Before I left Oz, I hooked up with Simon Watts at the 2009 Kustom Nationals in Victoria, Australia and took a few shots of his practical and patina'd Beesa bob-job (which he'd ridden to the show).
For one reason and another I never got it together to get it into print, so here it is... better late than never.
Mr Watts is a highly talented individual who turns his hand from writing ads (how I first met him) to pinstriping, building cars and bikes, painting and now tattooing. Sorry about the delay in airing these mate; see you soon!
Who knows what the new year may bring? Well, in our case, we know it will continue to bring you the most interesting traditional custom motorcycles â€“ and the odd car â€“ on the planet.
This, for example, is Takeshi's '49 Hydra Glide, which you'll be able to read about in the new issue, out on February 1st.
We'll be changing a bit for the next one after 30 issues. But in the important ways, we won't be changing at all. So let's look forward to a new year... and continue to look back to the best of years past.
I've never been content living in the here-and-now. As far back as I can remember I dreamed of a different era... lived vicariously through the old objects left behind by others long gone. I had relatives who fuelled the fascination with the bygone, dusty and musty. Uncle Mac, who took my brother and I on memorable rides on the bench seat of his lowline Ford Consul (long after the last one had left Dagenham), slipping from port to starboard as we rumbled around north London's bends; and my grandad Poppa Fleming whose garage smelled of polish and leather and housed the mid-sixties Wolseley that would, at 18, become my post-test wheels.
And now, the best days are spent tinkering with old stuff. Today was one of those rare, crisp, sunny winter days that actually makes you glad to be in England. I played rockabilly to the kids as I made their their lunch (it makes them jump around in their seats; no modern music does.) Then I enjoyed a rare hour picking on my '63 Gretsch and actually worked out the breaks in Hank Harral's 'DJ Blues'... something I've been meaning to do for years.
After that I exposed the Dodge panel to the sunlight and took it on a brisk 20-miler, refreshing the fuel tank, warming the engine and rolling the wheels to avoid lay-up flat spots.