You don't have to own and ride a Vincent twin to be a Vincent man. Or woman. For a long time, these 499cc, 28bhp, air-cooled, pushrod singles were largely overlooked by the hardcore Vinnie crowd—and overlooked by pretty much everyone else. However, over the past ten years prices have steadily risen, partly because the twins are moving further and further out of reach for Joe Biker and into the hands of non-biking collectors, and partly because many riders have realised that on our increasingly congested roads, it's easier to keep a Vincent Comet satisfyingly on the boil. That said, more recently we've seen prices wavering. This example first coughed into life in 1950. Since 1978, it's been in the same family (if that's really worth mentioning). The estimate is £10,000 - £12,000, and Bonhams will be offering it for sale at Beaulieu on 1st September 2018. There's no more information yet. We're watching carefully to try and get a handle on current values. Come back sometime and we'll post the news.


July 2018  Classic bike news



June 2018 Classic Bike News

One liners

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex
One liners
Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018
H&H NMM auction shapes up further
Chris Chope gets 'em in a twist
Daniel David Kirwan: 1950 - 2018
Reg Allen Motorcycles is closing
One liners
World Motorcycle Rally 2018
Glynn Edwards: 1931 - 2018
Den Hartogh Museum Sale
Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested
Donald Trump's US trade war starts


May 2018 Classic Bike News

The Daily Not News

IOM jaywalker in the hoosegow

Rare Norton Hi-Rider to auction

Clint Walker: 1927 - 2018

Ducati Museum Hailwood exhibition

Tougher protection for cops mooted

One liners

New London-Brighton Run route

April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

New Honda "Monkey Bike" for 2018

Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

One Liners

Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam
Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles
We've been adrift, but we're back in port

Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor insurance premiums fall

March 2018 Classic Bike News

Watsonian's GP700 & Indian Chief

Bonhams Stafford Sale April 2018

One liners

We Ride London new demo date

Dee Atkinson & Harrison March Sale

Bull-it Men's SR6 Cargo trousers

Franklin's Indians: Veloce Reprint

One Liners

Kenneth Arthur Dodd: 1927 - 2018

Carole Nash Google Petition

New Musical Express is out of print

1954 500cc Triumph-Matchless chop

1,800 bike collection to be auctioned

Art Exhibition at Sammy Miller's

2018 Cardiff Classic Motorcycle Show

John Lennon's monkey bike: £57,500

One liners

This day in history

February 2018 Classic Bike News

Foscam Wireless Camera system

Pioneer Run eBook: now £2.99

Oxford Clamp On brake lever clip

One liners

2018 Curtiss Warhawk unveiled

Here's the latest bike scam attempt

George Beale appointed H&H director

Next Kickback Show 7-8th April 2018

"Alley Rat" - 2018 UK BOTK winner

One liners

Defeat the online scammers with Skype

Triumph Hurricane scammer alert

CCM Spitfire-based Bobber for 2018

Cafe Racer Dreams: 8 bikes stolen

Coys' Feb 2018 London Excel Auction

Thieves ransom Triumph Thunderbird

Harley-Davidson recalls 251,000 bikes

"Police biker" banker convicted

Bringsty Grand Prix Revival 2018

Two new Weise wax cotton jackets

Murderous solicitor is still on the books

£7k - £10k Triumph 'X-75 Hurricane'

Retro wireless GPS speedometer

"Anvil Motociclette...

2018 Triumph Speed Triples launched

Royal Enfield Flying Flea stolen

Brühl Twin Turbine Motorcycle Dryer

January 2018 Classic Bike News

Laser Power Bar Extension Wrench

One liners

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City

Online traffic accident reporting plan

Silverstone Auctions February 2018

12th Annual Dania Beach Show

Black Lightning sells for $929,000

Online motorcycle scammer alert

One liners

AJS Tempest Scrambler for 2018

Charterhouse's February 2018 sale

Can anyone add info on this rider?

HJC FG-70s Aries Yellow helmet

One liners

Peter Wyngarde: 1927 (ish) - 2018

Death Machines of London - Airforce

Lancaster Insurance; reality check

One liners

"Fast" Eddie Clarke: 1950 - 2018

Bonhams' Las Vegas Sale reminder

Ban on credit/bank card charges

December 2017 Classic Bike News

Information on this picture wanted

Levis Motorcycles set for comeback?

One Liners

Oops, we screwed up [again - Ed]

H&H December 2017 sale at the NMM

Immortal Austin Seven from Veloce

Triumph T140V for sale: 237km

Irresponsible journalism from MCN?
Hagon Triumph Bobber mono-shock
Bruce Alan Brown: 1937 - 2017

MCN closes its biker forum

Arm rural UK coppers suggestion

Bought a Sump T-shirt? Check your email...

Falling bike sales, 11 straight months

Triumph Birmingham is set to close

New electric black taxi breaks cover

Semi naked girl straddles an Indian!!

November 2017 Classic Bike News

Riding Japan; new touring website

British motor racing anniversary day

Triumph T140 restoration guide

Ratchet handle taps & dies - Chronos

White Helmet Triumphs reach £12K

H&H's first timed automobilia auction

Goldtop £50 off gloves—limited offer

London pillion rider ban idea

Ford Design in the UK - Veloce

Thruxton Track Racer Kit offer

Want to post a comment on Sump?

New Davida "Koura" full face helmet

One liners

NMM BSA Gold Star winner details

Norton 650 twin scrambler planned

RE travel book: Hit the Road, Jac!

Stoneleigh Kickback Show April 2017

Brough Superior Pendine racer

One liners

H-D Battle of the Kings 2017 winner

New Royal Enfield 650 twins launched

NMM's 2018 Speedmaster prize

Meriden Off Road Tiger Cubs

One liners

Andy Tiernan's 2018 calendar

Scrappage scheme classic car poser

Norton launches the California

Scooter gangs face new response

One liners

September 2017 Classic Bike News

Bobby Vee: 1943 - 2016
EX-WD 500cc BSA WM20: £6,325
Essential autojumble sweatshirts
Mahindra has bought the BSA brand
Dave Cash: 1942 - 2016
BSA M20 "Blueprints" back in stock

New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt

VMCC Pip Squeak Run April 2016
Ed "Stewpot" Stewart: 1941 - 2016
Calling British spares manufacturers
Stupid biker gives away his KTM 690
Festival of Motorcycling autojumble

December 2015 Classic Bike News

Ian "Lemmy" Kilmister: 1945 - 2015

"Motorsport" CBE for John Surtees

Rare Vincent 2-stroke Uniflow Engine

Mick Grant replica 961 Norton racer

Old Biker's Mantra T-shirt from Sump

Evel Knievel's XL1000 movie bike

H&H Chateau Impney Sale results

Broughs of Bodmin Moor to sell

Flying Tiger Moto Man poofy soap

Petrol drops to £1 per litre

Porsche Sunbeam S8 special to sell

Ural gets on the scrambler trail

Anthony Valentine: 1939 - 2015

Huge UK government tax disc loss

Optimate 5 Voltmatic charger on test

Watsonian Squire T100 sidecar

November 2015 Classic Bike News

Redesigned Sump Triumph T-shirt

Great service at Welders Warehouse

Ural's 2016 Dark Force combination

Wheelrider project seeks backers

Andy Tiernan's 2016 calendar is here

A blue plaque for Triumph founder

Victory Ignition Concept custom bike

Matlock Bath Mining Museum appeal

Swedish Italians head for France
Side view assist tech from Bosch

David Beckham's Outlaw movie

New Triumph Speed Triple for 2016

Steve McQueen's Chevy camper van

Kickback Show London Dec 2015

George Barris: 1925 - 2015

NMM to raffle a 1959 T120 Bonnie

Royal Enfield splined clutch drums

"Led Zeppelin" chop sold at auction

Have you seen this Ford Mustang?

Bonhams Hendon Sale Dec 2015

Movies we love: The Family Way

Bonhams 2016 Las Vegas line-up

Triumph's new Bonneville line-up

October 2015 Classic Bike News

Mark Howe Murphy: 1932 - 2015

Comet Classics' Pride at the NEC

Stand up for Owen

Old Empire Motorcycles Gladiator

Record money at Bonhams' Stafford

Richard Davies: 1926 - 2015

Gear Gremlin bandana fleece thingy
Yamaha 125cc Resonator concept
Odd things are happening on Sump...
Weise "affordable" Lima gloves

Triumph's 2016 Bonneville teaser

Another Hayward T140 belt failure

Second generation HUD for bikes

Marzocchi closes. It's official

Gordon Honeycombe: 1936 - 2015

Indian Scout IKON shocks

Harley-Davidson XA to Wheatcroft

The Complete book of BMW Motorcycles

So who's answering the Sump phone?

