If you cast your minds back to last September we introduced you to a joint project we’re doing with Chris Macnamara (of The Brogue Trader) and Casa Performance. Back then we’d taken a battered old Indian GP frame to Rimini Lambretta for them to try and make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear.
Bring it back
Bring it back is quite apt for this particular frame, Dean Orton and the rest of the lads at Rimini almost threw up when we sent them our battered £250 lilac coloured Indian frame to work on. It took a bit of persuasion from our smooth-talking Welshman, Chris to get them to agree to even allow it in the Rimini Lambretta Centre workshop. We argued it was daft to sacrifice a nice Italian scooter for this project, after all it was going to have a few modifications (like the remote control lifting rear loop for instance).
We reached a compromise, they straightened out the frame we sent over and dry built it using N.O.S. bodywork. Then it was taken down to Claudio Cattaneo to work his magic on the hydraulic rear end. The metalwork was delivered back to England again when the Casa/RLC crew came over for Bridlington at the end of October. The project ground to a halt until the start of January when we took it to the sprayers.
Riding Dirty Customs
Rich Coveney runs Riding Dirty Customs, a Leicester-based custom paint shop specialising in some out of this world crazy metal flake creations. He’s got the talent, he’s also one of the quickest custom painters in the country. Just as well really because we’ve only given him seven weeks to complete it.
We don’t want a typical Riding Dirty Customs signature dish though, we’re building a Casa Scuderia 265 based machine and want the paintwork to emphasise that this is a pukka street racer, to be ridden, and ridden fast, rather than just a show pony. It also needs to be able to show off what’s under the bonnet, there’s no point having a trick remote controlled hydraulic loop if it’s not going to look pretty inside.
Chris has some very clear ideas of what this scooter should look like and is in the enviable position to be able to make his dreams and ideas become a reality. Take the paintwork, for instance, most custom builders have a rough idea of what they think they want but are happy to leave the sprayer to adapt things to suit. Initially, we were thinking of adapting the existing Casa Performance race paintwork but that idea soon got shelved. Chris had other ideas, as he explained them in great detail. He had me baffled and the painters scratching their collective heads.
It’s based on the Kingfisher Blue paintwork on his car but the detail and design are complicated. You can watch the video above for a better understanding.
Cardiff scooter boy done good
Chris has worked his way up from nothing. As a struggling 1980s scooter boy he worked for Taffspeed and at the time was bringing his young kids up in a carpetless council house with his wife, Jo, a childhood sweetheart. The late Ian Frankland had seen the kids crawling around on bare floorboards and turned up unexpectedly one morning. His van was full of carpet, Ian carpeted the two rooms for the young couple, a kind gesture from a friend, boss and fellow scooterist. It’s an act of kindness Chris never forgot and he certainly looks after his own staff very well.
The first thing many people will think when they see Chris stood beside an £180,000 custom painted Bentley is “What a wanker!” Looks can be deceptive.”
His working-class roots didn’t stop Chris from aspiring to move on in life and he convinced the Car Supermarket to take him on as a trainee car salesman on a basic wage of just £5,000, a big drop in wages from his previous job of £16000. He’s ambitious though and quickly became their top salesman earning massive commission on top of his meagre salary, increasing basic by 10 times! He ended up running a BMW dealership and was in charge of a team of 130 and a multimillion pound business.
The Brogue Trader
Whilst Chris was at the top of his game he decided to change career completely. He was bored and fed up, so resigned and started a gentleman’s shoe shop in Cardiff. He told me about his idea during a drunken conversation at the Isle of Wight, I dismissed it as the beer talking. It certainly wasn’t though and his dream of creating a retail experience with a relaxing atmosphere soon materialised. His first shop was a play on words, he’d gone from what is often perceived as an occupation as a ‘Rogue Trader’ to The Brogue Trader.
He wasn’t going to stop there though, just five years later Chris runs a chain of ten stores around England, Scotland and of course Wales. His stores are co-branded as Loake and he’s the largest retailer of Loake shoes in the world, fact!
Aside from all that, 47-year-old Chris is a hard-riding, fun-loving scooter lad. He’s a larger than life character, flamboyant, well-dressed (as you need to be in his business) but he’s just an ordinary bloke who has aspired to achieve as much as he can in a short space of time. If you see him on a rally he’ll chew your ear off about scooters like any of us.
New products always in development…