Added to museum: 5/21/08
Pere Tarragó in his shop (left) and letting his imagination take flight with one of his models (right). The right photo can be enlarged by clicking on it.
The work of Pere Tarragó came to our attention when a link to his web site was sent to us separately by several of the world’s best model makers. They said his work was highly detailed and virtually flawless, and one look at the photos of his motorcycle models proved they were right. Pere does his modeling work in Spain, but his site offers translations to several languages. Even without that, the photos speak for themselves. The history below is an adaptation of what was found there, plus Mr. Tarragó submitted several photos for our use that are not found on his web site.
What started as a hobby is now a business, as he now builds motorcycle models on commission full-time. Because he prefers to model his creations by measuring and scaling down parts from a real example of a particular motorcycle, his early selection is naturally based on bikes that he owned or are at least more available in Spain: Montesa, Bultaco, CZ, MV Agusta, etc. However, he has also modeled classics from Indian, Henderson, Griffon and NSU as well. Though many of these bikes may not be familiar to American riders, the quality of the model itself means that you might as well be seeing the real thing.
A beautifully finished MV Agusta 750 S in 1/6 scale. (Click on photo to view a larger image.)
Pere Tarragó took his first steps in the world of the model making when he was a child with Meccano (similar to Erector Set) pieces. Immediately he wanted to build more than the set-supplied pieces allowed, so he began to add his own pieces to obtain better results and more realism. When he was 16 he made his first car model with Zinc plates and welded tin, while still taking advantage of some pieces from Meccano.
Eventually he completed a series of seven cars for his first collection, which increased the necessity for perfection. He continually wanted to know more and to improve the fits and finishes of his pieces. Immediately he found out that he needed more and better tools to obtain the effects he was looking for. Conventional tools were no longer enough, as he needed his own very specific tools for his unique needs. During the next ten years he experimented with all kinds of tools—lathes, milling machines, autogenous welding systems and more.
Since he was a big fan of real motorcycles himself, he began to build classic bikes, starting with Bultaco, Ossa, Montesa—the ones he owned himself—built on scale of 1:6. The quality of these creations was such that several magazines became interested in his work and a number have published articles on his scale models. (His web site links to scans of each of these articles. They are in Spanish, but the photos speak a universal language.) Because of the high quality of his models, several organizations and companies have also been interested in his work and have promoted his creations.
Pere Tarragó at work in his shop. The models are made by taking dimensions from the full-size prototype.
In order to build a model in scale Pere always starts off by referring to the original prototype. First, he observes the motorcycle in full detail to become completely familiar with its general lines; otherwise it would be possible to lose key details. He then begins to copy or trace the elements that involve engraving, decals, silk screening or other graphics from the real motorcycle; these elements are the only ones that he does not do in his own facility.
To build the model he first begins drawing the frame and wheels on a millimeter scale paper at 1/6 size. When the motorcycle begins to take a general form beyond the frame and wheels he completes the final plan and begins construction of the engine and the rest of the parts until the model is finished.
"Miniaturista" Pere Tarragó shows his neat and well but equipped but efficient shop. (Click on any photo to view a larger image.)
This is when he adjusts and checks the operation of all the mobile elements of the motorcycle; such as, brakes, clutch, wheels, transmission, etc. Then he completely disassembles all the pieces and gives them the finishing touch—polishing, nickel, chrome plating, decoration or painting as required. Finally, he begins the re-assembly process, which takes approximately 250 to 400 hours depending on the model.
The usual materials he uses are steel, aluminum, brass, thin O-wire, Napa leather, polycarbonate and automotive paints. Once the model is finished, an album with documentation and photos showing the entire building and assembly process is prepared and given to the customer along with the finished model. A copy of the scaled plans is included in this file.
Visit Pere Tarragó’s web site at http://www.motoscalatarrago.com/. We present below a representative sample of his work, but more is available there. A YouTube video (in Spanish) also gives a good look at his shop and how he works. See http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=56guIZ6305U&eurl.
Here are several examples of Pere Tarragó's work:
(Click any photo to view a larger image.)
MV Agusta 750 S
Bultaco Sherpa T
Derbi RAN 50
Henderson K (1920)
Indian 700 (1913)
Montesa Impala 175 Sport
NSU Nekarsulm (1903)
Benelli 250 Quatro G.T.
All the external elements of the original are on the model: brakes, gas lines, suspension, instruments, plug leads, etc… Length: 40 cm, Weight 2.5 kg, Time to build: 618 hr.
BMW R2, circa 1923
Translated from Pere Tarrago's message:
This model was constructed in about 100 days, averaging 6 hr/day. I have built this model from hundreds of pictures. With the materials I have used I have tried to imitate the original materials. The chassis (frame) is constructed from stainless steel with a scale of 1/5. The engine is made of aluminum from a mold made from earth (not sand) the way they used to do it. The finish is nickel plating rather than chrome and the paint is two-tone (black and white) to get a perfect match of the original. The paint is finished with transparent varnish to protect the fine white lines. The decorations (logos on gas tank) were made on a CNC machine on top of copper and tin. The mechanical parts function like the real full-size motorcycle. The clutch and shift controls are functional, and a hand lever actuates the brakes, expanding the brake pads in the drum. The throttle functions also. The front suspension works with friction plates and two leaf springs.
CLICK HERE to read an article about the history of the full-size BMW R2 motorcycle.
The first photo shows the real motorcycle in a museum. All photos after that are of Pere's model. The 11th photo shows part of the casting process to make the engine block and other cast components.
Overall Length = 40 cm (15.75")
Weight = 1.8 kg (4 lb)
If you have additional information on a project or builder shown on this site that your would like to contribute, please e-mail craig@CraftsmanshipMuseum.com. We also welcome new contributions. Please see our page at www.CraftsmanshipMuseum.com/newsubmit.htm for a submission form and guidelines for submitting descriptive copy and photos for a new project.
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Phone: (248) 288-5155
Fax: (248) 288-4412
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