Tuesday, May 31, 2022

A brace of Zundapp KS600s

A good few years ago now I had a bit of a sideline in importing old motorcycles from India. Back then prices in India were favourable and the supply of bikes plentiful. Nowadays the market for old bikes is international and there is a strong following for them in India so the flow has reversed with a good number of old bikes heading out to the subcontinent. Great, I say. There are plenty of old motorcycles to go around and that enthusiasm for them is international is only a good thing for all involved.

Most of the bikes I imported were either pre-war or from the war. This particular pair were among the more unusual. How two Zundapps ended up in India is rather a mystery. At the time I rather presumed that they were ex German army but it may also be that they were from just before the war and sold as civilian bikes. They would have been exotica in India at the time but remember that the British Empire was administrated in large part by younger men from Britain who would have had a large disposable income.

One of the bikes was largely complete and in rather good condition, the other slightly worse for wear and less complete. At the time there wasn't a lot of interest for these bikes and they were slightly tricky to move on. Times have changed and they are now extremely desirable and many repro parts are available for them. I'd like to think that now, twenty two years on they are both in running order.

Friday, May 27, 2022

Fifities bike parking in the West End

I wonder why this picture was taken? It's just a street scene of several bikes parked up.  The Vespa in the foreground that the chap is starting has 'Berlin, Turkey, Istanbul' written on to the front mudguard so perhaps he is the intended subject. There's surely an interesting story behind this much travelled scooter.

Also slightly anomolous in the line up is the Harley that's peeking out from under a cover. It has springer forks so would be slightly out of date by the time the photo was taken. Perhaps it is an ex-WD model that has been civilianised and lightly customised?

The street sign in the background is quite blurry but by zooming in one can read Hallam Street W1. Hallam Street is close by to Harley Street and in the West End of London. The second picture is of the building in the photo as it is now from Google Maps. It took a while but was identifiable by the dsitinctive railings which happily still remain in place.

Monday, May 23, 2022

A visit to the Brooklands Museum pt1

The first batch of a slew of snaps from a recent visit to the Brooklands Museum. A wonderful day out and thoroughly recommended.

It's been a long time since I was last at the Museum so a pleasure to see that it is flourishing. The Museum is nowadays surrounded by a vast industrial estate and the neighbouring 'Mercedes Benz World' but it's good to see that within its boundaries the Museum is going from strength to strength with an enthusiastic band of volunteers and staff and many new exhibits since my last visit (I think some twenty years ago...)

The pictures start of with some of the bicycle collection. Though Brooklands is most associated with thunderous racing cars and motorcycles it was also a thriving venue for bicycle sport as well as, of course, a pioneering aviation site in Britain.

I used my British Motorcycle Charitable Trust card to gain free entry, membership highly recommended! I made sure though to help the Brooklands coffers by eating a hearty meal in their excellent restaurant!

1901 BSA fittings path racer.

Monitor Supercam front brake on a 1935

The 1935 Saxon from slightly further afield.

That's a late 1880s Quadrant hub centre steered
cycle nesting in the corner.

The Museum is unexpectedly home to
a large and impressive collection of
Raleigh cycles.

A lovely pair of Raleigh x frames. To the left a 1901
Model 20a Superbe Featherweight and on the right
a 1925 Model Superbe X ladies.

1905 x frame tandem in the Raleigh collection.

Wonderful 3d Raleigh advertising sign.

Above mentioned sign in the third dimension.

A 1950 'P Ellis & Co' Champion Model
R. Part of the Cyclists Touring Club collection.

Conloy steel front brake on the P Ellis.

Hiding at the back of the workshop is a 1912 Lorraine
Deitrich Grand Prix racer 'Vieux Charles III'.
The car was raced in the fourth ever GP in France in
1912 and thereafter brought over to Britain and raced
at Brooklands where it broke several circuit records.
After WWI the car was bought by Malcolm Campell
and became part of his 'Blue Bird' team of race cars.

The Halford Special was built by Major
Frank Halford, an aero engineer. The car
has an Aston Martin chassis and Halford's
own design of engine. When first built it
sported a turbo charger - the first known
fitment of a turbo to a car. In 1926 the car
won two raced on the Brooklands outer circuit
lapping at just shy of 110mph.

In the GP hall a Delage 15-S-8, Bugatti Type 37 and
the Halford Special.

1926 Delage 15-S-8. This car competed in the 1926
and 1927 British Grand Prix as part of the Delage
works team, it was then sold to Malcolm Campbell
who raced it at Brooklands and Southport. Later
in its life it passed through the hands of Prince Bira.
That's quite some history!

