03 January 2008

Ford, Jaguar, and Royal Enfield

From AFP via Raw Story:

The US automaker Ford on Thursday named Tata Motors of India as the preferred buyer of Ford's luxury Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Why not? Indian concerns have some history of taking over English companies.

For instance, Royal Enfield motorcycles. This make started making bikes in England in 1901 and ceased production in 1970. A good history here.

These sleds started being manufactured under licence in India in 1955 and are still being manufactured there today. As a matter of fact, they are still building basically the 1955 model! The bikes have been upgraded over time, of course, but they are the last old-style "Limey" sleds still available as brand new.

Since Mrs. G got a new bike earlier in the year, we figured it was only fair that I get one too. Since she's planning to retire later this year, the theory is we better get new shit while we're still under the delusion that we have money. We've been working this theory like a red-headed stepchild. She also got a new icebox and range, and I got a new dishwasher. These three items match for the first time in our lives! We figure a) they're the last we'll need, and b) at our age, they probably won't wear out. There are other acquisition plans in the works as well, but I digress.

I made a deal with my friend Larry to buy his Indian Enfield. An '04 model (I think, but they're kinda all the same so it doesn't really matter) with 150 miles on it and a shitpot fulla spares and accessories. We've been talking about this for almost a year, and now that the bike has been offered, and the offer accepted (the sword fighting over the price took all of ten seconds), naturally he wants it out of his garage right now!. Yeah, like that's gonna happen. The bike's in L.A. and I'm 500 miles and 80 feet up a snow-covered driveway away. Soon, Larry, soon...

Check out Royal Enfield's U.S. site for a good look at some of these old-fashioned bikes.

Really, the whole point of this post was to tell the following story, which I swear is absolutely true:

The other day I had occasion to call a customer service number, for what doesn't matter. The gent had an Indian accent so I asked him where he was. India. I had to ask, I've heard the same accent on the phone to Texas, and in any case I always ask where folks at 800 numbers are located just out of curiosity.

I mentioned that I had just bought an Indian Enfield and this is how he replied:

"Oh yes! I am having one of those in 1999-2000. Very pleasant to drive! Also very heavy when it is laying on my leg..."

Ya can't make this shit up, folks.

More on the new bike when I get it. I'm excited.

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