When is a fake not a fake? H&H Auctions prompted this question with the firm's recent press release highlighting the latest Brough Superior "restoration" (or de-restoration?) by marque specialist Simon Miles. We're advised that this old master (Lot 170) was meticulously re-worked using as many old parts as possible in order to maintain that time-worn and authentic patina. Some would rightly say that it's nothing new. Thousands of bikers (including us) have been doing this forever, usually due to depleted funds rather than artistic bent. Meanwhile, the fake ageing of motorcycles, cars, guitars, furniture and oil paintings has long been part of the dedicated forger's arsenal. Some creations are crafted to deceive. Some are more honest homages. But does it matter? And do we really care? Either way, this 1932 680cc Brough Superior Black Alpine will be going under the hammer on 30th July 2019 at the National Motorcycle Museum Sale. The estimate is £100,000 - £150,000. Now how's that for fake news?


July 2019  Classic bike news

Motorcycle news | Biking headlines | Latest motor bike stories | Press


Motorcycle news

Poet's Corner: 1959

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Incoming: nuclear hype from BMW!!

Harrison OK-Supreme to auction

2019 Brighton Speed Trials date

February 2019 Classic Bike News

H&H upcoming auctions reminder

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Peter Halsten Thorkelson: 1942 - 2019

Charterhouse February 2019 results

59 Club May ride-outs to St Paul's

Nippy Normans "handy" airline tool

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New classic car metal garage signs

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Australian cops speed camera poser

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Henry Cole wants your shed

London Classic Car Show 2019

Christopher Chope's FGM backlash

Albert Finney: 1936 - 2019

International Motobécane gathering

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Charterhouse Auctions reminder

Bud Ekins' Husqvarna MX360 Viking

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Henry Cole's Motorbike Show returns

Oxford Bradwell wax cotton jacket

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A blue plaque for Rex McCandless

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Weise®  Boston Jeans tried & tested

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Andy Tiernan 2019 charity calendar

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Charles Geoffrey Hayes: 1942 - 2018

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2019 Street Twin & Scrambler boost

Two Wheeled Tuesdays invitation

Bonhams Alexandra Palace Sept Sale

NextBase 312GW dashcam tested

Charles Nicholas Hodges

Suzuki Motorcycles from Veloce

2019 BMW R1250GS & R1250RT
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Oxford Products Kickback Shirt

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Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled

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Comet Classics Open Day

H&H Auctions seeking consignments

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June 2018 Classic Bike News

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Trump & Harley-Davidson toe to toe

"Governator's" Harley-Davidson sold

Car Builder Solutions recommended

Dirtquake VII 2018 at Arena Essex
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Mecum Auctions at Monterey 2018
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Grip-Tite Sockets, tried & tested
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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

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New London-Brighton Run route

April 2018 Classic Bike News

Bonhams Spring Stafford results

Royal Enfield Interceptor NMM raffle

60th International Motor Scooter Rally

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Carole Nash's dangerous roads

An Austin Anthology from Veloce

Bonhams Stafford Sale reminder

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Bradford Dillman: 1930 - 2018

Stolen Vincent Comet & BSA Bantam
Spirit of '59 Triumph Bonnevilles
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Autonomous Tesla claims a cyclist

Motor insurance premiums fall

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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

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New BSA M20 "Blueprint" T-shirt

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Calling British spares manufacturers
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Sump news archive



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1932 Brough Superior Black Alpine


H&H NMM sale tops £1.3 million


Story snapshot:

Plenty of "bargain" bikes sold (and not sold)

Definite signs of cooling in the classic bike market


Unsurprisingly, the top selling lot at the latest H&H sale on 30th July 2019 was the immediately above 1932 Brough-Superior Black Alpine (Lot 170). The sale happened yesterday at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, West Midlands where the Brough sold for £118,125. The estimate was £100,000 - £150,000 which gave H&H plenty of latitude for anticipating the hammer price.


Brough Superior log book


Registered for the road as TV 7124, this "de-restored" 680cc V-twin (see Sump Classic Bike News July 2019) was at one point (1934) the property of none other than George Brough whose name is listed on one of the five "log books" supplied. The petrol tank and gearbox, we're told, is original, and the numbers match.


Originally there were 313 lots in the sale of which 5 were withdrawn. Of the remaining 308 lots, 77 didn't sell. That (according to our dodgy maths) suggests a 75 percent conversion rate, which is pretty good.


But underlying that are plenty of bikes that sold for low money. So okay, H&H was in many instances pretty conservative with its estimates. Nevertheless, we found numerous machines that just a few years ago would have commanded significantly higher prices. We're talking about 20 - 30 percent higher in some instances.


Check out these bikes...


1976 Triumph T160 Trident


Lot 195, for instance, was a 1976 750cc Triumph T160 Trident. The estimate was £6,000 - £8,000 which is reasonable at, or near, the top end of those numbers. We would have expected around £7,500. This, after all, was advertised as a two owner re-import in running order. Certainly, in recent years we've seen decent T160s hit £8,000 - £9,000, and even higher asking prices for pristine examples fitted with "sensible" mods. But this example sold for £6,750.


1973 T150 Trident


Of course, we weren't there on the day. So we can mark this sale as just a good bargain for a bidder in the right place at the right moment. However, we also see two T150 Triumph Tridents that sold for lower prices than they might have just a few seasons ago. One was Lot 224, a 1973 US/Export specification machine which carried an estimate of £4,000 - £5,000. It sold for £5,062.50.


This red and black re-import (image immediately above) needs re-commissioning, but the engine/frame numbers match, and it's pretty much all there. So we would have expected much closer to six grand plus a little change. And as if to consolidate the relatively low prices, another 1973 750cc T150V (see image immediately below), also a matching numbers bike from the USA, carried a £5k - £6k reserve but sold for just £4,837.50. All cheap Tridents, we say—and great bikes when they're on song.


1973 T150V Triumph Trident


1979 Triumph Bonneville T140E


Meanwhile, the immediately above 1979 750cc Triumph Bonneville T140E (Lot 225) was staring at a reasonable £4,000 - £5,000 estimate, but changed hands for just £3,375 which is, or at least was, Tiger Cub money. The numbers match, by the way, and it appears to be from the same US re-import batch. And the bike looks fairly sorted (subject to some fettling). But three grand plus a few hundred is the kind of money you'd pay ten—or even fifteen—years ago for a half decent T140.


1978 Triumph T140D


If more evidence is needed, a slightly ropey (but not seriously damaged) 1978 750cc T140D Bonnie Special (Lot 228) with matching numbers sold for just £2,475. That's sub-basement entry level for anyone wanting to get a leg over a T140. Yes, it looks like it would suck up £1,000 or so in work and parts. But spread over a few months that's a good and easy project for someone.


1954 Ariel Huntmaster


And it's not just Triumphs in the bargain bin. Check out the immediately above 1954 650cc Ariel Huntmaster FH and Watsonian sidecar (Lot 117). The estimate was a fairly modest £5,500 - £6,500, and it sold for £5,850. A few seasons back, however, we would have expected £7,000. Maybe £7,250. But this example fell short of six.


That said, we might point out that the bike (purists look away) is running a front disc conversion, but the original wheel/brake is included in the sale. And it's an older restoration (which is code for "a little tatty in places"). But we still think that the sale price indicates a cooling of maybe 10 - 15 percent. Meanwhile, a clean looking mildly modified 1959 650cc Ariel Huntmaster (Lot 128) sold for just £2,925 (the estimate here was a conservative £2,500 - £3,500).


Moving on, a 1971 Norton Hi-Rider (Lot 119) sold for £5,512 which sounds a little mean perhaps. But re-commissioning is required. And at the very least it perhaps suggests that the H-Rider still hasn't attracted much interest from Norton collectors. Almost no one wants these bikes in their chopperesque guise, and few appear to have much enthusiasm for converting them to more conservative specifications.


1963 BSA D7 Bantam


There were numerous other examples of "bargain" bikes, including a clean 1963 175cc BSA Bantam D7 Super (Lot 235) pictured immediately above. Estimated at £1,000 - £1,500, it sold for £1,068.75. That's arguably around forty to fifty percent less that the asking prices of a few years ago—and in terms of practicality, we think that's a more realistic price for a Bantam, as much as we love 'em.


Suzuki Titan 500cc


But whoahh! There were still plenty of examples of bikes making relatively big money—or, at least, holding their own. The immediately above 1973 500cc Suzuki Titan (Lot 51) sold for £5,175 (est: £4,000 - £5,000). Some would say that this "show winning" example should have fetched slightly more; maybe £6k. But it's a fair price, we think—although we're still waiting to see when the great explosion of classic Jap bike prices is actually going to happen.


Some other lots that caught our eye...


1921 Rudge Multi

1921 350cc Rudge Multi (Lot 79). £8k - £10k estimate. Sold for £10,125


1970 Honda CB750 KO

1970 Honda CB750 KO (Lot 44). £18k - £20k estimate. Sold for £20,250


1959 BSA A10 cafe racer

1959 650cc BSA A10 cafe racer (Lot 132). £3k - £4k est. £3,037.50


1949 Vincent Black Shadow

1949 998cc Vincent Black Shadow (Lot 158). £90k - £110k? Not sold


1928 Norton 16H

1928 Norton 16H (Lot 167). £10k - £12k estimate. Sold for £24,150



Overall, H&H will be reasonably pleased given the generally slow trading market through which we're wading. The sale, we're advised, totalled £1.2 million.


