Thursday, March 29, 2018

Black Ariel

A desirable 'black' Ariel 500cc ohv from circa 1929. The bikes of the Val Page era at the Ariel factory were nicknamed 'black' Ariels on account of the colour schemes available which took a leaf out of the Henry Ford book. The bike carries a Birmingham registration number. Really no idea what uniform that is that the two lads on board are wearing!

Bu the way the best resource I have found to check out UK registration numbers is provided by the Chiltern Vehicle Preservation Group and is found here

1929 'black' Ariel

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Chater Lea combo

Thanks to Bettie Barber for this wonderful picture taken a few years back of herself and husband Brian with their 1904 Chater Lea combination. The bike is still going strong and sees occasional use. 

Chater Lea sidecar combination

Friday, March 23, 2018

Vilar Portugese motorcycle with Villiers 122cc motor

António in Portugal has gotten in touch asking for help with a set of forks for his Villiers engined Vilar.

Vilar were a Portugese brand producing smaller engined motorcycles with proprietry engines. António's Vilar is a 125cc model from the late forties / early fifties, it is fitted with a Villiers 9D motor and is apparently a copy of the Excelsior Universal.

To me it looks like the forks fitted originally were Webb lightweight pressed steel ones as fitted to a number of British lightweights of the immediate pre and post war periods, Coventry Eagle, Ambassador, Royal Enfield and Excelsior to name a few.

The rear wheel is also missing, I would imagine it would be a British Hub type as fitted to many other lightweights of the period.

If anyone can help António out with a set of pressed steel Webbs or rear wheel please get in touch and I will forward contact details on.

Some more details on the Vilar brand on the Motos de Portugal site.

Vilar 125 is a pretty good basis for restoration. Wrong forks

Interesting home bodge grafting the bottom of
the Webb girders on to a set of telescopic forks.
At least it means the original front wheel is still
with the bike.

And here is what the Vilar is based on, the Excelsior Universal.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Cleveland Parts Catalogue 1925

Hopefully this is a useful resource for fellow Cleveland two stroke owners, the 1925 parts catalogue.

To see the image in best resolution first click on it to get the slide display view and then right click and choose open image in new tab, that will give you a zoomable image.

To see the other Cleveland related posts just choose Cleveland from the labels list on the right hand tool bar.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Eric Fenihough's last resting place

Eric Crudgington Fernihough. 17 February
1905 to 21 April 1938.
Following the recent article on Eric Fernihough's bible I took the time visit his grave in Bournemouth. I have relatives who live quite close to the Bournemouth East cemetery in King's Park so it was easy to slip away from the post Sunday lunch torpor and pay my respects.

It was a drizzly afternoon and in the distance I could hear the crowd cheering on Bournemouth at the nearby football stadium. Entering the cemetery I was dubious that I would be able to find Ferni's gravestone. Bournemouth East is after all quite a large cemetery and I only had limited time before I needed to return to the familial duties. I had found a picture of the gravestone online and it seemed to be quite distinctive, I quickly found though that the design was a popular one in 1930s Bournemouth. Providence however shone down on me: I had entered the cemetery through the northern gate by the Jewish gravestones and walking past these I stumbled upon Fernihough's gravestone quite swiftly.

The inscription on Eric Fernihough's headstone.
Ferni's widow, Florence Dorothy, was also buried on the same plot after she passed in 1982 and her name is inscribed below his.

On the side of the stone is marked:
'Also Florence A. Penrose
Died April 21. 1948
Aged 81 Years
Beloved Mother of 
Dorothy Fernihough.'

On the side of Eric Fernihough's headstone is marked the
grave of his mother-in-law Florence Penrose.
Unfortunately the two Florences, widow and in-law, knew great loss in their family as Florence Penrose's husband John was killed on the Titanic when it went down 15 April 1912. John Penrose was a steward on board.

The Penroses were a Liverpool family and perhaps it is this connection that was a common bond between Florence and Eric. The family moved down to Southampton when the White Star Line relocated their headquarters from Liverpool to Southampton. Florence Dorothy had a brother, Reginald who was married in Southampton in 1917 but unfortunately died just a short while later whilst fighting with the Hampshire Regiment in Belgium.

The information on the Penrose family I found on the Encyclopedia Titanica site.

It is a fascinating and somewhat tragic history. So far I have not been able to trace the link to Bournemouth for an explanation of why Eric Fernihough is buried there. Perhaps Florence Penrose moved to Bournemouth after her husband was lost at sea? It seems that she moved to Surrey later on in her life, perhaps after Eric's passing.

