cotton gear… even the MZ I was riding (which breathed through its frame backbone!) was gasping for air and choking on the waves of muddy water thrown over us by trucks passing the other way. Luckily, I was young, and arrived safely in Vienna after 12 hours, whereupon I KISSED THE GROUND. No kidding. Then I had a beer at a MacDonalds (and I hate Mickey D – that’s how bad the food was in the 80’s Eastern Bloc). Sorry for the digression!

Nicole was assigned to my Norton, in Art Deco attire. [Paul d’Orléans]

The last set of photos involves Nicole (don’t ask for her phone number, as I don’t have it!) with my Norton. Top photo shows the setup with Nicole silhoutted against the dome light. Dan Stoner, editor of Garage, stands to the left. Second pic shows Nicole wearing a leather helmet and my Avionix goggles (contemporary, from France), and a sort of Art Deco blouse. The bottom pic shows her outfit better; jodhpurs, Deco blouse, leather helmet, tall boots – a nice look… motorcycles do look better with a beautiful woman next to them!

Nicole with my backlit 1926 Norton Model 18 racer. [Paul d’Orléans



Paul d’Orléans is the founder of He is an author, photographer, filmmaker, museum curator, event organizer, and public speaker. Check out his Author Page, Instagram, and Facebook.
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