I've probably sat down at least four times since Wednesday to write this up. And its hard to write something when you're sort of speechless! I had the happy good fortune to be able to meet the author of Big Sid's Vincati on Wednesday! You all know what a huge fan of this book I am. (If you're thinking....huh? you can see my review here.)
This week, the author of the book, Matthew Biberman, the namesake of the book, Big Sid, and the "subject" of the book, the Vincati were all here in southern California. In case you don't know about it, Jay Leno has an amazing garage here, where he houses his collection of rare cars, motorcycles, etc. Leno is a major motorcycle and car "guy" and he has a working garage where his finds are restored. I don't know if his collection is considered museum quality by purists, but he drives each and every one of these vehicles. And there are some gorgeous,unique and spectacular vehicles in this garage! Matt invited my husband and myself to Leno's garage on Wednesday, so we had the opportunity to meet Matt and Big Sid and see the Vincati for ourselves. The wonderful and knowledgeable folks at Leno's garage showed us around both buildings. We saw Leno's Dusenberg collection, his Bugatti's, the Vincent's, Stanley Steamers, Packards, Jaguar, Bentley's, Chevy's, Suzuki's, Triumph's, and a whole slew of others. And....wow...I'm still a little dumbstruck! Photography isn't allowed at Leno's garage, but you really should take a quick detour over to his site, Jay Leno's Garage, and check his collection out. It's just astonishing. And look for video of Jay and the Vincati, sometime in September!
As if the opportunity to see, walk around and touch these beautiful cars wasn't enough, we were also able to spend a few hours with Matt and Big Sid. Matt Biberman is only the second author I've had the privilege to meet. (The first was James Michener in Kodiak Alaska in 1987.) Big Sid is a charming natural born storyteller. He told us great anecdotes about Phil Irving, who was Vincent motorcycle's chief engineer and a friend of Sid's. We heard the story of the elderly man who sold his Ducati to Matt and Sid for $1, so the two of them could use the frame for the Vincati. As Sid said, for some people its all about the love of the machine, not the money it can make you.
While my husband was chatting with Sid, Matt was putting gas in the Vincati. The Vincati is painted a beautiful Corvette blue color, sort of dusky grey-blue. I've been around bikes enough to know that gas spilled on a nice paint job=BAD! And I'm a well trained garage monkey, so I grabbed the cloth and held it on the tank in case Matt spilled and held the flashlight so he could see how full the tank was. (*big grin....I helped gas up a rare "one of a kind" bike.....*big grin......) Matt hopped on the bike and it started right up. He drove it around the parking lot a bit, warming it up. A CHP officer was visiting a friend who works at the garage, hence the cop car in the background. The bike has this awesome throaty purr, and I'm sure my husband could describe it better...he's the bike guy, I'm the bookworm....
|From The Novel Bookworm|
Pretty much everyone in our small group at the garage were car/motorcycle people. Me?... not so much, I've just hung out with my husband for so many years, that a little of it has rubbed off on me. And I'm a huge vintage and antique nut. My sewing machines are all pre-1960, I love my Victrola and you all know how I feel about my 100 year old desk! My husband loves the old bikes, his 1946 Norman Autocycle is the oldest in his garage, along with a couple from the 60's and 70's that he's either in the process of restoring and rebuilding, or that he's already completed. We enjoyed the chance to see these rare and beautiful cars more than I can say.
And the opportunity to spend some time with Matt and Big Sid Biberman was priceless. We agreed that this was an afternoon we'd never forget!
As an aside, the next day my 75 year old neighbor called me. She had just finished reading Big Sid's Vincati, which I lent her and she loved it. My tally so far, 30 year old attorney, 52 year old motorcycle guy, 51 year old mom and 75 year old grandmother, all loved it. And how often do you see a book that can cross genders and generations like this one? But don't take my word for it...meander over to Amazon...it currently has 10 reviews and has a 5 star rating!I'm telling you ...you've got to read this book.
Here you go...I'll make it easy for you....