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John Bonham's motorcycle at auction


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I've checked Companies House and I can't see any evidence of "Peter Grant Ltd" or "Peer Grant Ltd" having existed at that time. There was a "Peter Grant Ltd" active from 2009 to 2018 registered to a "Peter Henry Grant" in Cambridgeshire but other than I can't see any records of the business on that logbook.

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23 hours ago, vivian james said:

Is this enough to get SteveAJones interested again?

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Yes, it is enough to rekindle my interest. I'm in occasional contact with some of Peter's friends. I'll ask them what they may know about this. Additionally, I can conduct some additional research.

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For Cookie0024
 
Thanks for checking the companies. Do you have a more comprehensive search facility than Companies House? I think that one goes back just 20 years:
 
"When a limited company is dissolved, all disclosed information remains on the Companies House public register for 20 years. Dissolved company records that are over 6 years old are not available to the public on the free Companies House Service, but they can be viewed on other search services."
 
I'm hoping SteveAJones will come up with something.
 
To go back to a question I put up here before - I was wondering if the chopper night ride in the film was shot in Brighton, but it wasn't. I have a positive ID on Blackpool. John Bonham the rider is about to pass Blackpool Tower on his left.

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12 hours ago, vivian james said:
For Cookie0024
 
Thanks for checking the companies. Do you have a more comprehensive search facility than Companies House? I think that one goes back just 20 years:
 
"When a limited company is dissolved, all disclosed information remains on the Companies House public register for 20 years. Dissolved company records that are over 6 years old are not available to the public on the free Companies House Service, but they can be viewed on other search services."

You're quite right - if a company was dissolved more than 20 years ago then it won't show up on Companies House. It's usually worth checking, though, as often in the music industry businesses can be kept alive for a long time. Led Zeppelin's Superhype Tapes Ltd company, for example, is still trading after being incorporated in 1968.

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Following Cookie0024s lead to search Companies House, I tunnelled a bit deeper and I found a Peer Grant Ltd at a different, presumably later, address in the same area of the City:
 
Peer Grant Limited
115a Chancery Lane
London WC2A 1PP
Company No. 00968359
 
The company was registered in 1969, winding up is recorded as commencing on 19th September 1980, but nothing much seemed to happen until March 1995 and winding up was eventually completed in December 1998.
 
So far, I don't have any information about the business of the company or anything at all really, except that Peer is not a typo for Peter.
 
At first glance, the dates of September 1980 and March 1995 might look significant but they pre-date the tragic events of those years, by just a few days in 1980 and by eight months in 1995.
 
Whilst searching, I came across a Peter Grant Music Limited in Eastbourne (dissolved as late as 2010), this linked Peter Grant to a company named GMG Productions in D'Arblay St W1 where another director is Malcolm McLaren along with a couple of Goldstones. A company named Hastings Estates Ltd came up too, but I can't work out the connection.
 

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It was reported in June 1992, and perhaps sooner, that McLaren was seeking to produce a film of Grant's life. Ultimately, following Grant's death, it was reported that his children were opposed to it and it never came to fruition. GMG is likely Grant - McLaren - Goldstone.

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Following way too much time spent searching and cross-referencing Peter Grants companies, I've found out nothing more about the company Peer Grant Ltd in the 1970s. It's not totally wasted time as other interesting stuff comes up. SteveAJones explaining the origins of GMG Productions was great.
 
Along with Peer Grant Ltd, several other apparently random companies shared the 115a Chancery Lane address. All of these companies were being wound up a year or so either side of 1980 by a Eugene Gomeche and in all cases it became a long drawn-out affair taking many years. One of them, F & C Osler (London) Ltd is still in the process of being dissolved right now, 40 years later. The name Eugene Gomeche appears in the winding up documents for Peer Grant Ltd attached a few posts ago.
 
I think 115a Chancery Lane is just a shell address and doesn't have an association with the original business of Peer Grant Ltd, whatever that was.
 