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Military BSA Model K

This unusual photo is of a WD issue BSA with its pith helmeted services rider. Usefully there is an annotation on the back 'Feb 1st 1918. Daressalamm' (sic).

At that point (1918) Tanzania was still officially part of German East Africa. Having rebelled against German rule just over ten years previously presumably Tanzanians were less than pleased that their country was passed on to the British Empire after the Treaty of Versailles came in to effect at the beginning of 1920.

Note the military contract number painted on to the petrol tank.

BSA military Model K in Tanzania.

Friday, May 13, 2022

London Classic Bike Show at Kempton Park May 2022

Some photos from a visit to the London Classic Bike Show at Kempton Park last weekend. The visit was thoroughly enjoyable but the autojumble was smaller than in the past and the number of show stands was down too. Maybe it's an effect of the pandemic or maybe there are just a lot more events to choose from these days and this one has lost momentum a bit. Either way it was still fun despite being reduced in size.

Below a selection of pictures of show exhibits, autojumble offerings and bikes ridden in to the car park.

A cammy Norton is always a good place
to start. This one a 1935 350cc International.

1938 Royal Enfield 'S' 250cc in the show area.

Eric Patterson's hyper rare c1928 Speedway Sunbeam
nearing completion of its restoration.

Really gorgeous 1939 BSA M24 Gold Star.
The first of the Gold Star line.

This wonderful device was on the Hayes and Southall
Motoball Club stand. The bike is in the condition it was
last used in anger back in the fifties and the owner
sensibly is not going to restore it though is seeking some
girder forks to bring it back to an earlier spec.
The engine is an Ariel Red Hunter, the frame an ex-WD
Royal Enfield Flying Flea and the forks currently fitted
look like Dowty fitted with a short extender.
There's a great Pathe News colour film clip from 1959
that features this very bike in action. Well worth checking out.

Sweet little Royal Enfield 225cc two stroke
from the late thirties. Their budget model but
still featuring a nice switch / instrument panel
in the petrol tank.

Pressed steel girder forks were the vogue of the time
for lightweight bikes and, for a short while, across the
whole Royal Enfield range apart from the big twins.
Hand gear change was slightly anachronistic by then though.

Veteran inlet over exhaust v twin project. I didn't see
the owner to ask but it's either a Royal Enfield or a
Motosacoche (they were virtually identical).

On the same stall was this very rare twenties FN
petrol tank in great condition.

And still on the same stall this purposeful grass
tracker. Fitted with a Blackburne engine but the
frame is an unknown. Presentable but probably a
bike built up from parts for the early postwar make
do and mend grass track scene. Never the less it looked
like fun for the asking price of £4.5k.

Gigantic fuel filler on this BSA A65 cafe racer.

Proper old rocker's bike!

This BSA beagle was in remarkably original condition
and quite sweet. Designed as BSA's answer to the
Honda cub and variants they should have been better
but were let down by being made on ancient machinery
and beset with a poor reputation for reliability. To this
end there are a fair few virtually unused survivors!

An AJW Fox Cub from 1977. The styling can
best be described as 'brave' or 'unusual'. An easy
and unusual project it seemed like a bargain at £350.

1964 Italjet 'Vampire' 50cc racer. Apparently
a 'works' bike it came with another example
in pieces for the asking price of £4.5k.

Practical BSA B31 awaiting a new home.

Well turned out BSA Bantam racer was
offered in the autojumble. £2100 if my
memory is correct. Seemed reasonable.

Full view of the Bantam. Full traditional
mid to late sixties Bantam racer spec with
Velocette LE front forks and wheel.

Much modified Vincent combo.

Prize for shinest bike surely went to this
flat tank Douglas.

Sweet G3 Matchless ridden in. There's
something very appealing and workmanlike
about these Matchlesses.

Ducati Mike Hailwood Replica in the car park.
A beast of a bike to be riding around London.

Nicely used unit Triumph in the car park

And another used Triumph ridden in.

Vincent Black Shadow in the car park.
Those updated Honda 'Comstar' wheels
and forks are not to my taste but then its
not my bike and it certainly seems like a
bike that racks up the miles, so maybe not
a bad mod for regular use on today's roads.

This once lovely BSA Golden Flash plunger must
have broken the restorer's heart. In great condition
apart from the fact that the top layer of gold paint
hasn't adhered to the primer and is flaking off
prodigiously. The bike was offered in the autojumble.

Full view of the flaky A10.

My overall first prize of the day goes to the chap
who rode in on this mid twenties AJS v twin.
Well done sir!

Also in the car park this Hesketh is a bike to covet.

The Hesketh V1000 power unit.