May 2015  Classic bike news


  Lot 351, a 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine. This bike is one of 100 classic motorcycles scheduled to be auctioned at Brooklands Museum on Saturday 6th June 2015. Classic auctioneer, Historics at Brooklands will be wielding the hammer on this one. The firm has set an estimate of £150,000 - £175,000. The bike is believed to have started out as a works racer before being sold to sand racing exponent Norman Buckley of Blackpool. That was on the 1st January 1929. The engine JTOR/*81990/SD is an early example and dates from 1927. Buckley is believed to have sold the Brough in the early 1930s. In the early 1950s the registration number (FR 9745) was being used incorrectly on another machine in South West London. Somewhere down the road, the bike lost its frame. In 2011, the Brough was re-framed by marque expert Tony Cripps and is said to be an exact replica of the original. Other features include Castle Forks, a copper racing tank (ex-Bert Le Vack), twin BTH magnetos, a special Binks twist grip, a three-speed Sturmey Archer gearbox, and an Amac TT25 twin float carburettor. It's looking very good, Historics at Brooklands is ambitious, and we'll be closely watching this one. Stay tuned.

UPDATE: The bike did not sell.




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


December 2014 Classic Bike News

John Robert "Joe" Cocker: 1944 - 2014
British Bike Bits for Interceptor Mk2s
Billie Honor Whitelaw: 1932 - 2014
Mike Hailwood print from the ACU
Ian Patrick McLagan: 1945 - 2014
One million Ducati dreams: Official

Cool Ducati 60 limited edition poster
European H.O.G Rally 2015 details
Goldtop Large Leather Care Kit
Mann-Hailwood-Beart bikes to sell

Norton Dominator SS for 2015?
Akrapovič custom "World Premiere"

Andy's Tiernan's Triumph 3HW
New style police court bright idea

First seven Hesketh 24s set to ship
2015 Limited Edition Rocket Three X
"500 Nortons headed to Australia"
Swinton execs fined £928,000

Old Empire Imperial Ducati Typhoon
Sterling Autocycles replica flat tanker
Ultra Low Emission Zone update
Barn Built Cafe Racer Dot Com kit


November 2014 Classic Bike News

Noise complaint e-petition appeal
Bonhams Bond Street Sale 2014
Gold plated Speed Twin on eBay
"True Greats" sale at Coys
£12.50 per day classic bike charge
Frankie Fraser: 1923 - 2014

Driving licence changes for January 2015
"Last V1000 Hesketh" is produced
1964 Triumph TRW: asking £5,000

Warning: Have you seen this man?

Watsonian GT4 Sports Touring chair
Triumph recalls various 2014 models
Rare 1934 BSA R34-4 now on eBay
H&H Chateau Impney auction
Bell Bullitt RSD Viva helmet
Hedon crash helmets

Terblanche shifts to Royal Enfield
Greeves Motorcycles Ltd is for sale

Vapour blasting service by SVS ...
Andy Tiernan's 2015 calendar
NMM 30th anniversary Vincent draw
New Broughs unveiled at EICMA

Bernard Stanley Bilk: 1929 - 2014
Sump's moving. Expcet prolbems
New emissions threat from TfL
Stolen Triumph Tiger Cub alert


October 2014 Classic Bike News

Matchless Model X: new teasers pics

Time to switch off London's traffic lights?

Limited edition "space age" Ural MIR
John "Jack" Bruce: 1943 - 2014

London to Brighton Run Sale
UK adult minimum wage rise

Alvin Stardust: 1942 - 2014

Oops! We screwed up
£104,540 Flying Merkel at Bonhams
Cheffins Cambridge Sale results

Fonda's chop: $1.35 million. Sold!
New Sump T-shirt "spy shots"

Herb Harris Vincents for Bonhams

BSA M-Series clutch chain wheels
Samuel Truett Cathy: 1921 - 2014
Police bail time limits proposed
Slovak Aeromobil drives and flies
H&H Duxford Oct 2014 Sale results

Ace Cafe's "Ultimate burn up" ride
Venhill generic switchgear

Johnny Foreigner clampdown plan
Holly Ariel Cyclone makes: $457,500
Bikesure-Sump insurance link
Atalanta relaunched and unveiled
Plausible Ferrari safety fear recall
No deathanol increase before 2017, promise
Council vandalises Bansky artwork
Lynsey De Paul: 1950 - 2014
Metzeler Sportec Klassic launched
New Mitas motocross mudpluggers
October tax disc changes crash DVLA website
2014 London-Brighton Run reminder
Triumph unveils the T214 Bonnie

"Nurb's" by Fred "Krugger" Bertrand


September 2014 Classic Bike News

Bob Crewe: 1930 - 2014
Graham Coxon's bike collection charity auction
GSXR-powered Bond Bug for sale

