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Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Ger B] #298898
02/13/10 5:33 pm
02/13/10 5:33 pm
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,875
California
Ron - in California R.I.P. Offline
In Remembrance
Ron - in California R.I.P.  Offline
In Remembrance
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,875
California
I think most of us can agree on that..! I also remember that Anthony Hopkins was on the Jay Leno show talking about the movie, and Hopkins stated that when he read the script and read about Munro, he wanted to do the movie so bad, he would of done it for free... I can't think of a better actor for that job..!

Cheers..!!

Ron - waiting for the sequel, "World's Fastest Bantam..".. heh..



Originally Posted By: Ger
We did receive though, in this thread, some interesting background information about the bike and about the man.
Nice pictures also.

And I must admit: had the movie not been made, most of us probably would not have known about mr Munro and about what he did.

Last edited by Ron - in California; 02/13/10 5:34 pm.
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Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Ron - in California R.I.P.] #298934
02/14/10 2:19 am
02/14/10 2:19 am
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,093
somewhere in the UK
Mike Muir Offline

Life member
Mike Muir  Offline

Life member
Joined: Apr 2004
Posts: 1,093
somewhere in the UK
Thoroughly enjoyed the movie, bought the DVD based on an old thread on this site, do not go to movie houses any more (last one seen on the big screen "Out of Africa"), the Missus (has an M license, but not an enthusiast) really enjoyed it. My kind of fettler.


Mike, home is where we moor it.
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Ron - in California R.I.P.] #298968
02/14/10 1:50 pm
02/14/10 1:50 pm
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 779
earth
B
baza57 Offline
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baza57  Offline
BritBike Forum member
B
Joined: Feb 2008
Posts: 779
earth
ron mate,i will speak to one of our older club members here in kent about the worlds fastest bantam,old bill 76yrs used to race a 125 and attained 106mph!can anyone better that? clap

Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: baza57] #298974
02/14/10 2:15 pm
02/14/10 2:15 pm
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,489
South East England
G
Graham Ham Offline
Private sponsor
Graham Ham  Offline
Private sponsor
G
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,489
South East England
Originally Posted By: baza57
... and attained 106mph!can anyone better that? clap


Blimey.

What'd he do, put it on a bullet Train ?


Good judgment comes from experience, but the most memorable experiences tend to come from bad judgment!


http://www.panther-publishing.co.uk/default.asp?contentID=18

Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Graham Ham] #298975
02/14/10 2:18 pm
02/14/10 2:18 pm
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,489
South East England
G
Graham Ham Offline
Private sponsor
Graham Ham  Offline
Private sponsor
G
Joined: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,489
South East England
Well...

I liked the film. And what's so wrong with a bit of Hollywood melodrama to tell a good tale ? Broadens the appeal to a wider audience I reckon, and who knows, it *might* have even tempted a few folk to get more interested in 'old bikes' eh ?

wink


Good judgment comes from experience, but the most memorable experiences tend to come from bad judgment!


http://www.panther-publishing.co.uk/default.asp?contentID=18

Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Graham Ham] #299006
02/14/10 7:16 pm
02/14/10 7:16 pm
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 792
pa.
J
jays375 Offline
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jays375  Offline
BritBike Forum member
J
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 792
pa.
I liked it alot,thought it was pretty good.Actually liked it more after I saw some clips of the real Burt Munro.Is there a place to buy the real documentary movie?Looked after the movie was out but never looked again.

Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Skeet] #299008
02/14/10 7:27 pm
02/14/10 7:27 pm
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,129
Kent
KarlB Offline
BritBike Forum member
KarlB  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,129
Kent
Lets face it there aren't many decent motorcycle related films around. For what it's worth IMHO this wasn't a bad one, proof of that must be that I actually went out and bought it...


