6 July 2011

Our Cars: Mike Dorman's 1976 BMW R-75/6

When Mike Dorman was growing up, his mother owned a series of GM muscle cars, including a Nova SS, Chevelle SS convertible and Bonneville convertible. In 1969, the Dormans found a ’52 Chevy Styleline Coupe that his father rebuilt, and it became his dad’s daily driver for three years.

Mike’s mom also had a cousin who was a drag racer, and Mike took a ride in his Pro Street ’68 Camaro SS that was so thrilling that “it ruined me for life” (in a good way).

Mike also has vivid memories of his introduction to motorcycles. His father traded a case of beer and five gallons of industrial bug spray to a neighbor for a WWII Cushman Paratrooper. Once his dad got the Cushman running, the family would climb aboard and “terrorize the neighborhood.”

Title: Commercial Lines Specialist

Years at Hagerty: Three

Motorcycle: 1976 BMW R-75/6 (He also owns about 20 classic bicycles)

Motorcycle’s background: I purchased it from the second owner who kept it in his barn for 10 years because he couldn’t get it to run. I was able to clean the gas tank and carbs, and had it on the road the next day. Eight years and 5,000 miles later, it’s still going strong.

Why a BMW? I have always admired the style and smoothness of BMW boxer-airheads. They run forever, too. Mine has nearly 100,000 miles on it.

Repairs and modifications (planned or completed): I lowered the bars and installed a café-style faring. I’ve also replaced the exhaust headers and tires. Otherwise, it’s just annual routine maintenance. I would like to do a full restoration some day, but I can’t bear to stop riding it long enough to do the work.

Hobby activities (clubs, events, etc.): I’m a member of the Antique Motorcycle Club of America.

Favorite drive: My favorite ride so far has been riding to the Gilmore Museum (in southwest Michigan) for the vintage cycle gathering and swap meet. Otherwise, cruising Leelanau County (near the Hagerty campus) is always a blast.

Best and worst moments: The day I brought it home was the best, and probably the worst was when I rode it 30 miles to work one day and the left-side carburetor overflowed onto my pant leg and shoe. My coworkers made me leave my shoes outside for the day because of the gas smell. Too bad I didn’t work at Hagerty in those days; I probably would have won a prize.

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