Early 650cc unit Triumphs are still holding up well at £10k plus, and BSA DB Goldies are where they were a few years back (which can be seen as good or bad depending on your point of view). But there's definite cooling in the classic bike market. So if you're selling, you might want to revise your expectations a little—and we advise against rushing to sell. That's a surefire way to further lower prices, and it probably isn't necessary. Classic bike prices are down generally, but there's no need to panic. There are constant adjustments in the market that can easily distort viewpoints, including ours. And the normal whims of fashion play a part here.


Meanwhile, if you're buying-to-ride (as opposed to store and invest), happy days seem to be returning.


So ride on, friend...


UPDATE: Note that all posted prices are hammer prices plus 12% commission, but don't include UK VAT @ 15% on that commission (not applicable to bikes bought by overseas buyers)



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"Secret Triumph Daytona" to auction


Story snapshot:

Test rig Trumpet (allegedly) escapes the Hinckley net

Estimated to sell for £10k - £12k


When you get to a certain age you never really know what to believe, if anything. You've long since learned that most news is essentially fake and that there are X-number of sides to every story. Which is why—if you're like us—you treat pretty much everything with warm doubt and cold suspicion. And so it is with the back story to this 1997 Triumph Daytona that's set to be sold at the next H&H auction at the National Motorcycle Museum on Tuesday 30th July 2019.


We're hearing that this was a test bike built to evaluate a new chassis designed for the T595 Daytona. Frame maestros Harris Engineering was the outfit summoned to create the (heavyweight) steel trellis. And in fact, Harris created three. However, Hinckley Triumph was said to be unhappy with the result (probably due to the weight) and decided to take another route. In doing so, the Big T consigned this one to the crusher (the other two frames were, apparently, destroyed).


However, the bike (together with a few other machines) had inadvertently been despatched from the factory and sent to a nearby dealer to facilitate "trials and comparisons" with rival motorcycles built by other manufacturers.


Still with us?


Well, somewhere along the way the test rig was "bought through the back door" and had its Speed Triple engine Dyno-tuned. Triumph Motorcycles, goes the story, was very unhappy about it and tried to block the project. But that failed, and now the bike is going to be sold, much to the further annoyance of Triumph. The estimate is £10,000 - £12,000, and the bike is registered in the UK and ready for use on the roads.


Is any of this true? We don't know, but there are certainly lots of questions arising—and lots of points in the press release that aren't clear. For instance, how exactly did the bike get to be sold "through the back door"? And are we really talking about a complete bike built by Hinckley, or just the chassis? And what's the current legal position regarding ownership? And are there any challenges to that ownership? And is any of this really significant and worth £10k upward? And while we remember, what's on TV tonight?



The auction will perhaps sort out the value of this bike, and if the story is true, and if Triumph is really unhappy, Hinckley can stick someone in the room with a bag full of cash. Bloor's got deep commercial and private pockets. Meanwhile, there's the added concern here that someone, somewhere is being tacitly libelled by this tale, or at least misrepresented. So we ought to make it clear that we've got no info regarding anything illegal or nefarious going on, etc, and no one is naming names. But we wouldn't want to get involved in this at any price.


MCN, by the way, wrote a piece on this motorcycle (or motorcycle frame) back in July 1997. But as we've said, these days we question all news sources and take little at face value.


There are some other considerations here that reside in a place where we're simply not going. But if you're interested in the bike (Lot 108, incidentally), our advice is to ask some very pointed questions before you put in a bid.


UPDATE: There's conflicting information on the press release stating that the frame was in fact developed for the T509 Triumph, not the T595. Certainly, that agrees with the MCN story.


UPDATE 2: The bike didn't sell.



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The Bike Shed new event at Lydden Hill, Kent, 4th - 6th October 2019

Carole Nash Insurance leaks "accident prone" UK postcodes. Wise? Not?

London Met Police trialling night vision drones to target speedsters

June 2019 11,643 bikes sold UK. Down 1,446 compared to June 2018 

CRF1100L Africa Twin - SD09

CRF1100L Africa Twin (SD09) mooted for 2020. 86cc increase

MV Agusta/Loncin: new deal for low capacity bikes by 2021. No details


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Curtiss Hades


Curtiss Motorcycles Hades concept


Story snapshot:

Yet another CAD concept electric bike thingy

Except that this one, we're told, will be with us next year



Try not to fall asleep during this news story because there's an outside chance that something might actually come of it somewhere down the line.


We've injected this note of well-tempered caution into our report because what you're looking at isn't a fully-formed ready-for-production motorcycle. Instead, it's yet another CAD rendering, this being of an electric roadster that's supposedly going to be ride-ready in 2020 at a cost of around $75,000.


Curtiss reckons that there will be 217hp on tap with 147lb-ft of torque—which, coincidentally, are the same numbers as suggested for the firm's V8 Hera concept released a few weeks ago (see further down this page).


Here at Sump we're not sure how to view this concept. Steampunk? Nouveau baroque? Or just plain confused? Either way, we're reserving judgement until we see an actual example as opposed to a virtual.


Meanwhile, the Hades' designer—a certain JT Nesbitt—has been quoted as saying (wait for it....):


"We have a deep and abiding respect for materials. Our goal with Hades is to build the least wasteful machine possible. This not only applies to how the motorcycle operates, but also how it is constructed. Most of the parts on the machine serve more than one purpose. Like Miles Davis, we’re playing the fewest possible notes to convey the emotion. That’s minimalism."


Now is that a quote worth repeating? Or is that a quote worth repeating? Miles Davis fans step forward...


Check here for a larger image of the Curtiss Hades




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Good time to buy a Piaggio scooter or MP3

Dealer Jack Machin retires

Call for clampdown on fake helmets

MCIA 'heartened' by DfT road safety statement


Euro study says MCs are the worst transportation form, socially speaking

Gasoline vehicle bans coming and motorcycling isn't ready

We might have more new riders if bikes weren't all manual


Starting to ride: Giving the Suzuki its first wash

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New Top Gun trailer features a pair of Kawasaki Ninjas

Motorbike tyre advice: know your bike's boots

Honda CB750: The world's first superbike turns fifty


Government proposes changes for safer riding

Top 10 300-400cc scooters (2019)


The best naked bikes of 2019

Trucker saves baffled scooter rider on M27

Shameful trade in fake crash helmets

Six ways to keep cool when riding your motorbike this summer


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Mecum Monterey Sale, August 2019


Story snapshot:

Cool Zündapp K800 is on the auction list

... and check out the rare 1928 Neander


If you're into art deco and motorcycles, the next Mecum Auction at Monterey, California is offering a treat in the shape of the above 1937 Zündapp K800 (Lot R284). Mecum's website images fail to do it justice, but this motorcycle is to BMW what Armani is to Moss Bros.


Manufactured between 1933 and 1938, only 550 of these flat fours were built. That's right. Flat four, not flat twin. With a capacity of 800cc (798cc), Zunderund Apparatebau GmbH created a masterpiece of motorcycle engineering; one that was rooted in 1933 when designer Richard Küchen crafted an unusual design concept featuring an all-chain 4-speed gearbox terminating with a shaft final drive.


That bike, boasting a 398cc flat twin sidevalve engine, was the first of the K-Series Zündapps and was badged as the K400. A 496cc K500 was also offered which in 1936 was joined by the OHV KS500 and KS600.



The K800 was introduced as a tourer/sidecar hack and was considered very refined, smooth, reliable and stylish. The frame was pressed steel. The engine/gearbox was in unit, with shifting by hand. The girder fork was nothing radical, but it was acceptable for the era. Braking was just okay.


You can think of this bike as the Gold Wing of its day, but it's a thin comparison when you consider how this machine was cutting edge as opposed to the more workaday (albeit worthy) design of the original Wings.


Fritz Neumeyer founded Zündapp in Nuremberg in 1917. The venture enjoyed backing from Friedrich Krupp AG (the huge German armaments manufacturer) and Thiel (machine tools). Originally, weaponry was one of the firm's chief products. But in peacetime the company also produced microcars, scooters, mopeds, aircraft engines and sewing machines. And interestingly, Zündapp and Ferdinand Porsche conceived and built a prototype "car for everyone" or "people's car" six or seven years before Volkswagen cornered the name—but it should be pointed out that the "people's car" concept can be attributed to many other manufacturers, not least Henry Ford who gave the world the redoubtable Model T.


Zündapp collapsed in 1984, but the brand is now owned by a Chinese firm (Xunda Motor Co) which currently produces small capacity and electric motorcycles/three wheelers.



Moving on, you can be forgiven for not immediately recognising the above motorcycle. This rare and very sophisticated bird is a 1928 500cc Neander, the handiwork of a certain Ernst Neumann who began his career as a commercial artist in Munich, Germany.


Following a meeting in Paris with some of the most influential men in the automotive world (such as it was at the turn of the 20th century), Neumann was sufficiently inspired to create a firm of his own.