KarlB
Big day has come and gone and still no idea what Project 50 will be!
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: jays375] #299009
02/14/10 7:30 pm
02/14/10 7:30 pm
Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,476
Johns Creek,Ga
GaCracker Offline
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GaCracker  Offline
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Joined: May 2007
Posts: 1,476
Johns Creek,Ga
The documentary is from 1971, and titled "Offerings To The God of Speed". It was on the same DVD disc as the movie. Google the title and it might be available to buy or watch online. Greg


72 TR6RV
2004 Thruxton
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: jays375] #299018
02/14/10 7:53 pm
02/14/10 7:53 pm
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 638
UK Norfolk (where there be dra...
lightningrob Offline
BritBike Forum member
lightningrob  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2009
Posts: 638
UK Norfolk (where there be dra...
i agree with jays i enjoyed the film and watched the documentry of the real burt munro Offerings to the God of Speed . and i thought hopkins done fantastic jobin the film


Keep'a'troshin
________________________
Normal for Norfolk
________________________
BSA A65L 1971
BSA A10R 1961
BSA B31 1956
BSA D7 1966
BSA D10S 1967
BSA M21 1953
BSA A10 Golden Flash 1954
BMW R80/7 1980
BMW R100RT 1983
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: lightningrob] #299021
02/14/10 8:23 pm
02/14/10 8:23 pm
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,398
New Zealand
J
johnm Offline
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johnm  Offline
BritBike Forum member
J
Joined: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,398
New Zealand
I never met Bert Munro but I do know several people who knew him and evidently he really was as out there as the film in real life.

Most of the melodrama really did happen in one form or another.

He definitly rode and raced a lot on the beach and the gravel (dirt) roads.

Roger Donaldson who directed the movie is a New Zealander and had made the documentary of him 20 years earlier. The movie is of course compressed and incidents mixed but most had their basis in reality.

For example the customs agent talking about seeing him in Popular Mechanics. This was based on when he got arrested taking photos at Edwards Airbase of the American spy plane. The fasest aircraft in the world. The base comander had read about him and eventually they let him sit in the pilot seat.

The bit where Rolly Free said he had gone back to another planet. A guy called Martie Dickenson talked about this at the last Pukekohe festival. Evidently he and Rollie Free had helped Bert turn the bike round after one run. On the return run his goggles were blinded and he couldnt see the finish so he just kept it open until he ran out of gas. They couldnt find him for some time and when they saw the bike they couldn't see him. He was asleep under it in the shade. Rolle Free evidently said he had vanished back to whatever planet he came from.

The tyre trimming wih a knife was true.

The starting the bike in the morning was based on an incident when Donaldson first visited him many years ago. They got there late at night but Bert insisted on starting the bike waking all the neighbours.

The transvestite scenes don't seem to have a real basis but he was totally impossible with woman. Everyone says that. These days he would have got hinself arrested. He would pull waitresses onto his knee and half the time they were so stunned they didnt know what to do.

He was one of those larger than life people. Nothing Hollywood could come up with could match his crazy days!

Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Skeet] #299046
02/14/10 11:49 pm
02/14/10 11:49 pm
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 144
San Diego Ca.
S
scottgarland Offline
BritBike Forum member
scottgarland  Offline
BritBike Forum member
S
Joined: Aug 2007
Posts: 144
San Diego Ca.
Been ther acouple of times myself,very hard to brake 100 on an old Triumph with no fairing or fuel. Pup gas and tuning and attentin to detail will get you there. 100 seemed like flying I was sure it was at least twenty miles faster! After a while not blowing up is the goal, even though it is unspoken.

Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: scottgarland] #299047
02/15/10 12:03 am
02/15/10 12:03 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,876
Elko, Nevada USA
dave - NV Offline
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dave - NV  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,876
Elko, Nevada USA
A good read about Bert Monroe is the book 'One Good Run' by Tim Hanna. Monroe was quite the man and involved with motor bikes his whole life with more adventures than seen in the movie.