September 2015 Classic Bike News

Fat bastards. And skinny dudes

Fonzie's Triumph to auction. Again

Urban rider's workshop initiative

The NMM opens its doors for free

Great speedo cable fix from Venhill

BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirts are in stock
Buying a crash helmet; a Sump guide
Romney Marsh Classic Bike Jumble
New Goldtop silk scarf

Worst Netley Marsh autojumble ever?

New Kawasaki W800 buyers guide
Bonhams Beaulieu 2015 results
Lord Edward Montagu: 1926 - 2015
Triumph's $2.9 million US recall fine
New Fab Four coffee table book
Dean Carroll Jones: 1931 - 2015
Harley-Davidson test ride competition
Still awaiting your Skully AR-1 lid?
Two rare Italians headed for Stafford
Sump BAD-ASS T-shirt coming soon
Who the hell can you trust anymore?
Austel Pullman 1300 combo to sell
Oldtimer Motoren Museum
£4m government grant for Norton
BSH sells out to Mortons Media
Sammy Miller Run August 2015

August 2015 Classic Bike News

Jake Robbins Royal Enfield custom

Music we love: Everyday Robots

Ebay: Rare 1956 250cc Indian Brave

For sale: Ex-display team TRW?
91 English & Welsh courts to close?

"Tougher and darker" HDs for 2016

Yvonne "Bat Girl" Craig: 1937 – 2015

Confederate P51 Combat Fighter
Subscribe to Sump - it's free

Cheffins Harrogate Sale August 2015
Lambeth Council bans nitrous oxide
TRF's £10,000 green lane appeal
Harley Street 750 set for Sept launch
Trouble: Triumph bobber on Ebay
Great new T-shirt designs from Sump
George Edward Cole: 1925 - 2015
Sammy Miller at Donington Classic
185,272 Harley Baggers recalled
Fifth Classic Car Boot Sale, London
Mecum Harrisburg results Aug 2015
Mecum Monterey Sale August 2015
Ace Cafe Beijing has opened
Free disc locks courtesy of the Met Police

July 2015 Classic Bike News

Where BSAs Dare

Rare 1912 Pierce at Netley
7 pence per minute to talk Triumph
Cheffins Cambridge Sale: 25th July
Matchless sunglasses: "Only £299"

Cool BSA Bantam diesel special
Brighton Speed Trials 2015 reminder
New Royal Enfield despatch bikes
M.A.D X-ray Art Exhibition Matchless
1964 Speed Twin bobber on eBay
Chris Squire: 1948 - 2015
Movies we love: Smokescreen (1964)
Road race & exhibition for the gents

June 2015 Classic Bike News

Christopher Lee: 1922 - 2015

Triumph Motorcycles: 1937 - Today

News about Roy Bacon

France bans earphones on the road

Road deaths up: first rise for 14 years

Daniel Patrick Macnee: 1922 - 2015

Tri-Cor is now Andy Gregory

Matchless-Vickers to stay in Britain

Samsung truck video safety tech

First middle lane "road hogger" fined

Brando's Electra Glide to auction

Pulford® wax cotton jacket, in "sand"

James "Hansi" Last: 1929 - 2015

Suzuki's UK café culture campaign

Disappointing Historics June Sale

DVLA "paperless counterpart" fiasco

Classic face masks, Boken style

Vibrating steering wheel idea for dozy drivers


May 2015 Classic Bike News

Council streetlight switch-off warning

Twinkle: 1948 - 2015

Historics' Brooklands sale draws near

Classic bikes for sale reminder
Hope Classic Rally: all for charity
Riley "BB" King: 1925 - 2015
Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 - 2015
Stondon Museum April sale results
RE buys Harris Performance Products
Geoff Duke: 1923 - 2015
Classic Motorcycle Restoration and Maintenance
NMM's winter raffle winner details
Stafford Sale: "£2,262,109: 86% sold"

April 2015 Classic Bike News
Norman Hyde polished T100 headers

Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Harley's "Job of a lifetime" winner details

John Stuart Bloor is now a billionaire

BSMC Show, Tobacco Dock, London

"Rusty Blue" Route 66 motorcycle kit

Erik Buell Racing closes its doors

One of the Love Bugs is up for sale
Ronnie Carroll: 1934 - 2015
Sixty museum bikes to be auctioned
Goldtop classic fleece-lined gauntlets
Harley-Davidson Kansas lay-offs
Mecum's Walker Sign Collection results

March 2015 Classic Bike News

Ted Simon's website is "hacked by Isis"
Frank Perris: 1931 - 2015
ULEZ Zone charges for motorcycles
We're all down with a nasty disease
Eric "Shaw" Taylor: 1924 - 2015
E J Cole Collection at Mecum's

Rare 500cc Linto for Duxford Sale
Classic Car Boot Sale final reminder
DfT road safety website is to be axed
Autocom GPS bike tracker is "coming soon"
Jem Marsh: 1930 - 2015
New Triumph Thruxton book from Panther Publishing

New drug-driving regulations are here

HMS Sump is torpedoed!
New £350,000 Jensen GT for 2016

RE Continental GT, soon in black

February 2015 Classic Bike News

Lincoln bans legal highs in public places

Leonard Simon Nimoy: 1931 - 2015

Cheffins Cambridge Sale: Apr 2015

Race Retro Feb 2015 auction results
£4.7 million grant for Brooklands

Full size "Airfix" motorcycle kits
Two Francis-Barnett bikes "launched"
Gerry Lloyd Wells: 1929 - 2014

Harley-Davidson's "dream job" offer
Road accidents & preventable events
The velocity of money? What's that?
ACA auction Saturday 7th March 2015
Sump's new road safety stickers
Kickback Stoneleigh to be televised



January 2015 Classic Bike News

1948 Land Rover manufacture exhibit
UK Triumph Scrambler sales jump
Mecum Kissimmee Sale results
Ikon Basix shock absorbers
Sump BSA M20 metal sign—£14.99
Another great Marlboro Man has snuffed it

Mixed Bonham results at Las Vegas
Stolen Norton appeal for information
The Reunion by Jack Elgos
VMCC December 2014 raffle winner
Brian Horace Clemens: 1931 - 2015
Metal classic bike signs from Sump
Rod Taylor: 1930 - 2015
Derek Minter: 1932 - 2015
Tiernan's looking for a Flea crate
Jerry Lee Lewis Duo Glide to sell
"Killer drivers" sentencing review
Harley-Davidson recalls 19,000 bikes
Cutaway engine bonanza at Bonhams

Sump news archive



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Harley-Davidson's radical shake up


Story snapshot:

Milwaukee is taking giant steps with new biking platforms

Sports bikes, adventure bikes and electro sleds are "on the way"


You know how it is in the movies when the lead character (Steve McQueen if you like) is way deep into a high stakes card game with all his money piled high on the table and has a bunch of tough, dangerous and ruthless hombres gazing at him from all sides?


Sure you do.


In this movie, he's also just thrown into the pot the Shelby Mustang that his dad gave him on his 18th birthday, grandad's old gold watch, the house, a '54 Strat, and his kid's inheritance. Now there's only the wife's virtue up for grabs, and the other players are getting impatient.


Well that's how it feels with the latest news that Harley-Davidson is planning to field 21 new motorcycles over the next three or four years in a massive corporate move intended to deliver a knock-out blow to the competition and restore H-D as the go-to brand, especially for the all-important global demographic that's currently somewhere between puberty and middle age.


Because that's where Harley-Davidson needs to be. Urgently. Its traditional core market of baby boomers are dropping like flies, and naturally that's impacting sales. The competition (Honda, Indian, Triumph, BMW, Ducati and others) have all been nibbling away at the balance sheet. The V-Rod didn't do as well as the company hoped. The other bikes in the H-D range, despite the fairly recent addition of the Milwaukee Eight platform, are looking more and more marginalised. Buell was, at least in part, a mistake. H-D's lucrative range of products and accessories is struggling against both the legitimate competition and the international pirates. And to cap it all, President Donald Trump has fired the first shot in a trade war that's hitting Milwaukee hard in the pocket.


