10 March 2016

Hot Rods, Motorcycles and Mystery with Lori Bentley Law

“Old cars and trucks [display] a love of history and craftsmanship, coupled with the romantic idealism of how it has survived for decades, centuries even; the fantastic notion that it has lived a life before–and yeah, I know you can argue a thing can’t live, but I know different. My Bondorella thrums with life.”

Lori Bentley Law is an award-winning television and news photojournalist for NBC in Los Angeles, Cali., a talented author and perhaps the most happy-go-lucky, down-to-earth car, truck and motorcycle gal I’ve ever met. She is at her happiest when climbing behind the wheel of her 1948 Ford pickup – Bondorella – or hopping on her motorcycle for a bit of adventure.

“The sense of freedom on the open road is pretty darned impossible to describe. My Sporty and I have trekked across the country, burning up tons of miles, and I’m sure we have many other adventures to come — and not just on the Sporty, but on our other two-wheeled beasts as well,” she said.

Law and her husband have somewhere around 30 motorcycles, and several are dirt bikes. “They all have different characteristics and we love every single one of them, that’s why we have so many,” she said. For example, she loves the way the Triumph Bonneville looks, so she purchased a 1977, but as it turned out, it was too large for her to kick-start on her own. Being a very independent woman, nothing is worse than needing someone else to kick-start her bike. Now Law has a 2004 Triumph Bonneville that shares the older model’s look, but starts with ease.

“People now have stereos on their motorcycles or headphones to listen to music, but part of the experience for me is being absent from all of that noise. If I need to, I just start singing.”

At first, Law didn’t intend to buy the lonely-looking 1948 Ford F1 pickup that she found in the parts section of the Pomona swap meet. It displayed a dusty sign advertising “for part or whole”. After all, she always loved Studebakers and she thought the Ford would be way too ambitious a project for her, but her husband saw how much she loved it, and about a month later he talked her into the purchase. That same year, her husband bought her a 1952 Mercury flat-head engine to bring the truck back to life as “Bondorella”.

Law isn’t afraid to bust a knuckle — or lose patches of hair — to keep her beloved Bondorella running smoothly. One day, while driving in bumper-to-bumper Southern California traffic, Bondorella’s old drum brakes failed. Thankfully, Law was able to pull the truck over safely and have it towed home. There, she began troubleshooting the problem and later upgraded the brake system with a dual-reservoir master cylinder, rebuilt the wheel cylinders and put in all new lines. “I had never done anything like that before,” she recalled. Just as many projects do, it took some trial-and-error: The new dual reservoir had a flip-top, and because of the location of the master cylinder, under the driver’s side floorboard, she was unable to open the latch. In came the remote reservoir.

The repairs took three consecutive weekends, and complicating the issue, her local parts store was closed when she was able to work on the truck, so when she discovered the plunger length was too long, and then the next was too short, she had to wait even longer for the correct part. Even after everything was installed and the brakes bled, it still didn’t feel right. Law didn’t detect any leaks, so she sought advice on the H.A.M.B., a well-known forum (www.jalopyjournal.com/forum/) for traditional hot rodders, where someone suggested fiddling with the drum adjustment. She did, and Bondorella was finally stopping smoothly. “After driving a ways and realizing what I had accomplished on my own, raw and overpowering pride and happiness gushed through me and I shed a few tears behind the wheel,” Law said.

Not much later, Law went to her hairdresser for her usual appointment only to discover she was missing chunks of hair from the top of her head. She didn’t have her hair completely covered while working and the brake fluid had dissolved her hair. They both had a good laugh.

Law has always been a reader, but no matter how hard she searched, she could never find novels featuring car girl adventures. “I thought it would be fun to write a fiction about girls, motorcycles and cars,” she said. It took quite a few years to write, and then publishers turned her down several times because their opinion was “girls wouldn’t be interested”. Needless to say that was a low-blow, and she sat on the idea for about 10 years until the spark reignited and she published the book titled Motor Dolls herself, and motor gals (and guys) everywhere are glad that she did.

Motor Dolls is a girl-powered adventure following two gearhead gals, Jeda, a graphic artist that could make a career as a stunt-double, and Benny, a photographer seeking her perfect moment on film. Both are in search of their life’s passion while teaming up to discover a stranger’s prophecy on the day of Jeda’s Grandmother’s passing.

There is suspense at every turn of the page. Law’s writing can be described as a work of art as she paints the picture of the two girls’ lives with her words:

“She shifted and pulled the accelerator more, the bike vibrating under her as she pushed the machine beyond anything she’d ever tried. It responded to every subtle movement, every slight pull and she knew it had more to give. She opened it up all the way, propelling her forward, burning a path toward the destination. Pushing. Blazing. Faster. Faster.”

It’s a novel filled with thrills, mystery and self-discovery. And the best part of all? It is the first book in a series of three, so there is more to look forward to in the future!

Visit http://www.motordolls.com for more information and to follow Law’s life adventures via her blog.

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