Sydney-based designer Tim Cameron is one of Australia’s foremost motorcycle visionaries, having created such innovative but acclaimed models as the Travertson V-Rex and VR-2.
He’s been living, breathing and riding motorcycles, as well as sketching, scribbling, painting and 3D modelling them, on a more or less daily basis for decades, and he’s the one who was responsible for the Aurora Hellfire V8’s undoubtedly arresting looks. If ever a motorcycle had presence, it’s this one. Here’s Tim’s tale of how it came about.
“I came late to the party in taking over the design of the Aurora V8, because by the time I came aboard the hard points were already established, and the prototype build was well underway. It didn’t have the front end it does today, though – I think there was a temporary BMW Duolever front end at the time. There was some bodywork extant, but Vincent had seen the work I‘d done on the V-Rex, and thought I might take a different approach than him, that might be worthwhile pursuing.”
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“One practical feature was the angular shape under the seat and the raised passenger seat section, which were necessary to allow for a large oil cooler to be mounted there. I had to help solve heat/passenger problems!”
“Even though it was late in the prototype stage, Vincent gave me pretty much a free hand in which particular ‘look’ to pursue. As a fan of the naked bike/streetfighter genre, I came up with a fairly pared down look. I just wanted it to look like it really meant business, just sitting there.”
“I worked from existing chassis blueprints, building up a model in 3D that fitted all the stable data. Then I came up with the look as it is now. Vincent wanted the Ferrari-inspired clear panel over the bell mouths, plus the long intakes. I actually wanted to disguise their length a bit, hence the silver treatment. It was a bit tricky but we got it done. I started in March 2014, and according to my records I finished the renders in late April. So it got this certain look very early on that seemed to suit it. I worked to strengthen what was there from the first. Sometimes you get lucky like that!”
“I really just worked from Vincent’s notes – I didn’t really know much about the project except for my part in it. The 3D model, once it was fine-tuned, was sent on the guys at Prototipo in NZ, and I assume they were able to use at least some of the data to build it ‘for real’.”
“I think this design proved the benefits of my workflow process, which largely neglects the traditional ‘sketch the c**p out of it’ procedure. Instead, I hop straight into 3D modelling, where I can keep working on it to ensure it looks good from all angles. Being able to actually supply the geometry of essentially what was the concept was a break from tradition, as well – and believe it or not, I’ve never yet met Vincent or the guys in NZ! The whole project was done via email – how crazy is that?!”
“The main design parameter was to keep things looking as sleek and as pared as possible. I obviously wanted to include the elements Vincent wanted – intake-wise and the clear topped tank idea, as well. I also worked in a V motif for the headlights and the taillight. The exhausts were a deliberate attempt to add weight to the front. In the photo of the drag bike I love the exhausts without the covers as well – it looks so mean!”
“Initially I figured that if we went with full coverage bodywork, it would do nothing for the looks, adding inevitable and unnecessary visual bulk, and with 400 HP available, I didn’t think aerodynamics was really going to be issue – though having said that, I’ll grant there could have been a little more protection for the rider. I think Prototipo did a brilliant job, they really got the spirit of the design. I’m particularly happy with the way they did the rear light/mudguard – spot on!”
“I love projects like this, dealing as they do with limit-pushing. The extreme seems to be somewhat of a feature in the old portfolio, never a dull moment, and I’m very pleased to be given a chance to see where we can go.”