Eugene Gomeche wrote a book titled 'Business Operations in the United Kingdom (Tax Management Portfolios)' and he was the in-house accountant for Radio Caroline in the 1960s. I would think he is something of a UK taxation expert. Does he have any connection with Led Zeppelin?
 
I wonder if Peer Grant is a play on words for Peer Gynt. Did Peter Grant have any particular interest in popular 19th century Norwegian drama or the like?
 
Here's a list of of Peter Grants directorships, it's not exhaustive and it's from the early 1980s, I haven't found a similar list for the 1970s. That would be more useful.

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17 hours ago, vivian james said:
SteveAJones explaining the origins of GMG Productions was great.

Based upon your supplemental findings, I would say GMG is likely Grant - McLaren - George.

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Jimmy Pages chopper did not look cared-for when it was at Plumpton Place back in 1982, another forty years of storage won't have been good. Even so - one owner for 50+ years, probably close to zero mileage. I wonder if he knows it's there.
 
With Lee1111s sighting, the recent whereabouts of three of the four Led Zeppelin choppers is known now - John Bonhams was sold at auction in 2015, Jimmy Pages is still in his garage and the Eastbourne chopper is probably JPJs.
 
Leaving a missing chopper, which I would say is the one written about in John Bonhams biography authored by brother Mick Bonham:
 
Chapter 23, Scramble On, 5th paragraph:

"At one of these events he would raffle his chopper bike he'd used in 'The Song Remains the Same' to raise even more cash."

 

The raffle was in 1978 on behalf of a children's charity named Superkids, possibly somewhere in the West Midlands.

 

Clearly, he didn't raffle his own chopper as that one is the 2015 auction bike. So, by elimination, I think he raffled Robert Plants bike which appears to be the one he really did ride in the TSRTS film.

 

Going back to something I raised a while ago - of the four Led Zeppelin choppers only one, John Bonhams, appears to have the larger 650cc engine, the other three seem to have 250cc engines.

 

Here again is Jimmy Pages chopper at Plumpton Place in 1982. Apart from a missing oil tank it looks complete.

 

Along with two photos of John Bonham, his brother Mick (I think) on the right side in both photos and, again I think, two different choppers. The high-def photo is the 650 twin cylinder chopper sold at the 2015 auction; the 650 engine is visible. The low-def photo, going by the different cables and levers on the handlebars, is a 250 single cylinder chopper, maybe taken on the day of the Superkids raffle?

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11 hours ago, vivian james said:
With Lee1111s sighting, the recent whereabouts of three of the four Led Zeppelin choppers is known now - John Bonhams was sold at auction in 2015, Jimmy Pages is still in his garage and the Eastbourne chopper is probably JPJs.

With Lee1111's sighting? My threshold for what constitutes conclusive proof is a bit higher than an anonymous message board post on the internet.

As a by the way, the Eastbourne chopper can't possibly be JPJs as JPJs chopper is stored in my shed, right beside the garden gnome figurines.

See my point?

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Yes, I see what you did there. I guess this is how the idea that the 2015 auction chopper and the TSRTS film chopper are one and the same came about. Thirty-three years ago someone said it was so and ever since it's been accepted and regurgitated as being so. No one ever really checked and someone else ended up blowing $40,000.
 
About the present location of Jimmy Pages chopper. It may be that I'm succumbing to confirmation bias. On the other hand, to come up with the news that Jimmy Pages chopper is still in his shed is not very contentious and I tend to accept it. It is a likely outcome.

In an abstract way I had already thought that one of two things could have happened to Jimmy Pages chopper. Either it was thrown out in 1985 when he left Plumpton Place and would never be found because it was landfill, or it moved with him, along with other accumulated junk. I was thinking Tower House more than Sonning but Sonning is a better fit, maybe via Windsor.
 
