Sunday, July 14, 2019

Surrey Sidecars brochure

A brochure for Surrey Sidecars who were promoting themselves as 'The Lightweight Specialists'. Surely a niche within a niche and unusual as at least half of their products do look like they were catering to the weightier end of the market. The 'Rambler' model was however a true lightweight and was often paired to a Villiers powered lightweight machine.

The bike pictured on the front cover is an Ambassador and I believe Surrey Sidecars had a tie in with Ambassador to market a combo actually sold as such rather than two separate entities. Quite unusual in the post war era. Ambassador and Surrey Sidecars were relatively local to each other in the home counties, outside of the traditional Midlands belt of motorcycle manufacturers. It is well possible that Kaye Don and Edward Ford, respective owners of Ambassador and Surrey Sidecars knew each other and cooperated.

Unfortunately I do not know the year of this brochure though 1951 would be a fair guess. Not much information is out there about Surrey Sidecars but they were a postwar company that was founded in the late forties or early fifties and continued until the late fifties or early sixties.

Surrey Sidecars brochure front cover.

Surrey Sidecars brochure page 1.

Surrey Sidecars brochure page 2.

Surrey Sidecars brochure rear cover.

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Speed King ladies bicycle


I have to confess that I bought this lovely ladies cycle as a donor for another project, a Royal Enfield Bullet cycle that I had bought as a bare frame. In all honesty this was a perfect donor, all the parts were quite appropriate and it looked right. However I couldn't look at the Enfield without getting the nagging feeling that I had ripped apart a perfectly nice and rare cycle. So, over the course of a year I found alternative parts for the Enfield and have just recently re-assembled this Speed King as it was.

Speed King were a small brand which, as far as I know, were marketed by an entrepreneur by the name of J G Graves. Graves also for a few years sold motor cycles under the same brand name. The identification as Speed King is purely from the chap I got the cycle from but I have no reason to believe it is not a correct prognosis though there are no identifying marks on the frame.


The Speed King is slightly a cut above other ladies cycles of the same era. The quality is good and Sturmey Archer drum brakes are fitted, the rear hub being a 3 speed KB6. The hub  dates the cycle as 1937. I suspect that Graves had little to do with the actual manufacturing of bicycles and just had machines made by others and then sold them under his own brand. The frame bears a certain passing resemblance to a Hercules, and Hercules certainly did manufacture bicycles for other companies. There are however a few nice little individual touches such as the oval cutaways in the lugs.

Now, being too sentimental to use the Speed King as a donor and certainly not needing another vintage ladies cycle I need to pass the old girl on. So if you feel in need of a nicely patinated, unusual 1930s ladies cycle of good quality in fully working condition then for the princely sum of £140 the Speed King is all yours. I will even box it up and post it for a small consideration. If interested comment with your email address or mail me direct.







Saturday, July 6, 2019

Racing at Langa Langa October 8th 1951

Another batch of images from the 'Happy Valley Album' of racing at the Langa Langa circuit in Nakuru, Kenya. The images were all labelled in their album and I have reproduced these comments next to each picture.


V Preston (2) BSA + N Ziskau (17) Norton neck and neck
after 7 laps.

J S Mograth on a 498cc Matchless.

P J Dale taking Tonys Curve "at a very high speed".

P J Dale (Norton Inter) during practice.


Start of the 500cc Motor Cycle Race.


Mechanics tuning up the big bikes. No. 42 is a 348cc
AJS Model 7R.


Charlie Parker, a REME L/CPL win his race on a CZ 124cc
and breaks the lap record for his class. 62.11 mph

The AJS 7R wins his race and also breaks the lap record.
73.56mph.



P J Dale.


Thursday, July 4, 2019

Dominating again

An oft used cliche of growing older is that time accelerates and the years pass by at an ever increasing pace. Of course this isn't true in the physical sense but we pack our lives with ever more complications and obligations, illusory or not, and the effect is that time does indeed appear to move more quickly.

Thus I realised recently that my dear Dommie 99SS had been off the road for nearly three years. Before putting it away I had changed the oil, removed the battery, drained the fuel tank and given it a liberal spray of WD40. Putting it back on the road wasn't a big job at all but the bike is not the one kick starter she once was so the carb will have to come apart for a clean. The clutch has also developed a minor tendency to slip whilst in hibernation so a short spannering session is required and then hopefully we will once more pass some enjoyable miles together.