Norman Hyde's half century, and not out
Distinguished Gents charity ride

Mole Benn Collection for Stafford

Battlesbridge urgently needs your support
British Customs "Cassidy" project
Andrew Victor McLaglen: 1920 - 2014
Captain America's bike is for sale
The DVLA wants your classic view

Triumph Thruxton Ace unveiled

H&H Duxford Sale: 8th October 2014
Donald Alfred Sinden: 1923 - 2014
British Customs gel saddle: $329.00
New Bristol car promised by 2015
Free vintage Brit movie screenings
The Scottish independence myth
Triumph 250cc single project "on hold"
Bonhams Beaulieu 2014: Top lot
Elvis Presley found alive on moon
Ex-Buddy Holly Ariel to be auctioned
Three car shows bought by Mortons
Worst ever Netley Eurojumble?
New "road tax" complications ahead
"Anti-social" Ace Cafe warned off
IKON shock absorbers/dampers


August 2014 Classic Bike News

Ken Rees, the real Steve McQueen?

Mortons buys Fast Bikes magazine
William Henry "Bill" Kerr: 1922 - 2014
Britain First "hijacks" The Royal Crown
National Motorcycle Museum robbery URGENT APPEAL: £20,000 REWARD
Ugly Fish Slingshot Ozzie shades
New Heritage Buses Festival 2014
Watch the Foley beheading video and get nicked—Met Police
1953 Triumph Terrier. £10,000. eBay
Richard Attenborough: 1923 - 2014
Don't forget the 2014 Brighton Speed Trials
New domestic abuse laws mooted
"Last Hughie Hancox restoration"
McQueen's 1930 Chief: $100,000. Sold
170,000 Continental tyres recalled
Bob Derrick, RIP
Matthew Thompson ePetition opened
The Empire buys Wrighty's Show
Confederate Hellcat Speedster X132
BMF 2014 Tail End Show cancellation

European Bike Week: 2 - 7 Sept 2014
Stephen Hill's off the wall design
Lauren Bacall: 1924 - 2014
Video recording at English local council meetings is "now legal"
Jean Panhard: 1913 - 2014
Harley-Davidson Road Glide returns
Romney Marsh inaugural bike auction 2014
Motorcycling in the 1970s - new eBook series
Foundry Matchless 500cc G9 bobber
2015 69-inch Indian Scout launched
Classic Car Boot Sale goes Olympic
The UK "tax disc" is soon to vanish
Savatech Sport Force tyre recall


July  2014 Classic Bike News

Ex-McQueen 1912 Harley X8E to sell
Half price Gasolina boots at Foundry
Dora Bryan: 1923 - 2014
The 42nd International British Biker Meeting
Harley-Davidson VRSC V-Rod guide
Kieran Shortall: 1959 - 2014
James Garner: 1928 - 2014

"Quadrophenia Lambretta" to auction
Electric cars for 10 Downing Street
Johnny Dawson Winter: 1944 - 2014
Cheffins' July Cambridge Auction
Northampton Classic Club Scramble
Coys Auction kicks off at Blenheim
Dave Bickers: 1938 - 2014
Government scraps 60mph limit plan
MyLicence insurance honesty checks
Ex-servicemen's charity Euro jolly
Mecum's July 2014 Harrisburg sale
So who the hell are you people?
Francis Barnett "makes a comeback"
2014 Indian Chieftain at Sturgis


June 2014 Classic Bike News

Ariel Motorcycles launches the Ace
Eli Wallach: 1915 - 2014
Francis Matthews: 1927 - 2014
Government set to limit CCTV cars
New Harley-Davidson Sump features
Harley-Davidson "LiveWire" concept
High Beech tea hut under threat
The Hesketh 24 is officially unveiled
Bonhams' Banbury "Record" Sale
Avon & Somerset Police's Ariel Atom
1937 Matchless Model X eBay scam
Cotswold Classics is bust
Northants Classic MX Club appeal


May 2014 Classic Bike News

VMCC petition seeks blood

£60 million left on TfL Oyster Cards

AJS Model 18 & Matchless G80 guide

London Congestion Charge hike

Banbury Run 2014 reminder

Maserati centenary celebrations

Mechanical Art Devices Exhibition

First UK Royal Enfield Store opens
Dangerous Dogs Act amendment
Police dog ePetition wants your vote
Fiat-Chrysler chooses London
New logotype for Royal Enfield?
Sump plates for Triumph T140s/T120s

Cheffins April Cambridge Sale results

Bournemouth Wheels Free Festival
Efrem Zimbalist Jnr: 1917 - 2014

Charges dropped against Les Allen

Two civic plaques for George Brough

48% of bikers want to vote away your right to decide—IAM

Clarkson utters the "nigger" word


April 2014 Classic Bike News

New political T-shirt from Sump
Mark Upham nabs Brough's Brough
Ex Hailwood/Surtees Sportmax sells
Reunion of the Rockers, 3rd May 2014

u r txtng. stp drvng u mrn
Looking for a Stafford alternative?

