1967 BSA Spitfire MKIII Special. This handsome 650cc air-cooled, two-valve (per cylinder) parallel twin looks as sporting today as it did more than half a century ago. The (claimed) 55bhp Spitfire series ran for just three short seasons; 1966, 1967 & 1968. The MK1 Spitfires were pretty much factory hot rods with high compression engines (10.5:1), Amal GP carburettors with open bellmouths, a fierce cam—and plenty of attitude. Over 120mph was possible. The Yanks loved 'em. And so did we Brits. With the MKIII variant, BSA toned the package down a little and opted for more street-tractable twin Amal Concentric carbs. Twelve volt electrics was by then standard. This bike shows a two gallon export market tank (a five gallon tank was optional, but hampered top-end access). Bonhams will be offering this motorcycle for sale at its Las Vegas Sale on 24th January 2019. The estimate is $7,000 - $10,000 (£5,500 - £7,900). On the money? We think so.


January 2019  Classic bike news


Motorcycle news


Henry Cole's Motorbike Show returns

Oxford Bradwell wax cotton jacket

Norton Commando Winter Raffle

2019 Triumph Scrambler 1200 details

80 years of AMC with Colin Seeley

One liners

A blue plaque for Rex McCandless

"Barn find" RE Constellation to sell

Kawasaki Zed series restoration manual

Bonhams Stafford Sale hits £3 million

Weise®  Boston Jeans tried & tested

One liners

Star attractions at Barber Sale

Andy Tiernan 2019 charity calendar

Zhongneng buys Moto Morini

Bonhams Autumn Stafford preview

Charles Geoffrey Hayes: 1942 - 2018

Mark Wilsmore's bikes to auction

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
Dudley Sutton: 1933 - 2018 

Oxford Products Kickback Shirt

One liners

Moto Guzzi V9 Bobber Sport unveiled

Burton Leon Reynolds: 1936 - 2018

Comet Classics Open Day

H&H Auctions seeking consignments

One liners

Motus Motorcycles is bust


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



We've got plenty more classic bike news for you to enjoy. Check out the links below.



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Win 40 Ace Cafe tea bags. Every £5 spent gets a raffle ticket. No kidding

Retromobile, Paris. 6th - 10th Feb 2019. Gnome & Rhône 100yrs exhibition

Nicholas Noble Motorcycle Clothing in Bradford (founded 1990) is bust

New "failed last payment" road tax email scam. "Update via this link", etc

110,790 drivers aged 90 years or older in the UK; new DVLA figures

VW electric MEB (Modulare E-Antriebs-Baukasten) dune buggy concept

"Smart M-way" red X-lane laws. Spring 2019. Keep lane clear. £100 fine


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1939 Crocker engine


Mecum Auctions Jan 2019: Top ten


Story snapshot:

A 1939 and a 1937 Crocker took the top spots at Las Vegas

A 1925 Brough Superior took the bronze


The date was 22nd - 26th January 2019. The place was the South Point Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas USA. There were over 1,700 lots. And we ran a small piece about this sale a week or so ago (see further down this page) and we'll follow that up with some of the results.



But the sheer numbers make it impossible for us to report on it in much detail until we see a Mecum press release—and with luck we'll also know more about the conversion rate and turnover, etc. However, we can highlight the top ten selling bikes, with the number one and number two spots filled, respectively, by a 1939 Crocker Big Tank (Lot F111, $704,000) and a 1937 Crocker Small Tank (Lot S151, $423,500).


A 1925 998cc Brough Superior SS100 Alpine Grand Sport (Lot F123,  $357,500) was the third highest selling lot. You can check the complete top ten list below. All prices include buyers premium.



1. Lot F111: 1939 1000cc Crocker Big Tank: $704,000
2. Lot S151: 1937 1000cc Crocker Small Tank: $423,500
3. Lot F123: 1925 998cc Brough Superior SS100: $357,500
4. Lot F115: 1912 965cc Henderson Model A: $302,500
5. Lot S126: 1975 Ducati 750SS: $247,500
6. Lot F147: 1925 494cc BMW R37: $220,000
7. Lot F135: 1913 688cc Pierce T Four: $192,500
8. Lot F155: 1992 Honda NR 750: $181,500
9. Lot F118: 1923 1265cc Ace Four Cylinder Sporting Solo: $176,000
10. Lot F136: 1915 1075cc Henderson Four Model D: $170,500


The next motorcycle auction from Mecum will be at Phoenix, Arizona on 14th - 16th March 2019. We're advised that 100 bikes will be on the list.





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Dodgy Matchless marketing publicity


Story snapshot:

The Governator gets a sheepskin lined leather jacket

Matchless of London gives us something else to think about


There are two stories coming atcha, so pull up a chair and pay attention, if you will. One of the stories is pretty harmless (except for the harm caused to the animals that lost their hides), but begs the question of who's running the Matchless of London publicity machine. The second story is arguably not so harmless and begs the question of what complete moron is running the Matchless publicity machine.


Starting at the beginning, that's Arnie Schwarzenegger up top lighting a cigar. Not much of an advert for our favourite health conscious Governator. But what the hell? He's a big boy, and if you can't have a chug on a cigar at his age, what the hell can you do?


The headline story here is that Arnie is modelling the new Matchless M47 Tank Jacket. The underlying story is that the jacket won't actually be available until the Winter 2019 Collection is announced. So if you order one (or "pre-order" as Matchless calls it), you won't actually get yourself inside of one until 2020 at the earliest.


The price is likely to be somewhere between £2,500 and £3,000. And that's a large chunk of change for most of us here at Sump. But evidently, there are plenty of folk in the wider world who can afford this stuff (Arnie, we understand, got his in return for publicity services rendered—and maybe a few boxes of cigars to go with it). And ethical animal issues nothwithstanding, Matchless of London certainly has some very nice looking clobber on its racks.



As for the second story, that revolves around the two girls in the image immediately above.Both look to be around eight years old. Both are wearing eye make up. Both are wearing lipstick. Both are wearing skin foundation. And both, some would say, are striking the kind of slightly pouting and mildly provocative poses that you might expect to find in the pages of, say, an upbeat, sexy, cosmopolitan woman's magazine if not the more sleazy pages of your favourite lad's mag.


Don't misunderstand us. We ain't exactly prudes around here. We're long time subscribers to Pervert's Weekly. We've seen the odd porno flick. And in our time we may or may not have done one or two things that we wouldn't want grannie to watch. Nevertheless, we think a big fat question mark hangs over the use of the above sexualised imagery in order to flog a few dead cow skins to the children of the more affluent fashionistas lurking among us.


Are we making too much of this? Is it just a little innocent dressing up to make the company more socially inclusive? Or should Matchless draw the line at, say, sixteen year olds and stay away from the kiddies, especially those who are wearing war paint?



When Henry Herbert Collier launched Matchless Motorcycles way back in 1899 we imagine that nowhere in his head was the expectation that his name and brand would, 100 or so years later, end up being promoted by a pair of tarted-up primary school kids who, mercifully, are yet to discover just how manipulative and deliberately short-sighted the adult world can be when there's a buck or two to be made.


Meanwhile, we wonder what the Governator would think about being associated with this kind of dubious marketing. Can't imagine he'd be very impressed.


We're putting this question Matchless of London, and if they condescend to give us any kind of response, you'll see it here.