Founded in Düren in 1926, Neander Motorfahrzeug GmbH was nothing if not an original-thinking company ready and willing to experiment with novel designs and advanced concepts, many of which featured pressed steel or aluminium beam frames and a front fork arrangement that switched back and forth via a spring box located beneath the headstock. Engines were supplied by Villiers, Küchen, JAP and Motosacoche and ranged in capacity between 122cc and 996cc.



This example features the rare 496cc Küchen overhead-camshaft single-cylinder engine, a design that acquitted itself on the local racetracks of the age and was good for around 75mph. The ride was said to be stable and predictable, so much so that in 1929 the Neander frame design was licensed to Opel which subsequently produced the Opel Club. Overall, around 2,000 Neanders are thought to have been built. The firm (Neander) closed in 1929. Neumann left the automotive industry, returned to painting, and died in 1954 aged 83.


Mecum Auctions hasn't posted an estimate for this bike (Lot R283), and we've no idea what it might make on the day. The bikes rarely come up for auction, and although much respected (especially in the German classic market), this motorcycles commands a relatively small, but dedicated, commercial buying pool. But we can tell you that in 2008 Bonhams sold a similar looking MAG (Motosacoche Acacias Genève) powered P31 V-twin for a little over £31,000.



As a sidenote, in 1929 Fritz Von Opel strapped a brace of rockets on a Neander and looked to grab the world speed record—which didn't happen, largely due to safety concerns. But this Opel Raketen Motorrad went on the tour circuit and for many years wowed European crowds. Later, Von Opel developed a rocket powered car, Rak 2, and a rocket propelled handcart, Rak 3 that ran on rails. These vehicles hit 148mph and 158mph, respectively.


Other Mecum lots include:


Lot R286: 1963 Bultaco TSS 125, 125cc, 6-Speed

Lot R539: 2014 Lotus C-01, 1195cc, 6-Speed

Lot T38: 1936 BSA Y13 OHV V-twin

Lot R421: 1914 Flying Merkel V-Twin, 1000cc

Lot R414: 1914 Indian Board Track Racer, 8-Valve 61ci


The auction date is 15th - 17th August 2019. The venue is the Hyatt Regency Monterey Hotel and Spa, Del Monte Golf Course 1, Old Golf Course Road, Monterey, CA 93940.


At the time of writing, we count 54 lots in this sale.




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Gift T-shirts for motorcyclists


Great news! T-shirt prices are up!


Story snapshot:

You get what you pay for

Repeat: you get what you pay for


The good news is that we've raised the prices of many of Sump's cool and casual biker T-shirts. And that's good because we've also raised the quality with better stock, better printing and more durable colours. And there are other improvements here and there, mostly related to quality control.


BAD-ASS BIKER T-shirtConventional orthodoxy, however, suggests that we keep prices way down and/or offer everything on discount. That's what pretty much everyone else does in a slower-than-usual market.


But that's no recipe for long term viability. You have to be realistic. Besides, we figure that you guys and gals are prepared to pay for quality, and someone has to foot the bill—and we don't flog anything that feel is poor value for money.


So we've hiked the quality, and we've upped the prices to match—generally by around 5 percent to 10 percent. No more than that.


Royal Enfield Ride The World T-shirtThat said, one or two items are exactly the same price today as they were yesterday. But when these stocks are depleted, we'll be ordering improved replacements with slightly higher sales tags—assuming, that is, that we decide to keep that particular line on the shelves.


Which we might not.


So take a look at the Sump shop. There are plenty of tees there (plus some other interesting classic bike goodies), and there's pretty much something for everyone—and our prices are still great value. See for yourself.


And if you spot which prices are slightly higher, be grateful for it. Meanwhile (as ever), if you want rubbish or poor quality knock-offs, try eBay, Amazon et al.


At Sump we've got standards to maintain, ya know?




I see you say nothing whatever about ensuring that the people who actually make the things and generally are paid derisory wages, have to endure appalling working conditions and suffer oppressive bosses are looked after.—Best wishes, Ian Soady
Editor's note: You’re right. We said nothing about all that. That’s because it was a story about T-shirt price rises, not a piece about worker "exploitation" in the third world. That would be a different story. We said nothing about a lot of other things that people might want us to say. T-shirt chemicals polluting the environment. Ethical disposal of worn out T-shirts. Equal rights for gays and transexuals in the T-shirt industry. Third world debt. Etc. Etc. Pretty much everyone knows that in many places worldwide, workers are badly paid. We don’t much like that, but we can’t control everything (as much as we’d want to). We have to accept certain realities and hope things improve for everyone. And occasionally we write news stories about oppressed minorities and suchlike. We do what we can (and we've given your hobby horse space to graze right here, right now). But this isn’t Amnesty International or Greenpeace or Action Aid or the UN. This is Sump. You could argue that we help keep people in the third world fed and clothed by selling the product they create. Yes, they ought to earn more. But as we said, there are things that we can’t do much about. It’s an unfair world. However we can see that you feel strongly about this. So if you send us, say, ten pounds we’ll be happy to pass it onto our T-shirt supplier and ask them to forward it to someone appropriate in the third world. Of course, it’s possible that our supplier will simply trouser the money. But we’re prepared to have a go if you will. What do you say?

There is possibly some irony that the method Ian Soady communicated his support for the under paid & oppressed of the world was probably via a device made by . . . the under paid & oppressed of the world. It’s tough to be a preux chevalier in these modern times, eh? —Tim

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Elvis Presley and Harley-Davidson Electra Glide


Elvis's Electra Glide goes to auction


Story snapshot:

The sale date is 31st August 2019

One car and a pick-up truck also belonging to Elvis must go


Three items of automobilia that were once the property of "The King of Rock'n'Roll" are to go under the hammer on 31st August 2019—and yes, we know that Chuck Berry is the real king of that particular musical genre, but the weight of public opinion appears to be against us.


The three lots are a 1976 Harley Davidson FLH 1200 Electra Glide (said to be the last motorcycle bought by Elvis); a 1973 stretched Lincoln Continental (complete with a TV set and other amenities); and a GMC pickup truck (one of three that Presley purchased in 1967 for his Circle G Ranch in Mississippi).


The items are all part of Kruse GWS Auctions' "Artefacts of Hollywood Sale" which includes lots that once belonged to the likes of Steve McQueen (possibly the world's most famous biker); James Dean (famous among bikers as a kindred spirit); Judy Garland (who didn't have much to do with biking, if anything) and Marilyn Monroe (who would have been welcome on the back of one or two of our motorcycles).


The information on this sale is, at best, sketchy. And because we haven't got time to waste hunting any more around the auction house's klunky website, we'll leave you to follow the link below and find out what else you need/want to know. Beverly Hills appears to be the location of the auction. But better check if you want to attend, etc.


Finally, we can tell you that the Harley-Davidson is being offered with the original bill of sale that was made out to Elvis. We hear that the bike belonged to "The King" until about three months before he died when he sold it to a bike dealer (which arguably takes the edge of any acquisition). The Electra Glide has been on display at the Pioneer Auto Museum in Murdo, South Dakota, since the late 1980s.


Elvis Presley (1935 - 1977) died aged just 42—which seemed reasonably old when it happened, but now seems like no age at all.


Such is life.


And death.





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Auction fever

What am I bid for this classic fuel tank?
Start me off at thirty quid
Thank you, Sir, this thing's a bargain
Now do I hear a counterbid?

Has some holes but could be soldered
Chrome is thin, but not worn through
Just weld the tabs and slap some filler

Coat of paint and good as new


Sold for twenty! Moving onward

Here we have a Goldie frame

Headstock's cracked, and lugs are missing

But scrapping this would be a shame

C'mon gents, do I hear fifty?
Forty then? Cheap at the price
Thirty? Done! And now some girders
Bent and rusty, but still quite nice


And how about these classic wheel rims?

Nearly matching at a glance

Quick re-spoke and scrape the worst bits

Sorry, unknown provenance...



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Triumph triple specialist and noted bike builder Les Williams has died

"Up to 200" bikers in North-East UK anti-crime protest, 7th July 2019.

Curtiss reveals the Hera V8 "E-Twin" concept. 217hp claimed. 147lb-ft

Horton M/Cs, Sutton Coldfield, heavily ram-raided. Three pit bikes stolen

Actor Rip Torn (1931 - 2019) has died. Movies include Beach Red (1967)

Lego creates life-size Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. Available in Aug 2019.

UPDATE: Sumpster Steve Rose has tipped us off that this story isn't clear. Apparently, the bike isn't life-size at all. So we checked the source of this story, and it's confusing. We quote: "Developed in collaboration with Harley-Davidson, this detailed LEGO interpretation of the iconic Milwaukee motorcycle captures the beauty of the real-life machine with finishes, surfaces, and design elements crafted to replicate the full-size Harley-Davidson Fat Boy. Featuring 1,023 pieces, the model comes complete with solid-disc wheels, teardrop fuel tank, integrated speedometer, and dual exhaust pipes." A little further on we found: "The finished model measures over 7 inches (20 cm) high, 7 inches (18 cm) wide and 12 inches (33 cm) long..." However, Lego has indeed created a full-size Fat Boy, but only as a promotional tool for the model. The Fat Boy model above is the 7 inch retail version which sells for around £85. Thanks to Steve for helping clarify this.