Another implied classic bike threat from London Mayor Boris Johnson?

Houston Motorcycle Auction results

Government to scrap camera cars?

Cheffins Vintage Sale: 26th April 2014

The Stranglers Bonneville raffle

Rare DKW SS250 leads Duxford Sale

BSA C15, B25, B40, B44 & B50 aficionados look this way
Johammer electric motorcycles
Death comes calling at Bonhams
Wal Handley's Lagonda to sell at H&H

Vincent Series C Rapide raffle

Classic British Bikes book

Stuff we like: Bell Bullitt Helmet - TT

Triumph Model P from Andy Tiernan

Foundry First Anniversary Ride In
April - Houston Motorcycle Auction
Ernest "Ernie" Lyons: 1914 - 2014
UK campaign to reinstate .22 pistols


March 2014 Classic Bike News
DVSA to name and shame ex-MOT stations
Mick Woollett: 1930-2014
Richard Edmonds Sale - March 2014
Captain Maurice Seddon: 1926-2014

Introducing Stephen Hill, pop artist

Classic bike tax discs are on a roll
Kempton Park bike jumble sells out
BSA Bantam 3-string steel guitar
Boris Johnson to ban classic bikes?
Gruppo Bertone's in trouble. Again
Paris bans cars and motorcycles
Southend Shakedown & Margate Meltdown:
2014 biker diary dates

Rabers British motorcycle parts
Agostini and Cooper to headline
Mallory Bike Festival

Second Classic Car Boot Sale rocks
Anthony Wedgwood Benn: 1925-2014

Hinckley bullish about 2014 sales
UK bike parts distributor now accepts bitcoins

New BSA M20 T-shirt from Sump

New AA-Halfords "safety" campaign

Bandit 9 customs - Made in China

Secret British Government webcams
in the home...

Anglia's first classic sale "success"

UK magazine sales continue to drop

De Bruir Parachuter leather backpack


February 2014 Classic Bike News

New Lotus Bike: Not Made in Britain
Met set to pay out huge rape compensation
Any information on this outfit?
National Motorcycle Museum appeal
"Whole life sentences" ruled legal
Brian Hampton appeal bid update
Tom Armstrong Manx Norton for sale
Martin Squires Sketchbook Volume 4
ACA's first classic motorcycle sale
New Rocker T-shirts from Sump
Alex Botwright steps down as Fenman Classic Bike Show chairman
"Droves" at Bristol Classic Show
Kool new Davida candy coloured lids
Rare 1930 MGC makes £15,297
Nobody hurt in small earthquake
Royal Enfield "Valentine's Day sale"
Chris Bushell takes over Nourish
SBS Harley-Davidson "Speed Demon"
New 69 Club T-shirt from Sump
Mr & Mrs Oil Drip: under the hammer


January 2014 Classic Bike News

Vintage Boot Sale, London
Chelsea Bridge tea stall petition
Stylish café racer T-shirt from Sump
Triumph again tops UK big bike sales
2014 Brighton Speed Trials is back on
First British motorway pub has opened
Hurricane tank from Burton Bike Bits
1936 Brough SS80 and chair on eBay
General Jumbo control freaks ahead
Festival of 1000 Bikes is cancelled
New congestion charge "con"
Bonhams Sale: "New records set"
Twenty jobs at Triumph Motorcycles
Cafe racer rival for Triumph Thruxton
Phil Everly: 1939 - 2014
Stuff we love: Vanishing Point (1971)
Derringer electric board track bicycle
Illegally fingerprinting the kids






Council streetlight switch-off warning


It's been happening for a while now, but clearly not everyone has got the message that British country lanes are doubly dangerous since many local authorities have switched off or dimmed hundreds of thousands of streetlights.


The warning comes after Cheryl Richards, 31, was knocked down and killed by the driver of an Audi A3. The incident happened at around 2.00am on 27th September 2014 on the A361 near Hilperton, Wiltshire.


These are the facts as presented to the inquest:


1. Cheryl Richards was walking with her "partner", Simon Cook. They had a drink (or two) at a local pub and had then attended a nearby party, but had not stayed.

2. The couple walked home along the A361 in total darkness whilst wearing no reflective clothing.

3. They were walking in the middle of the road having declined to use adjacent paths (that section of the A361, note, has no roadside footpaths).

4. Mr Lee Sullivan, 23, was at the wheel of the Audi A3.

5. Sullivan initially stopped, then fled the scene, then handed himself into police at Melksham.

6. Sullivan was breathalysed and recorded a level of 38 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. That put him over the legal limit of 35.

7. However, a subsequent (more accurate) test revealed that Sullivan had 34 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. Therefore he was under the limit.

8. A "back calculation" then estimated that his alcohol level at the time of the incident was probably closer to 25 microgrammes of alcohol per 100 millilitres of breath. Therefore well under the limit.