The view across Bournemouth East cemetery from Ferni's
headstone. It is a peaceful place.
The eightieth anniversary of Fernihough's death at Gyon in Hungary is coming up soon - April 21st to be precise. Some sources quote Ferni's death as April 23rd, though the headstone clearly states 21st. I found it strangely moving to visit his grave and it would be nice to think that it will be visited and flowers left on the eightieth anniversary. Apparently Florence Fernihough did not have any surviving children. Unfortunately I cannot be the one to mark the anniversary as I shall be at sea on the date, perhaps another local enthusiast can step in?

Looking from behind Ferni's headstone across
to the Jewish section of the cemetery.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Small Tiger Cub attached to large fairing

Looks like whoever had this 'droop snoot' fairing decided to attach a Tiger Cub to it.

Tiger Cub, alpha fairing.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Fernihough's bible

Eric Fernihough with the Brough Superior on
which he broke land speed records and ultimately
met his demise in Hungary.

I was lucky enough to recently find for a modest sum this relic of the great Eric Crudgington Fernihough. It is his Bible which the previous owner purchased as part of a house clearance back in 1982 when his widow passed away. Her name was Florence Dorothy Fernihough and she lived in a lovely 1930s house by the name of Crosby in Clock House Close, Byfleet, not far from Brooklands circuit.

'Crosby', Byfleet in Surrey, close to the Brooklands Circuit.
Ferni's racing and record breaking achievements are well documented but there is scant information available about the man himself. He was born February 17th 1905 in Birkenhead the son of a tobacco warehousing and manufacturing family. As a lad from a well to do family Ferni enrolled at Magdalene College in Cambridge. The Bible is dated as October 1923 at which age Ferni would have been 18, it came with a postcard of Magdalene College within its pages. Presumably the Bible was a gift for when he left home and went to University. Within the cover of the Bible, 'See Joshua 1.7' is also annotated (in a different hand - perhaps that of a parent?).

The postcard found in Ferni's Bible of his college, Magdalene,
at Cambridge.
Joshua 1.7
Only be strong and very courageous, to observe to do according to all the law, which Moses my servant commanded thee: turn not from it to the right hand or to the left, that though mayest have good success whithersoever thou goest.

In all honesty the Bible is not very well thumbed though there is a chocolate wrapper marking a page (606-607) so perhaps he did get stuck in some way.

Through the interwar years motor sport was very much a part of the Cambridge scene, and just as the Oxford / Cambridge boat race now is so varsity motor sport events were also big occasions. Much of Ferni's motor sport activities were under the umbrella of the Cambridge University Automobile Club, predominantly a motor cycle competitor he also dabbled heavily with Morgan three wheelers and shortly before his accident he became involved in four wheeler sport.

Speed racing was very much Ferni's thing though he did enter one IOM TT. Very active and part of the scene at Brooklands, he ran a garage by the perimeter of the track on Byfleet Road. Through the thirties Ferni became more involved in ultimate speed racing, both at Brooklands and in land speed record bids, he was motorcycle land speed record holder in 1936 and 1937. Sadly he was killed in Gyón, Hungary April 23 1938 aged just 33 whilst trying to regain his title. He had been clocked at 180 mph just before he lost control of his Brough Superior and fatally crashed.

Eric Fernihough is buried in Bournemouth East cemetery, I am not sure of his connection with Bournemouth as he was born in Birkenhead and, as far as I can see, lived in Surrey. I aim to visit his gravestone in the near future.

As a final note, the above information is collected from secondary sources and to the best of my knowledge is correct. If anyone out there can elaborate further please do get in touch. One mystery I have not found the answer to is that I have seen mentioned that in the twenties he was engaged to a Kathleen Butler who sometimes passengered his Morgan at Brooklands. This seems at odds with his widow being Florence Fernihough, perhaps someone knows the answer and will get in touch?

Eric Fernihough's signature and
the note to see Joshua 1.7

Thursday, March 8, 2018

First year BSA

Here's a really cracking image. It's the first production model of BSA from 1910 / 1911. Look carefully and the bike is quite well used, the trumpet has fallen off the bulb horn and the toolbox is a bit battered. There's a cushion on the rear carrier for the lucky passenger!

veteran BSA 1910 / 1911
BSA 3.5hp 1910 / 1911.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Rudge Bicycles 1958 brochure

Another bicycle brochure emigrated over from the Vintage Bicycling site. The Rudge range for 1958.