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McQueen '38 Speed Twin: $175,000


Story snapshot:

Bonhams sells Steve McQueen's 1938 Triumph 5T in Las Vegas

It's a world record for something or other...


Bonhams has claimed it as a world record. $175,000. Sold. Or, if you prefer, £133,550. But as yet, it's not clear exactly what that record is. We're assuming it's the highest price paid for a 500cc Triumph 5T Speed Twin (Lot 53). But it might be the highest price for a Triumph. Or it might be some other record.


We've had only one coffee this morning (and no doughnuts), so we can't figure it out. Consequently, we've sent a query off to Bonhams in Las Vegas seeking clarification.


The estimate was $55,000 - $65,000. The 5T was sold on 24th January 2019. And yes, the image above looks pretty ropey. However, when you're a leading/world class auction house, do you really want to waste a few quid on a decent camera? But like we said, we've had just one coffee today, so we'll probably feel better and will be a little more generous after another brew.


One of the big questions now is: will the sale price of this bike help drag up the prices of other pre-WW2 Speed Twins? We think it might. A little. Perhaps. But naturally, the real investment is in the McQueen brand, and not the wheels. That's a fairly obvious point that we made in an earlier piece about this bike. Check the link below for details.


Meanwhile, the total money raised at this sale was $1.5 million. That's down on the $4 million turnover in 2015, and we're still checking the 2018 Las Vegas figure. And while we remember, $775,000 was paid in 2015 for an ex-McQueen 1915 Cyclone board track racer. That might help provide a little context.


Finally, two other bikes have been highlighted by Bonhams: a 1993 Ducati Supermono—one of just 67 built—which sold for $115,000, and a 1974 Munch Mammoth TTS which changed hands for $112,000.

UPDATE: Bonhams still hasn't contacted us regarding the Speed Twin record. We're assuming it's the highest priced example of the model.

Steve McQueen Triumph 5T Speed Twin to sell.




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"Lounge lizard" Brough Superior


Story snapshot:

"Lounge find" 1937 Brough sidevalve to sell

Blacknell sidecar and factory build documents included


It's pretty unimaginative and a little crass referring to a motorcycle as a "lounge lizard". But the reason for the dubious appellation is simply that this 1937 Brough Superior SS80 sidevalve V-Twin has spent the past ten years of its life ensconced in a cosy lounge, as opposed to a chilly garage, damp shed or mouldy tarpaulin.


The underlying story is that the bike is going under the hammer of auctioneers H&H, and that event is scheduled to happen on 2nd March 2019 at the National Motorcycle Museum, Solihull (B92 0EJ).


The 982cc Matchless-engined bike was bought in the early 1980s by a retired bus driver (the late Michael Howick). He paid his father-in-law an unspecified sum, but the H&H press release tells us that in 1956 the Brough cost £22.



That's Michael Howick in the pilot's seat of his treasured SS80 Brough-Superior at Brands Hatch in the 1980s. Howick, we hear, was a keen rider with a significant collection of motorcycles. Hands up everyone who thinks deceased classic bikers ought to be buried with their wheels. Or maybe a small brass plaque somewhere on the bike denoting previous owners would be an appropriate nod towards posterity and sentimentality.



Today, the auction estimate is £40,000 - £60,000, which is a bit like a naval gunnery officer saying that he can definitely hit the target—give or take a mile or two. But let's not be churlish. These are uncertain times with prices rising and falling everywhere as the UK teeters towards another recession (or so many economists, and probably most London cab drivers, are woefully predicting).


However, we can fear not because Brough Superiors usually stay right-side up, pricewise—and if you're a serious BS man, another five grand or so either way probably won't make your wallet squeal.


There's a Blacknell Sidecar chassis (with home made bodywork) accompanying the bike, and the original Brough Superior build sheet is, we're told, all present and correct. Matching numbers, incidentally.


Interested? Okay. You know what you have to do.


See also: Matchless Model X for sale




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New Google speed camera app


Story snapshot:

Downloadable app set for launch

Trialled in 2018. Almost ready to roll


There are two very straightforward ways to think about this one. Either Google is acting responsibly by helping drivers (and riders) stay within the UK national speed limit, or it's delivering a(nother) very handy tool that enables speedsters (both lite and hardcore) to open it up as wide as possible safe in the knowledge that they'll be informed in a timely manner when to apply the brakes and thereby avoid a speeding penalty.


We're talking about a new smartphone app that's been rolled out in the USA and is about to arrive on these shores. The software will interface with the existing Google Maps platform.


So okay, there are plenty of other non-Google devices that do exactly the same job. TomTom and Garmin are the pack leaders. But Binatone is campaigning its own device. And there are various downloadable platforms such as CoPilot and Waze. Moreover, many vehicles are now supplied within inbuilt satellite navigation systems (underpinned largely by the aforementioned market leaders). So Google will be planting its new flag on ground that's been well and truly roadmapped.


Meanwhile, the company has been indirectly quoted as suggesting that it's "simply responding to consumer concerns about confusing speed limits on many British roads". So, to help keep those confused eyes on the tarmac where they belong, drivers and riders can instead keep glancing over at the phone display every few seconds to check if the speed limit has changed in the past few seconds—and maybe have a quick scan on their email account while they're down there, and/or load a new music track.


Or will there be voice instructions? We don't know. As we said, the app hasn't landed yet. But when it arrives it will, in a minor or major way, pour more oil on a fire that shouldn't really be blazing at all. Or is there any reliable evidence yet that the introduction of satnavs has actually made the roads safer? If there is, we ain't seen it.


Google has, in fact, for a while been flirting with this move. The company owns the aforementioned Waze and has been debugging and trialling the new software. A likely feature will be a reporting service whereby users can highlight road accidents, and in real time report police mobile camera traps.



Here at Sump, we're broadly against pretty much all forms of onboard digital infotainment systems and gizmos. But then we're old school, and mentally speaking we haven't moved much beyond 8-tracks, cassettes and singing at the wheel (or handlebars). But we're doing what we can to adjust. And if adjustment ain't exactly necessary, it's inevitable.


However, given Google's near omnipotence, the company programmers could at least also give us the details of the nearest knocking shops, drug dens, passport forgers and suchlike, and then flag any police patrols on the prowl. This is, after all, supposed to be the raw, uncensored, information age. What the hell has morality, restraint or sound judgement got to do with it?


Interestingly, Google kicked off its commercial activities with the ethically charged slogan: Don't be evil. But in 2015 when it changed its corporate name to Alphabet, it adopted a new (and equally ethically charged) slogan: Do the right thing.


If ever there was an all-purpose, ambidextrous, politically flexible, socially valueless, vapid and inconsequential company slogan, it's that one.


Which probably explains everything.



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Crocker Big Tank


Mecum Auctions: Las Vegas Sale


Story snapshot:

1,700+ lots on offer

The sale dates are 22nd - 26th January 2019


There are 12 motorcycle collections going under the hammer at the Mecum Sale which is currently underway at the South Point Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas, Nevada USA.


The MC Collection of Stockholm, Sweden gets top billing. Founded by Christer R Christensson, the collection has been steadily growing for five decades. Currently there are 400 bikes in the stable that "establishes the motorcycle not merely as a machine, but as a contemporary work of art and mechanical sculpture."




