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Old Bike Australasia - - • SYDNEY MOTORCYCLE SHOW • -

BRYON FITZ­PATRICK re­cently passed away at his home on Bri­bie Is­land, Queens­land, on Sun­day, Septem­ber 27, aged 84. Bryon re­ceived world­wide ac­claim as a cel­e­brated prod­uct de­signer with fan­tas­tic draw­ing skills. He pas­sion­ately con­tin­ued to prac­tise th­ese tal­ents to the end. He loved all things au­to­mo­tive and to the old bike fra­ter­nity Bryon made a sig­nif­i­cant con­tri­bu­tion. In the early 1960s well doc­u­mented man­age­ment tur­moil saw the fi­nal de­sign of the new BSA/Tri­umph three cylin­der ma­chines farmed out to a de­sign con­sul­tancy – Ogle. Bryon worked there at the time and he was cred­ited (al­though not in­di­vid­u­ally ac­knowl­edged) with pen­ning the re­sul­tant BSA Rocket 3 and sis­ter Tri­umph Tri­dent. The Rocket 3 was re­leased in 1968. The largely square geo­met­ric over­all de­sign dif­fered greatly from any­thing else in the mar­ket. It was re­ally ahead of its time and some say it didn’t bode well with the ma­jor­ity of the con­ser­va­tive mo­tor­cy­cling com­mu­nity and so was face-lifted to a more con­ser­va­tive de­sign in 1971. The stand­out fea­ture in Bryon’s de­sign are those amaz­ing swoop­ing triple out­let muf­flers af­fec­tion­ately known as “ray­guns” or “Flash Gor­don muf­flers”. Bryon’s son (Leon) has pub­lished that Bryon had ac­tu­ally drawn them up as a joke how­ever, they were sub­mit­ted and ac­tu­ally ap­proved for pro­duc­tion. An orig­i­nal set of “ray­guns” is highly-prized by col­lec­tors to­day. They ac­tu­ally per­form very well with ex­cel­lent flow and long life. They were also con­sid­ered bet­ter per­form­ers than the re­designed later items. The “ray­guns” have stood the test of time and have be­come the iconic stand­out fea­ture of the short­lived early triples. OBA pays trib­ute to the Rocket 3 in OBA 48. Not many early model Rocket 3s were pro­duced but quite a few still fre­quent the lo­cal “Triples Rally” each year.

Bryon’s fan­tas­tic ren­der­ing skills also earned him the name of ‘The Draw­ing Ma­chine” and videos of him in ac­tion can be found on the in­ter­net. I par­tic­u­larly re­mem­ber (and still have copies) of ‘Street Car’ mag­a­zine which printed one of Bryon’s se­ries of Aussie mus­cle car ren­der­ings in each edi­tion from the be­gin­ning of 1984 to early 1985. In 2014 he was com­mis­sioned by “The Ma­chine Files” to ren­der a set of blue­prints of clas­sic mo­tor­cy­cles. The first was a 1975 Du­cati 900 SS and there was also a Norvin. Ear­lier this year Bryon worked to­gether with El­las­pede to re­draw his fa­mous Rocket 3 which was to be printed on a lim­ited re­lease tee shirt. 100 in­di­vid­u­ally num­bered tees were re­leased for sale on the 10th of Novem­ber but sadly Bryon didn’t get to see the prod­uct launch. I don’t have a Rocket 3 but I did buy the tee shirt and there are still some avail­able from El­las­pede in Bris­bane. This is By­ron’s fi­nal con­tri­bu­tion but will re­main a last­ing legacy of his de­sign and draw­ing skills. Vale Bryon, your tal­ents will be missed.

LEFT By­ron Fitz­patrick (seated) on the cover of Mo­tor Mag­a­zine in 1969, and work­ing (above) on the il­lus­tra­tion that adorns the El­laspeed t-shirt.

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