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La Jollan Hopes to Kick-Start Nostalgia for a Real Motorcycle

Of motorcycles and movies (and real men).

Do you have atavistic urges? Are you increasingly alienated from modern life and modern motors?

Do you get depressed when you hear a modern man announce he’s taking a midmorning muffin break?

If so, Tim McLaren, who lives in La Jolla, has just the thing for you: the chance to own a 750cc BMW motorcycle and sidecar.

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Not some modern redo either.

A throwback, the Real McCoy, made famous in a thousand World War II movies, all steel, all black, all business, $7,995 out the door.

“This is the same kind of bike used in ‘The Great Escape’ and ‘Indiana Jones,’ ” says McLaren, 47.

He’s betting that motorcyclists have had a bellyful of fiberglass, Japanese design and new models every year. He figures there’s a market for nostalgia.

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He’s contracted with the Chinese government to ship upward of 800 mint-condition 750s to California: to be sold in San Diego and Northern California.

He found them in a government warehouse while working as a management consultant in China.

Hold it. He found German-designed motorcycles in a Chinese warehouse?

Explanation: At the end of World War II, the Bavarian Motorworks (BMW) fell to the Soviets, who carted off the tools and know-how for the 750. From there, it went to China.

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Without modifying the design, the Chinese mass-produced 750s for the People’s Liberation Army, local police, collectivized farmers and others.

Back in Germany, the reformed BMW quit making 750s in 1961. But the Chinese continued until 1967.

And, through the miracle of communist inefficiency, hundreds of never-used 750s were still languishing in a Nanchang warehouse when McLaren came visiting two years ago.

McLaren is general manager of Cornes Motors in Mira Mesa, although it remains undecided whether Cornes will be among the distributors for the 750s.

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“You should see people stare when I ride my 750 down Prospect Street in La Jolla,” McLaren said.

Ignore them. They’re probably just muffin eaters.

Working the Angles

Here we go.

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* Do as I say, not as I do.

When State Sen. Lucy Killea announced she was quitting the Democratic Party, she blasted fellow legislators for monkeying with the reapportionment process and putting self-preservation above the public interest.

Now it can be told: In May, Killea invited the staff director of the Senate Elections and Reapportionment Committee into her office.

She then whipped out a map of her district and told him in no uncertain terms which precincts she wanted to retain and which precincts she wouldn’t mind losing.

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* Picture that.

Slow-growther Peter Navarro insists that his involvement in the current San Diego City Council campaign is not just a way to pump up his name identification for a mayoral race next year.

Others aren’t so sure.

Take the flyers he’s distributing in Oak Park proclaiming his support for council challenger George Stevens. The flyers contain a picture of Navarro but none of Stevens.

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* In your ear.

San Diego-based Thermoscan is selling the first home version of an ear thermometer that takes your temperature by measuring heat from your eardrum.

At Sharper Image, the upscale toy company, $120.

Let’s Play I Spy

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I see you, you see me.

As the America’s Cup draws closer, competitors are redoubling efforts to gain an advantage by spying.

On a recent day, America-3 hired a helicopter to spy on the New Zealanders, the New Zealanders hired a copter to spy on the Italians, and the Italians were in the air to spy on America-3.

As if that isn’t enough: William Koch, the billionaire bankrolling America-3, has complained that one of his rivals dressed scuba divers as Navy SEALs to get an underwater look at his boat’s keel.

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Ah, sportsmanship.


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