7 Nevertheless, Sullivan had panicked and (temporarily) fled, and he was charged with "failing to stop at the scene of an road accident", and was given 10 points on his licence and 200 hours of community service.

8. There were streetlights along the road, but the local authority had switched them off hoping to save around £300,000 of ratepayer's money (annually).


Tests were carried out with the Audi A3, or a similar model, and it was ruled that no driver, whilst driving at legal speeds, would have been able to avoid hitting Ms Richards (keeping in mind that the slower you drive, the less damage you're likely to do if and when you plough into someone). In fact, it was ruled that with the headlights that the vehicle was fitted with, and given the clothes the couple were wearing, it was unlikely that the driver would even have been able to see her in time, let along swerve.


Ian Singleton, the Wiltshire coroner, has been reported as saying: "Although Cheryl was walking along the road in the middle of the carriageway, there is no suggestion that it was done with the intention of causing harm to herself or anyone else."



The A361 near Hilperton at night as viewed on ... well, any night.



The A361 near Hilperton at night as viewed from the other direction.



So who's in the wrong here? Ms Richards for walking along in the dark wearing "non-reflective" clothing? Her partner for letting her do it? The Audi A3 driver who might have considered motoring along at a speed that his headlights and brakes could cope with? The local council for trying to save a bob or two? The local ratepayers who wouldn't like to see their taxes rise to pay for the streetlight electricity? The British government for allowing the average bloke/bird to drive such high-powered vehicles? The British people for allowing the government to literally licence potential motoring excess.


Or all of the above?


The moral is simply that if you're out and about on your bike cruising the midnight back roads of England (or elsewhere), you might consider carrying a reflective bib, or carrying a warning triangle, or keeping tightly to the verge, or making sure you've got a good battery on your bike, or making sure you don't run out of petrol.


Or all of the above.


Since 2009, when the recent major national streetlight cull pulled the plugs, police figures suggest that 324 more pedestrians have been killed after dark on British roads by motor vehicles of all types, a rise of 39 percent (generally, the accident trend is downward for most groups). Currently, data suggests that Britain has 5.7 million streetlights of which half a million are switched off (or dimmed) at night. Some stretches of highway, note, have alternate lights switched off.


Confucius said that "It's better to light a candle than curse the darkness." Trouble is, these particular candles are costing the nation a fortune, and we're too skint/tightfisted/thrifty/indifferent to do much about it.


— Big End




1948 - 2015


Lynn-Annette Ripley, better known as the sixties "dolly bird" pop singer, Twinkle, has died aged 66.


She caused something of a social stir in 1964 when her teenage death song "Terry" hit the radio airwaves and was promptly banned by the BBC and ITV—but nevertheless made it all the way to number four in the UK singles chart where it spent fifteen highly publicised weeks.


The song, it's said, was conceived in the back of her father's chauffeur-driven limousine whilst travelling on the A3 in Surrey. Twinkle has been quoted as saying: “These boys on big bikes came by and everything flowed from that image. There never was a real Terry in my life. I wasn’t interested in sex then, and certainly not with boys who greased their hair back and drove motorcycles. Anyway, my parents would not have allowed it.”





Her father was in fact a Conservative councillor and a very successful businessman, and it was him who gave Lynn-Annette the pet name, "Twinkle".


Contrary to popular belief, she was no one-hit-wonder. She was actually more of a two-hit-wonder having subsequently reached number 21 in the UK charts with her follow-up, "Golden Lights". But that was pretty much the end of her musical career, notwithstanding a much later obligatory stint on the sixties nostalgia circuit.


"Terry", which was released on the Decca label, made Twinkle a (then) very respectable £15,000, which in 1964/65 was enough to buy a modest house or two, or maybe an E-Type Jaguar and an Aston Martin.


The song contained the memorable lyrics:

He rode into the night
Accelerated his motorbike
I cried to him in fright
Don't do it, don't do it, don't do it

He said to me, you are the one I want to be with
He said to me, you are the one who my love I shall give
One day he'll know how hard I prayed for him to live
Please wait at the gate of heaven for me, Terry


Grim stuff. And the song couldn't have done much to help motorcycle sales. But it gave Twinkle the momentum needed to consolidate her position as a rising pop icon. But she never really followed through her success. Touring and performing live didn't appeal to her, and there simply wasn't another hit in heart. So despite her friendship with various pop stars of the day (including The Bachelors and The Rolling Stones), she pretty much faded into obscurity, then married the Cadbury "Milk Tray Man" (Graham Rogers) and became involved in animal rights.


But which came first? "Leader of the Pack" by the Shangri-Las? Or "Terry" by Twinkle? Well it was actually "Leader of the Pack" which was recorded a few months earlier and was released a month before "Terry". But it's not clear if Twinkle was aware of that song when she penned her own hit.


Lynn-Annette "Twinkle" Ripley is survived by her husband, son and daughter, and by thousands of sixties bikers who no doubt remember the impact (no pun intended) that the song "Terry" had on their juvenile ears.