Bikes in this collection include:

1894 Hildebrand & Wolfmüller Replica

1905 Indian Camelback

1914 Flying Merkel V-Twin

1917 Pope Model T-17

1978 Ducati NCR Racer

1968 Munch 4TT Mammoth

1924 NUT Twin

1929 Opel Neander

1927 Husqvarna 180

1939 Crocker Big Tank (Lot F111, see main image top of this story).



1936 BSA Y13

1936 BSA Y13 750cc OHV V-twin. Lot F215. This one is also from the MC Collection of Stockholm. The estimate is $50k - $60k. That's strong money, but the demand for these pre-WW2 Beezas is high.


1951 Vincent Rapide. Lot S131. 1,000cc Methanol burner. Big ports. 38mm Dellorto carburettors. Not run in half a century. Estimate: £100k - £110k.


▲ 1911 Harley-Davidson Model 7A. Lot W209. This 435cc single has been totally restored c/w a reproduction frame. Not ideal, but better whole than half. No other notable features. Sold for $44,000.



We're still exploring the other lots in this sale and will follow up this story if anything interesting catches our eye. But that might take a while. It's a huge sale, and if our mathematics is correct, there are over 1,700 lots on offer which comprises a mix of complete bikes, incomplete bikes, spares, memorabilia and sundry Americana.


Alternately, check out the auction for yourself if you've got the time and patience.




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Jack Shepherd media vilification


Story snapshot:

A few overdue words about the "speedboat killer"

... and a few more about the British media


Anyone else feeling very uncomfortable about the Jack Shepherd story currently running amok in the British press. Yes. That's what we said. Running amok, as in:


going beserk

running wild

being out of control



Pick your synonym. It amounts to the same thing. But in case you're way behind the curve, the story appears to be (and we did say "appears to be") straightforward enough. It begins back in 2015. December. Jack Shepherd, from London (and Exeter), fixed up a first-time date with a Clacton-on-Sea, Essex girl named Charlotte Brown.


To impress her, or to show off (pick another synonym), Shepherd took her for a speedboat ride on the Thames. It was around 7.30pm. December isn't a great month for mucking around on the river. It's cold and dark at that hour, and the Thames is always a busy place. Therefore it can be very dangerous, not least due to the tricky currents, the dredgers, the ferries, the DUKWs, and the guys showing off on speedboats.


Neither were wearing life jackets. Both had been drinking (but not necessarily drunk). The boat, we hear, had one or two "issues". Shepherd says that he let Charlotte take the helm, or controls (synonym time once more, folks), and soon after that, the boat hit a submerged log, flipped, and took on water. Both passengers smacked into the sea. Shepherd survived by clinging to the boat. Charlotte was knocked-out or was otherwise incapacitated, and she never regained consciousness.



Eventually there was a trial. Manslaughter was the charge. Shepherd, on bail, didn't attend and was convicted in absentia. He was duly handed six months in pokey, but he fled before the cuffs snapped on. Soon after he filed an appeal. He said Charlotte's father, who worked for the prison service, had "influence" and had somehow queered the pitch against him—not least by pressuring the cops/CPS to bring the charges.  Either way, Shepherd's appeal for an appeal was granted—albeit in his absence.


That brings us up to the present when yesterday (23rd January 2019) Shepherd handed himself in to the authorities in Tbilisi, capital of Georgia. He'd first organised a press interview with a local news crew. Seems he wanted to get his side on record before being extradited back to Blighty. Understandable, if offensive/troubling to the family of the dead girl. Now the authorities are sorting out the details, and while that's happening Shepherd is in a Georgian prison. Apparently, that's a pretty rough crib.


What's troubling about this sorry affair isn't so much the question of his guilt or innocence. In law, he's already been convicted. Ergo, he's guilty until the courts say he isn't. No, the real concern is the mediaslaughter that's followed his manslaughter charge. Every national newspaper in the bloody country has gorged itself on this story, and some of the tabloids have gone way, way further. Hours of news time, from Aunty Beeb to Channel 4 to Radio This and Network That has been devoted to tracking the "smug speedboat killer" and taking apart his life and his actions and doing all but sticking his head on a stake. And of course, The Sun offered a £10,000 reward for information leading to the apprehension of Shepherd and appealed to its morally minded readers to help—never mind that anyone with any real sense of social morality wouldn't expect a reward for "doing the right thing".


"Fugitive" and "womanising" and "grossly negligent" Shepherd has throughout been "smug" and "self satisfied", and he'd been roundly "abusing the system." The same system that's been developed to protect us all. He's "shown no remorse." He "killed my daughter". He's an "animal". He can "rot in jail now".




And of course, the fact that he "ran away" from justice "makes it clear that he's a guilty monster." Why else would he flee—aside from worrying about spending up to six years of his life in a British jail and being hounded by the British press and any number of members of Charlotte Brown's "outraged" family who, it seems, won't rest until some blood had been drawn. metaphorically or otherwise?




London's River Police move in on the stricken speedboat. Later, not to be outdone by The Sun, the Daily Mail upped the reward ante to £25k.



Underlying all this lynch mob hysteria is a very simple and not very original story. Guy fancies girl. Takes her on his boat. Shows off. Splashes some alcohol around. Both get carried away. Something goes—whoops!—wrong, and someone gets hurt. Fatally so.


Of course he's a bit of a prat. We've all been there many times. But she was a prat too. And just because she's dead, that doesn't make it any less prattish. It's easy to see why the family have taken such a negative stance against him. It was their daughter/sister/niece/grandaughter. They're emotionally charged. Who the hell wouldn't be?


But it's hard to see why this guy is now being so heavily vilified by the media for what is essentially a simple human tragedy. One of many. Let's not lose perspective here.


There are no doubt many other nuances here. How the boat was maintained, for instance. What social/sexual/emotional pressures were put on her. Who was at the wheel. What he did after the crash. Etc. But she was a grown woman of 24. No one stuck a gun against her head and forced her to the party. She had a choice. She made the wrong one. Like anyone else, she carries the responsibility for her own actions.


Shepherd's got a case to answer, either within prison or without. But clearly, it wasn't just him and Charlotte Brown who went overboard. The British media and countless members of the usual torch-bearing, monster-chasing mob went with them.


We're not on Shepherd's side, whatever that is. He might well be a "nasty piece of work", as some are saying. But that ain't the point. And we're not on Charlotte Brown's side either. It's simply not a question of sides. We just want to try and keep our heads while the British media is out hunting for one.


Today him.

Tomorrow us.

So it goes.



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Triumph Thruxton TFC for 2019




Triumph Thruxton TFC for 2019

The Triumph Thruxton gets the TFC (Triumph Factory Custom) treatment which comes with a £17,500 price tag. No doubt Triumph's number crunchers have been doing their sums. But still, in these straitened times, it's hard to see a very long queue of buyers. But then, this is a limited edition model. Hit the Thruxton image for a larger view.


Thruxton & Rocket 3 factory customs 


Story snapshot:

Two new limited edition bikes from Hinckley

1st May 2019 is the official launch date


Having carefully read the press release announcing the launch of Triumph's latest factory customs, we had to go and take a lie down in a cool, dark place and think about nothing for half an hour or so.


