Sunday, November 17, 2019

Port Talbot Steel Works Corgi

The first solo ride I had on a motorcycle was on a Corgi so I've got something of a soft spot for them. I'm not alone in that, they are fairly desirable nowadays and the cheeky appeal of them is quite widespread it seems. A number were bought as factory / worksite runabouts (though quite why anyone really thought they would be more fit for purpose than a simple bicycle is beyond me...) and some were even used on ships.

This particular Corgi is at the Port Talbot Steel Works (currently Tata Steel) in Wales. The photo is annotated 'New method of transport. AP 1950' on the reverse.

Port Talbot Steel Works Corgi 1950.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

A visit to Amberley Museum

A recent visit to Amberly Museum in West Sussex. For those not familiar Amberly Museum is a vast indoor / outdoor industrial heritage museum located at an old chalk mine. The exhibits are far and wide ranging, from a telecommunications hall to lead molding to woodland crafts and the majority in working condition and demonstrated. Amongst all of it are numerous transportation exhibits, a small selection of which below. A visit falls well within the cliché of being a great day out for all the family. Thoroughly recommended and if you can make it there on one of the special events days so much the better.

Side valve BSA Sloper in the pre-war workshop re-creation.

And a Douglas combo in the same place.

Very nice. An original BSA factory produced
cutaway of a C12 engine.

The plaque on the plinth of the cutaway Beesa motor.

Outside view of the motor engineers shop.

A Sussex bus station of old.

The bicycle shop.

A peek through the window of the cycle shop.

1933 600cc BSA Sloper Linesmans combination.
A lovely period piece, the sidecar carries a three
piece ladder underneath and a comprehensive
tool kit on top. Part of the Post Office Engineering
Department the combo would have been used for
telelphone line installation duties.
An Enfield 8000 electric car from 1976. Not successful in its
time but undoubtedly pioneering the little Enfield was developed
by Royal Enfield with funding from Greek millionaire Giannis
Goulandris. This particular example was one of 66 that were
owned by the Electricity Board for evaluation between 1974
and 1984.

Monday, November 11, 2019

Flat tank Ajay

This smartly dressed gent is astride a mid twenties AJS side-valve. If I had to guess I would say a 1927 model.

1926-ish AJS.

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960

Here's the brochure for Streamline Sidecars from 1960. A forgotten brand now and I dare say not well known when current either. Never-the-less the range is attractive, if slightly old fashioned for 1960 with their boat / launch shape and large wheels. 1960 was the very twilight of sidecar sales in the popular market, I cannot find any information but I suspect Streamline went under very soon after 1960.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 front cover.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 1.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 2.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 3.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 4.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 5.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 page 6.

Streamline Sidecars brochure 1960 rear cover.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Royal Enfield Constellation 1958

A snap from back in the day of Royal Enfield's Constellation model. The picture is marked on the reverse '1958'. This was the first year of the Constellation and at this time it was the biggest and most powerful Brit bike you could buy. The 692cc engine was bigger than rival marque's 650cc offerings and the 52bhp on tap was a significant amount of power for the time - to put in to context this was 7 horses more than the Rapide from now defunct Vincent but 3 less than a Black Shadow.

Note the remote float chamber of the TT carb fitted to the bike, early Constellations were fitted with racing carbs, later replaced by twin monoblocs.
1958 Royal Enfield Constellation.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Stafford Classic Motorcycle Mechanics Show 2019

Last weekend was spent up in Stafford standing on an autojumble stall endeavoring to have a bit of a clear out. Overall the exercise was a success, cash was raised and unwanted parts disposed of.

With the concentration on autojumbling I didn't get much of a chance to wander around the show and when I did it was crowded to the detriment of photography but here are a few images taken during quieter moments...

This '21st Century Commando' was on the Metal Malarkey
stand and looked very right.

Vintage and Veteran were offering a very early Royal Enfield.
1904 to be precise. I would have loved to have taken it home
but it fell majorly North of my price range.

Allen Millyard's beautifully executed vision of what Velocette
might have produced had they manufactured a v twin in the

Early 75cc face cam Capriolo.

Tiny Italians were out in force. Here a Ducati 50.

Bonvicini and Velocette.

Detail on the Bonvicini.

And finally on the Yeoman's stall this Norton
v twin special. Built around running gear that I
would best guess came from a WD 16H and fitted
with a JAP watercooled engine that probably
started out life as an industrial motor the bike
represents about the cheapest pre-war v twin Brit
you can find at £9750. The bike was tidily executed
but let down by the radiators which were fairly out
of keeping with the rest of the bike. The offside looked
acceptable but the near side stuck out a mile and
really was a bit of an eyesore.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Motorcycles and Motorcycling in the USSR from 1939 book review

Back in my university days I was a student of Russian politics. I can't say that I've gone on to practically apply those studies very much but it has left within me an enduring interest in all things Russian. That interest combined with a fascination for motorcycling obscurities meant that I had to get a copy of Colin Turbett's book just as soon as it came out.

As far as I know this is the only work of any size about Soviet motorcycles in the English language; thankfully Colin has made a decent job of it and done the subject justice. There are 128 pages and the various brands and models are covered along with social history, politics, sport and The Great Patriotic War. What I found particularly delightful is the number of period photos reproduced in the book, these are images seldom seen over here. Equally the reproductions of Soviet advertising material.

What makes the book a success is certainly the background and social aspects more than the machines themselves. The Soviet Union was not noted for the great choice it gave it citizens in either personal freedoms or consumer products and motorcycling was no different. There are only a handful of manufacturers and due to the nature of the planned economy products were of a standard design and many of these were developments of overseas designs such as the DKW R125 and BMW R71.

Colin's interest, expertise and passion for the subject matter is very much in evidence in the book and it comes strongly recommended. Even to those with just a passing interest in Soviet history and motorcycling the book is an enlightening and entertaining read.