Triumph TSS T140W


Lot 343, Triumph's 'ill-fated' (and ill-fêted) T140W TSS. This more civilised Bonnie had performance, poise, and more kerbside appeal than a Mayfair hooker, but it had its problems (both technical and pricewise) that helped kill sales. See below for more on this rare machine.



Historics' Brooklands sale draws near


Here's a reminder that Saturday 6th June 2015 will soon be upon us, and that's when auction house Historics at Brooklands is holding what could be an interesting sale at Brooklands Museum, Weybridge, Surrey KT13 0QN.


Historics, as many regular Sumpsters know, is still a newcomer to the classic bike world and therefore has a lot to prove if it wants to stay in the big boy's playground. The firm held its first motorcycle auction in June 2013 when it promised to field 100 bikes. On the day, it was actually 87. But that was still a fair beginning. Since then, the firm has worked hard to improve its marketing presence and penetration and is currently fielding ... well, just shy of 100 motorcycle lots—which is still a very respectable number, but we're pretty sure that Historics was aiming higher and will therefore be a little disappointed.


The most interesting bike in the sale is Lot 351; the 1927 Brough Superior SS100 Pendine as featured at the top of this page (see caption top left for details).


Ducati 996 SPS


The next most valuable/interesting bike is arguably Lot 340, a 1999 Ducati 996 SPS 'Pre-Production' racer (image immediately above). This 'homologation special' carries an estimate of £55,000 - £65,000 and is tipped by some pundits to be 'the Brough Superior of the future'. And if you think so, then we'll think so too.


Beyond that, there's Lot 366, a Harley-Davidson chop (not shown) looking to sell for between £25,000 - £30,000. Supposedly, there are build bills for £80,000 which could make this Hog a pretty lousy investment for the builder (S P Headon of Reading, Berks). Apparently, there's not actually very much of Harley-Davidson left in this bike which runs a 2500cc R&R motor, a 6-speed 'box and fully adjustable air suspension at the rear (and we don't know either why you'd want to run air suspension on a chop).


It's probably a perfectly usable motorcycle, but not our style. We're more interested in the Triumph TSS T140W (Lot 343) estimated at £7,500 - £9,000 (see image at the top of this news item).


The TSS was a brave, but flawed and failed attempt to pump up the ageing T140 iron and give Meriden some breathing space while it developed a new range of bikes capable of taking the sales fight back to the Japanese.


Meriden's Brian Jones is said to be the man responsible for the TSS project. With its Weslake/Nourish derived 8-valve cylinder head, radically improved (and labour intensive) machining, 10:1 compression ratio, revised valve angles, electric starter and Morris cast wheels, the 750cc TSS parallel twin was to be the Great White Hope for what remained of the terminally declining British motorcycle industry. But to coin another cliché, the bike actually went down faster than the Titanic due to various technical bugs that were never fully sorted by the factory; i.e. Cooper ring sealing issues (as opposed to deploying a standard head gasket), and porosity of the cylinder head.


The bike appeared in 1982 and was gone within a year when the Meriden factory shut down forever. Somewhere shy of 400 examples were built, and these were sold into the UK and export markets. Many bikes were bastardised and had their engines replaced with standard and worthy T140 lumps (shame, shame). Others are still gathering dust in sheds and garages having been dumped by dissatisfied/frustrated owners. But the TSS, when sorted, can hit 125mph, and they definitely can be sorted (talk to Grin Triumph in Scotland).


The engines are very smooth, but the reputation carried by the T140W is unforgiving. And note that the bike that Historics is fielding boasts a measly 10,500 miles on the clock and 'benefits from a new crank, crank cases, barrels and a new head.'




Still, we wouldn't kick one out of the garage on any given night, and this machine is undoubtedly a reasonable investment classic if that's what you're into. One more thing; don't confused the (more sporting) TSS with the (more laid back) TSX.


Moto Guzzi Le Mans


Two other bikes get a mention here. The first is Lot 363, a 1993 Moto-Guzzi Le Mans Limited Edition 83/100 (image immediately above) featuring an aluminium alloy dustbin fairing and enough high performance bells and whistles to start a railroad. More tellingly perhaps, Historics advise us that the bike 'would make a fantastic showpiece in any corporate reception area'.


Well we think it would look even better barrelling down the road and setting fire to the asphalt, but who the hell listens to us? The estimate for the Le Mans lobby bike is £7,000 - £10,000. If you've never ridden one of these compact Eyeties, try and borrow one or steal one sometime. If these are part of Mussolini's legacy, we've forgiven him for pretty much everything.


Triumph T25SS


Triumph T25SS primary side



Moving on, we've also taken a perverse shine to Lot 319, the above 1970 Triumph T25SS. Yes, we knows it's basically just a 250cc TR25W, which is basically a 250cc BSA B25. And we know the engines on these bikes can at times be challenging and are by no means BSA-Triumph's greatest moment. Nevertheless, the bikes can be a lot of fun when you're drunk, and even more fun when you're sober, and they simply look so good. Even Quasimodo could get laid with this if he parked one up outside a girl's college.