We quote:


"With the launch of the all-new exclusive Triumph Factory Custom [TFC] offer for 2019, Triumph delivers a landmark moment for British custom design, with an exclusive limited edition line-up of ultra-premium motorcycles. Every TFC motorcycle will be built to embody the absolute pinnacle in custom Triumph design, with a unique level of enhanced performance, technology, engineering, specification and exquisite finish."


Landmark moment? Exclusive limited edition? Absolute pinnacle? Ultra premium? Unique level of enhanced performance? Whatever else Triumph's marketing minions do these days, it doesn't include moderation, sensitivity and subtlety.


That said, there's no denying that the new Thruxton TFC (image top of this news story) is a pretty slick piece of kit (if that's your style of riding). Trouble is, once you stick a pair of wheels of what Triumph would have us believe is the motorcycling equivalent of a Fabergé Egg, you'd be afraid to get it dirty. Just check the specifications of the "new definitive sports classic":

1,200cc liquid-cooled, 8-valve, SOHC 270-degree twin

750 numbered and TFC badged editions
Lighter and 10PS more power than the Thruxton R
115 Nm of torque @ 4,850 RPM
107PS of power @ 8,000RPM
Fully adjustable Öhlins suspension
Brembo radial master cylinder and adjustable brake lever
Race-specification Metzeler Racetec RR tyres
Titanium Vance & Hines silencers with carbon fibre end caps
Premium custom finish and detailing including stunning carbon fibre bodywork and billet machined top yoke with numbered TFC plaque.
Personalised TFC handover pack including a personalised book and signed letter of authentication.


Premium custom finish? Stunning carbon fibre? Need we go on? And in case you were wondering, we're often more critical of Triumph's marketing simply because we care more about Triumph than any other marque.


Meanwhile, the price for this stunning, awesome, religious-experience motorcycle is £17,500. We haven't the slightest doubt that Hinckley has shed blood getting it right, and we can see the appeal. But it's a pity that the marketeers didn't wind down the hype and let us decide for ourselves what we think about this machine.


2019 limited edition Triumph Rocket Three


Interestingly, Triumph also took the opportunity to wet our whistles with news of a Rocket Three Triumph Factory Custom (image immediately above). There's no technical detail yet on this bike, and there's no pricing either. All we know is what we see, and that looks like a total revamp of the outgoing model that was introduced in 2004, and was dropped from the range two years ago, supposedly due to emissions regulations issues. Follow this 2019 Rocket Three TFC link for larger images.


We don't know if Triumph is also planning full production of these Rockets—as opposed to a limited run. But some would suggest that the relatively poor sales of these three-cylinder inline monsters make all production numbers very limited.


Come 1st May 2019 we'll have more to say on these bikes because that's when they'll be officially launched, no doubt with a fresh bucketful of hype.


Buy British, we still say.





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Battle of the Kings 2019


Battle of the Kings returns for 2019


Story snapshot:

Voting open now

Eleven UK Harley-Davidson dealers are competing worldwide


The 2019 Battle of the Kings is now underway with another glittering and rip-roaring collection of custom bikes created by participating Harley-Davidson dealers worldwide.


The idea, in case you're out of the loop, is that competing H-D dealers select a model from the factory range, and then customise it to their taste. Or lack of. It used to be that dealers could choose only from the Sportster platform. But that rule is dead, and it's now a free-for-all. In other words, dealers can customise any model they like.



There are stipulations, however. The first is that at least 50 percent of the parts used in the build must come from the official Harley-Davidson catalogue. The second is that any cash spent building the bike must not exceed 50 percent of the retail value. So a £10k bike can have another £5K thrown at it. A £15k bike can have another £7.5k spent.


Will there be scrutineering accountants checking the parts spend? Probably not. We suspect that dealers will be pretty honest, or at least equally economical with the truth. No doubt any significant fouls will be spotted soon enough—and we suspect that the cost of the man hours will be rated at zero.


Regardless, these are nine of the competing dealers from the UK:


Reading Harley-Davidson
Leeds Harley-Davidson
Sycamore (Leicestershire) Harley-Davidson
Guildford Harley-Davidson
Bowker (Preston) Harley-Davidson
Maidstone Harley-Davidson
Shaw (West Sussex) Harley-Davidson
West Coast (Glasgow) Harley-Davidson
Warr's (London)


As we understand it there are two more bikes waiting to be finished and/or listed.


The Bowker Centenary Edition from Bowker Harley-Davison. H-D parts include: Brass Collection Hand Grips Bronze, Fuel Cap Bronze, Timer Cover and Derby Cover. H-D Solo Spring Saddle and Fitting Kit. Non H-D parts include: Kinetic Motorcycles 540 Lateral Exhaust, Hex Dome Air filter, Drag Bars, Tank Lift, Coil Leads & mount, Shorty rear shocks, side mount licence kit. Custom rear fender.



Brass Monkey from Sycamore Harley-Davidson. H-D parts include: Low Mount Speedo. Brass grips, Timing Cover, Derby cover, Fuel Cap, Footpegs L&R, Shifter Peg, Brake Pedal. Rigid Mount Seat Kit, Bobber Saddle, Clip-on Handle Bar set, ABS brake line. Non H-D parts include: Custom fat spoke 23-inch front wheel, Custom fat spoke 16-inch rear wheel, Power Vison fuel pack, Heinz front indicators, Coil relocation kit, Kellerman multifunctional rear lights, Metzeler front and rear tyres. Modified 3.3 gallon dished fuel tank, stretched side covers, Custom Brass bellmouth air cleaner, copper braided oil lines. Custom paint by AP Customs.


Anyone in the UK can vote for their favourite bike. The voting opened on 14th January 2019. The voting closes on 15th February 2019. The top five will appear at the Carole Nash MCN Show at Excel, London (17th - 19th February 2019) where another voting round will be held to discover who gets the silver—and that bike will appear at the EICMA Show in Milan (6th - 11th November 2019) where the final international golden boy will be announced.


As ever, the standard looks very high. And so far, our needle is hovering around the entry from Shaw Harley-Davidson, and that's the yellow Sportster at the top of this news story which is named THE MUSTARD. But don't let us influence you (as if we could). If you want to vote, hit the link below.


Finally, we note that only nine bikes from the UK are being entered, and that's out of a total of 31 dealers. Last year, there were 15 UK dealers battling it out. You can read what you like into these numbers, which might simply mean that some dealers are too busy rather than too skint.


2019 Battle of the Kings website



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Rockers Reunion 2019


The poster design is by George Guntrip. We were thinking of tweaking it to make the colours richer and bolder. But then we decided that George got it exactly right. Nice muted tones typical of the 50s and 60s. Appropriate fonts. Just the right amount of ageing, etc. So we left it alone.



Rockers Revival Four 2019 


Story snapshot:

Ever get that déjà vu feeling?

£25 on the door, £22 on the net


There's an awful lot of not very much happening this month. But that ain't the reason we've splashed the above Rockers Revival poster right here on our august news page. We did it simply because we were asked. And yes, if you remember all the way back to this time last year, we did the same thing for the same reasons—and it was very quiet then (but not as quiet as now).


Something's gone very pear-shaped in economy of the western world, and we've got our own ideas about what that something is—and that's all to do with the internet and the digital revolution which is devaluing the most valuable resource in the world, which is information. But let's not go there right now. It'll keep.