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Triumph extends roadside cover


Story snapshot:

Triumph Assist support is raised from 12 months to 24 months

Offer applies to new and secondhand bikes bought via official dealers


Simple story here. For some time, if you bought a Triumph motorcycle from an official dealer, a year's breakdown cover backed by the RAC has been part of the deal. This package includes home assistance, roadside assistance and recovery in 20 other EU countries.


Well Triumph has now upped the ante and doubled that support to two years for both new and used bikes. The offer was launched on 1st July 2019 and will continue until further notice.


We're advised that wherever you break down in any of the designated countries, English-speaking managers will be on hand and they'll arrange, where necessary, for your bike to be taken to a Triumph dealer for repairs. And if you need accommodation, that can also be sorted out.


These are the specific countries covered:


UK, Andorra, Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Gibraltar, Italy, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Republic of Ireland, San Marino, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.


... and we note that increasingly popular EU member states such as Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, Czechia and Hungary are not on the list. So if you're headed for these nations, you'll have to work out a rescue deal with another provider.


More details from your local Triumph dealer, etc.



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John Anstice-Brown and Douglas motorcycle combination


10 "rare Douglas motorcycles" to go


Story snapshot:

H&H is the auctioneer

30th July 2019 is the date


If you were a regular reader of The Motor magazine (founded 1903), you might remember the writings of the late John Anstice-Brown. But aside from being a keen journalist and the 1972 British GT motor racing champion (chiefly campaigning Lotus and Rejo sports cars), he was a fan of Douglas motorcycles.


Over the years, in fact, he collected 10 of them which he stored in a lock-up in Berkshire (but also said to be in Hitchin, Hertfordshire). Many of these bikes are super rare and forgotten; so much so that even the Douglas Club apparently had no idea they were still around.



c1929 Douglas DT5, or Dirt Track 5 if you prefer. With their low centre of gravity, these 498cc OHV flat twins were excellent speedway bikes and enjoyed a long and successful reign in the hands of popular riders such as Fay Taylour, Lloyd "Sprouts" Elder, Alf Metcalf, Bob Coll, Billy Lamont, Jack Barber, W M Smith, Arthur Westwood—and you can add your own names. There were hundreds.



c1926 Douglas TT replica fitted with a Norton front fork. No reserve



Well, on 30th July 2019 at the National Motorcycle Museum in Solihull, near Birmingham, those 10 rare bikes will be offered for sale to the highest bidder. Not all the lots are complete. But somewhere in all that precious metal you'll find a couple of Douglas DT race bikes and a TT replica, or what's left of them.



The lot that would most interest us here at Sump is a 1927 Douglas Model SB27 with sidecar. It's a totally unrestored and original bike with a Watsonian sidecar, and that's the outfit that featured immediately above and at the top of this news story (the top picture shows John Anstice-Brown and wife Brenda aboard). The bike, we hear, was last used on the Banbury Run in either 1959 or the early 1960s. It requires recommissioning.


The estimate for this Douglas is £5,000 - £8,000, which is a pretty wide range. But apparently there's no reserve on any of the machines.


H&H is the auctioneer. You've already been told the venue. We'll update this story with prices as and when the dealing is done.





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EU new electric car noise requirement


Story snapshot:

Artificial engine sounds to benefit sleepy pedestrians

1st July 2019 is/was the start date


People used to complain about noisy motorcycles. Now they're complaining about silent electric cars. And that's the reason why since 1st July 2019, all new electric cars sold in the EU are required to have a noise generating device on board. Actually, the new regulations also apply to hybrids, but we're still trying to find out if electric motorcycles are in the mix. As is typical with transport policy, it doesn't appear that bikes have got a mention—certainly not on the UK government website (not at the time of writing, anyway).


The noise generators (officially called Acoustic Vehicle Alert Systems, or AVAS) will kick-in at speeds below 20kph which is around 12mph. Presumably, at speeds above that there's sufficient tyre noise to wake up sleepwalking pedestrians. Also, the noise generators must operate when the vehicle is reversing—unless, perhaps, you're reversing at speeds above 20kph (and yes, we are being facetious here).


But how much noise is enough? Well, 56db is the minimum required, and 75db is the maximum. That's roughly the difference between a washing machine wash cycle and a spin cycle. Anything above 85db is generally considered to be damaging to hearing. Everyday chit-chat is around 60db (unless you're chatting with grandma). Rock concerts routinely crack 120db.


Interestingly, the driver of the vehicle will have a temporary override button if he or she considers it necessary to push it. But we haven't any details (or any idea) of why a silent approach might be necessary under some circumstances (Funeral procession? Cow in the road? Creeping in late at night half-cut and half dressed?).


The sound, incidentally, will be/must be similar to that of a conventional petrol engine, but whether that's a two-cylinder, three, four, five, six, V8 or V12 (or whatever) isn't clear. Also, as we understand it, all electric cars on the road will, from 2021, be required to have AVAS fitted—making the regulation retrospective, which is fairly unusual in motoring law. The idea here is, of course, to negate the disparity between old and new electrics.


If and when the new requirements are applied to electric motorcycles, it could give the classic megaphone a whole new purpose. And of course, the underlying message here adds extra weight to the old claim that LOUD PIPES SAVE LIVES.


Meanwhile, there's nothing in the new laws to prevent a pedestrian from getting mown down by a high speed pushbike.


Makes ya fink.



Fink I do. Am I missing something here? Agreed: when it comes to road users, the approach of a high speed cyclist can be relatively silent; and pose a risk to Walkman-wearing, mobile phone-absorbed Joe Public, who are effectively audibly challenged albeit in a self imposed way. But consider the user who is hard of hearing who must pay strict visual attention or get flattened! Hence there is no substitute for stopping, looking and seeing-and AVAS could be a backward step in road education. Most folk wouldn’t cross the road in thick fog or dark of night without looking so why think that it is any safer in broad daylight? The message must be "vehicles are becoming quieter or silent and that their presence should be actively sought" then everyone will benefit. Sound mag, Sump. Keep it up.
—Roj, Sheffield.

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Mutt Mastiff 125cc


2019 Mutt Mastiff 125


Story snapshot:

Still powered by a 125cc, 11.8bhp Suzuki engine clone

Priced at £3,495


Mutt Motorcycles has released images and details of the latest addition to its ever growing range of "factory customs", and like all Mutt bikes, it looks good.


Based at Upper Trinity Street, Birmingham, Mutt has exactly the kind of sensitivity required by a firm operating in this sector of the motorcycle market. Shape, form, texture and style, etc; these guys understand the subtleties of custom motorcycle design, and they never seem to put a foot wrong. Nice.


At £3,495 this single is, however, clearly priced at the upper end of the 125cc spectrum, but Mutt spends a lot of time and money on upgrades and detailing its product. It's a hungry and ambitious firm that wants to dominate its sector, and we expect much better things to come when they're both fully established and have the necessary development funds to take the next step up.


Check out the main Mutt Mastiff 125 news item on Sump's Motorcycle News pages, then go talk to Mutt if you want to buy into the company story. We don't know the guys, but their reputation for quality work and service is growing.



A nice looking machine but I'm not really convinced that adding a lot of value? (price) to what is essentially a product of the Chinese motorcycle Industry is a great plan. In a world where new vehicles from well established western manufacturers devalue at alarming rates I suspect these, and the numerous other Chinese incarnations with different names will lose value faster than a Whirlpool tumble drier. All manufacturers infer what they are selling is some sort of investment but apart from very high end machines that's not generally true. Of the mainstream producers it seems to me Harley Davidson maintain the best resale values. Not much use if you want a 125cc machine though. But hey, in the short term ownership, fashion driven world of modern motorcycles maybe no one cares?—The Village Squire

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June 2019



Bryan Marshall: 1938 - 2019


Story snapshot:

Co-star of The Long Good Friday (1980)

Long-serving supporting actor has died aged 81


"THE BEST BRITISH MOVIE EVER MADE"? That's perhaps overstating the boast on the above poster, both contemporaneously, and since. But we'd certainly agree that The Long Good Friday (1980) is a contender for the BEST BRITISH GANGSTER MOVIE EVER MADE, and although actor Bryan Marshall didn't take top billing in the gritty London-centric crime drama, he did play a significant role in the film—and it's the role for which many (if not most) of us will best remember him.


Bryan Marshall, who has died aged 81, played the boozy and corrupt Councillor Harris in that movie, a tale of a brutal crime boss who finds his metropolitan empire crumbling all around him only to discover that—well, go and watch the movie and see what happens (and if you have seen it, it could be time for a review). And in case you were wondering, we doctored the above poster and put Marshall up there with lead actor Bob Hoskins. On this occasion at least, we think it was justified.


Marshall, with his airline pilot looks and confident but casual bearing and manners, had one of those faces that popped up almost everywhere on the British TV screen from the 1960s through to the 1980s.


He was born in Battersea, London and studied at RADA (Royal Academy for Dramatic Art). After a spell at the Bristol Old Vic, he took his first West End theatre role in the play The Golden Rivet (1964), a satire about the dubious influences and demands of television. He subsequently took roles in numerous television productions such as the football themed drama United (1965 - 1966); Vanity Fair (1967); The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1968-69); and Persuasion (1971).


