Recently I was contacted by author/publisher Lee Klancher about the possibility of setting up a guest appearance for him on Road Show Podcast. Shortly after our initial contact, I received a beautiful hard cover copy of his book, "Motocycle Dream Garages." In truth, I was expecting a modest paperback, what I received was a full-sized coffee table volume gorgeously photographed and written with immediacy, wit and humor.
Klancher has created a work which is guaranteed to fascinate wrenches of all stripes and make them green with envy at the same time. In fact, when I took the book down to the shop, where I am employed, I almost had to engage in physical combat to regain possession of it from my co-workers.
To put this work together Klancher traveled from coast to coast and even made a trip to the Great White North to some of our wrench-spinning, two wheeled brothers up there. The opening chapter takes us to an undisclosed location in Hollywod, CA, which houses an almost obscene number of expensive, rare and beautiful machines. Then it is off to British Columbia where we are treated to a tour of a wonder of a house, custom-built around three separate garages. Then, it is back to the west coast where no high-end tour of “dream garages” would be complete without a tour of Jay Leno's expansive facility. From there, we head eastward, finding ourselves in the very different world of east-coast motorcycle fanaticism.
Although Klancher's tone and style are always in a subtle shift to match his environment and subject, it is here, in the east, that his photography and writing really hit their stride. Beginning with a visit to the legendary “Spannerland” in New Jersey. It is obvious that Klancher enjoys this sub-culture of motorcycle mania the most. His tales of trial and intrigue, to gain access to these compact and secretive places, make for some of the most entertaining reading.
It is difficult to communicate the tone of the writing in this short review, but the following paragraph being one of my favorties, will give you small taste. Refering to his adventures in gaining access to the aforementioned “Spannerland”, Klancher writes:
Peter blows me nothing but smoke until I'm on the 10-dollar bus from D.C. bound to the Big Apple, wondering whether this warehouse thing is going to happen. My blower buzzes and it's Peter calling to say everyone but a few of his guys are in on the deal. That's good enough for me. Game on. I ask him where to meet, and he says just to call him from Sixth Street Specials when I'm ready. “We''ll set it up he says.
If you are like me however it will take you a while to actually read the text because at first you will be too busy looking at the pictures
As a long time editor at Motorbooks Klancher has knowledge of his subject matter which is truly impressive, but I never felt like he was beating me over the head with it. It is also obvious that he is a true motor-head and loves sharing his passion and insights with others. If you have ever spent time spinning wrenches on bikes or dreamed of building your own custom garage or shop this book is a must have.