Thursday, December 29, 2016

Zenith Gradua combo

Photos of a very lovely Zenith Gradua twin and wicker sidecar from the veteran era. The rider apparently the same in each one but the lady passenger different!

addition: Thanks to the anonymous comment dating the bike as 1912 and also naming the sidecar as possibly being a Mills-Fullford. 

Friday, December 23, 2016

Velocette range 1958

Behold! Velocette's range for 1958. Bodywork was in vogue at the time and Hall Green tried to jump on the bandwagon with some slightly cumbersome engine fairings.

Velocette 1958 brochure front cover.

Velocette 1958 brochure page 1.

Velocette 1958 brochure page 2.
Velocette 1958 brochure page 3.

Velocette 1958 brochure rear cover.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Kenilworth petrol tank cosmic alignment

Recently a Kenilworth scooter sans petrol tank wondered in to my garage and took up residence. Strangely I had seen a Kenilworth tank on offer at the Great Dorset Steam Fair just a couple of months before and I rued that I did not give in to my hunter gatherer urges felt towards that particular tank. After all it was a very nice tank in very nice condition. I didn't even kid myself that it would come in useful one day, it just seemed like something that you wouldn't see again and might make a pleasant enough ornament. After acquiring the tankless Kenilworth I felt that somehow the gods were playing with me and I was destined never to see the Steam Fair tank again.

And so it was: that particular Kenilworth petrol tank has vanished forever from my life, just a fleeting memory. However in its place, another Kenilworth tank. A very nice gentleman got in touch with me via the previous keeper of the Kenilworth and offered me the below tank for a very reasonable sum. Times like this give you some faith in humanity as I was clearly without Kenilworth tank and dearly in need of same.

Thus the previously incomplete, collect the missing bits, long term project is now fairly complete and has joined the queue of do-able projects vying for attention in my garage. Now if anyone has a spare rear wheel or just rim I would truly believe that miracles do happen....

Sunday, December 18, 2016

Corgi Mk IV 1952

The Mk IV was the final iteration of the Corgi scooter. Surprisingly a fair bit of effort was made in improvements over the previous versions. A stronger square tube frame, front suspension, a two speed gearbox and legshield were the main alterations. Despite this the main issue was that the Corgi was woefully primitive compared to the offerings from Italy and Brockhouse's Corgi struggled on in production until 1954. These late Mk IVs are now fairly rare and were also available in polychromatic blue and bronze in addition to the traditional black with burgundy tank. A good number were exported to the States and sold as Indian Papooses. A slightly undignified offering for the once great Indian brand. Don't ever confuse Corgi's with the military Welbike, Corgi's were never used by the military as parabikes despite some folks' penchant for restoring them in military drab... 

Unusually this brochure has the spec sheet translated in to both French and Spanish. 

Mk IV Corgi brochure 1952 front cover.

Mk IV Corgi brochure 1952 inner pages.

Mk IV Corgi brochure 1952 rear fold.

Mk IV Corgi brochure 1952 rear fold.

Friday, December 16, 2016

The Wonder Book of Soldiers 1939

Where this book came from I cannot remember. I think I have had it since childhood, it was quite old even back then! The Wonder Book of Soldiers is a flagrant piece of war-time propaganda and was published right at the beginning of the War in 1939 when there was still the resource to print large books. The book is full of optimism for a short and triumphant war from the time before the evacuation of Dunkirk. Many of the copious images from the book were taken during exercises in the twenties and thirties. Below are scans of the two wheeler related pics.   

'To the front'. Slightly ill-proportioned drawing of imaginary
British tanks rolling through an imaginary French village.

Can't have been much fun cycling in a gas mask.

The bike looks like a Model N Triumph from 1927, just like
my one. Wonder if mine is ex-WD?

'Mechanized Cavalry'

Looks like another Triumph. Probably a Model P. 

A rag tag selection of bikes for the South African Despatch
Corps. I'd hazard a guess that they were volunteers. Four Brit
bikes that are hard to identify and one Harley to the right.
Quite a number of Model U Harleys made their way to
South Africa.

A British Cyclists Patrol.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

JAWA 354/04 1958

As a motorcyclist living in the Soviet Union you may not have had a huge variety of bikes to choose from but at least they came in nice colours and were promoted with shiny brochures (for consumption in the West at least). What's more is that during the fifties a Jawa was a match for any machine of similar capacity from Britain, it was only through the later sixties and seventies that Eastern Bloc designs began to stagnate. Styling of the Jawa was spot on trend (Edward Turner even 'borrowed' the Jawa headlamp nacelle design for his postwar Speed Twin) and the bikes were a model of rugged, reliable simplicity combined with decent performance. Alas though, even with all they had to commend them, Jawas never sold in great numbers in the UK in the fifties.

