Donna Michaels

The EV revolution is speeding up. If it’s on wheels, chances are someone has figured out how to take it electric


Driving the Nostalgia of Motorcycles into the EV Era with Paul d’Orléans - Episode 40

Mar 30, 2022
Donna Michaels

Driving the Nostalgia of Motorcycles into the EV Era with Paul d’Orléans

The EV revolution is speeding up. If it’s on wheels, chances are someone has figured out how to take it electric. But what has been the path that has brought us here? In this episode, I talk with Paul D’Orleans—founder of The Vintagest and possibly the world's foremost authority on the EV revolution happening on two wheels—about his passion for buying and repairing rare motorcycle models around the world and the moment when he decided to ride the first blogging wave back in 2006. Paul also shares his views on what will push the EV revolution forward. Join us and discover why Paul’s knowledge of motorcycles' past is just as exciting as the future!

Before any world-changing innovation, there was a moment, an event, a realization that sparked the idea before it happened. This is a podcast about that moment — about that idea. Before IT Happened takes you on a journey with the innovators who imagined — and are still imagining — our future. Join host Donna Loughlin as her guests tell their stories of how they brought their visions to life.


(01:52) - Paul D’Orleans on his first motorbike and growing up in Stockton, California - “I cultivated a kind of street smarts or at least street awareness from an early age, but, you know, I was kid, so I mostly I had fun.”

(06:21) - Paul’s first business as a freelance painter in San Francisco and the vintage motorcycle scene in the 80s - “This was no ordinary unemployed hooligan club. These were people who all had college educations that loved carrying around on old British motorcycles.”

(12:25) All the way to the Soviet border: Paul’s motorcycle road trip to Europe in 1988 - “I was encouraged to take a trip in 1987 out to the Eastern Bloc to buy old motorcycles because there were quite a few ex-military and other machines and they were dirt cheap.

(15:33) - The growing momentum for motorcycles in pop culture and the creation of The Vintagent - “I just started posting photos with one or two sentences at first. And then as I learned how to play that instrument, it became much more elaborate.”

(23:02) - Why it’s important to understand the history of electric vehicles and the present transitional phase - “In early January 2009, I was able to be the first press anywhere to break the story of the world's first electric superbike. Who knew that 10 years later, I would have that bike in one of my Peterson exhibits.”

(29:08) - What will really push the EV revolution forward - “If you want mass adoption, you need legislation. That's what happened in China. They banned small internal combustion motors from the center of their big cities. Boom! They got 4 million EVs on the road.”


Follow Paul on Instagram, Facebook

Read The Vintagent

Read Paul’s book The Current

Learn more about the Petersen Museum in Los Angeles

See the latest street fashions on The Sartorialist

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Before IT Happened is produced by Donna Loughlin and StudioPod Media with additional editing and sound design by nodalab. The Executive Producer is Katie Sunku Wood and all episodes are written by Jack Buehrer.

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