The estimate is £4,000 - £5,000 which sounds about right. The bike is a US import and is said to be 'restored'. But there's no mention of a V5 or V5C. So make some enquiries in that regard if you fancying putting in a bid.




Beyond this, the sale has a lot of decent British bikes from BSA to Velocette, plus some Italian, Spanish and Jap stuff. All in all, it's not a bad line up and is maybe worth a few hours of your time if you're based close to Brooklands.



Lot 319 (Triumph T25SS) sold for £4,750

Lot 340 (Ducati 996 SPS 'Pre-Production' racer) sold for £48,160

Lot 343 (Triumph T140W TSS) sold for £8,960.
Lot 363 (Moto-Guzzi Le Mans Limited Edition 83/100) sold for £7,840


Big End



Red Panther from Phelon and Moore


Classic bikes for sale reminder


Now don't all bloody well rush at once because we're trying to get in a lot of miles behind our handlebars now that the riding season is (theoretically) full upon us. And that's why we're spending less and less time at the Sump computers and more and more time elsewhere.


That said, we've just updated our "Classic bikes for sale" section, and it might be worth a few minutes of your equally precious time. As we've explained on the relevant page, we don't work this feature anywhere near as hard as we might. But the ads are free, and if you send us a snapshot with details, we'll probably find a place for whatever you'd like to add to the list.


Just try and remember to let us know if and when your wheels (or parts) sell.


The bike above, incidentally, is a 1936 250cc Red Panther courtesy of Suffolk dealer Andy Tiernan. It's just come into his stock. He's asking £4,250. Call him on: 01728 724321.


Classic bikes for sale

Girl Happy




Hope Classic Rally: all for charity


It's promised to be "the most desirable and valuable classic car rally ever staged in Britain". It will begin on Friday 10th July 2015 at Brooklands in Surrey and will end on Saturday 11th July 2015 at Blenheim Palace in Oxfordshire.


There will be a VIP drinks reception, a "spectacular gala dinner", presentations, celebrity Q&A, VIP entertainment, an auction, TV's own Quentin Wilson pressing the flesh and making a telly programme, a breakfast, a luncheon and guest speakers.


Throughout, the event will be "embodying the spirit of Goodwood and the Mille Miglia". The organisers have plotted a 100 mile route.


Among the vehicular entrants will be numerous very desirable Aston Martins, various drop-dead-gorgeous Ferraris, a Lamborghini Miura or two, a brace of Maseratis, a posse of Porsches, half a dozen or so rare and exotic Mercs, and any number of other in-yer-face examples of fast, furious and/or luxury automobilia.


The combined value of the rolling hardware? That's anyone's guess, but we're quite possibly looking at a few million to plenty of millions depending on how many members of the public heed the appeal, dust off their wheels, don their tuxedos and join the throng—which is what the organisers are hoping for. A mass parade.




So what's the charity?


Yeah. Nearly forgot. That's HOPEHIV, "a unique and inspirational charity which supports orphans and vulnerable young people in Africa."


Okay. Sounds good. On paper. At least, it does until you read that the target amount of dosh the event is hoping to raise is a measly £150,000, which might sound like big money, but is actually is a derisory drop in an ocean of misery. Here's an extract from the organiser's mission statement:


"We are defined by being positive and passionate about potential: by helping to realise the potential of the most vulnerable children, we are enabling them to change the future from the bottom up."


If anyone out there has any idea what the hell that means, drop us an email. We certainly can't figure it out.


But what are we bitching about here? Well, we're bitching because for all the supposed munificence and good intentions, it all comes down to a bunch of mostly well-heeled automobilista planning to having a little motorised fun & bubbly under cover of helping allay some serious human suffering going on elsewhere in the world.


You're right, that's a terminally cynical view. But we're all adults here, and we know how it works.


Here are some needy (but happy) black fellows who could really benefit when you drive your Ferrari 250 SWB around Shakespeare country.



Don't misunderstand us. We haven't got a grievance against the rich, per se. And we certainly don't mind the idea of gallivanting around the British countryside and showing off in ultra-expensive motors. We just feel that if you want to make a genuine donation, just drop a few quid (or guineas) in the collection tin and spare us the pretence and the bleedin' heart rhetoric.


But hey, does it matter how the money rolls (or trickles) in? Well we think it does actually. It's partly in the implied notion that the world's problems can be solved from behind a steering wheel, and it's partly the raw cynicism that underlies the event (which far eclipses any cynicism of ours). Mostly, however, it's the sly disconnect between those who have, and those who very desperately haven't.


It's said that charity begins at home. Well for the organisers of this event, it seems that it begins more specifically in the garage.