One of many stories in the book that comes to mind tells of when he was a MC salesman for a NZ dealer. He would ride a new Triumph (?) around the countryside to sell it. When he would comlete a sale he would hitch hike back and pick up another bike. and do it over again.


dave - NV
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Ger B] #299049
02/15/10 12:08 am
02/15/10 12:08 am
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,017
, Lower -Lower michigan
Bob S Offline
BritBike Forum member
Bob S  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,017
, Lower -Lower michigan
Ger just take it as a "feel good" movie. personally some are getting to technical over the story,how its written , the rounder that "MAYBE" he was.What the h*** ,it was very good ,in my book too. bigt


Bob S
Street Rods, Kustom Kars,A BSA,Cushmans,H.Shadow ACE, Now a 2004 triumph america . "More than enough!!!!
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: dave - NV] #299051
02/15/10 12:18 am
02/15/10 12:18 am
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,307
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
W
Wilfred Offline
BritBike Forum member
Wilfred  Offline
BritBike Forum member
W
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,307
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
Part of the enjoyment for me was that we knew a guy who in some ways was like him. From his Vincent to his 39 Ulster to the 600 flat head Norton that he put a Studebaker piston into ( which melted after a long mountain climb ), Harry Gilbert was an interesting guy to be around. Seemed like he was always trying something new and interesting. He even let me take his Vincent for a ride. Last I remember of him was that he built a sizeable wooden boat, living in the waterfront shed he built it in and disappeared. Cheers, Wilf


"It's about the ride..."
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Wilfred] #299106
02/15/10 2:31 pm
02/15/10 2:31 pm
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,017
, Lower -Lower michigan
Bob S Offline
BritBike Forum member
Bob S  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,017
, Lower -Lower michigan
thats a weird one!.wilfred


Bob S
Street Rods, Kustom Kars,A BSA,Cushmans,H.Shadow ACE, Now a 2004 triumph america . "More than enough!!!!
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: dave - NV] #299124
02/15/10 5:09 pm
02/15/10 5:09 pm
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 110
Northern California
2
2ndchildhood Offline

BritBike Forum member
2ndchildhood  Offline

BritBike Forum member
2
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 110
Northern California
Originally Posted By: dave - NV
A good read about Bert Monroe is the book 'One Good Run' by Tim Hanna.

Second that.

The stories about Munro are endless. Look at the pictures of the bike above, you'll notice that it has a "late model" (1926) front end. With 1926 brakes. This meant that when racing on a closed course he really couldn't brake effectively for the turns. So he would sweep way out on the turns, cutting across all the other traffic, then he would come roaring down the straightaway, re-passing everyone who had ducked under him in the turn. His regular competition was used to this behavior, but he struck terror into the hearts of those who didn't know him.


-Tony

73 Norton Interstate
72 Triumph T100R
67 BSA 441
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: 2ndchildhood] #299149
02/15/10 8:18 pm
02/15/10 8:18 pm
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 738
GA
David in Atlanta Offline
BritBike Forum member
David in Atlanta  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jun 2005
Posts: 738
GA
I LOVED that movie! In fact, I bought two DVDs. One for me, one for my motorhead older brother.

The DVD is on my bookshelf, next to "Brittown" and "Brother Where Art Thou".


David in Atlanta
73 BMW R75/5

http://tinyurl.com/beautiful-Anna


Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Bob S] #299197
02/16/10 6:10 am
02/16/10 6:10 am
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,307
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
W
Wilfred Offline
BritBike Forum member
Wilfred  Offline
BritBike Forum member
W
Joined: Oct 2007
Posts: 1,307
Nanaimo, B.C. Canada
but true......


"It's about the ride..."
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Wilfred] #299200
02/16/10 10:07 am
02/16/10 10:07 am
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 930
Perth. Wild West Downunder.
M Shearer Offline
BritBike Forum member
M Shearer  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 930
Perth. Wild West Downunder.
Met a guy just the other day living here in Perth who happened to come from Invercargill. So naturally I asked him about Bert Munroe.
He said that his dad used to look out for Bert.
Apparently Bert used to get picked on a bit when he was down the local pub because he was a little bit perculiar.
So this guys dad would go and sort them out.....if you know what I mean. Not that Bert was particularly worried about the treatment he was receiving, but some of the locals just wanted to look after him.


Mark F.
'52 ZB34 Gold Star.
'65 Lightning Rocket.
'74 Roadster Commando.



Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: M Shearer] #299201
02/16/10 10:12 am
02/16/10 10:12 am
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 930
Perth. Wild West Downunder.
M Shearer Offline
BritBike Forum member
M Shearer  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 930
Perth. Wild West Downunder.
P.S. Thought the film was great, but thought Hopkins was a bit wooden. I always thought someone like Brian Brown might have been better. If you watch the docko you will know what I mean.