Anyway, this year the line up includes Rebel Dean & the Star Cats, Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers, Furious, and a new combo called The Draglinks. This year, advance tickets are up two quid to £22. But the price on the door is pegged at £25.


The date is Saturday 2nd November 2019. The hours are 4pm until midnight. The venue, once again, is Harrow Leisure Centre, Christchurch Avenue, Harrow HA3 5BD. And the contact number is: 07760 727874.


Furious rock'n'roll band


Meanwhile, you've got a couple of ways of looking at this event. It's either the same old, same old shindig for the same old, same old ageing rockheads. Or it's a welcome and reassuring regrouping of a bunch of guys and gals who still know how to party, and don't much care what anyone else thinks of 'em.


Naturally, we favour option two. And remember, you don't have to be one of the original fifties or sixties rockers to be a welcome guest. You just have to have the right rocker spirit and a love for the music.


November 2019 is ten months away. But the older you are, the faster time flies. So make a note in your diary, or mark the occasion on your phone. If you're still mobile, you're never too old to join the party.


Events don't just happen. People make 'em happen.




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Herald Motorcycles Cafe 400

Herald Motorcycles 2 year breakdown recovery offer on all new bikes

1 day after Prince Philips's Norfolk crash, local speeds cut, 60mph to 50

... nearby residents have long been complaining about the over-fast traffic

Zero M/Cs adds Peterborough & Brighton dealers. Now 11 strong in the UK

MAG £1k hit-and-run reward. Nr Peckfield, N.Yorks, 6/1/19. 01926 844064

BMW's built Feb - June 2018. Check wire wheel spokes. No official recall

Scotland to match current England & Wales drug-driving laws by Oct 2019


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1932 Matchless Model X


1932 Matchless Model X to auction


Story snapshot:

H&H is handling the next sale at the NMM

The bidding start-price on this bike is just £6,500


H&H Auctions will be returning to the National Motorcycle Museum near Birmingham on 2nd March 2019. One of the more interesting lots, pricewise (and otherwise, actually), is the above 1932 Matchless Model X V-twin. The bidding, we're told, will commence at just £6,500 which is of course just auction bait—and so is the sales estimate which is a tempting £13,000 to £15,000.


1937 Matchless Model X


In April 2017, Bonhams flogged a similar 1937 Model X for £50k (image immediately above). And yes, that panel tank example was in pristine restored condition—whereas the H&H bike, although rebuilt some years ago, lays no pretence to being anything other than what is it; a rider's bike as opposed to a display or parade motorcycle.


1932 Matchless Model X engine


The engine is a 997cc Matchless-built sidevalve (as opposed to a JAP sidevalve which was also used for the Model X). The silencers belong to a Velocette (and look totally overblown as a stacked pair). And there are numerous other details that make this example incorrect, but not profoundly incorrect. However, Mike Davis at H&H advises us that the Model X runs very nicely and ticks over softly. An original buff log book is available together with a V5/V5C.


We did comment on the low estimate of this bike, and Davis acknowledged that it certainly could make a fair amount above the top estimate. Possibly up to £20k. Or even higher.


But the owner is keen to sell, and although this early example isn't the most desirable Model X in the range, it's still in the category and provides a relatively low entry price.





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Indian 101 Scout


New Indian 101 Scout garage sign 


Story snapshot:

Printed direct-to-metal on heavyweight steel

£14.99 plus P&P


Okay, life is short so we'll keep this brief. We've just taken delivery of a small batch of these signs, and we figure they'll sell pretty quickly. It's an original Sump design, and it's not available anywhere else—unless the signs are being pirated (and then they almost certainly won't be of the same high quality).


The signs are fairly heavyweight steel. They're printed direct-to-metal. The size is 400mm x 300mm. The finish is satin (so you won't be faced with much, if any, unwanted glare). For artistic purposes, we've given the signs an aged effect. And the mounting holes are, as ever, free of charge.


If you like what you see (and what's NOT to like), you can order one now by hitting the link below, or by clicking/prodding the picture immediately above. We'll despatch either the same day, or the day after—unless you're too late and the stock has run out, in which case we'll try to accommodate via a new batch.


Either way, we'll keep you posted.


And if you receive a sign and change your mind, just send it back for a full refund and all that stuff. If it ain't right, it ain't right. Simple. Meanwhile, you can check out the other metal garage signs we've developed. Just follow the other link below and scroll down the page and keep scrolling. There are plenty more at the bottom.




Indian 101 Scout metal sign

Sump metal signs



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1972 850cc Norton Commando. Said to be fully restored at a cost of £7,000, Charterhouse has estimated this lot at £9,000 - £10,000 plus buyer's premium (see text). No lot numbers have yet been issued.



Charterhouse Auctions February sale


Story snapshot:

Consignments now being sought

A Vincent Black Shadow is the headline bike


So okay, the new year has got off to a pretty slow start for the motorcycle industry as a whole. But it hasn't ground to a halt—and it's bound to pick up as the days lengthen and brighten.


We certainly hope so.


To that end, Charterhouse Auctions has notified us of the firm's next sale (Classic & Vintage Motorcycles) on Sunday 3rd February 2019. The venue is Exmoor Hall, Royal Bath & West Showground BA4 6QN. [Note: This sale was cancelled due to bad weather and rescheduled for 10th February 2018. We posted various messages regarding this].


So far, we count 32 bikes listed. The top lot is a 1949 998cc Series C Vincent Black Shadow that's estimated at £55,000 - £65,000—and note that there will be an additional buyer's premium of 13.3 percent (which will include VAT). In fact, all the bikes listed will see a 13.3 percent premium added.


The sale will be held in association with The 39th Carole Nash Bristol Classic Motorcycle Show which will be held on the weekend of 2nd - 3rd February 2019. Advance adult tickets are £11. Mortons Media Group is the organiser.



However, of all the bikes currently listed, the machine we like best is the (immediately) above 1961 Triton. It's a T100 Triumph engine in a Norton ES2 wideline featherbed frame, and we think it's one of those "honest" and "authentic" looking motorcycles that you would have seen roaring around in the 1960s (and yes, one or two of us around here well remember the sixties even if the rest of us missed it by a decade).


Nothing flashy here, of course. Just yer basic 500cc rocker's bike powered by a great engine and housed in a great chassis. Couple of fat header pipes. Two sausage silencers. A single carburettor for low down tractability rather than top end performance. A four speed box. And a satin finish that just ... well, works.






We don't have any more information on this motorcycle, except to say that the bike has been recently rebuilt. So if you're interested, you'll need to make your own enquiries in the usual way. Charterhouse reckons this Triton will sell at between £4,000 and £4,500 (plus commission). We think it might do a little better than this.



But if you want a more conventional and very cool looking rocker's ride, check the image immediately above. It's not a great pic from Charterhouse, but it shows a 1966 featherbed Triton that's also said to be fully rebuilt and is estimated at £9,000 - £11,000. No details of the engine used, but we think it's another 500.


And there's yet another similar cafe racer in the sale. Check the Charterhouse link if you're this way inclined. And who the hell isn't? Just looking at these motorcycles makes us think about the coming spring.


How about you guys and girls?





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1930 SS100 Brough Superior

H&H consigning NMM Sale. 2/3/2019 (▲ 1930 Brough Superior SS100)

Early notice from  Tewkesbury Classic Festival organisers. 18/8/2019.