And look at H-D shares. In May 2014, they were trading at $72. Today, that value has dropped to around $42. Of course, if you're an investor there are many facets to share trading, meaning that canny minds can often ride this particular roller coaster and still make a decent profit. But despite an occasional rally on the stock market, the trend is downward, and we're hearing a little too often the phrase, "it's not as bad as we thought it might be."



But Harley-Davidson is a tough cookie and is fighting back with the news of these brand-expanding bikes. The big question is, of course, whether or not the gamble is going to pay off, or whether the new moves will simply become a house of cards.


Among the new contenders are the immediately above 1250cc Custom. Clearly, there's more than a hint of Indian in the recipe, but it's also got H-D poise and the raw streetwise look that's currently in vogue (but might well have fallen out of fashion by the time this bike sees the end of a production line). We're advised that a flat tracker, scrambler and a sports bike are on the way, all based on a modular concept of mix'n'match (or pick'n'mix) engines, frames, swinging arms and forks. And if that sounds as if the accountants are leading this manufacturing charge, we can tell you that that's how it's always been. It's just more obvious when the "modular" word rears its head.



The Harley-Davidson Livewire concept takes another step towards full scale manufacturing with this new development (image immediately above). But the electrification gambit will also include a range of battery powered bicycles and entry level bikes intended to inculcate the H-D ethos into the hearts and minds of what the firm hopes will be its emerging market. Whether these Eveready machines enrich the family sauce, or merely dilute it, remains to be seen.



Our concern would be that a small and dedicated market would no doubt make a rush for these new age Hogs, but that might not be a large enough stampede to pay for development and return a profit on production—not least because the general electric infrastructure simply isn't yet mature enough and might never become mature in more remote areas of the world. In other words, you might well see a few of these machines loitering on urban street corners. But you probably won't see many zooming through the hinterlands. Not soon, anyway.



Next, the adventure bike market, as we understand it today, has not been an arena that Harley-Davidson has bothered with (not withstanding the fact that for many guys and girls, the shift up to the huge H-D lifestyle and culture is pretty much the biggest adventure of all).


But to cater for the more conventional adventure market, Harley-Davidson is looking at the immediately above 1250cc Pan American. It's a bold move for Milwaukee, but the adventure playground is already pretty well catered for with some very compelling bikes from BMW to Aprilia to Triumph to Ducati.


And more.


So okay, it's probably not an uncrackable nut, but we think H-D will need a bigger sledgehammer than this. It's certainly hard to see many Harley-Davidson diehards trading up (or down) for these knobbly wheels, and that leaves only the new blood which isn't likely to have any residual brand loyalty and will judge contenders entirely on merit. Yes, Harley can play catch up. But the competition won't be standing still.



Finally, this 975cc Streetfighter is aimed somewhere between where the Buellists were, and where the Diavelists currently are—with more than a hint of Yamaha thrown in. It's not a bad looking bike (if you like that kind of thing), but it's hardly the most distinctive kid on the block, and H-D is already fielding its Street 500 and Street 750 range—and these bikes (if they continue in production) are perhaps likely to tap much of the sales sap.


And hey? Isn't the "Streetfighter" identity beginning to take on that lost-in-the-back-of-the-fridge-smell? Meaning that we expect something more original and evocative from a firm that gave us "Glides", "Sportsters", "Evolution" engines, and "V-Rods".


Meanwhile, the established range of V-twin cruisers and tourers are going to stay in production, certainly for the foreseeable future. But the company is said to be looking intently at how it markets its products, possibly via a new range of boutique stores and even online sales.


One way of looking at the whole Harley-Davidson-in-the-21st-century scenario is this: Globalisation is continuing to shift the financial centre of the planet. It used to be firmly in the west, notably the USA, Britain, Germany, France and Italy. But it's been relentlessly shifting east (from a British perspective), or both east and west from an American viewpoint.


As the money shifts, motorcycle production is shifting with it. India and China are the prime targets (not necessarily in that order), and there's new cash to be had in the southern hemisphere too, meaning Brazil. We may not like the changes that are coming, but until someone or something puts the brake on globalisation, the changes are likely to be coming thicker and faster.


All this is arguably a desperate high stakes gamble. But Harley-Davidson is quite probably doing exactly the right thing. However, looked at from a "heritage" perspective, it feels about as wrong as it can get.


Also see:

Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

Harley-Davidson quits Kansas City


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H&H NNM July Sale results


Story snapshot:

Auction house turnover tops £1.2 million

A claimed 81% of lots sold


It ain't a great picture (immediately above), but the other image supplied by H&H Auctions was no better, so we made a choice. Regardless, this 1955 Series D Vincent Black Knight outfit (Lot 92) was the top selling item at H&H's Sale at the National Motorcycle Museum on 26th July 2018. The bike sold for £51,750 (from a £50k to £60k estimate) and was one of five Vinnies that found new homes. The others were:


Lot 44, 1951, Series C Comet 998cc upgrade, sold for £24,750

Lot 24, 1951 Series C Rapide, sold for £15,187

Lot 61, 1949 Series C Rapide, sold for £38,250

Lot 165, 1947 Series B HRD Rapide, sold for £39,375.


Overall, H&H is pleased with this sale. The turnover, we're told, was £1.2 million; the highest ever for an H&H bike auction. Apparently, 550 buyers had registered to bid for the 290 motorcycles on offer. Around 1,000 visitors attended the sale. The conversion rate was 81%—and if you're not familiar with this term, it means simply that 81% of the lots were sold.


1974 T150 Triumph Trident


But we note that the immediately above T150 Triumph Trident, estimated at £10,000 - £12,000 didn't sell. You might recall that last month we ran a piece about this machine that laid pretence to carrying a prototype Hurricane engine. Well it looks as if the buyers weren't convinced either.



Meanwhile, the immediately above 1969 BSA Rocket Three (Lot 146) was aiming at a £14,000 - £15,000 estimate, but also didn't sell. Rockets have been struggling a little lately, we note; especially these ray gun and breadbin tank models. Designed by Ogle (a big London studio), the motorcycle world (or indeed BSA) was never too enamoured with this "futuristic look" which lacks the grace and poise of, say, the bikes designed by Edward Turner, Phil Vincent or Craig Vetter.


But we think they have a certain charm that's very much of its age. A more realistic price, however, is around £11,000 to £12,000, and we've seen them asking less than that. Just keep in mind that these Rockets, by anticipating £15k/£16k, are closing in on, say, Hurricane prices—and Hurricanes are a safer investment. And there are other higher kudos classics which are equally a safer bet. We wonder if setting the estimate a little too high might well have frightened off a few potential buyers.


Phil Kersey Suzuki TR50


Ex-Phil Kersey 1967 Suzuki TR50 (Lot 47). Kersey hailed from Gorleston-on-Sea, Norfolk. He ran a motorcycle shop, was a very active sprinter and set a few world records on his 125cc Bultaco. Born in 1943, he died in September 2017 aged 74. The estimate for this Suzuki was a vague £10,000 to £15,000, but nobody went that high, and it remained unsold (also see image below). Another Kersey bike (Lot 51) sold for £9,000, also from a £10k - £15k estimate.




1978 Triumph Bonneville T140J. Or, if you prefer, Jubilee Bonnie. H&H estimated £4,000 - £6,000 for Lot 33, and it sold for £6,187.50. Despite one owner from new, just 1,200 miles on the clock, and an original certificate present, we're a little surprised it made as much as it did. There's surface rust here and there, and the aluminium alloy looks powdery indicating disuse and possible neglect. Moreover, Jubilees were also a little fraudulent with a "limited" manufacturing run of 1,000, and then another 1,000, and then another 400 or so. They're not particularly attractive, and the chromed engine outer covers are prone to flaking. Not Meriden's greatest moment.



This Mist Green 1951 500cc S7 Sunbeam (with a flat tyre, Lot 27) was estimated at £5,000 - £6,000, which sounds about right (or maybe a little mean). But it sold for £9,337.50 which could suggest that these inline air-cooled twins are continuing their steady rise in value. But wait. Check the number plate. If that's transferable, that might have helped hike the price.



