Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Amazing Collection of Early French Motorcycles up for Auction

Coming up for auction at Retromobile Paris early next month is a quite extraordinary collection of early and rare French motorcycles (with the odd foreign interloper thrown in).

The calibre of the machines offered is such that many of them are unique examples and from the very dawn of motorcycling. The collection was the work of one man, a Monsieur Guélon, who fortuitously came across a pile of disassembled early motorcycles in a scrapyard in 1972. The pile was swapped for a large weight of scrap cutlery, formed the genesis of the collection, and was slowly assembled over the following 40 years. Another job lot from the same original source materialised in 1986 and enabled many of the machines to be completed.

Arcturial is the auction house handling the collection. The online catalogue can be found here, there are some very stunning motor cars offered before the bikes, but if you want to get straight there head to lot 201.

All of the machines offered have been standing for a long time and are projects. Whilst one hopes that the new owners preserve the patina of the machines and don't ruin them with a shiny restoration it would also be nice to think that many of them will get sympathetically renovated so that other enthusiasts can see them and experience them as more than static exhibits.

Lot 249, c1906 Anzani v3 race machine.

Lot 244, c1906 Werner parallel twin.

Lot 243, c1907 Rochet Type MG inline parallel twin.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Velocette KSS 1937

A quick check on the DVLA website reveals that this tasty Velocette KSS was first registered in March 1937 and is still out there somewhere, though not currently on the road.

1937 Velocette KSS

Saturday, January 13, 2018

Baines International TT 1948

I bought my Baines 'flying gate' just over a year back shortly after having a small clear out in the garage and raising some cash. Obviously aforementioned funds were burning a hole in my pocket and I've got a weakness for cycles with wonky frame designs. The Baines appeared at auction at just the right time, a furtive bid later and rather surprisingly it was mine.

Beauty is of course in the eye of the beholder but to me the Baines is a wonderous thing to look at. However as it came to me there were a few items of componentry that let it down somewhat. The mudguards were poorly fitted, warped and slightly too wide, the 'lauterwasser' pattern handlebars didn't look quite right to my eyes and the wheels were much later Miche hubs with Mavic rims. The 40 hole front rim really didn't look right on a British lightweight and would be more suited to a tandem.

I've finally gotten round to giving the Baines a much deserved spruce up, I found a rather more suited pair of mudguards for a fiver and the regular pattern steel drop bars I had kicking around. I came across an Airlite front hub laced to a Dunlop lightweight rim on eBay for a decent price so that went on too. The bike looks a lot better now but I'm still searching for a matching rear wheel and would like to change the gears from seventies Campag to more period appropriate Cyclo.

The Baines International TT as purchased.

And as it now is post 'makeover'.

The Baines 'flying gate' frame design makes good sense in its
ultra short wheelbase format but really on a regular wheelbase
machine like this it is just a complicated but charming eccentricity.

It's a bit of a 'granny' chainring fitted but it will stay for the
time being. Note the Bayliss Wiley hollow bottom bracket axle.

The 'flying gate' is a wonderfully delicate frame.

The International TT transfers are quite extravagant.

New chrome drops, same stem and the bar tape was
re-used.

Lugwork is nicely understated.

I added in this cute little Gerry Burgess cable tidy and greaser
whilst I was at it.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Matchless circa 1927

Zoom in and it is easy enough to see the Matchless logo on this machine, even without one Matchlesses of the late twenties had a very distinctive petrol tank shape so are easy to spot. As for the model though I am not sure, the year I guess is around 1927. Any Matchless anoraks out there who can identify please do get in touch. 

Not often you see a chap in a bowler hat riding a bike. Whilst the gent does seem reasonably enough attired for a gentle run on a motorcycle the girl sitting pillion very much doesn't.

c1927 Matchless poses for a snap.
Postscript: thanks to both Ken and Bob for identifying the machine as a 1928/29 250cc Model R. A two year only production machine of which Bob has one in his shed. Cheers gents.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

The 1930 Morgan three wheeler range

Here's the Morgan range for 1930 - three wheelers for both the family man and sporting enthusiast. It is interesting to look at the pricing of the range - the 'De Luxe Model' was actually the base two seater of the range at the same price as the four seater family. If one adds the options and the engine upgrade to the De Luxe and Family they become nearly the same price as the Aero. The standard motor for the De Luxe and family was a side valve JAP, intriguingly the option of a water cooled side valve JAP motor cost the same as having a sporting ohv Anzani engine. Presumably the Anzani offered performance whilst the water cooled JAP promised reliability. I would imagine that very few Family models left the factory gates fitted with the ohv option.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
front cover.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 1.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 2.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 3.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 4.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 5.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 6.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 7.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 8.

1930 Morgan three wheeler brochure
page 9.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

The Exeter Trial 2018

I had an entry in this year's Exeter with my Yamaha AG, it was to be the bike's first taste of competition. Sadly though a combination of work schedule and family illnesses meant that I had to be a no show. Though I couldn't afford to steal away from home for a full two days and nights I could however spare the time for a visit to the gathering point at Haynes Museum, luckily only just over half an hour up the road from me.

The weather on the day was showery and bitterly cold - as I left Haynes at around 2.30am a frost was forming. There were some heavy showers in the evening at home and I've got to admit that my disappointment at not riding was also tinged with some gratitude that I was missing out on getting soaked and cold. This however is my mental cycle in long distance trials - I enter in a blaze of enthusiasm. I look forward to them in eager anticipation in the weeks running up, as the time draws closer I wonder why I am entered as it all seems so daunting and then in the end I feel joy at starting. This can turn to deep despair should there be mechanical woes in the wee hours but equally can develop to elation as I approach the successful end of an event.

So hats off to the brave lads and lasses who rode and drove this years' Exeter and here are a few snaps from the Haynes checkpoint and scrutineering.


lovely Indian Woodsman entered in Class O.

MZ approaches scrutineering. One of several entered.

A very heroic BSA Bantam gets the once over.

Same MZ as above in scrutineering.

That Bantam and another of the MZ posse
get checked.

Very tasty Ariel HT5. Wonderful to see such
classic machinery used properly as intended.

Wasp / Yamaha XS650 combo.

Matt's newly purchased Wasp / Yamaha XT660 outfit. We
were supposed to be riding together from the Cirencester
start before I dropped out. Matt, with Dan passengering,
made it to the end in Torquay with a finisher's award at
around 15:00 the next afternoon.

One of several Honda 90 varients entered.

Excellent!

Honda CT110 postie bike.

And to round off just a couple of the four wheelers. Here a
gorgeous MG J2 Midget.

And a flat rad Morgan 4/4.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Cushman scooter

A Cushman scooter is a fairly distinctive beast and not too hard to identify. I can't say I'm too familiar with them but a quick trawl through google images seems to suggest that this particular example may be from circa 1947. I'd love to know where the photo was taken, it was bought in the UK so a fair guess is that it was from a British family's album, there's something far Eastern about the background, the location must be somewhere early post-war where both Brits and Americans were to be found, or at least American vehicles. It is certainly not a military model Cushman but perhaps standard models were supplied to the American military as runabouts post war?

Mother, baby and Cushman scooter in
tropical climes.