Mark F.
'52 ZB34 Gold Star.
'65 Lightning Rocket.
'74 Roadster Commando.



Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: M Shearer] #299674
02/20/10 12:01 am
02/20/10 12:01 am
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,017
, Lower -Lower michigan
Bob S Offline
BritBike Forum member
Bob S  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Oct 2006
Posts: 3,017
, Lower -Lower michigan
I watched it several times.in fact.i had a tear in my eye, when they let the ole guy[hopkins] run is bike out.He wasn't bothering anybody .he just didn't have a lot of money to work with....but he did what he set out to do beerchug


Bob S
Street Rods, Kustom Kars,A BSA,Cushmans,H.Shadow ACE, Now a 2004 triumph america . "More than enough!!!!
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed? [Re: Bob S] #299702
02/20/10 2:54 am
02/20/10 2:54 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,404
SLO County, CA
D.Bachtel Offline
BritBike Forum member
D.Bachtel  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 2,404
SLO County, CA
After 5 pages of this topic I think very few of us were disappointed.

I thought it was a great movie, loved the desert scenes and the trial runs out on the backroads of Utah with the trooper.

Paul Rodriqez(sp?) as the East LA used car salesman, funny stuff.

I shed a tear too Bob S., but fuck... Disney movies make me weepy!

Don in Nipomo


1956 Zundapp KS601EL
1960 Greeves Scottish/Hawkstone Velorex 560
1963 BSA Gold Star Spitfire
1964 Triumph T20SM
1965 BSA C15T
1966 BSA VE
1968 Bonham Tote Gote
1969 BSA VS
1970 BSA A65L (with a "Y")
1972 Husqvarna 450 WR
1986 Yamaha TT 225
1987 BMW K75C
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: Skeet] #299777
02/20/10 6:20 pm
02/20/10 6:20 pm
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 557
Norway, just south of Oslo
J
jangg Offline
BritBike Forum member
jangg  Offline
BritBike Forum member
J
Joined: May 2004
Posts: 557
Norway, just south of Oslo
Well - me and my wife too enjoyed it! Entertainment. And some good old motorcycle history.

And I do think Anthony Hopkins did the most out of it.

Some good environmental descriptions, a brief overseas journey documentation. What hit me was the man's skill and stubborness - world's fastest Indian - something like getting a Hearley Davidson to win the Isle of Man road race ..

regards
jangg


'73 Commando Basket - new aluminium cyl
'93 Ducati 900 SS

"Better lit a light than cursing the darkness"
(Confucius)
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: jangg] #301088
03/03/10 8:58 am
03/03/10 8:58 am
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 509
melbourne, australia
7
76degree-triumph Offline
BritBike Forum member
76degree-triumph  Offline
BritBike Forum member
7
Joined: May 2006
Posts: 509
melbourne, australia
Gday!
This was recently sent to me.
Grab a sandwich and a cuppa and enjoy.
Chris.

Burt Munro In His Own Words

For years I have corresponded with enthusiasts from many parts of the world. No letter has equaled that from Burt Munro of New Zealand, whose enthusiasm, persistence, ingenuity and determination is both fascinating and inspiring. Here is his letter dated March 21, 1970, which has been edited slightly as it was a bit rambling! It was written over a period of a couple of weeks during breaks from working on his Indian and Velocette. - John Andrew

