Conceived and designed Down Under but made in Thailand, this is the amazing V8-engined Aurora Hellfire
Nowhere other than in Australia do visionary engineers produce V8 motorcycles powered by their own design of engine. In fact, there must be something in the Yarra River water because the three men who have done it – Ian Drysdale, Paul Maloney and now Vincent Messina – were all Melbourne-based when they created their cocktails of technical excess.
And here, making its entry onto the world motorcycling stage, is the Aurora Hellfire V8, created from the ground up by a former Australian sidecar champion and ex-Ford Motor Company engineer.
Vincent Messina conceived the Aurora V8 in Australia, created a 2.4-litre proof-of-concept prototype in New Zealand (which debuted at the 2015 EICMA Milan Show) and is currently completing development of the bike in Thailand, where he’s been living for the past six years. Production is scheduled to begin there late next year.
“I worked for 10 years in the Ford Motor Company in Victoria and my partner Alison Scoullar also worked for Ford as a mechanical engineer,” Messina tells me in his workshop in downtown Bangkok. “She was asked to transfer to Thailand in 2011, and we could already see there was no future working in automotive engineering in Australia … so we came over here and I loved the place straight away – the weather, the lifestyle, the people, and their love for motorcycles.
“Thailand is the biggest market in Asia for motorcycles over 400cc, so we settled down here very happily, but not for long. No sooner had I obtained my own work permit and business visa than Ford decided they needed Alison in China, so she was transferred to Nanjing, and now I have to use Air Asia to commute to see her and our 10-year-old daughter on a regular basis!”
Alison was also Messina’s sidecar partner. The duo won two national titles in the late 1990s and finished second four times on rear-engined ‘worm’ outfits Vincent had designed and built himself, powered by self-tuned Kawasaki ZZR1200 motors.
“I got a bit bored with the sidecar and, being named Vincent, I actually wanted a Vincent. But they got so expensive that I thought, why spend $100,000 on a bike? It’d be better if I built my own – so that started the whole thought process. Riding long journeys in Australia gave me lots of time to think. I’d always wanted to build a V8 and we started on that in around 2004, while we were still living in Australia.”
When the Aurora Hellfire V8 made its global debut in a back corner of the 2015 EICMA Milan Show, it had never been ridden, or indeed fired up. Back home in Bangkok the showbike was finally dyno-tested and the serious development work commenced.
“We’re almost there now,” Messina says. “Another couple of months and we’ll be ready to start gearing up for production.”
WORDS ALAN CATHCART PHOTOS JOE NIKKASIT
Read the full story in the current issue of AMCN (Vol 67 No 09) on sale now