When in Rome . . .

It's my first visit back to Japan for a few months and this time I have the pleasure of bringing my family. It's been a while since I've had the chance to stand back and smell the sushi and it really is a country like no other. Quite apart from the contrasting cutesy-ness of the anime world against the intensity with which everyone carries out their work, there are just so many things that are done slightly differently to everywhere else. The food is different, the architecture, manners, body language, concepts of etiquette. I lived here for so long it all became perfectly normal but now coming back as a visitor I am more aware of how Japanese everything is!

One thing that never changes, though, is quality. Of course this is well known in the world of motorcycles but the same attention to detail that makes Japanese bikes the most robust in the world runs through everything - food preparation, gardening, school sports days. Heck, even the immaculately turned out bus drivers keep a running commentary about upcoming traffic lights and sharp corners. Nothing is left to chance - which is reassuring when you're eating blowfish.

You meet the nicest people on a . . . .

The old Honda advert went, You meet the nicest people on a Honda. Well the same thing might be said for riders of all kinds of two-wheeled machines. One of the joys of this job is talking to and learning from fellow bikers and scooterers (is that even a word?)

A while back we sold a beautiful TV175 Lambretta to a gentleman who owned one back when they first came out. He told me a story about an accident he had on it and I blogged it here. It seems, however, that I got some of the details wrong and he has been kind enough to put me right. Here is the correct version, straight from the horse's mouth:

My original Lammy was nearly 6 years old when I bought it in '66 and the same sandy colour, which I re-painted in black and white and added various chrome goodies, as in the photo. About three years later, it was written off after a car crossed my path and the Lammy crumpled against it and I completed an involuntary somersault over the bonnet. The Lammy came off worst and that was the last I saw of it. Fast forward nearly 50 years and I had a hankering to acquire another one and recreate the paint job and "chromey bits" to replicate, as far as possible, my poor old original. Then I spotted the much-admired Seven Seas offering and decided that was the one for me. So the project begins.....

The TV175 is now undergoing work and at some point in the next year we will be able to see it in all it's glory - watch this space!

In the mean time, we have recently brought in a 1978 Vespa P125X - this one is mechanically sound but could do with a little love to 'bring it back.' Perhaps there's someone out there with the vision and skills to do the job she deserves?

My thanks to GL for the Lammy update. Good luck with the restoration and keep us posted!

From Two Wheels to Four (and still two as well!)

A few months ago we were contacted by a man called Chris Jones. Chris has imported hundreds of cars over the years but had been taking a break from the business for personal reasons. It quickly became apparent that we would work well together - Chris is very personable and knowledgeable.

With Chris now on board, we have begun to import cars - you can view them at www.sevenseasmotorcars.com We will bring the same attention to detail and dedication to customer service as we do with the motorcycles. It is early days for us in the car business and we don't have many vehicles in yet so if you don't see your dream car, please get in touch and we'll try to source it for you. More cars are on the way and regular deliveries are planned but we are always happy to hear specific requests.

1960 Lambretta TV175 finds a new home

We are happy to announce that our lovely 1960 TV175 Lambretta has found a new home with a proud new owner near the site of the Battle of Hastings. Its new keeper owned one back in the sixties when they were new. He had an accident so had to repaint it. He did a cool black and white paint job on it. As you will know if you follow this blog, we had an "adventure" with our Lammy and damaged one of the side panels. The new owner is going to give her the same paint job he gave his original one 50 years ago. I can't wait to see how it comes out.

The 2017 Scottish Motorcycle Show

It was our first visit to the Scottish Motorcycle Show last Saturday. We didn't really know what to expect but it was excellent. All the big manufacturers were there displaying the latest models as well as plenty of peripheral companies with tools, equipment and clothing. We were most interested in the classics hall and we weren't disappointed. Hundreds of fantastic machines at stands manned by very friendly people.

It was also interesting for me as an Englishman who hasn't travelled north of the border for over 20 years to see just how independent the Scottish motorcycle scene is from the English. This has benefits and drawbacks but from our point of view it was great to make friends with people we probably wouldn't have met otherwise. I'd like to make a couple of shout outs to some people we spent quite a bit of time talking to.