What is contentious, but obvious to me, are the many differences between the 2015 auction chopper and the TSRTS chopper. For my purpose, I'm assuming the film bike is the same bike seen in the photo of John and Jason Bonham sitting on the chopper amongst the flowers, they do have the same engine. It's the best high-def photo of a 250cc smaller engined Led Zeppelin chopper I can find. The film stills don't show the finer details but the key points and most of what follows can be seen in the film stills too.
 
1/ Obviously the engines are very different as I've written so many times before. They are not inter-changeable without major work including cutting, welding and replating the nickel finished frame. It could be done, but why would they do that?
 
2/ The exhaust pipes/headers. On the auction bike they exit the engine in two places set apart by one foot or so. On the film bike they exit the engine in one place and then immediately split into two pipes.
 
3/ The front wheel rim. The auction bike has an alloy or aluminium rim probably made by Italian brand Borrani. Sunset Tripper were known to use this brand. The film bike has a chrome plated steel rim. The shape is different.
 
4/ Choke lever. This is clipped to the highest part of the right-hand side of the handlebars, but only on the auction bike.
 
5/ Throttle cable adjuster. On the auction chopper it's close to the throttle grip. On the film bike it's several inches down the cable. For some reason all the cables on the auction bike are red. I don't know why or how they would have done that.
 
6/ The electric box. Found below the front of the gas tank. On the film bike it's an off the shelf Triumph part with factory-fit orange reflectors on each side. These orange reflectors are clearly seen in the film. On the auction bike it's a custom-made unit in blue and silver, sized to fit the extra electrical components of the larger engine including two coils. These would not fit in the smaller Triumph box with the orange reflectors, hence the custom build.
 
7/ The horn. On the auction bike it's in front of the lower part of the engine, a round black thing. I can't see it on the film bike, it's not obviously there but it might be attached to the electric box.
 
8/ The air filter on the carburettor. The auction bike doesn't have one, instead it has a trumpet.
 
9/ The side stand. The auction bike stand has a kink in it that's not present on the film bikes stand.
 
10/ The extended exhaust pipes and silencers. The bends and lengths of the respective systems are entirely different from front to back. Having said that, the silencer parts on the film bike, in the film, are longer than those I see on the bike that the Bonhams are sitting on in the garden. But inspection shows that the film, film bike has had extensions bolted on. To me it looks better without the extensions, but it would be noisier.
 
11/ The seat and the cissy bar. On the film bike, just at the top of the black backrest part of the seat, I can see a chrome bar. It's not visible on the auction bike. Each chopper had the respective band members sign or rune on the back of the seat, this accounts for differences to the construction in that area.
 
12/ The rear mudguard. The auction bike mudguard is noticeably longer at the back than the film bikes.
 
That's it. Except that in the garden photo the front brake wouldn't work as the cable is not properly connected to the levers on the front wheel hub. This makes me wonder if the photo was taken on the day the choppers were being assembled at John Bonhams place by Ron Hagest, the builder of the four choppers who flew in from Los Angeles. In this photo the chopper looks new.
 
One more thing. Going back to post #10 on the first page of this thread by sam_webmaster - it's the 2015 auction publicity and I assume it shows what the auction house published at the time - along with several auction photos, there is just one still photo from the film, but it's cut so it doesn't show the engine of the chopper. Did someone know?

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On 2/13/2021 at 4:00 AM, SteveAJones said:

 

As a by the way, the Eastbourne chopper can't possibly be JPJs as JPJs chopper is stored in my shed, right beside the garden gnome figurines.

 

 
Good news for me. By elimination the Led Zeppelin chopper in my shed is sure to be Robert Plants, also the chopper most likely to be John Bonhams back-up bike and hence the film star.
 
But I've written before that I think film provenance is over-rated here. To have custody of any of the four choppers, but particularly John Bonhams in its preserved state, is a privilige. My take is that $40,000 was well spent regardless of any film appearance.

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