Overall, it's hard to draw any firm conclusions from this sale regarding which way the classic bike market is headed. But if we had to say, we think that buyers are looking for more "traditional" bikes and are moving away from the more quirky or left field machines. That might be at least partly due to dealers looking for fresh stock, and shying away from motorcycles that might be slow sellers. However, this is simply us thinking aloud. It's sometimes hard to identify trends until they're behind you.


Beyond that, we'll be adding to this story over the next day or two after we've had a closer look and discussed it a little. That aside, H&H are sounding very content and have raised the bar considerably for the firm's next motorcycle outing on 9th November 2018, also at the NMM.




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Romney Marsh Classic Bikejumble


Story snapshot:

... with Ride-In Show and spares auction

16th September 2018


Yes, we admit it. This month we've posted quite a few details of shows and events. More than usual. And that—as we've mentioned once or twice recently—is partly because "good news" whatever that is to ya, is thin on the ground lately. So we have to fill space and keep it moving along.


But we don't post just anything. We post only stuff that interests us, or stuff we think might interest our visitors, or stuff that demands to be aired. Beyond that, we like to help businesses move along and give you people reasons for living.


So all this is leading up to the Romney Marsh Classic Bikejumble (with Ride-In Show and Spares Auction) on Sunday 16th September 2018. Pre-1990s motorcycles are on the menu along with side dishes of motorcycle spares, club stands and a garage clear out offer (make sure you book a space sooner rather than later). And naturally there will be grub and something to drink and a helmet park.



Bring the mutt and missus (or mutt and hubby). Don't forget the mutt lead and muzzle where applicable. And if you're on mainland Europe, grab a ferry or take the tunnel. Can't think of a better place on earth in the Summer than England—and Romney Marsh has a special vibe that will get its hooks into you sooner or later. Tip: bring a bottle and take home some Kentish coastal air. It's luverly.


This is an independent show (but not the way Mortons talks about independence, mind). Julie Diplock at Elk Promotions runs this one (and a few others throughout the year), and yes we know her, and no, we ain't running this story just because we know her. We're running it mostly because she made the effort to send us complete details in a timely fashion (take a tip other organisers).


Anyway, that's it. Tickets are a fiver, incidentally. And that's cheap for a day, or even an afternoon, out on the tarmac and grass.

Telephone: 01797 344277
Email: events@elkpromotions.co.uk
Website: www.elk-promotions.co.uk


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Hi Sump. Totally agree with your stance on charity rides. I live in the north east where we have more than our fair share of toy runs, air ambulance runs, local hospice runs and rides out for every disease under the sun. IMHO, if bikers really want to do something for charity, they should do something more practical just as your article says. Most of these runs spend more on petrol than on the good cause they're supporting. I was on such a ride out a coupla months back. Forty or fifty riders raised just £196. —Greg, Middlesborough

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Bob Rabers and Triumph TT


Bob Raber of RPM is retiring


Story snapshot:

Long established California dealer is flogging the lot

NOS, bikes, engines, gearboxes, frames, tanks, etc


Bob Raber (image immediately above) has decided to retire and "spend time with his lovely wife, Betsy". That's the word on the street.


If you live in California, especially the Bay Area around San Francisco, and if you're into British bikes, you'll know all about Raber's. Actually, if you're into British bikes anywhere in the USA, you'll probably recognise Raber's name. He's been in the motorcycle business for six decades having started in 1958 working for Monterey Area bike dealer Ed Brooks.



Ed Brooks traded primarily in BSAs, but also handled Triumphs, Nortons and whatever else came his way. Over the years, Brooks moved the business once or twice; first to Salinas, and then to San Jose. Rob Raber, steadily accruing skills and responsibilities, went with him. And in 1984, when Brooks retired, Raber bought the business, lock, stock and barrels. From that point, operating at 1615 Almaden Road, San Jose, California, he traded as RPM, or Raber's Parts Mart.



Dee & Jerry Woods run a respectable auction, we're told—and we've no reason to doubt it. They operate from Florida and have another motorcycle auction in September 2018, and again in October 2018.



Over the years, as rival traders and suppliers retired, went bust, downsized, rationalised, died or gave up, Bob Raber bought their shop inventories. These businesses included ex-Indian dealer, bike racer and parts supremo Hap Jones (who died in 1989), GP Cycle Works* in Washington State, and Cycle Hub in Portland, Oregon operated by Cliff Majhor AKA The Sandy Bandit (who, a couple of years back, also died). We're also told that Raber bought a lot of stock from a Triumph/Norton importer from Kuwait.


So much for urban myth and legend.



Regardless, Raber has a huge amount a rare stock, NOS, complete bikes, engines, gearboxes and ... well, more stuff that he's had a chance to check out. It just came in over the years and bowed the shelves and overflowed the bins, and now it's time to move it along.


To that end, auctioneers J Wood (boasting 53 years in the business and specialising in motorcycles) has been engaged to handle the sale of everything. Jerry Woods tells us that his firm is a respectable auction house (ain't they all?) and they don't engage in bumping, secret bids, bidding against the wall and similar shady auction tricks and practices.


"Our goal," says Jerry, "is to give everybody an even shot at this treasure. Riders, dealers big and small as well as major distributors." We'll take him at his word if you will. We've no reason to think anything else.






They're tagging all the big bits and will try to make up "kits"—meaning combined frame, engine, gearbox/transmission lots. Other items will probably sell by the box load or shelf load. You have to be realistic when handling this much stock, and there are only so many years in your life.


Apparently we're looking at 15,000 square feet of parts, much of which is "priceless"—except that Jerry Woods will no doubt establish a suitable selling fee and get it all shifted. There are 40 bikes up for grabs (including the 1966 Triumph TT 650 at the top of this news story). The total value of stock is reckoned to be around $2.5 million.


The sale is scheduled for Saturday 4th August 2018. The venue is Raber's Parts Mart at 1984 Stone Avenue, San Jose, California USA. Ample parking (for cars, vans, trucks, semis, etc) is available about one mile away, and a shuttle service will be organised. Buyers premium is 10% (plus tax where applicable). The balloon goes up at 9am. And if you want to preview the stock, be there on Friday 3rd August 2018.



The notion of retiring and bringing such a huge part of your life to a close can be both depressing, confusing and a relief. But it looks like Bob and Betsy (image immediately above) will at least have a couple quid with which to enjoy their autumn years. Chances are, however, that Bob Raber will sooner or later find himself at a swap meet or similar and maybe buying a few things for a new collection. You know how it works...


Note: *GP Cycle Works (if its the same firm) is still trading in Harley-Davidsons.





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Assembly Chopper Show 2018


Story snapshot:

We screwed up with this one

But better late than never, huh?


We don't know what the hell went wrong. It's as simple as that. We received the email about three weeks ago, and it looked interesting and worthy of a mention on this page. So we told ourselves that we'd sort it out.




But we forgot.


The email slid silently down the screen until it was no longer immediately in view, and July 14th and 15th came and went, so we didn't give you a heads-up on the event. But had we been a little more compos mentis (and sober), we would have told you that Assembly was founded in 2017. It's a London centric custom bike show that boasts support from DiCE Magazine (founded in 2004) and The Great Frog (founded in 1972).



DiCE needs little introduction. Founded by Dean Micetich and Matt Davis, the magazine chills us satisfyingly with custom bikes, hot rods and funky bicycles and stuff. It's thin on detail, heavy on style, and the founders know how to party. Except that Matt Davis is no longer around. He died in early 2017 in Los Angeles after a long battle with his failing health. But DiCE is still where it's at for plenty of folk. We check in every once in a while.


The Great Frog, meanwhile, is one of those firms that's evidently been around for a long time, but we've never heard of it. That will perhaps shock some of you guys and girls, but you can't look everywhere at once—and like everyone else on the planet, we've got our own agenda.


Besides, we haven't got any use for jewellery, and that's what The Great Frog is all about. Established in "swinging" Carnaby Street, London, it seems that our froggy compatriots have been busy handcrafting gothic knuckle-duster rings and heavy metal body bling, and everyone who's anyone has bought one or two pieces (Jagger, Lemmy, Mickey Rourke, God, etc). The company has sprouted all over the planet, and at this moment (23rd July 2018) they're looking for a couple of jewellers, a couple of sales assistants and an office manager (so you can see where the money is these days).