Part II
For this year I have made the new cylinders and pistons to the largest bore ever, it is now 3.19" x 96mm giving 60.54ci. For eight years I have carved out new rods, cylinders, pistons and cams, and work full time on either my 1936 Velo or the Indian. For 10 years I have worked 16 hours a day in the shed and was told to slow up a few years ago and now, I only work 7 days and about 70 hours a week. The flywheels I have made from a 5" axle hammered out under a steam hammer. I just finished the new pistons. I had these eight heat treated for the first time. I had the crank in the 1928 Scout turned down to 3/4" and then sleeved. I make this from oil hardening steel and squeezed on and pulled up with standard nuts. I left the taper on one end and made another taper with 3/4" hole in it to fit the drive of the flywheel. The rods of course now have a bigger eye and smaller rollers. The mainshafts, up to about three years ago, were standard, about 13/16" with four sets of caged genuine Indian rollers 1/4" x 5/16" running on the shafts. Well, as speed mounted-up over the years I got visions of them breaking and in 1957 I had a new pin, crankpin that is, given to me in Springfield, Mass. on a visit to Indian. This I fitted to the timing side with big end bearings. Then the drive side looked so thin. I looked around and had a spare gearbox mainshaft. So I ground the four outside splines off it and made up two driveshafts from it. Then I had them re-hardened and ground locally. I bored out the taper in the flywheels with my 3 1/2" Myford lathe. By the way, I completely made my new cylinder heads on the same lathe. The only change is to cut about 1 1/4" off the gap in the bed of the lathe for the flywheels. This probably weakens the lathe a bit but I still work it every day, and have since it was new 22 years ago. I am on my second set of (lathe) back gears, worn out about 12 years ago, and my third lead screw is now badly worn.


Burt's Munro Special in its ongoing development, circa 1943

Cams I made by file and saw since 1926 but now have built a cam grinder and make them in pairs. I spent 800 hours in 1963 making the engine into a four cam setup. After I timed them, I pin them to the 1/4" hole in the standard cam wheels on the Scout. Cam followers are filed from axle steel and I make a fork to take a 3/4"x 1/4"

roller running on needles, and an oiler to keep a good flow from the 1933 Indian oil pump. This was given to me in 1956. This I modified to pump oil to the big end. At this time I made my steel flywheels.

The famous record-breaking Munro Special. The workshop and un-mowed lawn look as they did in the movie. Note on the back reads, "Munro Indian in the second streamline shell made of fiberglass."

The 1920 Scout frame and my third streamliner shell are still in the U.S. The first full shell I built took me five years to hammer out of the sheet aluminum. I could only work at it when I had my bike ready for testing, then, if it blew-up I would work on the engine until it was running again, then hammer away on the shell again. Or I would suddenly think of some new scheme to get more speed. Of course these brain waves often made it slower, or just more blown parts. By the way, I have read of E. Fernihough's death and perhaps I can offer a reason for him running off the road that day. I have several times had similar experiences caused by a side wind of only two - three mph. If one is traveling at over 180 mph as on most occasions with me, the bike steers over to one side but I start to steer it back at once. But I have had it go 12 feet over the outside of the black line before getting it back to the center of the track. This I have known to take about a mile from start of swerve to be back on center of track. If this were on a road of course there is no chance of survival.

The first shell I took with me to Bonneville in 1962. It was the second I had built. The first one, of aluminum, was too hard to ride, too neat a fit and I had a great difficulty shifting the gears. I modified it and used it as a mold for shell number two of fiberglass. I had my first run on it at Bonneville in 1962, and was ordered to have a test run with the officials following in a car. It just veered from side to side at all speeds. I said to myself, "I may as well ship it back home, they will never let me run a thing like this." When they came up with me they said, "It handles ok." I said, "What!" They repeated it handled good.



Well for the next five or six years I had some of the worst out-of-control rides on record. The worst was for five miles late in 1962 when in an effort to stop wheel-spin at 160 mph I built a 60 lb. lead brick and bolted it in front of rear wheel. By the time I got to the three mile marker the top of the shell was swerving five feet and wheel marks were five inches wide and snaking 30 inches every 200 yards, when we measured it later. Well, when you figure you can only die on the next skid you try anything. So I wound it "all-on" for another one and a half miles. Then, when I found out it would go on like that forever, I rolled it back out and got it stopped. When the gang arrived and found me laughing and asked me the joke, I said I was happy to still be alive. The cure is to sit up and let the body strike the air. This shifts the center of pressure back behind center of gravity. I learned this the hard way. The lead brick should have been in front of the front wheel and shell higher off the ground. At the rear, the air packed under the tail and lifted weight off rear wheel, thus caused wheel spin.