He popped up in The Professionals TV series, and we're told that he also appeared in The Sweeney (and we think we vaguely remember this, but we can't find any evidence). Nevertheless he was certainly the "type" to show his face in the numerous British cops & robbers or political dramas of that era. He could be cruel, kind, bitter, vengeful, upright and just plain dodgy.


If you watched the British TV drama Warship (1973 - 1976) you might remember Marshall as Commander Alan Glenn; one of three commanders/captains leading the charge on the fictional HMS Hero, a Leander Class Frigate.


Later, Marshall would play a similar role as Commander Talbot in the James Bond movie The Spy Who Loved Me (1977) also starring Roger Moore. But the more hardened TV anoraks might still remember him from a few years earlier as one of the transport cafe lorry drivers in Alfie (1966); or as Captain Potter in Quatermass and the Pit (1967); or as Sqd Ldr Neale in Mosquito Squadron (1969).



"Who was that man I saw you with?" If you remember the 1969 episode of the British hit TV series The Avengers, you might recall Bryan Marshall playing Aubrey Phillipson, a James Bond spoof character. He had the kind of face and persona that meant he could have committed a crime in a room full of people, then stood in a line-up of one, and no one would recognise him. Well, almost...



In the early 1980 Bryan Marshall emigrated to Australia; a move that many actors are said to make when their careers begin to flag, thereby switching from being a relatively small fish in a big pond, to a relatively big fish in a small pond. Is that fair in this instance? We don't know. But Marshall certainly found plenty of work down under with many of his performances returning to UK television screens such as Gerard Singer in Neighbours, and Trevor Bardwell in Home & Away (and just because we know these facts, don't think that at Sump we sit around all day, or at all, watching this antipodean crap—not while there's good Anglo-Saxon crap like Coronation Street). His last screen performance was in 2012.


Bryan Marshall was by no means the most familiar British face on UK TV and movie screens (actors Michael Ripper, Sam Kydd and John Le Mesurier are way ahead). Nevertheless, Marshall made his mark in our lives and belongs to our generation (give or take a decade or so), and we remember him here at Sump and, with appropriate regret, note his passing.


We checked carefully and can't find any evidence of marriage or kids or similar, so evidently he was a very private man, and we'll leave it there.



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Bruno Tagliaferri (UK & Ireland Sales Manager) to retire. 29 yrs at Triumph

Over 100 bikers gathered at TT rider Daley Mathison's funeral service

Sammy Miller wins a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Transport Trust

Ex-racer Carl Fogarty MBE opens Carl Fogarty Way in Blackburn, Lancs

Arc Vector electric MC set for Goodwood Festival of Speed (4 - 7/7/2019)

Triumph Scrambler 1200 XE takes 5th in class, NORRA Mexican 1000 rally


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BMW Vision DC concept


BMW Vision DC electric roadster


Story snapshot:

The classic boxer concept shapes up for another possible future

No plans to build or sell 'em


We also used to design concept bikes. When we were kids, that is. Some of our fantasy machines could fly. Some paddled over and under water. Others did all kinds of unlikely things, such as vanish and/or travel through time. All had guns.




But BMW evidently hasn't grown up yet because it's still knocking up concept machines to impress us; this time in the shape of this electric Vision DC roadster—and yes, there are similarities with the BMW Vision 100 concept that we revealed in October 2016.


The basic idea is simple enough. Electric motorcycles are much of a muchness under the skin. Or, at least, are simply broken down into core components. Motor. Controller. Battery. Wheels. Etc. Increasingly there are also regenerative gizmos, and some kind of rapid charging system is generally incorporated. But equally important for any motorcycle manufacturer wanting to actually market its electrified products is the need to re-establish that all-important brand identity. A firm needs to stamp its ground. It needs to reassure its potential buyers that they're in the right place.


2019 BMW Vision DC concept


In BMW's case, its motorcycle business has been founded on the boxer-engined concept; i.e. two flat cylinders punching left and right. So it's perfectly understandable that even in an "electric age" the designers might, for instance, want to replicate the cylinder barrels (that traditionally jut out on each side of the engine) with something technical.


And that's what's happened here. Except that those barrels are actually radiators and/or cooling fans that wind out and wind in as and when the wheels get rolling/stop rolling. To further emulate the boxer layout, the main power batteries form the "crankcase" of the engine. And of course BMW has incorporated a "traditional" shaft drive—that, we would have thought, would simply waste power at one or more bevel joints (or maybe a production version would ditch the shaft?).


2019 BMW Vision DC concept cooling radiator


The frame is aluminium, supposedly machined from an outsized billet. The front fork is a Duolever arrangement. Naturally, there's plenty of carbon fibre splashed around. And luminescent tyres and LED lights and other clever stuff will help raise the profile of this thing when on the move. We also hear talk of a purpose-built riding suit and a magnetic backpack (for the guns, probably).


And yes, like most of the modern electrics it's as ugly as sin with its over-sculpted lines, oblique angles and scallops. But what's the point of having CAD design technology if you can't throw idle shapes at everything? Although in fairness, some of these shapes are probably needed to stiffen structures and all that stuff. Nevertheless, there's almost always a clinical coldness with electric bikes—and, come to that, with many modern petrol-engined contemporaries.


Maybe tomorrow will bring something fresher.


2019 BMW Vision DC concept - shaft drive side


Meanwhile, there's no suggestion of the likely pricing of such a machine let alone a delivery date. It's just a chewing gum concept and will probably go into the "nice idea" wardrobe with the other fanciful stuff.


But don't misunderstand us. We like new things. Well, some. We just prefer it when designers and motorcycle firms have the courage of their convictions and ease up on the engineering teasers and offer us something ready to rock'n'roll. When Edward Turner gave us the Speed Twin, for instance, he went pretty much straight ahead and trusted his instincts—and look what we got.


Imagine what might have happened had CAD got in the way...


Finally, BMW has had a lot to say about this bike. But like the Vision DC itself, it's pretty much all hype, smoke and mirrors, and we've had enough of that recently (see last month's Incoming nuclear hype from BMW!! story)



It doesn't matter how much engineering is applied to these things,
without an ICE rattling away below decks it will never be as exciting in
my book...I guess I'm the lucky generation that has lived through the
age of free movement on relatively unrestricted roads aboard anything
you could put together......You know, the 'Freedom of the Open Road' and
all that...Sadly it's all disappearing before our eyes and the future
looks pretty bad to me...Will this thing pick up the dog hairs off the
carpet?...That's the important question...
—The Village Squire

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Harley-Davidson's Chinese takeaway


Story snapshot:

MOCO moves to make small capacity motorcycles in China

A new 338cc roadster is planned for 2020


There's more heat than light with this story, but what little detail we have gleaned suggests that Harley-Davidson is planning to build and launch a 338cc motorcycle on the Chinese mainland. The new bikes, to be built in collaboration with Qianjiang, are intended to help redress struggling sales revenue in H-D's domestic market (the USA) whilst exploiting rising opportunities in the increasingly affluent Asian marketplace.


Qianjiang, take note, owns Benelli. Consequently, there's a direct line of access to the latter's European factory thereby possibly avoiding EU tariffs—but there's so far no suggestion that larger capacity bikes would be assembled in Italy.



H-D's long term strategy is that by 2027 the firm wants to draw at least 50 percent of its sales (and presumably profits) from outside the USA where its revenues are shrinking as Harley-Davidson's traditional middle-aged and even older American customer is rapidly (if not terminally) in decline. This contrasts with the significantly younger demographic in the Asian sphere which holds the Harley-Davidson brand in high esteem and is prepared to pay for it.


In 2018, MOCO saw a 27 percent sales increase in China, much of this attributed to its manufacturing and marketing operations in India and Thailand. The new Chinese-built bikes are expected to go on sale by the end of 2020, but it's not clear how the machines will be badged, or what form they'll take. But initially, (unreliable) computer renderings that we've seen make it appear that we're looking at a roadster.


Perhaps a little worryingly for H-D's hardcore fans is the fact that MOCO will be putting not only Qianjiang on the pillion (or possibly holding the handlebars), but will also indirectly be forming a new alliance with Geely which is the Qianjiang parent.



Plans to build Harley-Davidsons in China are likely to anger US President Donald Trump who already has ongoing "issues" with MOCO and has threatened to hit the Milwaukee firm with punitive tariffs. "Harley-Davidsons should be built in America," says Trump, never mind that H-D already has plants in India, Brazil and Thailand. Like it or loathe it, it's a global world. You can't move ahead by standing still.



Geely was founded in 1986 by Li Shufu and has rapidly grown to become a huge player in the automotive sector. The firm also owns Volvo, Lotus, and the London Electric Vehicle Company (a black cab manufacturer based in Coventry). And of course, Geely has its fingers in a lot of other automotive pies largely unknown in the UK.


It's easy therefore to speculate on how Harley-Davidson, now struggling to reposition itself in the 21st century, might conceivably at some point in the foreseeable future be subsumed by a firm such as Geely which has been recently valued at $16 billion (June 2019 figures). But there's no suggestion whatsoever that H-D is in imminent danger of changing hands. All the same, Geely is hungry and rich and influential. So you can follow the breadcrumbs for yourself and see where they could lead.





