Saturday, December 29, 2012

Messerschmitt Roadster collectors card

This is trawling the depths of nerdery. A card given away with Ewbanks of Pontefract liquorices. It reads...

"The 'Roadster' offspring of another famous firm, is the three-wheeled version. It has an air-cooled 191cc engine fitted in the rear, capable of 65 m.p.h. Seats two and one child (small) tandemwise."

You would think that they were trying to sell microcars rather than scooters, 65mph!! two adults and one child!! Did they ever set eyes on one of these devices?

Messerschmitt convertable gum card.

1975 Harley Davidson brochure

Here's the 1975 Harley brochure from the dark days of AMF. Only three models in the range...

1975 Harley Davidson brochure page 1.

1975 Harley Davidson brochure page 2.

1975 Harley Davidson brochure page 3.

1975 Harley Davidson brochure page 4.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Lambretta SX 200 brochure

Billed rather immodestly by Lambretta themselves as 'the world's finest scooter' the SX 200 was produced from 1966 to 1969. This is the British market brochure.

Lambretta SX 200 brochure page 1.

Lambretta SX 200 brochure page 2.

Lambretta SX 200 brochure page 3.

Lambretta SX 200 brochure page 4.

Geoff Duke at Blandford Camp 1950

Earlier on in the year Geoff Duke had shown the competition the might of the Norton 'Featherbed' frame  for the first time. He returned with the Norton works team August 7th to Blandford Camp for the Blackmoor Vale MCC Motor Cycle Road Races. Once again he won the Senior 500cc class. Not such an achievement as back on April 29th as this time the competition was mostly of local club competitors rather than other works teams in an international meeting.

This post is a taste of things to come, I'm working on a potted history of motor cycle racing at Blandford. Keep watching...

1950 Blandford Camp Road Races programme
signed by Geoff Duke.

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle brochure

This one's a rarity, the condition of the brochure is slightly poor but it warrants reproduction. I have never heard of a complete survivor though an engine used to be in the Stanford Hall museum. There is some useful information on the NACC website

The Economic seems fairly typical of a number of cyclemotors produced in the years immediately following the First World War. What sets it apart is the engine, a flat twin two stroke. The only other examples I can think of are the East German IFA and the Velocette Viceroy. There are a number of advantages to the design, it is inherently smooth, relatively simple, but production costs are significantly higher than a single and with little power advantage. With early two stroke technology the flat twin format probably made a lot more sense with the two cylinders better able to even out erratic firing from hit and miss carburation and oiled up plugs.

Although the flat twin two stroke is a more expensive unit than a single perhaps the Economic managed to be produced on the cheap by the use of ex US army surplus motors - the design originated from trench pumps and it is unclear whether or not Economic made their own motors or had merely bought in a batch of army surplus units. The trench pump was made by Johnson of marine outboard motors fame.

The Economic also seems to differ from competitors in that it was apparently only sold as a complete machine in ladies or gents options rather than as a clip on attachment.

A shame there don't seem to be any survivors. Seeing one running would be a great experience, that is if you are a nerd like me who likes early two stokes....

Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle Brochure page 1.

Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle Brochure page 2.

Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle Brochure page 3.

Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle Brochure page 4.

Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle Brochure page 5.

Economic Babyweight Motor Cycle Brochure page 6.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Stunt riding on a Rudge Multi

Rudge Multi stunt rider...
Picked this postcard up recently. Looks like it was a Rudge advertising giveaway, presumably Mr Hodson was well known at the time. The script on the reverse of the card reads.....

"Mr H Hodson, an enthusiastic Lancashire Motor Cyclist, has such trust in the steadiness and excellent steering qualities of his Rudge Multi, that he has no hesitation in doing stunts at speed.

This particular photograph was taken of him whilst travelling at 35mph. He is a keen competition rider."

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

1954 Manx Norton Model made by Bert Hooper

This scale model 1954 Manx Norton was one of a pair scratch made from works drawings between 1954 and 1955 by Bert Hooper, Dispatch Manager at Norton Motors' Bracebridge Street factory.

One was presented to Tom Garner for services rendered and the other was given to Gilbert Smith, the Managing Director. The Gilbert Smith example sat into his office until retirement and then disappeared, location unknown. This example is the Tom Garner one and was collected from Bracebridge Street by Graham Garner on the Friday before Silverstone Saturday in April 1955. In the eighties it was bought by a son of Norton works rider Syd Lawton from Graham Garner. It was then passed down the Lawton family to another son before finding a new custodian.

Detail on the model is very fine down to the Avon trademark on the rubber tyres. The petrol tank is one solid lump of aluminium and the chains were made link by link.

If anyone knows of the other model or any further details please get in touch.

1954 Norton Manx model right hand view.

1954 Norton Manx model left hand view.

1954 Norton Manx model petrol tank close up.

1954 Norton Manx model engine close up.

1954 Norton Manx model right hand view.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

BSA brochure 1945

This is the BSA 1945 range. With a print date of August 1945 the brochure was published only three months after Victory in Europe day. Apart from the B31 which was an all new machine the range comprised of wartime and pre-war models. The printing of the brochure must have been largely a political move as although the bikes were being produced they were almost universally for export and few reached British showrooms.

1945 BSA Brochure page 1.

1945 BSA Brochure page 2.

1945 BSA Brochure page 3.

1945 BSA Brochure page 4.

1945 BSA Brochure page 6.

1945 BSA Brochure page 7.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Mondial 250cc Race Bike at Silverstone

Another mystery photograph. Labelled on the reverse as 'Mondial 250 Silverstone'. It's carrying laurels so is possibly Mike Hailwood's 1957 Silverstone International winning machine.
1957 250cc Mondial race bike at Silverstone. Mike Hailwood's
race winner from 1957?