— Big End




Riley "BB" King: 1925 - 2015


For decades, BB King has been rightly fêted as the king of the blues, for the modern generation anyway. And now he's gone and died on us aged just 89.




Well okay, that's a pretty good innings even these days. But we take little comfort from that fact. This soulful, irrepressible, indefatigable twelve bar virtuoso has plunked his last string, and that would be bad news however old he was.


He came from a humble background in the backwoods of Mississippi where he was effectively orphaned at an early age after his mother and father separated leaving him with his maternal grandmother. He was soon picking cotton for a living before being promoted to a tractor driver, then did a stint in the US Army serving in an all-black company.


His early interest in gospel singing morphed into playing delta blues, and he soon began covering the songs of all the greats, (and often the not so greats). He recorded hundreds of tracks, much of the early stuff at the legendary Sun Records studio in Memphis where a certain Elvis Presley was still working out his hip-swinging routines, honing his tonsils and dying his hair.



Rarely seen without his famous ES-355 Gibson guitar (nicknamed Lucille), it was as if "Blues Boy" King constantly reinvented himself for each new generation, yet somehow managed to stay exactly where he'd been at the beginning. But in truth, he did (controversially) modify his tones and playing style and thereby incur the wrath of many hardened bluesmen who felt that in the true Bob Dylan/Marc Bolan tradition he'd "sold out" which probably just gave his detractors something else to whinge about (and, take note, we've been with Dylan and Bolan all the way).


During his career, BB King worked a gruelling and often non-stop touring schedule, and year after year he filled hundreds of venues and made numerous promoters and record companies a lot of money (a little of which even found its way into his pockets). He strummed it for presidents, and he strummed it for the odd pope. But mostly he strummed it for himself and his fans who had an insatiable appetite for his musical output.


There was nothing really clever, catchy or trick about BB King's playing style. It was mostly fairly simple blues licks and double-stops played straight from the heart.


His contemporaries included Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. His fans include Eric Clapton, Mark Knopfler, Jimmy Page, and just about any other rock axemen you care to name. But his personal heroes were the likes of T-Bone Walker, Lonnie Johnson and Blind Lemon Jefferson.


BB King was married twice, divorced twice, and when he wasn't playing his guitar, he brought 15 lives into the world. A gentleman. A modest man. And unarguably a true bluesman right up to the end, he will be truly dead and gone only when people stop playing his music, and that could be a long time hence. In fact, as we write these lines we've got one of his albums vibrating the desktop speakers.


BB King.





Grace Lee Whitney: 1930 - 2015


We're having an extra pint tonight for actress Grace Lee Whitney who has died. She was born Mary Ann Chase in Ann Arbor Michigan, USA, had her name changed by the family who adopted her, and became world famous as Yeoman Janice Rand in the TV series Star Trek.


Were we the only guys who watched Star Trek with our tongues hanging loose and our phasers at the ready whenever she appeared on screen? Probably not. With that medieval beehive hairdo, the implausible soft focus, that ultra short skirt and those stockings (okay, probably just tights),  she gave Star Trek an extra shot of glamour and did nothing to harm the show's ratings.


Her character, we hear, was created to give Captain Kirk something warm to snuggle up to after a hard day at the helm. But it seems that the producers changed their minds and wanted William-Kirk-Shatner to snog pretty much whatever galactic floozy came his way, so Yeoman Rand (which isn't quite what we called her) got the old heave-ho leaving the captain to suck face with gay abandon.



Whitney did make it back into Star Trek in various feature films (as a lieutenant, now). Apparently, this was after Dr McCoy (the late great DeForest Kelley) saw her in an unemployment line and took pity. He prescribed a few movies and told her, in all honesty, that Trekkies everywhere were clamouring to see her back on the big screen (and we don't mind admitting that her re-appearance brought the odd tear to our eyes too).



The all-girl jazz band from the classic Billy Wilder film Some Like it Hot. One of them is Grace Lee Whitney, but we can't spot her. Can you?



But Whitney did more than Star Trek. If you saw the movie Some Like it Hot starring Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, then you also saw Grace Lee Whitney. She was a member of the all-girl band who were on their way to Florida. Later, she turned up in numerous US TV shows including Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The Rifleman (remember that one starring Chuck Connors?), 77 Sunset Strip, The Untouchables, Bewitched and Batman. Later still, she had small roles in Cannon, Hart to Hart, and Diagnosis Murder.


Whitney was something of a warbler too. She started out on radio and sung with various bands and orchestras of the day. She released a few records too, did a tour of duty on the alcohol and substance abuse circuit, recovered, married, had a few kids, and kept us glued to Star Trek re-runs.


But she was clearly a survivor and made it all the way to age 85 before God beamed her up. We all loved her. We'll miss her. And we'll probably get over it.


Join us tonight and raise a pint in memory of Grace, if you will.