1961 Norton Dominator 99SS hits the road again.

Sunday, June 30, 2019

Richard Edmonds Auction June 2019

The Richard Edmonds three day auctions are well established and this year two have already passed and a third is to come. It is something of a small miracle how they manage to find so very many lots to sell. The last one was a fortnight ago, there were a few lots I took a fancy to and had a day spare so decided to make the journey up to Chippenham. The format of the auction is parts on day 1, day 2 'petroliana' (ie enamel signs, petrol cans, old advertising guff, etc) and day 3 vehicles. I was up for the parts day - I had quite taken a shine to a couple of bicycles that in the end went beyond my miserly budget. An auction is a social occasion as well as a good chance to be parted from your hard earned cash (or as is often the case buy stock if you are a dealer) and it was a good day out wandering around and nattering with fellow enthusiasts.

By the end of the day I had been outbid on most of the lots I was interested in, the cycles went for a bit more than I wanted to pay at the moment but I did go home with a very charming small selection of veteran Brooks leather motorcycle puncture repair cases and spare tube cases that were all bundled up together in one lot. Quite unusual items, I'll post pictures soon.

There were a few rather tasty vehicles coming up on the third day of the auction, some pictures are below as well as prices realised (or not in some cases...)



This 1934 Austin 7 Beaufort Special was a real cracker. A very
extensively and expensively modified car and unusually set up
for the taller driver. A really nice pre-war sports car with a
performance to keep up with modern traffic. It was estimated
at £15-18k and failed to sell.

Unrestored ex-police BSA  1932 BSA G12 combination was
rather nice but probably a big old heavy brute to ride. It sold
for a very reasonable £13.5k.

The Beesa G12 was original paint and event had 'Bath Police'
written on the door of the sidecar.

This very sweet French Carteret cyclecar was estimated £12-15k
but failed to sell. It was a bad day for car sales.

1933 Sunbeam Model 8. It was over estimated at £12-14k but
was in very tidy condition. In the end it made a respectable £10k.

I absolutely loved this 1926 Triumph Ricardo.
It looked like original paint but was in fact an
older restoration. In very nice condition with very
little evidence of wear and tear - all the nuts and bolts
were nice, clean hexagons. Evidently several other
people felt the same way as I did about the bike, the
difference being that they had spending money in their
pockets, and it went way above the £12-15k estimate
to hit £21k.

1922 Sunbeam 500cc side valve would make
a very decent flat tanker for regular use and
sold for a reasonable £8.5k.

1950 Douglas Competition Model went for £5.5k. Geared up
it would make a fun machine for Sunday runs and occasional
green lane excursions.

This 1922 Baby Triumph was a cracker but
it carried a more recent number plate as
evidence that it ha passed through the hands of
a number plate dealer in the wild west years of
personalised number plate shadiness in the 80s
and 90s when a lot of old bikes were stripped of
their history. As a result it only made £3.5k.

Despite its dodgy number the Baby Triumph
was a steal.

A very immaculate and seemingly ready to race Sprite Scramber
found a new home for £2.1k.

Wednesday, June 26, 2019

True Brit

I bought this BSA rolling chassis recently to harvest a few parts from. Despite the lack of engine and gearbox  it still managed a wee oil leak whilst standing outside awaiting space in the garage!



Thursday, June 20, 2019

The Giants Run pt2

Here's the second tranche of images from the inaugural Giants Run from last month. A very successful first event, I hope I can take part next year...

Homebrewed Matchless special. Model X engine fitted in to a
Silver Arrow frame. With hindsight something Matchless
themselves should have done.

Well patinated Douglas.

Cammy Velo.

Bobbed Harley WL.

Lovely details on AJS v-twin.

A personal favourite of mine at the run was
this gloriously unwashed Norton 16H.

Once upon a time nearly all British motorcycles
that were used on a regular basis were this oily!

Please don't let this bike ever come near any
engine de-greaser.

Natural preservative.








Full military spec BSA M20.