I know… Your significant other(s), condo board, housing inspector, nosy neighbors, your mother, and even your dad think you should clean out the garage/basement/parking spot so they can park their shiny new car/bicycle/big screen TV in it. That assumes you’re lucky enough to even have a garage… Many big cities are even pressuring developers to build new housing with no parking space, never mind garages. Yup, the Condoing of America is a threat to rolling history. Take a look at Europe or Japan, which are a few decades ahead of us on this deadly (to history) trend… Thousands of innocent citizens jammed into clustered and stacked cubicles, with so little space that the only wheeled transport allowed, bicycles, end up out on the decks. They keep this up and future generations will have no knowledge of history other than old video games.ImageYup, that’s an original Mini in the background, a Cooper S in fact. Only about 30,000 were ever built, last in the early 70s. Thanks to the excellent website http://www.howmanysurvive.co.uk which downloads data from the Great Britian’s licensing agency, I found that even in the Mini’s homeland probably less than 1000 of this model remain. Reputedly something like 10,000 Minis emigrated to America before the ramp was pulled up in 1968, but most of them were humble 850s and milder 1000 cc. plain Jane Coopers instead of homologation special 1275 cc. Cooper S at twice the price. Looking at how few genuine Cooper S are advertised and show up at meets, it ain’t rocket science that way less than a thousand of them survive in America, and maybe in the world.

Now that 1000 number is significant, because it tends to be the threshold population a vehicle needs to maintain to keep an ecosystem of parts and knowledge alive to maintain the species. In the public eye and that of museum managers, 1000 of the species surviving tend to keep the species alive in the public consciousness. That’s why the common icon of the diesel streamlined locomotive is the EMD E and F series, because at least a hundred of them survive versus at best a handful of similar Alcos and maybe a sole surviving Baldwin “Sharknose” hiding in the U.P.. Thus when the surviving population of a vehicle slips below a thousand in North America it should be put on the gearhead’s endangered species list, and woe be any busybody dogooder, amateur or paid, that tries to haul it off to the crusher. Crushing is forever… A piece of history forever lost!

Back to the Cooper S and it’s garage mates… Over 30,000 R100G/Ss were built, and with public records from GB and Australia showing that after 20 years about 10% of motorcycles survive, it’ll probably narrowly avoid the endangered species list. But the R80ST and R65LS easily make the endangered list, with only 6000 of each ever built and maybe 600 surviving. The Quota behind the big hack has probably already made the endangered list with maybe 1500 built and 100 to 200 shipped to North America over a decade ago. The population of a vehicle “species” tends to be halved just in it’s first decade of life, and a collector vehicle may see but 10% survive past their 20th birthday. For more common vehicle, something like 2-3% survive 20 years, with continuing decimation thereafter… That still leaves thousands of 57 Chevys and 60s Mustangs to litter car shows. Given that there’s only a handful of hack makers left in the country and even the most prolific might build a hundred in a good year, there’s probably less than a thousand of any model hack in existance… Thus both the Motorvation sidecars in the pix should be on the endangered list, although with a handful of sidecar builders still building, we’ve at least got some mating pairs. Even the crashed and tweaked bicycle frameset on the wall might make the endangered list, Trek 7500s with Women’s frames seem pretty rare. State Farm already paid it off, but they never said I couldn’t tweak it straight and refit it. Got maybe three other bikes that qualify for the endangered list- a Teledyne Titan (at most 2000 built), Santana tandem, and even my daily rider Bike Friday folder has never been built in great numbers.

This little post got started a few weeks back when I was reading up on museum collecting techniques and such in anticipation of adding to the “collection”. Well, turns out I’ve already got a collection and haven’t been totally responsible in preserving these endangered species… Though I have at least kept them from the crusher and indoors now that I’ve got adequate garage space. So it’s time to forget schemes to cannibalize one airhead to keep another alive, and the Cooper S at least needs to be pulled out of that corner and cleaned up, maybe even made runnable but rusty for now. The Quota’s paint wont be bastardizeded to match the hack’s, the ST and LS will be kept quick instead of dead, and the hacks have a home forever!

But first gotta run up to the Motocycle shop and get a new tire for the ’07 F800S today… only 700 of them imported!

 

 

 

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