Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Did He smile His work to see? Did He who made the lamb make thee?

More wittering about mechanical things - clearly these are of some interest to me.

On hols recently - this soft grey, gentle lamb of an old scooter caught my eye.

Sometime after taking the pic I looked closer, and have realised that the A stamped on the side stands for Agusta.

It's an Agusta!

This will mean nowt to most right minded adults, but to me Agusta says something more like this:

Fabulously stylish, conceived by engineers with little or no input from accountants - naturally the company went bust yonks ago.

The thing with an Agusta is operatic, when the motor is working hard it will snort down buckets of air voraciously and clearly audibly (an English engineer will call this "induction roar", an Italian engineer: "sotto voce"). On top of this as one passes by the exhausts have an almost mournful howl (English policeman: "fucking nuisance", Italian Engineer: "basso profondo"). A motorcyclist friend has said it sounds like the bike is tearing the air in two, oh yes - lovely.

I've never ridden an Agusta, but old Italian motorbikes have a wonderful visual trick too - on engine overrun (when you have rolled off the throttle, slowing for a corner perhaps) if you keep the throttle open jeeeeyust the right amount the exhausts will spit and bang with little pops of flame. If you can contrive to do this as you squeeze past a car coming into a corner it's a good thing. OK - so whooshing by someone's earhole with your exhausts on fire is so stupid and selfish as to be near autistic - but it does look pretty cool. The possible corollary of accidentally running off the road, smacking into a tree and bursting into larger flames is perhaps a little less cool - but sliding backward through the pearly gates followed by the wreckage of an Agusta Burning Bright is quite an entrance. First impressions are the ones that last.

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