More specs. I have mods in the clutch. The standard Raybestos plates are long gone and I have 17 standard steel plates, hardened and ground. I fit 24 standard clutch springs giving a pressure of 1360 lbs. on the pressure plate, and the standard thrust race and withdrawal screw haul this free for freeing and gear changing. I have a left hand lever and wire to operating arm and a small fort assist lever on the clutch worm shaft. I only use this for low gear engagement during test runs without the shell. Over the years I made four chain drives having finally ground helical teeth off the clutch body and filed out 46 half inch pitch teeth by hand and now run a three-row chain on a 22 tooth engine sprocket and still the 46 tooth clutch sprocket. This, Reynolds in London, told me 15 years ago, would be impossible and would never work but it has run for the last 35 years or so, in 10 SAE oil. The gearbox is original but I was unable to get a new sliding dog. On a visit to an old acquaintance in Sydney in 1948, he had bought out Mr. Biden's stock on Indian parts. I bought a set of 1916 Power Plus Indian gears, lay shaft cluster and sliding dog. The cluster I shortened to 3/8" and have run on these for the past 22 years.

Cylinders I usually make from very old city gasworks pipe, cast-iron condemned because of very large pits. I manage to get short lengths without too deep marks and because of the thickness, about 1/2" to 5/8", I have enough thickness for a base. The barrels are old pistons melted in a small pot on the two-gallon can furnace I use for melting-down to make pistons. The muff casting I turndown in the Myford lathe, bore undersize then heat-up with a blow-lamp and drop onto the liners. Pistons I redesign every year and make about half a dozen or so and take them with me to the U.S. for spares. Some years I have used every one and even welded up burned-out ones. When Jim Enz and his wife wanted to help me with fuel I said I would like to try alcohol and they brought me five gallons of the best brand, Mickey Thompson alcohol. Boy, it sure was the best piston burner! I guess it had Nitro or TNT in it. Every run, the pistons vaporized. No alloy heads on my heap.


This is the last photo taken of Burt with his Indian Special. Shot in December, 1977.

Carburettor is 1924 Indian Chief. I have sawn a cut full length on top of it, bent it out and welded a piece of brass in the gap and ran it in normal position with a T shape manifold made from 1 3/8" steel tubing. I have turned five carbs for my bike since 1927 when I swapped the Schebler H for a Schebler De Luxe. All the others I have tuned and modified have been Schebler De Luxes as fitted to Indians made later than mine.

This year since arriving home from the U.S. five months ago, I have put in 560 hours on the Munro Special. The main jobs were two new alloy rods - two weeks, two new cylinders and barrels - one week, eight new pistons (and much work on old dies for the same) - three weeks. I am making two new sets of cams for this year. Making a 180 degree Bosch mag into a 42 degree by making a new brass cam ring. From an old ball race I made the two magneto cams, filed and timed accurately then quenched in oil. As this 20-year-old magneto rotated backwards I had to make up a drive different from the standard. This I finally got working by taking out the two idler pinions, and fitting a big cam wheel from a late model Indian. This has four teeth more than my engine and by cutting 1/8" off the base of mag and cutting into the cases a little and jamming it back and boring new holes and tapping-out the same, I finally got the drive fixed. I also made a movable shaft to run the large pinion on and thus I get a close tooth adjustment.


Burt Munro arrives at Bonneville, August 1971. "I'm 99 percent sure the hippie looking fellow standing to Burt's left is Roger Donaldson, who at the time was shooting his 16 mm documentary about Burt, Offerings To The God Of Speed." Richard Menzies. Photo by Richard Menzies.

Since finishing the above I have been testing at the beach. I have been out 17 times and had 11 blow-ups. This consisted of mostly broken pistons of older designs. I was testing out a steel rod and a new carb I had made in the last two or three years. I ran it on 20 to 1 to test the rod, then built better pistons and ran three in it, one after the other, until I had one that would stand-up to 13 to 1 compression. As soon as I lowered the compression to 13, the rod which had stood-up to all the broken pistons finally shattered the top end when I was accelerating hard in top gear at 5,500 rpm. I tore it down. The new piston was in many pieces, pin broken in half, cylinder scored, split at the skirt and hammered out wedge shape and locked in the cases. One rocker arm was broken, one twisted, one push rod broken, one buckled. Other breaks were the cam follower I had made from magnesium four or five years ago, another rocker and pushrods bent and both valves bent.