Anyhow, the venue for this year's Assembly gathering was the House of Vans in Lambeth, London SE1 8SW; an über trendy brick, concrete and neon neverland catering to the needs and whims of skateboarders, artists, street culture-vultures and pretty much anyone with attitude and desperate for attention. The two images immediately above are from last year's show.


If you attended, you would have been faced with 50 of the "highest quality custom built choppers from around the world showcased for one weekend only." You would also have seen and probably enjoyed a chopper photography exhibition, visited a chopper retailer market, eyeballed a few curated cinema screenings, and spent some dosh at a motorcycle swap meet.


But like we said, we forgot to mention all that before the event happened and now it's too late. However, we're mentioning it now, and we'll try and do better next year. And we did mention last year's show before it happened.


So it goes...




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Andover Norton logo

Andover Norton Factory Open Day


Story snapshot:

One day social event comin' atcha

... and make sure you take a gander at the tractor


If you're a Norton rider you might be interested in this news item (if not, you'll perhaps want to look elsewhere, brother/sister). The skinny is that Andover Norton, which claims to be the world's largest producer of genuine/classic Norton spares (and that sounds like the truth), will be throwing open its doors on Saturday 28th July 2018 and inviting all you old Nortonians to come along and eat and talk and show what ya got. You can also meet the staff, check out a few display bikes, and take a gander at the tractor.


That's right.


The tractor, singular. That's what it says. This vehicle probably has some greater significance in the annals of Norton motorcycle history, but it means nothing to us [It's fitted with a Norton Industrial engine, dummy—Ed. See the image below].


Regardless, you can collect any "pre-ordered" spares (whatever the hell "pre-ordered" means), but it's a non-trading day. So don't expect staff to run around the aisles filling your parts needs. It's a purely social occasion, so attend on that basis, or not at all. And you'd better order double quick. You've got just a day or so to sort it out (and it's already Tuesday 24th July).


Norton tractor


You can find Andover Norton at Unit 4, Brunel Gate, Portway West Business Park, Andover, Hants SP10 3SL. And that's England, of course. The opening hours are 10am to 4.30pm—and there's some fabulous scenery in that part of the world. So if the weather holds, we recommend that you get out and play.


Finally, the press release doesn't specify that only Norton riders should attend. Consequently, we're taking this as a general invite—and wouldn't it be interesting 500 or so Triumph turned up for a burger and chin wag?


Might happen, if we make it happen.




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23rd July 2018      


1903: The Ford Motor Company

flogged its first car on this day 115 years ago. The car wasn't the famous Model T (which sold over 15 million units). Instead, it was a Model A built at Ford's Mack Avenue Plant in Detroit, and it was bought by a Chicago dentist. Unlike the Model T—which was supposedly available in any colour "as long as it was black"—the Fiat-powered Model A was manufactured only in red. The basic price was $750 which was considerably more expensive than many of its contemporaries, and it was anything but reliable. Regardless, it was a modest beginning that prompted Henry Ford to radically rethink his manufacturing ethos. He quickly shifted from a team building orthodoxy to mass production. And the top speed of the Model A? A heady 28mph.

1929: The Italian fascist government banned the use of foreign words and the teaching of foreign languages thereby establishing a policy of "Italianisation". The idea was simple enough. Italy had become a unified country, or nation state, in 1861. That was just 68 years earlier. In 1929, only 12% of the country spoke Italian (as we might understand it). The rest of the populace communicated in regional dialects and/or foreign languages. So Benito Mussolini made a shrewd move to stamp it out. Later, these ideas of censorship and language control would shift to the Spanish fascists, and that was perhaps where George Orwell (who in 1936 fought with the Republicans against Franco's Nationalists) developed his ideas for his dystopian novel, 1984.

1942: Treblinka Extermination Camp was formally opened by another bunch of fascists, notably the Nazis, and specifically the SS. Second only to Auschwitz in terms of the numbers killed, Treblinka (in north-east Poland) sent anything from 700,000 to 900,000 Jews, Romanis and homosexuals to their deaths—and this number includes many other groups and minorities who didn't fit the Germanic master race profile. Whilst no one with any true notion of civilised humanity would condone the mass executions and bestial treatment of the "chosen people", it's increasingly difficult not to have your sympathies tempered in the light of the current treatment of the Palestinian people in Israel.

1982: US actor Vic Morrow and two children (not his) are killed whilst filming an episode of The Twilight Zone. If you watched the movie The Blackboard Jungle (1955) starring Glenn Ford, you'll perhaps remember Morrow as one of the juvenile delinquent pupils. Or maybe you remember him from Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry (1974) starring Peter (Easy Rider) Fonda and Susan George. He also popped up everywhere on US TV shows and appeared in dozens of other films, notably Men In War (1957). How did the accident happen? Well it seems that whilst filming a Vietnam-era drama, some special effect explosions (or similar) negatively affected a hovering helicopter. The aircraft came down and ... well, we don't want to go there. It was nasty.  Vic Morrow was a great actor, and (in our opinion) underestimated.

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Vintage to Voltage "charity run"


Story snapshot:

London to Paris by Triumph and Zero

Four day trail ride


First, let's introduce the players. That's Julie Diplock on the left. She runs Elk Promotions which organises biking shows and autojumbles across Kent and Sussex. She's interested in motorcycles old and new, but has a particular interest in Velocettes generally, and her 92 year old Triumph Model P, specifically.


On the right is Carla McKenzie. She's the managing director of MYA Consulting based in Stroud, Gloucestershire. The business specialises in giving advice to the hotel and catering industry. She's also the owner of a Zero electric motorcycle.


These two women have recently hitched upon the idea of riding from Westminster, London to Paris, France. More specifically, the dynamic duo are planning to ride the trails as much as possible and leave the tarmac well alone. The limiting factor, distance wise, is the range of the Zero. Fully charged, it's good for around 70 miles or so depending on how it's ridden. So the 286-odd mile journey is likely to take around four days.


The beneficiaries of the ride are three charities:


The Lt Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust (DDMT) which offers support and assistance to soldiers who are currently serving, or have served, in the Armed Forces.


The Kent, Sussex, and Surrey (KSS) Air Ambulance.


The Joan Seeley Memorial Trust which provides pain relief and medical equipment for hospitals and hospices throughout the UK.


Finding petrol for the Triumph might not be too difficult (and Julie can haul a spare gallon or two for emergencies). But the Zero will need a few charging points along the way—which underlines the current weakness of electric bikes. As such, we recommend that the girls either carry a tow rope, or stick a spare battery pack on the Model P. We're also advised that "the trip will highlight the evolution of the motorcycle over the past century."





Yes, the girls have swapped bikes for a change. The press release, we note, didn't actually explain that there will be four other riders in this group. That's mentioned only on the "giving" page. But two girls on the move arguably gets a bigger headline, wouldn't you say?



The start date is 18th September 2018. The finish date is expected to be on 21st September 2018. And if all that sounds worthy, we ought to mention that there's another angle here that bears deeper exploration. Specifically, some more cynical folk might say that doing something that you like to do, and then hanging a charitable hat on it hugely diminishes the philanthropic credibility.


It's the difference between, say, being sponsored to clear a filthy canal for the RSPCA, Red Cross or the local hospice, and sitting on your sofa all summer drinking beer and watching movies for Mencap, Oxfam and Barnados.


We're not doubting that there are genuinely good intentions at the heart of this, but hardcore charitable work has more lasting benefits than a backwoods biking jolly from Blighty to France.


We know Julie Diplock, and we're sure that we'll upset her with this piece (can't speak for Carla, but we're guessing that she won't be smiling). Nevertheless, the biking world is full of charitable rides, runs and suchlike. And as we've said, the flip side of such benefaction deserves a closer look, if only to ensure that we get the balance right between serving the needs of others, and serving our private and personal needs.



But wait? Isn't it reasonable to get a little something for ourselves too when expending time, energy and enthusiasm for the needy and less fortunate? Well yes. Kind of. But real charity is its own reward, and when we put ourselves at the centre, the subject of our good intentions has to shift to the margins. And for many, that has a very sour taste.


Finally, we note that there were two web links on the press release that we received. One was a link to donate money. The other was a link to Carla McKenzie's consultancy business.


Let's leave it there, shall we?