HD announces 2020 US Livewire electric price. $29,799. No UK price yet.

Dave Fox Motorcycles in Ramsgate to close after 45 yrs trading. Retiring

2.37 million new cars sold in the UK in 2018. Down 173,000 from 2017 (7%)

US Hot Bike (print) magazine shuts. Founded 1971. Online mag unclear


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UK motorcycle sales figures for 2018 


Story snapshot:

105,816 new motorcycles were sold in 2018

New bike sales above 651cc are down


The numbers ain't as bad as they might be, but they ain't anywhere near as good as we'd like. Fact is, new motorcycle sales are still scraping along at a barely subsistence level that isn't making many people in (or out of) the bike trade feel good.


So okay, we've got a major Brexit vote looming which, in a major or minor way, is likely to shake things up for everyone. And what with new technologies having a deeper and more profound impact on our finances, social needs and habits, you might expect things to be struggling/uncertain.


But we're not convinced that Brexit actually has very much to do with the current state of the motorcycle market, not least because the decline in UK new bike sales has been going on for decades, and not merely for a few months or years.


Here are the brutal figures. For 2018, the total number of new motorcycles sold in the United Kingdom was 105,816. That's just 350 more machines than were sold in 2017 (105,466).




Now count the number of UK motorcycle dealers and you'll eventually arrive at 3,000 or so. So do the maths (or math if you're in the USA) and you'll see that 350 extra bikes sold in 2018 is just a blip. A sales spasm. Almost an accounting error.


Now look back at 1980 when 316,641 new motorcycles were registered in the UK. Then fast forward from there to 2000 when 170,346 new bikes hit the streets (British Dealer News figures). Then look ahead from the present day and ask yourself what shape the motorcycle industry is likely to be in another ten or twenty years.


The National Motorcycle Dealers Association (NMDA) is currently wearing a very stiff and telling expression; a kind of financial rigor mortis frown, if you like. And to some extent you can't blame 'em for talking it up. It's their job. But conversely, there are times when you simply have to face some awful facts, and the continued—if not terminal—decline of motorcycling in the UK is apparently what lies ahead for us on our favourite roads.


Want more? Okay.


For 2018, new bikes sales over 1,000cc were down 1.1 percent (21,130 units). Bikes in the 651cc - 1,000cc category were down 6.1 percent (25,240). Bikes in the 126cc - 650cc band were, small mercy, up 13 percent (20,016 units). Bikes in the 51cc - 125cc band were up 6.8 percent (33,790 units). And finally, 0 - 50cc bikes were down a whopping 28.3 percent (5,640 units).


Looked at another way, in the 0 - 50cc category, just 1.8 new motorcycles per dealer were sold across the country which gives you some idea of how much new blood is coming into the bike scene. Yes, many of the newcomers will be starting out on secondhand stock, so they won't show up on new bike sales figures. Then again, some of those 50cc bikes will probably be purchased by the 2017 (and earlier) intake of new riders.



Honda consistently topped the sales chart for 2018 (best selling PCX 125 shown), and the brand has for decades been either up with the pack or ahead of the crowd. Yamaha, Triumph and BMW were also generally highly placed in 2018 (not necessarily in that order). And KTM, take note, has been steadily creeping up the charts. Harley-Davidson, meanwhile, has long been relegated to the second half of the top ten, and more recently is languishing at the bottom.



We don't have figures for secondhand bike sales in the UK. No one does. But we hear both good and bad from dealers with many traders complaining that they can't (a) get the stock, and/or (b) can't shift 'em fast enough. Others tell a different story. However, you have to make allowances for the usual bulls#!t, so we can't give you an accurate picture. But we think that even when secondhand bikes are selling, the prices are struggling.


We don't have figures either for classic bikes sold in the UK. Those numbers are unknown. So after consulting a few prominent members of the classic market, all we can do is take a straw poll/best guess. The bottom line, we think, is that classic metal is still being moved, but slower than usual. And because dealers (struggling against private sales) need to earn their profits by hiking the sales tags, many are still keeping their prices relatively high. That in turn makes for slower stock movement, and so on and so forth.


Moreover, we think—and we stress think—that were seeing more mainstream dealers than usual retiring and shutting up shop, or putting their businesses on the block, or quietly going bust and disappearing. There's also a lot of rationalisation going on with many of the chain dealerships combining operations by merging shops and closing one or more retail outlet. So for these guys, it's something like two steps forward and one step back.


UK biking isn't yet dead. That should be stressed. And if other factors in the economy alter, new bike sales might yet stage some kind of recovery. But as it stands, it's impossible (for us, at least) to know what changes might come. The new bike numbers are the only clear metric that we have.


Here at Sump, we're not in the crystal ball industry. We don't play the National Lottery. And we don't even have an occasional flutter on the odd "sure-fire" horse race. But if we were to make a bet (on at least even money, of course), it's simply that things will get worse before they get better.


Happy 2019.



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Vincent Black Lightning - Series B


Bonhams Las Vegas Sale Jan 2019


Story snapshot:

Ex-Hans Stärkle racing Vincent tops the lots

Five owners, with the same owner for 50 years


Auction house Bonhams is opening the firm's 2019 calendar with its usual return to Las Vegas, Nevada USA. The last time we were in Nevada was May and it was pretty warm. But right now it's fairly cool across the pond—both weatherwise and auctionwise—with a reasonably interesting but not exceptional stock heading for the sales platform.


The top selling lot is the above 1949 Vincent Series B 998cc Black Lightning; a bike similar to the now legendary mount used by Rollie Free (1900 - 1984) when he famously stripped down to his bathing shorts at Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah and set a land speed record of 150.313mph.


This example hailing from the Vincent stable was once the property of Hans Stärkle, a Swiss pre-war NSU works team rider who had won the European Championship. Built in 1949, Vincent luminary George Brown tested the bike when it first rolled out of the factory and declared it fit for purpose. The bike had been ordered by a Swiss dealership (Kämpfen & Hieronimy of Zurich) which had spotted the first Black Lightning on the Vincent Stand at the October '48 Earl's Court Motorcycle Show. In fact, this example is said to be the second one out of the box.


During Stärkle's brief ownership, he decided that the original Brampton girder type fork was unsuitable for his needs and fitted Series C Girdraulics. He was, take note, involved in sidecar racing and needed something to handle the lateral stresses.



In May 1952 the second owner (also Swiss, image immediately above) was a certain Mr Amrein. He rode the bike to Stevenage, home of Vincent, and had lights, a silencer, footrests and a pillion saddle fitted. Thereafter he put some road miles on the machine, no doubt with many of those miles between Stevenage and Switzerland.


The third owner (a German) took the 'bars in 1955, and in 1961 the fourth owner put his own name on the registration documents. Some time after that, the Vincent went down with engine trouble, so owner number four took the motor to pieces—and didn't get around to reassembling it.


In 1968, Ernst Hegeler—another German—did the decent thing and made the Black Lightning whole again. Hegeler decided to forgo all that cissy road-going nonsense and put the Vincent back into racing trim and spent much of his five decades of ownership demonstrating and parading the bike. More recently, however, Hegeler has decided that it's time to move the motorcycle along to its next owner.