Development goes on all the time and has been full-time these last 22 years. I would like to make another DOCH set up. I still have the one I made and ran in quarter mile grass track races about 1951. This was fitted on the front cylinder. The rear cylinder was blanked off. It was just an exercise as everyone was talking double knockers at the time. It is only lately that I have had ideas to try to fit up one for the rear as well, but have so far failed to get the time needed for this project.

I pulled the head off this morning and am now starting to make two new rods from a DC6 propellor. I hope to find it strong enough. It was sent to me from Auckland as I cannot get the 70-70 or 20-24 alloy in New Zealand. I like to improve my cam design every year, carbs (just finished a new one yesterday), conrods, pistons and sometimes valves and guides when they wear a little, and of course the cylinders.

About photos, I had many over the last 40 years but most early ones were lost when my fairly-new house burned down over 25 years ago. I will have a look round. Most are stuck in books and are not available. I will see if I can get a photo of the engine but if I can't get this posted this afternoon, it will be another four days gone. I have had a quick look round but things are all over the place. I have found these two. They give a view of engine and hope it will help with these notes. It is almost impossible for me to give you a true picture of the time I have spent on my cycles. The last 22 years have been full-time and for one stretch of 10 years I put in 16 hours every day, except Christmas when I took the afternoon off.

I have a berth on the SS P&O Oriana for the U.S. on June 15th but will not go if I cannot pass the doctor.
I am yours sincerely,
H. J. (Burt) Munro

Footnote
Burt never again competed at Bonneville, due to declining health. But to this day he enjoys the distinction that his Indian is the fastest the world has seen, 190.07 mph at Utah's salt flats in 1967. Burt died peacefully in 1978 at the age of 78.
If you want the ride to continue consider purchasing these two books on Burt Munro. One Good Run: The Legend of Burt Munro by Tim Hanna and Burt Munro: Indian Legend of Speed by George Begg. Both are available from Aerostich, (800) 222-1994 or order on-line at:www.aerostich.com. They also had the movie on DVD.
Making the movie
Mike Tomas and the good folks at Kiwi (Indian) Motorcycle Company supplied the accompanying photos. Last year these lucky dogs were asked to participate in making The World's Fastest Indian on the famous Bonneville Salt Flats. Transportation and some tech support was their assignment and it seems they performed well.

The replica streamliners, yes there were five of them built for the movie, were transported from LA to the salt flats in Kiwi's big rig. Mike and the staff brought a gross of Kiwi t-shirts with them for the movie cast and crew. Smart move. These shirts soon became standard apparel on the salt.

One of the important daily tasks was cleaning and maintenance of the replica streamliners. A World War II airfield, in the nearby town of Wendover, was selected for task. The two streamliners, which were used for the racing shots, were Ducati powered. Insurance company regulations dictated "two of everything." A third machine was built for the close up engine shots and featured a Hollywood "aged" Indian Scout motor complete in every detail. Two additional "shells" were towed behind the camera trucks for the slow-speed filming. Mike Tomas mentioned that Anthony Hopkins said it was the most fun he had making a movie in over 20 years. From these images it looks like the Kiwi crew had a great time also.


1950 Speed Twin outfit
1951 Thunderbird outfit (76 degree racebike, or is it 90 deg now?)
1955 BSA D3 minibike outfit
Triumph solo's
Re: movie Worlds fastest Indian... disappointed. [Re: 76degree-triumph] #301089
03/03/10 9:36 am
03/03/10 9:36 am
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 930
Perth. Wild West Downunder.
M Shearer Offline
BritBike Forum member
M Shearer  Offline
BritBike Forum member
Joined: Jul 2006
Posts: 930
Perth. Wild West Downunder.
WOW!!!! That is truly awesome. Burt was one determined man. He just stuck at a task until it was done regardless of how long it was going to take to accomplish. It seems there was nothing that couldn't be done by Burt and his two hands given enough time.
I feel it will be a long time (if ever) before we see the likes of another Burt Munro. I just hope that we don't have to wait till he passes away before we hear about him.


Mark F.
'52 ZB34 Gold Star.
'65 Lightning Rocket.
'74 Roadster Commando.



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