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.