See also:

Dambusters Charity Ride

Hope Classic Rally: All for charity


UPDATE (19/10/18): We're advised that so far £1,740 has been raised for the Kent, Surrey and Sussex Air Ambulance Trust and the Lt. Dougie Dalzell MC Memorial Trust (DDMT)—plus over £520 for Joan Seeley Memorial Trust, which will be presented to Colin Seeley at the Ardingly Bike Show on 28th October.


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2018 Brighton Speed Trial reminder. 1st September 2018. Entries open

Motorcyclist killed, two others injured. 2018 Devon Air Ambulance run

McQueen Vincent Black Lightning & Husqvarna to auction 6/10/2018

Travis Pastrana completes three Evel Knievel jumps in Las Vegas (yawn)

London bikers to be canvassed by police over security issues, 19/7/2018

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2019 New Zealand bike trip offer


Story snapshot:

Forget the British February ice and snow, it's sunny down under

Limited places left for this Kiwi motorcycle sojourn

It will happen in February 2019, it will last 4 weeks, it's open to any rider on any bike, and you need to book a place sooner rather than later.


It's being organised by the World Association of Triumph Owners Clubs (WATOC—not to be confused with The World Association of Theoretical and Computational Chemists) which has earmarked a shipping container and aims to fill it with bikes for a month long trip across New Zealand. Aside from great air, great roads, plenty of sunshine, friendly natives, miles of coastline and some of the best scenery on the planet, there will be biking events along the way.


One such event is the Burt Munroe Challenge in Invercargill. Another is the TOMCC National Rally in Hamner Springs. If you sign up, you'll be travelling on both the north and south islands.


Remember that February is roughly the equivalent of August in the UK, so leave your snow shoes at home. And note that they also drive on the left side of the road in NZ, British style.



The shipping firm engaged by the WATOC is, we understand, experienced in motorcycle transportation—and we should hope so. The ride is a not-for-profit venture, and the idea is to keep shipping costs below £700. Insurance is "optional", but we think it's essential. Your bike gear and camping gear can go in the container, and that tells you something about the kind of accommodation envisaged (but if you send your bike gear on the boat, what will you use when the ship's chugging through the Suez on a month long voyage?)


Anyway, this sounds like a pretty good way to spend February in the UK. Check the contact details below, and read a book on New Zealand and see if it suits your disposition and aspirations.


And here's an important note: You don't have to be part of the group tour. If you prefer, you can take advantage of the shipping container offer and then work out your own riding destinations, itinerary, accommodation, etc, and enjoy a solo trip, or ride two-up.


We'd take this trip ourselves, you understand. But who's gonna look after the UK while you're down under having fun?


Geoff Walton: 07473 090138



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Scomadi The Who scooter


The Who Limited Edition scooters


Story snapshot:

Scomadi announces marketing tie-up with top London "mod band"

British designed scooters are on song


No, the image immediately above ain't the design for a new range of scooters from Scomadi. That's just something we threw together in Photoshop, and that's because the new designs still haven't been finalised. Or, at least, released. But the story is on the loose, and we needed a suitable illustration. So we did what we had to do.


If you're unfamiliar with Scomadi, the company was formed in 2005 by Frank Sanderson (of Scooter Innovation Ltd) and Paul Melici of (PM Tuning Ltd). These guys are boasting 60 collective years riding hairdryers. They operate from Galgate, Lancashire (near Preston), and the scooters they design and market are manufactured in Thailand.



Paul Melici (left) and Frank Sanderson; the men behind Scomadi Scooters. The short history of this firm is long and complicated (and litigious) and involves Chinese company Hanway, Piaggio and Royalloy. Suffice to say that Scomadi is fighting a rearguard action in an effort to protect its interests. The Scomadi name, by the way, is derived from SCOoter MAnufacturing and DIstribution.



Apparently, the bikes were originally produced by the Chinese. However, the Chinese have chronically underdeveloped/dodgy business and intellectual property ethics and ... well, let's not go there. The upshot was that Scomadi cut the Chinese out of the loop and shifted production.


We don't need to tell you anything about The Who. But we will anyway because (a) we want to, and (b) it doesn't pay to take much for granted in this life.




The band was formed in 1964. The classic line-up (as per the image at the top of this news story) featured left to right Pete Townshend (guitarist of no mean talent), Keith Moon (drummer exceptionnel), Roger Daltrey (he can wail), and John Entwistle (ace bassman).


Everyone knows The Who is one of the greatest London bands ever (the others being The Stones and The Kinks). But until you take a long look at the back catalogue, it's easy to forget just how good The Who was. And is. Check this singles list:

My Generation (1965)

Substitute (1970)

Happy Jack (1966)

I Can See for Miles (1967)

I Can't Explain (1969)

Pinball Wizard (1979)

Won't Get Fooled Again (1971)

Squeeze Box (1975)

Who Are You (1978)

Join Together (1990)

I'm Free (1990)


And there's more.


Meanwhile, Pete Townshend also wrote the rock operas Tommy (1969) and Quadrophenia (1973), the latter of which became the musical backdrop for an entire generation. And yes, the 1979 movie Quadrophenia actually missed the mod era by a decade or so, but you'll be hard pressed to notice. It convincingly captures the mood, vibe, angst and spirit of those times, and is still one of the most watchable youth culture explorations ever—and there are one or two amusing biker moments worth another look.


Keith Moon (one of the most self-destructive personalities in rock music) died in 1978. John Entwistle died in 2002. Both Townshend and Daltrey have forged successful solo careers, and if you ask any number of current musicians to name their influences, The Who will be somewhere in the list—and in many cases near the top. There have been numerous band reunions, but we have no word on the next outing.


Understandably, The Who's name and style plastered over the side of a scooter is a real prize, and certainly Scomadi—which like many manufacturers in the current climate is struggling to develop sales and market penetration—could use the boost. The Who's marketing company, Bravado, will be handling details of the venture with, we hear, input from Daltrey and Townshend.



▲ Quadrophenia (1973). That's actor Phil Daniels on the bike. And check the faces in the mirrors (top to bottom): Townshend, Moon, Entwistle and Daltrey. The album is one of the soundtracks to our lives and is well worth another listen.



Scomadi began with a limited run of hand-built 250cc carbon fibre scooters. The present stable includes models ranging from 50cc, through 125cc to 250cc and 300cc. A 400cc bike is on the way and set for launch in October 2018. The current target is to ramp up production to 20,000 units per annum. Scomadi scooters are currently available in numerous world markets from Nepal to Australia to Colombia. And, of course, the UK and Europe.


If you fancy downsizing to small wheels, the new Scomadis with The Who branding are expected to be available this autumn (2018). We're hoping that this British company has plenty of miles yet to travel. Certainly, the management appears to have the right instincts.




See also: "Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction


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Morris Minor: 70 years on the road


Story snapshot:

Covers all models from 1948 - 1971

Also references the Morris Six and Morris Oxford


Britain's favourite classic car? You could make a very strong argument in favour of that suggestion—although fans of the Austin Seven and the BMC Mini might have something to say about that. But nobody, as far as we know, is arguing against the notion that the Morris Minor is both a great classic, and a legend in its own lifetime.


The design is rooted as far back as 1943 when (Sir) Alec Issigonis, famed for the creation of the aforementioned Mini, began work on a new "big small car" intended to revolutionise British motoring. That prototype was dubbed the Mosquito. The finished vehicle was finally launched as the Minor at the London Motor Show (Earls Court) in 1948. The basic price was £280 plus £78 purchase tax. And it was a sensation.


With its 918cc sidevalve engine, low level "transatlantic" headlights, split screen, independent front suspension and monocoque construction, Issigonis was largely developing design and engineering principles that were by no means new, but were the motoring exception rather than the rule.


Intended to accommodate "four adults between the wheels", the Minor was roomy enough to squeeze in a fifth passenger at a push. It was easy to drive, economical (by the standards of the day), airy, reliable, stylish and competitively priced.


Almost immediately, the frontal design was changed from low-level headlights to high-level. Why? Because the legislators in California, USA had recently mandated that all vehicles sold after 1st October 1949 must have headlights positioned "not more than 54-inches, nor less than 24-inches above the surface of the road upon which the vehicle stands". These dimensions were measured from the centre of the headlights.


Issigonis, we're told, was disappointed with the demand to revamp the design—perhaps even more disappointed than when his original concept of a flat-four engine was rejected by the board at Morris which favourite the straight four flathead. Nevertheless, the design was changed almost immediately to accommodate the Americans, but the low-level headlight styling continued in the UK until 1951.