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Speed limiters: "Bikes not included"


Story snapshot:

EU denies the pending introduction of ISA tech for bikes

The Federation of European Motorcyclists gets clarification


It was back in March 2019 that we reported on the outline threat of speed limiters for cars and motorcycles. The warning came in the shape of new proposals from the EU that "Intelligent Speed Assistance devices" (to use the EU's preferred choice of words) could be with us as early as 2022. Well, following lobbying and a request for clarification from the Federation of European Motorcyclists (FEMA), the EU is said to have since issued a statement making it clear that whatever ISA proposals may be on the way, they won't affect motorcycle usage.


On behalf of the EU, deputy director-general for mobility and transport and European coordinator for road safety Matthew Baldwin has been quoted as telling FEMA: "You mention some information circulating in the media to the effect that Intelligent Speed Assistance will be required for motorcycles. This is certainly not true. As you are aware, motorcycles are not within the scope of the General Safety Regulation and the Pedestrian Safety Regulation. Even if the Commission were eventually to make a proposal making ISA mandatory for motorcycles, this would require an impact assessment and a cost-benefit analysis. This evaluation would take into account the specificities and needs of these vehicles and the paramount need for the safety of riders."


In other words, it's not so much that motorcycles have been entirely ruled out as eventually being ripe for ISA adulteration. Not in principle, anyway. It's simply that motorcycles have different operating dynamics to cars, vans and trucks. Consequently, bikes would need a separate assessment and feasibility study before any motorcycle oriented legislation could even be considered, let alone drafted.


Until then, it's GAME ON and PARTY ON as usual. But we trust the EU about as much as we trust Whitehall, so we'll keep a weather eye open regarding the introduction of ISA technology. It's coming.


On the plus side, coupled with other forms of artificial intelligence technology and autonomous vehicle systems, ISA just might help bring an end to the tired old excuse of: "I'm sorry, but I didn't see the bike."


Until then, stay defensive.


See also:

EU speed limiter proposals gain pace




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Today is International Ride to Work Day
Ewan McGregor and V85 TT are stars in Sardinia
Pedal-power takes eRockit to 80kph
Suzuki announces presence at MK show
Oxford helps hi-tech fight against thieves
Dramatic fall in uk car production


Knife branding moped thug jailed
5 ways to own a Yamaha R6
Motorcyclist claims "polite vest" ruined my life
Free tags bid to save lives
German firm reveal pedal-powered hybrid
Hardcore KTM 790 Adventure R Rally revealed
Official! Ducati Streetfighter V4 confirmed for 2020


UK motorcycle sales dip in May

Motorcycles could ease congestion says Belgian motoring federation
Watch: One man's $400,000 superbike collection
Charley Boorman reveals latest details about Long Way Up
What it's really like to own an electric motorcycle
Yamaha announce the EC-05 electric scooter


New DVSA videos aim to increase motorcycle awareness


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Ireland "petrol & diesel new car ban"


Story snapshot:

Climate Action Plan set to hammer internal combustion engines (ICEs)

Other environmental proposals form part of a new "green" package


If this kind of thinking spreads, it doesn't bode well for the established/traditional classic bike community—unless, that is, we all remove our motors and replace them with something more environmentally agreeable. Such as pedals. Bicycle pedals, that is.


Only, this kind of thinking is spreading and it didn't begin with Ireland. The land of the little people, however, feels it's getting left behind when it comes to carbon footprint bragging rights, and it wants to boost its international image and get into the electric fast lane, and as quickly as possible.


So by 2030, the plan is to stop the sale of new petrol and diesel cars on the Irish mainland and give the (ultra) green light to the electrics. We should say that we haven't heard specifically that new petrol-powered motorcycles will also be on the slab come 2030, but we figure that the legislation (if and when it arrives) will apply to all fossil fuel vehicle types.


We've heard these threats many times before, and the clock is clearly ticking all around the world. The real problem for the classic bike community, such as it is, is that the petrol infrastructure is likely to take a serious hit following any widespread switchover. Why? Scale of demand. As fewer people use "traditional" fuels, that fuel is likely to become more expensive to transport and supply—unless, that is, there's a very carefully and shrewdly managed shift from petrol to electric. But experience suggests that whenever social trel+"nofollow" ipping points happen, the other end of the see-saw usually comes down with a bump.


On the other hand, it's conceivable that mainstream petrol stations will be replaced by "boutique" petrol stations (or similar) catering to the classic bike and classic car community (which, take note, is worth hundreds of millions of pounds in Ireland, and worth billions in the UK).


That would perhaps herald a return to the pioneer automotive days when enthusiasts bought their fuel initially at chemists, and then at hardware stores and hotels and eventually garages. On the other hand, given the fact that the vast majority of classic vehicles don't actually cover many miles, maybe the new electric regime won't be much of a hardship.



And then there's technology itself which, conceivably, could throw a lifeline to classic vehicles in the form of aftermarket electric wheel hubs and high power batteries. Sounds far fetched, but electric vehicle technology has recently made huge strides and there's no obvious reason to believe that the pace of new development will slow.


By 2030, there are likely to be around one million vehicles on Irish roads with an estimated overall Irish population of around five million (Irish government figures). That compares to an estimated 40 million vehicles on UK roads with a UK population of around 68 - 70 million (UK government numbers).


With regard to the various anti-ICE threats on the loose, in the short term no one need panic. We suspect that appropriate adjustments will be made, and we reason that the classic bike and classic car community will be lobbying hard to ameliorate any problems. On a more morbid note, many of us reading this might not even be around come 2030—and it might well be a few more years after that before the fuel taps are effectively turned off, if that happens in the foreseeable future.


Nevertheless, life is all about changes. So keep riding, keep doing what you do, but be ready. And remember this; classic bikes won't come to an end when the petrol runs out. The scene simply will adjust. After all, if someone offered you, say, a rare 1903 electric motorcycle, think you might enjoy owning and riding that for a while?




At Sump, we're not convinced that global warming is actually happening. Yes, we've heard the propaganda from the usual self-interested (and often agenda-toting) doom-mongers, but we're just not convinced. We're not in "denial", to refute a popular insinuation. We just think the long term evidence is ambiguous, at best, and non-existent, at worst.


More to the point, we doubt that human activity has much to do with any changing weather patterns, all of which are probably completely indifferent to our complex machinations. And even if we have pulled the pin on a climate grenade, we suspect it's only human conceit and arrogance that makes us believe we can control the size, shape and effect of the bang.



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Good on him!Bob Rutherford, Dingwall, Scotland

"Good on him?" What a totally crass thing to say. Well done Sump for presenting this interesting observation—Mark Anders, Norton Interstate, Bournemouth, Dorset

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Shed song

When my plugs refuse to fire
When my mag has lost its spark
When my crank is bent and broken
When my lights have all gone dark
When my gears have all been stripped
When there's nothing from my coil
When my clutch has lost its grip
When my sump has dumped its oil
Don't rush me to the hospital
And park me in a bed
Just dress me in my overalls
And haul me to my shed

There's my lathe, and there's my drill press
Service manuals nicely stacked
Bikes are clean, freshly serviced
All my tools neatly racked
Lots to do, always something
In the place I best belong
Life is short and filled with woe
Mercifully, death is long

No monument need mark my spot
No grieving hearts, no funeral drum
If epitaph is ever needed:
"Average bloke, still having fun"

And if perchance in later years

You think of me, then do this pray

Knock but once the door of memory

Smile and quietly walk away

So shut off the ignition
When I've carburetted my last breath
Life has always kept me busy
And busy will I be in death
But lo! Just keep the quacks away
No medicines or pills be fed
Just dump me where my ghost belongs
Nil by mouth, and all by shed



How is that when I read this,it was like it was being sung, in my head (tune and all!), by Ian Dury!? Good effort, and keep it up.— 'av a good 'un
Mad Ol' Jack

Love this poem. Got s shed of my own. 8’x10’. I've got three bike in there. When I am in the shed, I don’t have any problems, except for when I am working on one of my bikes. All thumpers! Keep up the good work. More Poet's Corner, and all the other good stuff. Keep on thumpering.
—Phillip R Brown USA

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Goodwood Festival of Speed: 60yrs of Honda MCs, 4th - 7th July 2019

Wildman MCs (Spilsby Bike Night organiser); new owner, former apprentice

2019 Royal Enfield Bullet Trial Works Replica price announced: £4,699

"New" airless tyre from Michelin/GM. "UPTIS" concept "ready by 2024"


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Nick Sanders gets an MBE for biking


Story snapshot:

Global adventurer picks up a gong for holidaying around the world

He's also a boater and a pilot


You've probably noticed that here at Sump we're often (way) off-message, and it looks like we're off-message again with the news that serial adventure biker Nick Sanders was awarded an MBE in the 2019 Birthday Honours List for ... wait for it ... services to endurance cycling and motorcycling.


That's right: Services to endurance cycling and motorcycling. Sanders, we hear, has been round the planet seven times. On motorcycles, that is. In 1997 he picked up the world record for the fastest circumnavigation; this being 31 days and 20 hours. He was piloting a Triumph Daytona.


