View Full Version : Worlds fastest Indian

08-21-2006, 02:13 PM
We rented the DVD last night. The best part of the DVD was the documentary on the real Bert Munro. That alone was worth the rental. Well. That and the Myford 7 seven in the background. I'd like to know where he got that piston mold.

08-21-2006, 02:49 PM
I just watched the dvd also. I was disapointed with the movie, and more so with it after I watched the documentary right after the movie.

The movie made him out to be a bit of a tool who stumbles along. Before I'd seen the film I'd heard the man was a solid machinist, then watching Anthony Hopkins drag that file back and forth on the piston I knew this was going to be a very "based on a true story" type of film.

Having them just plug in all his jokes and thoughts from the documentary into the film made it seem like they weren't trying very hard with the script.

After watching, I did some searching on google. Turns out he had a twin sister that died at birth, no twin brother. The time line of the film was way off the mark (complete fiction) and made it seem like he had no idea how fast the bike was (he'd done measured/timed run at events in his country). He had a large family that was not mentioned in the film.

So the film left me wondering why movie makers always seem to make such huge glaring changes/errors in stories like these. The life of this man was such a compelling story that there seemed no need to turn it into a bad work of fiction with his name tacked on (with the damned "based on" disclaimer)

08-21-2006, 06:10 PM
Brett. I think some young go get-em producer thought that it would make for a wider audience. I agree though. They could have just canned the film-except for the actual riding parts, and just show the documentary. He was a cool old charachter.

08-21-2006, 08:03 PM
I'd like to know where he got that piston mold.
Hey he's one of us kiwi legends. This link may give you some background.


as it contains articles created from copies of letters he sent to a friend in England. To quote a bit

I ahd a go at making ohv heads. A foundry told me how to go about making patterns and I finally had them finished after a year of work until the first day it ran.

I guess from this and other bits he made his own patterns for the piston and had the foundry make em up. I do know some parts and moulds were "rough cast" (fine sand) and had to be cleaned up by hand for good surfaces.

08-22-2006, 01:06 AM
That DVD is a favorite in the crowd I hang with. What a man Munro was.

The beautiful thing is that the members here have more in common with Munro than your average man.

I was surprised by the information that the original bike had a carbide lantern for a headlamp.

08-22-2006, 09:33 AM
It's very difficult to portray a man's life in a two hour movie. If you liked the movie, I recommend you read one of the books about Munro. I know of at least two:

One Good Run: The Legend of Burt Munro, Tim Hanna, Paperback, Book, ISBN: 0143019740

Burt Munro Indian Legend of Speed, by George Begg, 2002

Generally speaking, most of the things in the movie actually happened at one time or another; but the movie condensed them into one trip to the Salt Flats. Munro made something like a dozen trips to the US (give or take).

I read One Good Run and enjoyed it, immensely. I think you will, too. I'm not sorry I saw the movie, but the book gives a far better picture of this remarkable fellow.



08-22-2006, 09:49 AM
Books are always better than movies. The author is speaking directly to you.

08-22-2006, 12:15 PM
Is the focus in the film, and those books too for that matter, more on the motor cycle riding, or on the mechining/mechanical aspects of his life? ...or equally focused.

I'll admit here, that I'm not a motorcyclist and had never heard of him before. Just trying to assess if I'd want to round up the dvd (or books).

08-22-2006, 04:24 PM
"Is the focus in the film, and those books too for that matter, more on the motor cycle riding, or on the mechining/mechanical aspects of his life? ...or equally focused."

What I got from the film was the mans unstopable nature. He refused to give up.

This link is interesting,


He seems to treat all of it very matter of fact. No problem. Just a do it attitude.

It would be neat to have him here.

08-22-2006, 10:48 PM
Anyone who hasn't read the link Gene provides...you very well should.
What an amazing man Burt was!
How many serious concussions did he suffer? And he was still able to do work like this?
Wow...making hi stress camshafts with a file!
Con rods from a Ford truck axle!
Definately a man who thought outside the box.

Peter S
08-26-2006, 04:15 AM
I think you guys are mistaken in your guesses about the guy behind the film. New Zealander Roger Donaldson made a documentary about Burt back in the 1970's, he followed him to Bonneville etc. I believe it was about the first documentary he ever made, and ever since then he had thought he could do something better and that there was a film there in the story of Burt Munro. Donaldson did well enough over the years to finally realise his dream of making this film.

Admittedly, I know only what Donaldson has said about this, but he seems to have been genuinely interested in Burt Munro and done a pretty good job of telling this mans story (I have read the George Begg book).

It is true that there is alot more to the story (eg fifty-plus year time scale, several trips to Bonneville etc), but the film tries to capture the essence of the man, it comes off a lot better than I would have thought.

I have some video that Donaldson took of Burt back in the 1970's, it shows him using the piston mold, exactly as per the film, also the workshop in the film uses stuff from the original workshop.