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Autumn riding the Dorset trails on a Bullet and an XL250

Not many fine days this Autumn but this was one of them. A ride through the fallen leaves on Dorset byways, myself on the Royal Enfield long distance trialser and Ian on his trusty Honda XL250.

No new trails ridden, just a few known favourites. Sadly found out that the lane connecting Tarrant Crawford and Chettle that runs past Chettle house has recently been closed. We rode it before getting the knowledge and it didn't exactly look that it got much traffic so hard to see a reason that the council would bother to close it off.

The Bullet ran well, that's if we don't mention a quick carb strip just by the Chettle camp site to clear out some fuel born dirt. Hardly needs mentioning that the Honda ran like clockwork....

Honda XL250 emerging through the trees.
Faithful trials Bullet muddied up.

Honda XL250 posing.

Rear three quarter view on the XL250.

Which way?

350 trials Bullet getting ready for the forthcoming Exeter trial..

Monday, November 19, 2012

1919 G.A.B. Auto-Scooter brochure

Here's a brochure for the 1919 G.A.B. Auto-Scooter. I know nothing more about the machine than is on this one page brochure. It's fairly typical of a whole host of different crude scooters built immediately after the 1st World War in the first scooter craze. I've not heard of any survivors.
1919 G.A.B. Auto-Scooter brochure.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Loaders Cycle Shop Blandford Forum

I worked for several years at Jack Hearne Cycles in Blandford Forum, Dorset. Before the shop was Jack Hearne's it was known as Lucas Cycles and now it is Offcamber Cycles. The attic was a dusty treasure trove of cycling junk. In a frame in a corner was this picture which I borrowed and scanned.

G Loader Cycles was in Blandford but I don't know the location. It looks to be typical of a small town turn of the century cycle shop. The shop was a riot of advertising boards, such a display would now give conservation officers sleepless nights!

G Loaders Cycles Blandford Forum.

Coventry Eagle Pullman brochure

The Coventry Eagle Pullman, another of those motorcycle as car type machines that many manufacturers once thought the motorcyclist wanted not realising that motorcyclists who were enthusiasts wanted something sporting and motorcyclists who wanted car comfort were only riding a bike because they were cheaper than a car and if they had spare cash they would go ahead and buy a car.... Not many Pullmans were built or sold but there are a handful of survivors.

Technically it is an interesting machine, much use of pressed steel is made and the leaf spring rear suspension is unusual, it reminds me of the springing on a train carriage. This is not really a good thing but perhaps an inspiration for their Pullman model name. Like a number of the bike as car concepts this machine was built with small engines and small performance, undoubtedly with the extra weight significantly worse than a comparable traditional motorcycle. In earlier advertising literature Coventry Eagle heralded their mighty Flying 8 v-twin as a 'Pullman Express' after it was given this plaudit in Motor Cycling magazine. The Pullman was manufactured 1936 and 37.

Coventry Eagle Pullman brochure page 1.

Coventry Eagle Pullman brochure page 2.

Little Napoleon the Circus Chimpanzee

It is a universal cross-cultural truth that a primate doing human things is funny. Ergo 'Little Nap' is possessed of innate comedy. That he is riding a custom built mini sidecar combo with a chimp passenger whilst dressed as Napoleon is bordering genius.

Apparently Little Nap was a performer in US circuses around the early post first world war period. There are several other images of Little Nap around, this is the only one I can find featuring a sidecar.

The postcard just sold on ebay. I bid but sadly someone valued it more than I (and I did value it quite a lot!)...

'Little Nap', francophile chimp sidecar pilot.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Cock a Snoot weather vane

I needed a project to improve my metal working skills. A weather vane seemed like a good idea, there're quite a few different skills involved in making one. I haven't seen a cock a snoot on a weather vane before but as it turns out it looks really right. The whole thing is made in stainless (perk of working on a ship!) from offcuts salvaged from the scrap bin. 

Cock a Snoot weather vane close up.

Cock a Snoot weather vane.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

The Autumn Nifty Run

The VMCC Stonehenge Autumn Nifty Run is an amble on a theme that has been gathering pace the last couple of years. Get out and about on slow bikes that don't normally see the light of day. Works as a concept for me. I like small bikes, I hate runs where I have to follow other folks around going faster than I want to. My fault of course, I could go at my own pace it's just that I don't like to follow route cards so find someone to tag along with and then get aggravated when I want to potter on a Sunday morning and they are in a race. Not that there is anything wrong with going fast, it is of course great, it's just that what I want to do on a Sunday morning is plod around in a slow daze enjoying the countryside. So all hail the grey porridge runs of the nation. Pre '73 and less than 250cc is the mantra. Plenty of Villiers Brit commuters mingled with some continental exotica.

Nicely used Moto Guzzi 235cc Lodola.

An unrestored and original James Cadet is where it's at...

Another unrestored gem. A post-war New Hudson autocycle.

Unusual and nicely restored Puch Split single. Split singles
were a concept popular in Germany and Austria in particular.
It sounded great and apparently they are fine machines but
the engineering is as much as for a proper twin. The Puch
even has two carbs. Apparently more efficient than a single
and nicer running at small throttle opoenings. A technical
explanation is on wikipedia. I believe this machine is a 175cc
SVS model.

Fine local machine club badge from the Lyndhurst and District
Motor Cycle and Light Car Club on a Francis Barnett Falcon.

Well used and patinated MZ 250cc Trophy.

Starting a pre-war New Hudson autocycle. Note the fitting
for a Watsonian bicycle sidecar.

In another run on the same day in the same place but
I couldn't resist a pic. A wonderful unrestored 1917 Harley
 that saw service in the First World War and ridden in by
local man Paul.

That Harley again in close up.