The engine was upgraded in 1952 to an 803cc OHV in-line four. In 1958 a 948cc OHV engine arrived, and in 1962 that was enlarged to 1098cc. Over the years, the cars were offered as two door, four door, convertibles and estate cars.


The description "MORRIS MINOR STATION WAGON" sounds a little odd to British ears more acquainted with the term ESTATE CAR. But these Morris Minor Travellers were exported to numerous overseas markets including the US, and they were assembled overseas too in Australia, New Zealand and Malaysia. But the spiritual home is, of course, Cowley, Oxfordshire.



Written by Ray Newell and published by Veloce, this book is a substantial insight into the design, development and marketing of the Minor, and takes us into the hearts and minds of the men and women who built it, lived with it, and loved it—many of those from cradle to grave.


If you're not much of a reader, beware. The font size is fairly small, so reading glasses will be required, and there's plenty of text to wade through. Then again, there are also hundreds of illustrations, photos, original sketches, diagrams and adverts to study, and that makes it easy and enjoyable dipping into it every once in a while (Tip: keep it by the TV remote control device).


Beyond that, it's one of those books that makes you want to rush out and buy the product—and fortunately, of the 1,300,000 or so "Moggy Minors" that were built, there are still thousands on the road worldwide, many still in daily use, and one or two having covered phenomenal mileage. Meanwhile, there's a thriving industry out there capable of supplying the majority of parts for this car, straight off the shelf.



Newell's writing is straight-to-the-point and unflowery. The images are clear and colourful. The story of Morris and, it's successor, BMC is embedded in the tale. And we get numerous behind the scenes glimpses of factory work, all of which adds up to a pretty compelling package.


Here are the specifications:


Paperback • 25cm x 25cm • 192 pages • pictures
ISBN: 978-1-787112-07-0


If we have to criticise, which we do, we think this book deserves hard covers rather than soft covers. Beyond that, we've got no complaints. It just a great book that will appeal to owners of Morris Minors, and also to pretty much anyone else interested in becoming part of the vehicle's history.


Veloce Publishing is asking £35 plus P&P, and that's fair money. Hard to see how you won't feel happy with this purchase.




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1974 T150 Triumph Trident


When is a Hurricane not a Hurricane?


Story snapshot:

H&H 1974 Triumph T150 Trident with dubious provenance

But National Motorcycle Museum chief restorer has validated it


We ran a small news item on this motorcycle last month, and we don't recall that, at the time, there was any mention of this bike running a pre-production Triumph Hurricane engine. But there might have been. We miss a lot of stuff. Then again, we often harvest information from H&H Auctions (and other auction houses) when the listings are pretty basic and haven't been finalised. Frequently, we see that lot numbers haven't even been assigned, etc.


Either way, the "Hurricane" reference went by us. But we've since been contacted by a Sumpster questioning the authenticity of this bike, and we've got a lot of questions of our own that are unresolved.


Firstly, here's what H&H said about the bike:


• Matching numbers
• Restored with assistance from Colin Wall from National Motorcycle Museum, who believes it is a pre-production Hurricane engine in a MKI Trident
• Interesting history, built by Triumph employed road tester in period
• New carbs
• In running order
• Complete with old MOT's and associated paperwork
• Previously recorded as a 'Category C Insurance Loss' in 1998 & 1999




So we contacted Mark Bryan, motorcycle expert at H&H, and asked about the provenance of this machine. We explained that it's hard to see any Hurricane connection with this bike. We explained that, as far as we were aware, all Hurricane engines were BSA Rocket Three motors (canted forward 15 degrees). We explained that the bike looks to be a late 1960s (possibly 1970) T150 Trident. We explained that the Hurricanes were built in '72 and '73. We also highlighted our concern that this bike is listed as a 1974 machine. Could he explain all that?


Bryan pretty much repeated what was written on the firm's website, and he said that he couldn't see what our problem was regarding the provenance. So we explained that a genuine pre-production Hurricane engine would be of great interest to Hurricane or Triumph collectors. But this one simply doesn't look convincing. He said the bike was probably registered some time after the engine was manufactured, which is possible.


However, we batted it around a little and got nowhere. So we called the National Motorcycle Museum and spoke to director James Hewing.


First we explained our misgivings. Then we asked if we could speak with Colin Wall, chief restorer. Then we were told that Colin Wall works off-site, and we couldn't have his number. All enquiries, said Hewing, should go through him. Hewing said that he wanted to look into the matter personally, and Wall's number was private.


So we asked if Wall could contact us. The offer was refused.


So we asked for Wall's email address. That was also refused, and we were told that Wall is now in his late seventies, meaning that he wasn't really into email (we later checked and saw that Colin Wall has a Facebook page, and he can evidently manage that). We also suggested that if Wall was still the chief restorer, surely he could handle email?


Once again, we were blocked. But James Hewing promised to make his enquiries, and he came back quickly enough with the news that Colin Wall is standing by his claim. It all happened a long time ago, we were advised. Wall helped a friend build the bike. There was some mention of a Hurricane cylinder head. And ... well, that was it. A pre-production Hurricane engine in a T150 Trident frame—which doesn't satisfactorily explain the fact that the engine and frame numbers match, or the X75 suffix, etc.



We've since checked with numerous people who, we believe, know a lot about Triumph Hurricanes. It seems that the very early bikes (just a few) didn't carry the X75 suffix on the engine case and frame. They carried V75 (these were BSA engines, remember). The X75 suffix came later. The consensus was that this motorcycle is simply a bitsa with unreliable engine/frame numbers.


Nobody we spoke to has been able to point to a single component that's definitely from a genuine Hurricane, and we can't find anyone who can shed any further light on this. Nor have we been able to talk to Colin Wall or the person who built the Trident.


Meanwhile, the bike and the Hurricane claim is still on the H&H website, and the Trident comes up for sale on 26th July 2018 with an estimate of £10,000 - £12,000.


It might all be true. Then again ...


See also: H&H fake Indians sold


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It all sounds a bit far fetched and unsubstantiated to me. If the vendor can’t provide any guaranteed provenance for the story then it would seem anyone can claim any history they like on the slimmest of evidence. There are already plenty of ‘fakes’ out there; Thruxton Velos, Gold Stars, Rocket Gold Stars, Trophies, etc, etc. I personally know of one definite fake on display in a well known museum which has been claimed as original more than once by the proprietor. It’s a long story but involves a close family member, so I do know the ‘real’ facts of that machine's history. The real fact is suggesting provenance, history or whatever adds value, and where there’s money to be made there’s often a chancer. Park it over there with the others mate—The Village Squire

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Triumph Mechanic Workshirt

Sump Triumph Mechanic Workshirt


Story snapshot:

£26.99 long lasting cotton twill

Printed to order, usually within 7 days


These are a totally new product from Sump, and we've got a few others in the pipeline—so stay tuned to this channel. You already know what a Triumph is, and you know what a workshirt is, so you can figure out what's going on here. The shirts are 100% cotton twill, which means it's a tougher than usual weave and has all kinds of technical properties that makes it ideal for the garage or shed, or just for wearing to your favourite bike show.


The colour of the shirt is black, but we've brightened it a little to make it visible on the page, etc. The design (as you can see) appears on the rear of the shirt only in the traditional way, and the print quality is very good and will last until the shirt falls off in tattered threads—and that will be later rather than sooner.


We wear these shirts, and it's only a matter of time before we're all arrested for clothing abuse—meaning that these are holding up well, and so we're confident enough to market them on Sump. We're asking £26.99 plus P&P, but you can pay lots more if you want to. Sizes are SMALL to 4XL.


Check the link below and treat yourself to a clearer view and hit the BUY button when you're ready.


Okay, let's check out the Triumph Mechanic Workshirt

Also see: Sump workshirt

Also see: BSA workshirt


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Made in Poland Indians mooted


Story snapshot:

Trump's tariff war has also got Indian on the warpath

Harley-Davidson warns of "the beginning of the end"


It ain't exactly on the cards, but it ain't off the table either. In the wake of Harley-Davidson considering shifting production of Europe-bound bikes to India and/or Thailand [see Sump: Trump & Harley-Davidson Toe to Toe, June 2018], we have confirmation that Polaris Industries—which manufactures Indian Motorcycles—is mulling over the notion of shifting Europe-bound bike production to Poland.