The bike isn't in its original configuration/set-up. The first two Black Lightnings from the factory had inlet tracts of differing lengths. Later bikes in the series had equal length tracts, and that's what's been fitted here. A three-spring Norton clutch has also been installed, plus electronic ignition, 19-inch flanged alloy wheels, a kick starter, a modern 12-volt battery, and 32mm Bing carburettors.


That's right. Bings. On a Vincent (Phil & Phil would roll over in their graves; or maybe not). Regardless, Bonhams has pegged an estimate of $360,000 - $400,000, which in Limey-speak is £280,000 - £310,000.



To sweeten the pudding, a number of original (or at least more appropriate) parts are being offered with the bike including an original magnesium Lucas competition magneto, the original Brampton-type fork, the original 19-inch and 21-inch wheels, the original clutch, original cylinder heads, and more.


Other lots in this sale...


Three more Vincents are featured in this auction; two 998cc twins at $75,000 - $85,000 (£59,000 - £67,000) and $35,000 - $45,000 (£27,000 - £35,000) respectively, plus a 499cc single at $25,000 - $35,000 (£20,000 - £27,000).


The sale also features a fair range of other British bikes, plus a good number of Italian and Japanese classics, many of which look seriously underpriced. In fact, serious underpricing is the norm these days for Bonhams. Then again, selling is the name of the game, and if you don't bait the trap, you won't catch the game.


Beyond that there's a brace of cool and evocative competition machines that have caught our eye. Nothing too fancy mind. Just the kind of bikes we would have killed for when we had hair and teeth and most of our marbles. These machines include:



1965/1968 Triumph TR6C Trophy. Simple, purposeful and eminently droppable, we like the look of this 650cc competition mount. It's the kind of bike you can have some serious fun with if you can find a big enough patch of dirt. Like Arizona. Or New Mexico. The estimate is $7,000 - $9,000 (£5,500 - £7,100). Rebuilt motor. Ceriani front fork. Single carb. Battery-less ignition. No extra fat. Nice.



1972 Gary Davis Honda CB360. During the seventies, Davis and stunt partner Rex Blackwell wowed thousands in the USA with their daring motorcycle jumps and near misses. Davis who, we hear, never crashed later enjoyed a career as a stunt rider. This Trackmaster-framed CB350-based bike was apparently clocked at 154mph. It's now estimated to sell at between $12,500 - $15,000 (£9,800 - £12,000). Fundamentally sound, it just needs re-commissioning. Not our taste, but we can see the appeal.



1967 A65 Hornet. The A65 was built for 11 years, and like many things in life, they're best served rare. These factory hotrods came with thrills but no frills. Just a motor, a rolling chassis, a pair of 'bars, a tank and a seat. And okay, you got a tachometer and a pair of straight-through pipes with which to gun down whoever was in your wake. This example has no known history, so there's not much else to say. Bonhams thinks a buyer will be found for around $8,000 - $12,000 (£6,300 - £9,400). 



We're counting around 128 lots in the sale, incidentally. We'll take another look nearer the day and, naturally, will report anything interesting. Or if you've got the time and patience, go and take a look at Bonhams' site.


Also see: Steve McQueen Speed Twin to sell




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Radical shake-up of London streets 


Story snapshot:

Tottenham Court Road is set to restrict vehicular traffic

Implications for motorcycling here


This isn't exactly a new phenomenon, but it is a new development. Or proposed development. We're talking about the newly announced Transport for London (TfL) plan to pedestrianise Tottenham Court Road in London's W1 district.


Tottenham Court Road is a major thoroughfare that connects the junctions of Oxford Street-New Oxford Street-Charing Cross Road with Euston Road. It's a busy shopping thoroughfare that for 200 years has been dominated by Heals, the upmarket furniture store.


What's happening is that a plan is underway to end the current one-way northbound traffic flow and replace it with a more conventional two-way route that will see trucks, vans, private cars and taxis (and presumably motorcycles) banned between the hours of 8am and 7pm. The only vehicles that will be permitted to use Tottenham Court Road between those hours will be emergency service units and buses.


Naturally, there's plenty of vocal hostility regarding the proposal, not least from London cabbies who, on average, probably use the road two or three times a day. Or possibly more. And yes, there are alternate routes north and south (see the map below), but nothing that can shift as much traffic per hour. Moreover, the concern is that closing such a major route (albeit a fairly short one) will cause additional congestion in neighbouring streets.



Sadiq Khan, the loved-and-loathed Muslim Mayor of London is very much behind the scheme—and not just this scheme but numerous other plans that are incrementally (arguably with the emphasis on mentally) reclaiming or stealing urban acreage across the capital broadly to the delight of pedestrians and many residents, and broadly very much to the chagrin of drivers and motorcyclists.


There are already existing or proposed bans at Bank, Oxford Street, Camden Town and London Bridge. And other London boroughs are loosely thinking along the same lines.


Khan, we hear, cites the rise of Islamic terrorism as part of the reason he wants to see vehicular transport curbed (or kerbed?) in London's shopping areas. The rationale being that if cars and similar vehicles are banned from 8am to 7pm, that will clip the tyres of any religious fruitcake and prevent him or her from rampaging down Tottenham Court Road and murdering innocent everyday shoppers and bargain hunters.


Of course, there will need to be prominent STRICTLY NO TERRORISM signs placed at both ends of the street, and on the adjoining roads. So in theory, Khan could be on to something. However, in practice it sounds like he's a nutty as the terrorists if he truly believes that pedestrianising an area will automatically grant that locality some kind of "fainites or fainlights" immunity from mayhem.


But there's another mission here; specifically that the capital's air is pretty dirty. In fact, the harder you look, (and as amazing as it sounds) the more dirt you find—and Khan is clearly on a bender intent on stopping every last mote of dust or hydrocarbon particle from entering the local atmosphere (between 8am and 7pm) and thereby slaughtering Londoners in their millions. And he's got a personal interest, note, because the mayor is a chronic asthmatic.


Of course, improving the general environment is a worthy aim. Up to a point. And up to a price. But Tottenham Court Road and Oxford Street are specific environments, and such environments have their own needs and dynamics. Consequently, there will undoubtedly be a lot of damage caused to other Londoners who need to use the streets for reasons other than buying upmarket furniture and sitting outside coffee bars discussing the news, the weather and the freshness of the air (and never mind that the mighty Euston Road is thundering by just a few hundred yards away, or the Heathrow bound flight path—with one jet passing every 55 seconds—just a mile to the south).


Naturally, there's a lot more to it than this. We're just scratching at the more obvious issues, the big point being than London's motorcyclists (unless they're granted exemption, which is highly unlikely) are now not only facing a woeful shortage of parking spaces, paying extra entry taxes to the capital in the form of ULEZ (Ultra Low Emissions Zone) charges, addressing the ongoing risk of acid attacks, and dealing with the usual motoring hazards and dangers faced by bikers in any urban environment. Motorcyclists are also finding that more asphalt is effectively being torn up to improve shopping footfall thereby further marginalising private motorised traffic.



Earlier today we spoke to The Khan (pictured) and asked for a quote. He said, "Mmmm mumuh muh, murhmuhu muh mumumrugh muhmummuh muh muruh." So we'll leave it there.



Of course, if (vindictively or otherwise) you want to add to the mayor's health problems, and if the Tottenham Court Road plan goes ahead, you can simply fork out £130 and ride up and down the street as much as you like. Just take note that the mayor's got cameras and other roving eyes on the prowl, and we figure that you'll run out of money before he does.


