Saturday, November 30, 2019

Surrey Sidecars and the Syvan

 One of the things I enjoy most about writing this blog is when someone gets in touch with stories about their own machinery or bikes they have known.

One such gentleman dropped me a line after seeing the scanned Surrey Sidecars brochure I posted back at the beginning of summer. He is the grandson of Edward Ford (the chap behind Surrey Sidecars), of whom it is rather nice to hear is 94 years young and still with us. Edward still has some material relating to his Surrey Sidecar days and, no doubt, some interesting stories to tell.

Richard, grandson of Edward, has kindly forwarded several images of Surrey Sidecars to share. There were several rather nicely styled chairs in the Surrey range and a number of the models had some unusual / innovative features. One such was the Syvan sidecar caravan / tent of which there are a couple of images reproduced on this page.

And now, a plea. Are there are Surrey Sidecar owners out there who could get in touch? Richard would very much like to see one of his grandfather's creations in the flesh. If you are the proud owner of a Surrey Sidecar please drop an email to this blog or comment below and I'll put you in contact.

The Surrey Sidecars Syvan. Basic, but that's
how holidays were for most folks back in the
immediate post war era.

At a time when the sidecar was family transport for many and
mini caravans were on the market for towing behind your outfit
the Surrey Sidecars Syvan would have seemed like a very
suitable alternative. Even recently I've seen folks at bike rallies
using old child adult sidecars as sleeping quarters that are a step
up from a tent.

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

New book - Royal Enfield The Early History 1851 to 1930


Definitely a vested interest here as the author is my father so don't expect an unbiased review. Not that I have to embellish this book's qualities - it is a lavishly illustrated, thoroughly researched and readable definitive history of Royal Enfield from the company's origins to the end of the vintage era.

The book is hard-backed, 280 pages and in a large 28 x 21cm format. Bicycles, tricycles and four wheelers are covered as well as motorcycles and the book should be of interest to anyone into Royal Enfields or vintage and veteran motorcycles in general.

Needless to say the book would make a great Christmas present.....

Available direct from the author via eBay:

 or from the following vendors:

Gordon May's Royal Enfield Books

Saturday, November 23, 2019

Norton 16H flat tank combo

A really cracking combo this one. A very fine 1920s sporting outfit - no wonder the chap looks happy. It's a Norton 16H: 1924 I would say and fitted with a rather splendid early electric lighting set.

Norton 16H sporting combination.

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.