Thursday, November 26, 2009

Ton up boys


Ton-Up Boys, a British biker subculture that started in the 1950s, were successors to the Teddy Boys in attitude, language and values. However, instead of mock-Edwardian clothing styles, they took their style from Marlon Brando's film The Wild One, and from Royal Air Force pilots of World War II.

They rode British motorcycles, traveled in packs and hung out in transport cafes. Ton-Up is a slang term coming from the cafe racer culture of 1950s England, referring to the 100 mph speed limit.

The subculture was heavily influenced by American rockabilly music. Musicians who were popular among Ton-Up boys included: Gene Vincent, Eddie Cochran, Billy Fury, and Elvis Presley. In the 1960s, the Ton-Up Boys evolved into the Rockers.

Ton-Up Boys commonly wore: leather motorcycle jackets, Levi 501 jeans or leather trousers; and engineer boots, tall motorcycle boots or creeper shoes. Helmets, although not required at the beginning of the 1950s, later became compulsory. Ton-Up Boys usually wore jet helmets, often with aviator goggles for night riding. The look was accentuated with a silk scarf worn around the neck for protection against the elements, and long wool socks pulled over the top of the boots, both of these looks were borrowed from the RAF.

The main difference between Ton-Up Boys of the 1950s and the rockers of the 1960s were the heavily studded, patched and pinned leather jackets that rockers wore, whereas the Ton-Up Boys usually preferred their jackets clean or with painted motifs on the back, a look that was adopted from World War II pilots.
A film that accurately portrays the motorbikes and styles of the original subculture was the 1964 movie The Leather Boys, produced by Raymond Stross and directed by Sydney J. Furie.


1 comment:

  1. the wild ones was never shown in the uk , after the riots rock around the clock started it was banned