Jawa 354/04 350cc two stroke twin, 1958.

Jawa 350cc tech spec.

Sunday, December 11, 2016

Welbikes from India

Starting somewhere around 1998 I imported old bikes from India to the UK and did this for around four years. Most of the bikes were pre-war or ex-WD and some were in fine condition and some terrible: there were a surprising number of Welbikes amongst them. I found these photos whilst going through an old album. There was another Welbike I had that had been converted in to a bicycle as well that alas I don't have a snap of. I'm not entirely sure how so many ended up in India bit it seems like they were used as runarounds at large bases and probably continued to be used by the Indian Army too for a while too after the British left. There were both MkI and MkII variants, several had been neatly modified with a fabricated centre stand.

I think most of these below have been restored by now. You might imagine that another eight of them would satisfy demand but they have surged and surged in popularity to the extent that several batches of replicas have been made. At least one of these ones was used as a pattern for replicas.

If you aren't familiar with the Welbike there's a very brief history here.

Petrol tanks missing was the norm, mini carrier is neat!

This Welbike has its tank but the pump must have gone so it
has been converted to gravity feed.

One of the better Welbikes that came over. Neat centre stand
and gravity petrol tank from perhaps a stationery engine or

Petrol tanks missing but otherwise this MkI was very nice and
original. Also with centre stand, this one kept its stand after
restoration and it is a nice part of the bike's history.

Eek! A chromed and shiny Welbike. BSA Parabikes in the
background. There were a lot of these in India too.

Another good MkI Welbike.

Last one and also in pretty decent nick.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Tesco car park spot

A bit off subject for this blog's normal content, but hey there aren't any rules and isn't it great? Spotted this Russian UAZ 452 van in my local supermarket car park, it's on Russian plates so I guess was driven over. Apparently you can still buy these new.

UAZ 452 hanging out at the Tescos car park.

It's a long way from Russia.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Southern Classic Off Road & Racing Show

I hadn't made the trek up to Kempton Park for a couple of years so with a free Saturday it seemed like a good idea to drive up and have a mooch around. Normally I've gotten up at the crack of dawn and got in there early. This time it seemed like a plan to be a bit more civilised and aim to leave eight-ish to get in ten-ish. Mistake. I got snarled up in London bound traffic, then the main car park was full and I had to go to the overflow which was a further 15 minute queue down the road and then even arriving late there was still a massive half hour queue to get in. Grumble. Lesson learnt....

Anyway, once in it was the same good old Kempton. Perhaps a bit more general market stall tat on offer than the last time I was there but still a good and big autojumble. The Off Road Show adds a nice extra dimension to it all too. Must make an effort to visit more often. Here's a few snaps of bikes from the jumble and show.

This Norton 500T was very envy inducing. It was parked up
in the jumble but without a price tag.

This Series 1 Enfield Interceptor had been in a fire.
Some pretty serious damage but it sold to someone
who said they were going to resurrect it.

A serious project this Interceptor. But at least it had its
registration document.

1967 Matchless G80CS. £7000 was the asking

Unrestored Excelsior Autocycle, the desirable two speed model.

Some serious work had gone in to this old
school Triumph chop. Look carefully and
there's a supercharger snuggled away behind
the oil tank.

Soft tail is a fairly unconventional choice for
such a chop but certainly makes it more

Got to admit, though not my regular cup of tea,
I kinda liked it.

Unconventional art work on the tank and all the better for it.

Pretty much a textbook modified Royal Enfield Bullet one day
trials. Post '56 frame, raised engine plates, REH hubs, early
narrow magdyno motor and early external clutch arm gearbox.

Mk VIII KTT Velocette and Triumph 3HW / T100 hybrid in
the background.

Francis Barnett trials with rare Ajax head.

Hardtailed Royal Enfield Bullet trials.

Cotton Conquest production racer.

Can Am Qualifier. Just about the same bike as
the military model.

Rather rare Greeves 25TA trials twin.

Always had a soft spot for 50cc racers despite
being way too big for them. Here's an Itom.

Guzzi Condor and Dondolino.

Busy engine unit on the Dondolino

1956 MV Augusta Squalo (Shark) CSS.

DOHC Ducati 125 Grand Prix single.

Gorgeous Rex Acme Blackburne.

1952 Works ISDT Ariel. Competed in the 1952 ISDT in
Austria and the 1953 one in Czechoslovakia and won
Gold medals in each. Also deservedly won Best in Show
at Kempton.

Stone catcher on the Ariel.

There's always a nice selection of bikes in the car park ridden
to Kempton. Bravo for riding out on a Velo KSS in the middle
of winter.