Has motorcycling in the UK ever been under so much threat and pressure? We can't remember when. Fact is, as our habitat shrinks, our Triumphs, Hondas, Harleys and whatever are looking more and more like endangered species, especially in the nation's metropolitan areas.


So enjoy 'em while you can, but not necessarily between the hours of 8am and 7pm.





I read as far as "Muslim Mayor" in detail, but after that found I lost interest. I don't know (as a humanist) how religion will have an influence on what London road gets shut or not? —Chris, West Country

[Firstly, the mayor of London has self-identified as a Muslim. Many times. He was elected partly on a Muslim "ticket". We didn’t "out" him. It was his idea. We mentioned the fact that Sadiq Khan is Muslim not as a criticism (as we suspect you believe), but simply to show that as a (self-identified) member of a religious community, he’s challenging/dealing with an issue that’s ostensibly a religious problem within the same community. That’s to his credit. Broadly speaking, however, we suspect that religion doesn’t really have much to do with the current spate of  "terrorist outrages". We think the perpetrators are simply murderous fruitcases. Islam, after all, is supposed to be a gentle religion (although given the way Islamic states and many adherents treat women, publicly execute people and ritually slaughter animals, we haven’t seen much evidence of that). However, as the mayor has self-identified as a Muslim, we feel that it’s perfectly fair and correct to repeat that fact and let Sump visitors decide for themselves if it’s relevant—which for all we know it might be. We don’t have total insight into the mayor’s agenda. But we defend the right to judge his actions and proposals with full reference to all aspects of his personality, both private and political. Finally, in point of fact religion DOES have an effect regarding which road gets shut. As Londoners, we can well recall roads being closed on numerous occasions to facilitate on-the-fly prayer meetings and religious protest gatherings—Ed]

I'm with Chris on this one. Sadiq Khan didn't make the running on his religious identity. The issue was promoted by the usual suspects in the print media whose fortunes in terms of sales and readership mirror that of motorcycling; i.e. the old gits that have kept the proverbial show on the road are dying. Khan responded by attempting to balance the prejudice and innuendo. I don't hold a brief for Khan. He's not socialist enough for my political taste. —John Newman

[Once again we disagree. Both before and after he was elected mayor, Khan variously described himself as a "practicing Muslim, a "proud feminist" and a staunch lefty. We quote:



“I’ve spent the past few weeks having briefings with police experts and others. As a British Muslim who wants to take the fight to the extremists, I want to be the Mayor who keeps us safe. On day one I am going to put us on a war footing with these terrorists." —14th April 2016, Evening Standard

"Anyone who knows me knows that I’m miserable during Ramadan. Some would say I’m miserable all year round, but it does affect my mood. What I usually miss the most is caffeine; I go to lots and lots of boring meetings (not this year, of course, because now I have the best job in the world!) and I need caffeine to keep going." — June 2016, writing in The Guardian

"There is a role that Muslims in the public eye play: to reassure people that we are OK." — June 2016, writing in The Guardian]


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Ann Margot Lantree: 1943 - 2018


Story snapshot:

Girl drummer and singer with the Honeycombs has died aged 75

Joe Meek was the record producer


Most people will remember her simply as Honey Lantree—if they remember her name at all. But anyone living in the UK who was of any age in the 1960s will certainly remember the girl with the beehive hairdo who was the drummer with the band, The Honeycombs.


This short-lived five piece combo had a million selling hit with Have I The Right? which took the number one spot in the UK charts in 1964 and received more than its fair share of radio and TV airplay across Europe and all around the world. In fact, for us here at Sump it's one of those songs that, like Whiter Shade of Pale by Procol Harum and Unit 4 + 2's Concrete and Clay, has the power to instantly transport us back to another age of Ford Zephyrs, mini skirts, the moon landing and the birth control pill.


Female drummers today ain't exactly commonplace. But yes, there are a few dozens or so expertly banging their drums across most musical genres. However, in the 1960s such ladies were super rare.


There was, of course, Moe Tucker with the Velvet Underground. And there was Tina Ambrose with The Ravens. But beyond them, we can't readily think of another.


In the 1970s, Sandy West drummed (and sang) with US all-girl rock band The Runaways. In that same decade Karen Carpenter—arguably the greatest female voice in pop music—also knew exactly how to handle the skins. Jody Linscott, session drummer to the stars, came along soon after and has for decades kept the beat for everyone from Ray Davies to David Gilmour to Paul McCartney. And of course more recently there's Meg White of the White Stripes.


But in 1964, Honey Lantree was the only female in an all-male band, and perching her behind a drum kit was a pretty good performance gimmick. Not that she couldn't keep the beat—but no one held that against her, least of all famed record producer (and musical genius?) Joe Meek; a man willing and able to exploit just about anything that sounded right on a platter, and looked good on TV screen. She could sing too, and did a pretty good job of Something I Gotta Tell you which wasn't released as a single. And if you're a fan of Mama Cass Elliot, you might hear some similarities here. Check it out if you can.




The band was formed out of The Sheratons. Martin Murray set the beat, and he happened to be a hairdresser. His assistant was Ann Lantree, also known as "Honey". So Murray combined her nickname with the word "comb" (as used in his salon), hence "The Honeycombs". Is that true? Could be. We'll certainly believe it if you will.


Have I The Right? was produced at Joe Meek's (Blue Plaqued) studio on the Holloway Road in North London. To get that thumping/stomping beat, Meek had the band all stamping on the bare floorboards or staircase while Honey hit the skins. That rattling sound you can hear is a tambourine being slapped directly against a microphone. Naturally, he had a collection of amps and sundry recording machines, and he wasn't averse to the idea of settling for a single take with no overdubbed fills and frills.


Consequently, in terms of sophistication, Joe Meek's crude music engineering efforts score a zero. Yet at the same time, the man knew what he wanted, and more or less got exactly what he wanted, and he churned out many hits including songs such as Telstar by The Tornados and Johnny Remember Me by John Leyton—both of which were also regular sounds on the radios of the sixties.


What followed for the Honeycombs was a world tour that brought the band thousands of dedicated fans in Sweden, The Netherlands, Germany, Australia, and the Far East (notably Japan). And there's still a sizeable overseas (and home market) following for the combo.



Honey Lantree was born in Hayes, Middlesex but grew up in Highams Parks, north east London. She started on guitar, but stumbled upon the drums and soon discovered a talent for them. An early split in the group saw the formation of The New Honeycombs. But after a bright start, the band failed to follow up the success of Have I The Right?



As with all pop/rock groups, the members came and went with one of the original line-up (Denis D'ell - lead singer born Denis Dalziell) having died in 2005. There is currently a new and fairly recently reformed line-up for the Honeycombs, and they're still knocking out the songs including Have I The Right?; That's The Way; Something Better Beginning (written by Ray Davies) and Please Don't Pretend Again.


If you take the trouble to check out the band's back catalogue, you'll perhaps find a lot of interesting stuff lurking there. Beyond that, we don't know an awful lot more about the band, save for the usual litigious stuff about who wrote what and who came and went and why.


But you don't need to read all that good stuff to enjoy the music—if 1960s three minute pop platters are your thing. The main thing here is that Honey Lantree came along, made her mark on the world, did whatever else she did and is now gone aged 75.


End of story.



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