Then, in 2005, he did the trip again in 19 days and 4 hours on a Yamaha R1. At that speed we can't imagine that he actually saw much of the topography. Probably all went by in a blur. In fact, he's been quoted as admitting he really can't remember two trips. They just vanished from memory.


He's also motored from Alaska to Tierra del Fuego. He's been to Timbuktu. He's cycled into the record books all over the country, and has cycled twice around the globe. And we hear that he's piloted narrow boats across the channel and has flown hot air balloons and microlights.


Wow! What a guy!


"The Greatest Motorcycle Adventurer in the World!"


Now, we don't know the bloke, and we've certainly got nothing against him. Honest. He's probably a very lovely fella. But getting an award simply for sitting on your butt and riding around the planet on a motorised jolly and wearing out your knee and hip joints on a bicycle doesn't exactly impress us as the kind of activity that warrants an MBE.


Had he been, say, rescuing political prisoners from North Korea and bringing them home on the pillion, we might feel differently. Or had he been clearing minefields in Iraq and/or towing a vacuum cleaner up and down Mount Everest or something equally worthwhile, we'd probably hold a different view about that too.


But enjoying yourself on a round-the-world high-speed jaunt simply to say that you've been there and done it just doesn't strike us as the sort of thing that ought to make the Queen sit up and take notice. Or perhaps we're missing something.


However, these days they dish out medals for pretty much anything and everything that makes the headlines or the Guinness Book of Records (and he's in there somewhere). "For God and the Empire" is the legend on the medal. Need we say more?


Nick is a Mancunian, by the way. He lives in Wales and has three sprogs. He's written extensively about his adventures, and we haven't any doubt he's made a few friends along the way and has fluttered a pennant for Blighty. But beyond that, we're left scratching our heads at what makes it MBE-worthy by riding around on largely well-trod paths and well-made metalled roads whilst following in the tyre tracks of hundreds who've gone before—especially in an age of mobile phones, geo-positioning satellites, comprehensive rescue services, whilst riding state of the art motorcycles.


Meanwhile we're wondering what self-absorbing, self-serving activity we could possibly get involved in that might cause Her Majesty to glance favourably in our direction. Services to cynicism perhaps?


Strange days, indeed.




It's a matter of enduring annoyance to me that the guy who spent 40
years cleaning the toilets, or someone working in a factory or any
number of other people that have spent their lives doing 'ordinary' work
and making a contribution never get one of these awards.
—The Village Squire

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Big Brother isn't simply watching. He's also listening. Meanwhile, there's no truth in the rumour that these ears were modelled on Tony Blair's.


UK Gov roadside noise camera tests


Story snapshot:

New technology to tackle "anti-social" road users

Government in full listening mode


"Noise cameras." That's the way the British government chooses to describe these new devices. Others, meanwhile, are talking about "audio cameras". Regardless, they're currently being tested at seven unspecified locations around the UK with a view to rolling them out nationwide.


Essentially, of course, these are roadside listening devices designed to eavesdrop on passing traffic and pass judgement on whether or not oncoming vehicles are within official levels or have fallen foul of them.


There's nothing new about "noise cameras", however. We used to have them all over the UK, and they were called coppers, and these coppers also monitored speeding road users and wayward farm animals and generally served as a check on idiotic motorised behaviour.


But the coppers were too expensive (and not entirely reliable), so various non-biological devices have been developed, or are under development. So much for the history lesson.



How these gizmos will perform is likely to be a matter of huge controversy, and no doubt the usual vigilant rider and driver groups will howl in extra noisy protest at real or imagined issues, problems and unintended consequences.


But the Motor Cycle Industry Association (MCIA), at least, has reportedly already thrown its weight behind the government, no doubt hoping to stay pally-pally with the Whitehall (or Brussels) mandarins and thereby moderate or help obviate any new engine or exhaust regulations coming down the pike.


Cunning stuff, huh?


Anyway, the incoming government press release has actually told us very little else, except to say that noise can be a nuisance (blah), and can lead to health issues such as raised blood pressure (blah), and has reminded us that law-abiding drivers are not the intended target.




So okay, most of us recognise the aural complaints made against the usual motoring suspects. Noise can be a pain, physically and otherwise; especially if you're particularly sensitive to that kind of stuff. Our more immediate concern, however, is the continuing decline into remote monitoring by the state (and all that kind of big brother stuff)—although we also wonder what new motoring behaviour might follow as noisy drivers/riders seek to dodge the technology. And yes, you'd think that that could be achieved simply by shutting off the throttle and cruising past on the over-run. But who knows? Maybe some shrewd algorithm will be at work that will decode your whisper mode, or something.


Idle thoughts.


On the specific motorcycle front, this tech could clearly have a fairly serious impact on bikes with modified/aftermarket exhausts, and we wonder if the noise equipment might have a greater impact on single cylinder machines, particular older bikes or large capacity singles. Or will there be special exemptions and suchlike? And yes, the noise-o-meters will be linked to ANPR cameras to put a name to the racket and ensure that your motoring/motorcycling penalty will find you within 14 days, etc.


And one more thing to consider; noise isn't simply a question of how much racket a road user is making. Noise also relates to the type of racket and the frequency and register and the rhythm and similar.


If you're a manufacturer, or a retailer of performance modifications, it's easy to speculate on how the new "cameras", if they're ever rolled out nationwide, could have an impact on your business.


Sounds vaguely like trouble brewing.



Since you mention ... Frequency, Register and Rhythm. Isn't that what we all want? Well, perhaps I'm one of the lucky ones. Having got thoroughly 'pigged off' with traffic din and the overhead drone of forty three flights a day to or from Leeds Bradford Airport, I moved to a nice place with a glider club nearby. The fact that large aircraft are restricted from the area seemed a good proposition: all I hear now is the pleasant sound of single-engined types doing a few circuits. But the deal was sealed when I found out that the chap next door had a Norton Dominator—and he uses it. It sounds great. An interesting but alarming article and yet another prod for me to resurrect the B31. Then we'll see what they think of that.—Roj, Sheffield.

Hi Sumpers. The proposed noise monitoring devices throw some interesting challenges not only to noisy bikers—and let's be honest, some boy racer types really kick the @r$e out of it, and as usual the few spoil it for the many. Will the authorities focus solely on bikes 78/1015/EEC? There are a lot of noisy vehicles out there, 70/157/EEC, not only the hot hatchback-hat-on-backwards-white-rap-fans but the haulage and public transport industries are heavy noise polluters. Let's hope the data collected by these proposed devices is made public and maybe a can of worms will be found. Try standing at an urban bus stop and see what's more of a problem and then stand at a rural bus stop. Seems to me a few Tory councillors had their garden parties disturbed by an oik on a ten year old R1 with a straight through and suddenly there's action but Mrs Smith and little Johnny walking to school in killer air pollution have to put up with the noise in their environment without any help. Bah, humbug!—Phil Cowley

This news comes at a time when the ‘do-gooders’ can’t decide if electric vehicles are TOO quiet and a danger to pedestrians! They are talking about adding an artificial sound so they can be heard approaching. That sounds like a really great idea – imagine the latest electric car sounding like a 500 Goldie on full throttle! Cheers.—Terry Lester

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The Great Escape


It looks like Steve McQueen's Triumph from The Great Escape
Right colour, right sound, all the detail's there
Amazing how it turned up after all these years
Just roared out of the woodwork as if from nowhere
Now some folk believe someone's made a big mistake

(but have stopped a long way short of calling it a fake)
But if 'Enry says it's true
Then we're all on song
'Cos 'Enry ain't the type to get his facts all wrong

For many years the bike was herding sheep (or so we hear)
And when the farmer died the TR6 was barned away
By coincidence a Mr Shepherd tracked it down
And now the sun is shining and it's time to make some hay
And yes, we know that anyone can buy a cheap old banger
Then run it through a workshop and create a doppelgänger
But if 'Enry says it's so
Then we're happy to believe
Cos nobody would ever call 'Enry Cole naive

So this really is the bike on which Bud Ekins hopped the fence
History's been made and the truth can only grow
And everyone is happy to believe what they've been told
(and even if it was a fake, who would ever know?)
Yes, it's a lovely, lovely story that has left us all agape
A genuine POW that made the great escape

And if 'Enry says it's so

We offer no contradiction

We're satisfied that Mr Cole knows his facts from fiction



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Velocette Vogue


"Secret collector's" 21 motorcycles


Story snapshot:

A Velocette Vogue and a BMW with a Steib is part of the collection

Bikes to go at the NMM sale in July 2019


This is hardly news, really. It's the kind of thing that's been going on forever, and it will probably continue until the universe collapses beneath the crushing weight of human mediocrity (sorry, sudden cynicism attack). But we mention it here because ... well, it's arguably a cosy reaffirmation of our collective obsession for collecting and hoarding (and also because H&H Auctions wants/needs to get some precious metal shifted).


The story centres on a "Kent-based" man referred to only as "Dad" who over the past few decades had squirreled away 21 bikes, of which his family were largely ignorant. Pride of place, we hear, goes to the immediately above (and undated, but pristine) Velocette Vogue. But there was also an (undated) BMW R60/6 hitched to a Steib sidecar, plus a couple of "spare" Steibs, plus an (undated) 650cc Matchless, and a collection of autocycles.