Firstly Tim and Ian from the Central Vintage Motorcycle. Also Paul from 12 Wheels Around - a VLOG you can find on youtube and Facebook. Dave Randall from Coffee Tin Classics - take a look at his Facebook page. Finally, two brothers from Yorkshire who had some lovely bikes on show. Their website is mb5.co.uk

Having been reminded of the loveliness of Scotland, I'm going to take my family up there later this spring and I highly recommend our biker buddies to take a trip to visit our cousins in the north. Happy riding.

Design a Logo Competition

Draw a picture and get £500 off your next bike or £250 cash.

We are delighted to invite you all to take part in our Design a Logo competition.

We need something clean and simple that somehow reflects what we do - find rare and unusual motorcycles and bring them over from across the seven seas. It needs to be something that would sit in the top corner of a letter or on the breast of a T-shirt, either black and white or colour. It needs to sit well with the look of the website, too.

If you or someone you know has the artistic spark we would love to see your designs.

All entries must be in by March 7 2017. The winning entry will be announced one week later. After announcement and upon choosing your prize (bike discount or cash) the winning logo will become the intellectual property of Seven Seas Motors Ltd for us on stationery, clothing, or other material.

You can send in more than one design and you can work in collaboration with another person or other people but there is only one prize.

Please send your entry or entries to sevenseasmotors@gmail.com

We can't wait to see what you do!

Share with artistic friends, biker friends and especially artistic biker friends!

77 New Bikes

A highly successful visit. I've visited our Japan offices on many occasions but this was the first time I've been there to see the preparation of bikes for one of our containers. It is a massive team effort: sourcing and buying the bikes, getting them to the main yard, testing and preparation and finally loading requires a lot of work by a dedicated group of people.

The final result is a container with 77 bikes including some very interesting Cubs, road bikes, crossers, trail bikes and quirky collectibles. I can't wait for them to arrive. I'll put a couple of pictures here and add more to the On The Ship page over the coming weeks.

Visit to Japan

Today I am writing to you from a wet and wintry Kitakyushu, Japan. I flew over a couple of days ago to help with the bike checks, preparation and loading of the next container. The team over here are working really hard to ensure that all the bikes are in top condition before they leave for the UK.

I am incredibly excited having seen the bikes that we are sending over in person. Once again we have selected quite an eclectic range of machines with some absolutely stunning examples of really hard to find stuff. The container should arrive in mid-March. Watch this space over the coming days and weeks for updates.

Merry Christmas and best wishes for 2017

It's been an exciting few months here. Seven Seas received our first container of motorcycles in September and have so far brought in three loads, totalling over 110 bikes. We've been to the classic bike races at Donnington, the Staffordshire show, the NEC classic vehicles exhibition and have met dozens of excellent people, from dealers to aficionados to those just dipping their toes into the motorbike world.

We'd like to take this opportunity to say a huge thank you to everyone who has supported our efforts this year. We hope to keep you entertained and intrigued with our antics and the unusual bikes we will continue to bring in.

A very merry Christmas to all our friends, customers and collaborators. Wishing you all a healthy and successful 2017.

Ride on!

How can we help you?

The other day we sold a lovely Press Cub (delivery C50) to a gentleman who appreciates and collects 'working' bikes - motorcycles that were built for a specific task. As we were looking over the bike, there were a couple of things he asked to change, specifically the hand grips and a sticker on the chain cover. One of my colleagues from our Japanese sister company has just brought over, not just the grips and the sticker, but a whole new chain guard.

The following day an aficionado of a different kind of bike asked us whether we could help get some information that is not available anywhere online. We said certainly and now someone in the Japan office is finding that out for him.

We have considerable knowledge both here and in Japan, as well as good access to motorcycles, parts and information. Sometimes we have the information to hand in our extensive databases and in those instances when we don't, we can usually find it.

If there is a particular part you are having difficulty sourcing or need to find out something about a Japanese motorcycle, please get in touch. I can't promise we'll always be successful but we will give it our best shot.

#happytohelp