According to Jess Rogers, Polaris spokeswoman, "Nothing is definitive. We're looking at a range of mitigation plans."


And "mitigate" is exactly the right word because much damage has already been done both politically and industrially as Harley-Davidson and Indian struggle to reconcile the balance sheets whilst staying faithful to its market.


Indian Motorcycles are currently built at the firm's Spirit Lake plant in Iowa. Around 650 people are employed there. The company also operates a plant in Opole, Poland where it manufactures off-road vehicles. Opened in 2014, the facility covers 345,000 square feet and is now considered mature. The factory can accommodate approximately 500 workers.


However, shifting motorcycle production to Poland would be expensive in terms of re-equipping the operation and hiring or re-training existing staff. And it would (arguably) be a lot more expensive in terms of brand devaluation. Indian Motorcycles are built in America. Full stop. Or so goes the boardroom, showroom and living room thinking. The notion of adulterating the 117 year heritage by shifting the focus to Europe (even for purely European marketed machines) is all but unthinkable. Nevertheless, the Polaris bean counters are having to do exactly that.


An additional concern is that midway through any relocation plans, Trump could simply change his mind forcing Indian (and Harley-Davidson) to change theirs.



How many Poles does it take to make a motorcycle? Sounds like another racist joke coming, but this one isn't funny. Not for Indian fans, anyway. The Poles, however, love motorcycles as much as anyone else and would no doubt build great machines. But that ain't the point. Meanwhile, is the truth simply that H-D and Indian have been presented with a great excuse to off-shore production and are now softening the market?




Triumph Motorcycles has already largely faced down this problem of "foreign manufacturer" and builds all of its Bonneville models in Thailand with no obvious/measurable/significant loss of sales. At least, any resultant sales losses are considered by Hinckley as acceptable.


Harley-Davidson, meanwhile, manufactures its Street 500 and Street 750 models (and other models in the range) in India. But these machines are aimed at the burgeoning Asian market where, it's believed, questions of production origination are of more limited importance. In fact, the idea of "home built" or (if you prefer) "native built" Harley-Davidsons is considered by many industrial pundits as a sales bonus in those peculiar markets.


Harley-Davidson has said that it will absorb any tariff costs thereby ensuring that in Europe (H-D's second biggest market after the USA) customers won't see any price rises. But the reality is that the firm simply won't be able to underpin this largesse indefinitely. Somewhere down the line hard choices will have to be made.


Indian is (arguably) in a stronger position. Bike sales are smaller than H-D, and Indian is backed by the huge Polaris organisation. Nevertheless, the Polish option is being publicly considered—if only as an implied threat to Trump that his "Made in America" mantra could turn very hollow.


Last words go to Harley-Davidson which has recently been quoted as saying that building European-bound bikes overseas will be "the beginning of the end."


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2018 Festival of Bikes


2018 Oily Rag Co Festival of Bikes


Story snapshot:

Display bikes are still being sought

£10 visitor tickets for either or both days (Saturday & Sunday)


The above poster will tell you most of what you need to know. Festival of Bikes Show. 8th and 9th September 2018—not to be confused with the Festival of 1000 Bikes. But the underlying story is simply that the organisers are looking for more display bikes of all disciplines; i.e. bobbers, cafe racers, chops, modern classics, etc. There's an email link below, so do what you have to do. You're asked to initially send a photo of your bike for consideration.


If you're planning to attend as a visitor, tickets are £10 for either day, and if you visit on the Saturday, that ticket will be good for a return visit on the Sunday. Additionally, you can buy a ticket online and enjoy a 20% discount.


The headline sponsor, as you can see, is Oily Rag Co. Cheltenham Town Hall is the venue (Imperial Square, Cheltenham GL50 1QA). And we're advised that all the display bikes will be under cover.


Good enough?





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Netley Eurojumble


"Netley" & Beaulieu 2018 reminder


Story snapshot:

Carole Nash is sponsoring the 25th Eurojumble event

Usual date clash with Beaulieu


No, we ain't in cahoots with The Empire (i.e. Mortons). But details of this event came down the wire a day or two ago, and because it's scheduled for 31st August/1st September, it sobered us up a little and reminded us that with the solstice out of the way, the end of Summer is already in sight and will have come and gone before we know it. And chances are that none of us would have done even half of what we planned to do, or been half the places we meant to go.


And we're enjoying this Summer.


So we thought we'd give this event an extra plug (it's on our events page), not least because Mortons also had the foresight to supply a few pictures (see image immediately above—with the dreamy like blur that for no obvious reason we Photoshopped in) and made the effort to get noticed, etc.


We haven't been to "Netley" for years (officially Eurojumble). The last time we attended we were in two minds about whether we enjoyed it. Generally, the show had a tired feel—or maybe that was just us projecting our usual discontent with the world or something. You get days like that?


Anyway, we're advised by regular goers that there's still some good stuff being thrown up at Netley, but the dealers always slip in quick and early and grab the best bits, and there ain't much you can do about that except suck it up. Maybe Mortons should review that policy?


You've just seen the dates, and that will be a Friday and a Saturday. If you plan to attend, Mortons want you to get in touch and book a ticket or something. However, if you turn up at the gate with cash, think they'll turn you away?



Meanwhile, the car-focussed Beaulieu Autojumble is set for 1st & 2nd September 2018, meaning that, as ever, there's some overlap with Netley. That's always struck us as a little odd because it drains much of the energy out of the Mortons event. But what the hell do we know? Probably makes it more convenient for long distance travellers who want to cram as much as possible into the weekend, of course, and maybe Mortons needs to cling to Beaulieu just to keep this event going.

Anyway, Beaulieu (just down the road from Netley Marsh) is boasting 2,000 jumble stands and the largest crowd of autojumblers on this side of the Atlantic. Bonhams will be there flogging vehicles and motorbilia. Check the link below for event details.


Telephone: 01507 529529




UPDATE: We've just noticed that the Beaulieu Autojumble is carrying a TBC (To Be Confirmed) notice. So better check nearer the day.


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Honda Datatool TrackKING offer



Honda's free Datatool TrakKING offer


Story snapshot:

Buy a new bike and get tracked by a satellite

Existing Honda riders haven't been overlooked


Buy a new Honda from July 2nd 2018, and Honda will wire-in at no extra charge a Datatool TrakKING device supposedly capable of quickly locating 90% of stolen motorcycles. Meanwhile, if you've already got yourself a Honda, you can visit your local dealer and get a TrakKING fitted at a discounted rate.


The Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA) is taking much, if not all of the credit for this. But the fact is, the MCIA has been woefully slow, if not completely flaccid and impotent in tackling the chronic problem of motorcycle theft. And Sump, along with other biking magazines, has been banging on about this for years to little or no avail.



We were secretly hoping that Triumph would take the initiative on this—and hoping too that Hinckley would take it a stage further by providing bikes with an entirely new range of security devices. But maybe Honda's move will encourage the other manufacturers to match this offer.


Underlying this, however, is the current "scooter crime epidemic" which has rattled plenty of cages in Whitehall and London's City Hall and is throwing a very bleak light on the motorcycle community as a whole. And the cops, understandably, already have enough crime and terrorism issues to deal with and are looking to the bike manufacturers to ante up.


The TrakKING software follows a motorcycle in real time and allows an owner reliable playback both in the event of a theft, or just for fun, etc. The coverage extends across Western Europe, and the Datatool kit is accessible via both IOS and Android smartphones. The only maintenance cost to riders is a £10 per month subscription to Datatool. And that's cheap. And if you want some reassurance on the fitness of the kit, we hear that the rozzers and Thatcham both approve it (whatever that's worth to you).


Buy British, we're fond of saying. But not this time.


See also: Sump police watch bike cover

See also: Bike theft petition

See also: Scooter gangs face new response

See also: The answer to bike-jacking & theft?


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Hi Sump, the motorcycle trade has for years been fobbing us off with very poorly secured bikes, and we've been mug enough to keep buying them. I'm about to test ride with a view to buying a new Triumph Speedmaster and I shall be asking some very pointed questions about security, and if I'm not happy (which I'm sure I won't be), I won't be buying. Not yet anyway. Everyone should punish the bike trade like this and send a message to the complacent manufacturers. Bike theft can be almost entirely eradicated.—Robbie Darrow, Bristol

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