Kentish Dad, it seems, had begun restoring and hoarding motorcycles way back in the 1950s and 1960s. His daughter, Su [sic], well recalls one or two of the machines, notably the Matchless which she "remembers" riding around the Brands Hatch circuit when she was just 7 years old (so presumably sat on the petrol tank with Dad at the helm).


She also remembers Dad having a garden bonfire which, despite him sitting up well into the small hours to ensure the flames were out, nevertheless managed to creep across the ground and set fire to a wooden fire escape beneath which was the aforementioned Vogue and the Steibs. Naturally there was pandemonium when the blaze was discovered, but mercifully none of the bikes or chairs were damaged; it seems that their blankets or tarpaulins protected them. Less mercifully, Dad suffered burns to both hands, but evidently not enough to put his crafting days behind him.


BMW R60/6 and Steib sidecar


We know that to be true because at some point in the 1970s or 1980s Dad's attention switched to woodworking, and the bikes were deeper stored/secreted/buried around the family home; in sheds, in the garage, under the stairs, in the cellar, etc.


When unearthed, all the bikes were stored appropriately; drained of oils, on blocks, beneath covers, and all were perfectly and meticulously documented in a folder containing log books and sundry paraphernalia (or is that paperphernalia?). Following Dad's demise, the family began a kind of treasure hunt around the property and discovered the motorcycles "hidden in plain sight". And now Dad's two-wheeled legacy is to go under the hammer on 30th July at H&H's National Motorcycle Museum Sale at Bickenhill, Solihull (B92 0EJ).


So there you have it; a familiar tale that's also something of a non-story—and certainly one that lacks all kinds of useful information, such as a comprehensive list of the bikes, the years of manufacture, the condition, the estimates, the lot numbers and other catalogue info (so take a hint all you press release elves).


However, over the next few weeks you can check the H&H catalogue for yourself and see what's what. As of ten minutes ago, the bikes weren't listed. So be your own detective and keep checking, etc, if anything tickles your fancy.






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Transport for London (TfL) marks new 2020 Central London 20mph zones

Moto Guzzi offers 3% finance on V7 III bikes (includes £500 accessories)

Mutt Motorcycles

Mutt Motorcycles/Barbour forge commercial tie-up at Soho Radio Studios

TT racer Daley Mathison killed. Leaves wife and 5 year old daughter

(Desperate?) MCN offers free Oxford Panniers with annual subs (£78 print)

2019 Heritage Classic Harley-Davidson

Harley-Davidson is celebrating its 5 millionth motorcycle (Heritage Classic)

Malcolm John Rebbenack (Dr John) has died aged 77 (1941 - 2019)


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Paul Valentine Birkby: 1941 - 2019


Story snapshot:

Co-star of the 1970s short-lived sci-fi show has died

He was best known by his stage name of Paul Darrow


Remember Blake's 7, the 1970s British sci-fi show that melded elements of Star Trek, drew hints of Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, gave more than a passing nod toward medievalism, anticipated both steampunk and Red Dwarf, and felt as if it was filmed on a shoestring in a BBC broom closet? Well Blake's 7 co-star Paul Darrow, born Paul Birkby, but better known to fans as the character Kerr Avon, has died aged 78.


Blake's 7, broadly speaking, was an on-going yarn about the crew of the spaceship Liberator shuttling around the galaxy and getting into all kinds of death-defying, gravity-defying and Terran Federation-defying exploits.


Dark, obscure, cynical and distinctly dystopian, the Liberator is actually a stolen alien spacecraft cunningly manufactured from washing-up liquid bottles, bits of plastic piping, sealing wax and whatnot.


The crew are a motley bunch of criminals, dissidents and other personas non grata. The plots were often convoluted, highbrow, oblique, overblown and confusing. The motivations of almost everyone was suspect. The theme music was recklessly melodramatic. The sound effects were courtesy of the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. And overall, it was the kind of show that, like Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner, you have to judge within its own terms.


The lead character was Welsh actor Gareth Thomas who played Roj Blake. Unwilling to commit further to the adventure, he jumped ship after series three leaving Paul Darrow's Kerr Avon character (think Mr Spock) to man the helm and crack the whip. So it was actually Blake's 7 without Blake (and for a while there were only five of them).


Chief antagonist was Supreme Federation Commander Servalvan, the ambitious and ruthless femme fatale played by Jacqueline Pearce (who looked like she cracked a few whips of her own). And there were many other likeable/hateable/smash-'em-in-the-faceable characters including Vila, Gan, Jenna and Cally. And of course there's a computer (named Zen; what else?).


The series was broadcast between 1978 and 1981, and for many of you Sumpsters that would have been when you were mucking around with your first motorcycles and were therefore too occupied to watch TV (unless it was The Sweeney). But we caught a few episodes—not that we can remember watching any adventure from beginning to end.




The cast of Blake's 7 (left to right); Michael Keating as Vila, Jan Chappell as Cally, Gareth Thomas as Roj Blake, Sally Knyvette as Jenna, Paul Darrow as Avon, and David Jackson as Gan. Note that there are only six of them in this BBC publicity shot.



Paul Darrow was born in Surrey and studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). Notably, fact fiends, we hear that he shared a flat with actors John Hurt (1940 - 2017) and Ian McShane, better known as the roguish TV antiques dealer Lovejoy.


Darrow worked both in theatre and television and lent his slightly sardonic face and style to British sixties and seventies drama shows such as Emergency – Ward 10, The Saint, Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, and Within These Walls.


He also appeared in later TV shows such as Dombey and Son, Maelstrom, Making News, Pie in the Sky, and Hollyoaks. Meanwhile, on the big screen he took a role in The Raging Moon (1971) starring Malcolm McDowell, and the Bond movie Die Another Day (2002) starring Pierce Brosnan.


Beyond that, when he wasn't a visible presence, Darrow found much work as a voice-over artist, notably with Richard Dawkins's The Root of All Evil? and articulated numerous characters in computer games and similar.


But Blake's 7 (which evidently dispensed with the apostrophe in the logo design; see main image this story) was the production that propelled him to national attention, and if the show (created by Terry Nation who brought the Daleks to Dr Who) is now often viewed as classically camp, corny and even pretentious, it's perhaps a small comfort to know that in its day it was ... well, also largely seen that way.


However, whatever else Blake's 7 was, some of us (actually around 10 million of us in the UK) watched it in a mix of amusement, puzzlement and fascination, and Paul Darrow acquitted himself well given the demands and limitations of the script and budget.


He was still working as recently as 2018 on a TV game show, but time was not on his side. His health took a marked downturn in 2014, and it was the complications of that that heralded his end on 3rd June 2019.


Paul Darrow married once, and that marriage lasted almost 50 years.


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1927 AJS K2


Charterhouse Auctions reminder


Story snapshot:

Saturday 1st June 2019 is the date

73 lots are listed, but we count 69


The highest estimate of any lot at the next Charterhouse Auctions sale is the immediately above (and immediately below) 1927 AJS K2 sidevalve outfit. This handsome 799cc V-twin was built during the salad days of the firm when AJS was still under the control of the Stevens brothers—Harry, George, Albert John (‘Jack’), and Joe Stevens Junior.


In 1938, the Collier Brothers, operating as Associated Motor Cycles (AMC) bought the company and began the process of effectively assimilating/subsuming the AJS brand into their own Matchless marque. But prior to that, AJS had a more distinct identity and presence on the street and produced a long line of very creditable motorcycles, not least the firm's range of V-twins, many (if not most) of which were pressed into sidecar duties for tradesmen and everyday folk looking for reliable and cost-effective motorised transport.


This example is being sold as the property of a "recently deceased's estate" and is estimated at £16,000 - £18,000. It's restored (naturally), but will need some re-commissioning.


The sale will happen on Saturday 1st June 2019 at The Long Street Salerooms, Sherborne DT9 3BS.


1927 AJS Model K2 engine

Notionally, there are 73 motorcycle lots on offer, but four of the auction slots are empty. So the true number appears to be 69 (unless we're missing something here).


1928 Matchless T3 500cc


Look out too for a very attractive 1928 500cc Matchless T3 sidevalve single (image immediately above) estimated at £7,500 - £8,000. The bike, we understand, is being sold due to loss of storage—which sounds like a thin excuse when you've still got a living room or bedroom. But that ain't our business.


Here's what Charterhouse has to say about the bike:


A 1928 Matchless T3 500cc, registration number UO 5773, frame number 3689, engine number T3/3055, black and white. UO 5773 has been in the current family ownership (father and two sons) since 1995. Fully restored to a show standard in the late 1990s, the Matchless still presents very well and could still be exhibited today. A well equipped machine it features full acetaldehyde lighting, leather saddle bags and nickel plating throughout. The accompanying history contains a run of previous MOTs and DVLA documents.


Loss of storage, of course, is pretty much an open invite to bidders to get a pretty sharp deal. Whilst we hope the vendor gets a fair price, we'd be naive to ignore ordinary market forces and bidding shrewdness.


So make your play, ladies and gentlemen...





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