Vincent Comet


Stondon Museum April sale results


It looks like Brightwells did okay with its Stondon Motor Museum auction held on Wednesday 29th April 2015. The firm announced 60 lots in the sale, but we counted 69, all of which sold except for two that were withdrawn.


The top seller was the above 1954 500cc Vincent Comet Series C. It fetched £16,000. The bike was offered with no reserve and boasted matching numbers and a V5C. First registered in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, the Comet carries the original registration number, TVK 960. Stondon Motor Museum bought the machine in 1991 and kept it warm and dry (and unused) for 24 years.


Here are five more top selling lots:

Lot 68: 1920 400cc ABC, horizontally opposed twin, £14,000
Lot 65: 1924 800cc AJS Model D, V-twin, £10,500
Lot 66: 1935 500cc Sunbeam Model 9, single, £9,000
Lot 43: 1961 600cc BSA M21, single (AA sidecar combination), £8,000
Lot 39: 1937 600cc Panther M100, single, (fitted with a Gow swinging arm conversion), £5,000.


Triumph 5T Speed Twin


Lot 48. 1954 500cc Triumph 5T. This unmolested, four-bar tank, sprung-hub Speed Twin sold for £4,400 which, even with commission, we think was maybe five hundred quid or so below the average UK market price. The numbers match. The Amaranth Red colour is right. It's a vintage trumpet from the golden age.


Triumph 6T Thunderbird


Lot 37. 1954 650cc Triumph 6T. This Thunderbird fetched just £5,000 on the hammer (as opposed to around £6,000-plus for the current average UK market value). Polychromatic blue. Matching numbers. Unmolested. Very nice.



Overall, this wasn't exactly the sale of the century. But it was a near 100% conversion, so Brightwells got the job done. It's a pity that Stondon Motor Museum had to close in order to provide the bikes. But that's how the merry-go-round of life works, not least in the classic motorcycle world. See Sump April 2015 for more on the Stondon Motor Museum closure.



Del Monte




Steve Harris (left) and Siddhartha Lal, CEO of Royal Enfield. Check their expressions and decide for yourself who's most enthusiastic about the deal that's just been signed.



RE buys Harris Performance Products


According to Royal Enfield's PR company, Tangerine, this is...


"breaking news"


... so hold tight to your handlebars everyone because this story could run and run. On the other hand, it might also be seen as no big deal, except for Steve Harris, Lester Harris and Stephen Bayford who founded Harris Performance Products a little over 30 years ago.


Royal Enfield, underpinned by the giant Eicher Motors Group (which built its fortunes around tractors), currently has very deep pockets and is happily splashing the cash around and buying up whatever it can to further improve its product. But the boys at Harris are keeping tight-lipped about how much the deal was worth (don't think we didn't check).


Suffice to say that everything that once belonged to Harris Performance, including the staff, the intellectual property, the tooling, the trade names and the technical nous, now belongs to Royal Enfield. It will all become part of RE's new UK Tech Centre as and when the walls go up and the roof goes on.


Harris, you might recall, was responsible for designing the chassis for the current Royal Enfield Continental—which, some might say, is a bit like having NASA design a clothes rack for ASDA's George range.


Be that as it may, the ink has dried and we can expect to see Royal Enfield splashing the Harris name around wherever and whenever it can. We're glad to see that three British boys have made good on their commercial creation, but it's a shame to see yet another British brand lose its independence, and thereby much of its cachet.



— Sam 7



Geoff DukeGeoff Duke: 1923 - 2015


He's credited as being the man who invented the one-piece racing suit, was one of the fastest racers of his day, won 33 Grand Prix races (350cc & 500cc), won six TT races (Senior, Junior and Manx), and in 1951 was voted Sportsman of the Year, and in 1953 was appointed OBE. This is Geoff Duke who has died aged 92.


He was born in St Helen, Lancashire and started riding on a 1923 Raleigh. He worked for a while as an engineer for the General Post Office (as it was then) and travelled around on a 175cc DOT. [More on Geoff Duke ....]



Classic Motorcycle Restoration and Maintenance


It's written by Nigel Clark, is published by Crowood Press, and is priced at £35 (hardback), or £28 from the Crowood website.


This title, we're advised, is "a complete workshop guide to restoring and maintaining your classic British motorcycle".


The dimensions are 210mm x 296mm. There are around 800 images and diagrams (mostly colour). The covers are hard, not soft. And the book number is ISBN: 9781847978813.  [More...]



Norton Commando 961


NMM's winter raffle winner details


His name is Simon Hollingworth, he hails from Suffolk, and he's just collected his wheels from the National Motorcycle Museum (NMM); a brand new Norton Commando 961 cafe racer. The winning ticket number was 1592999. The bike was the first prize offered by the NNM in its Winter Raffle, and a pretty cool prize it is too.

The second prize was a 1958 BSA C12 250cc. The winner of that was Mr Ken Hill from the West Midlands. The ticket number was 0272203.


The third prize was "a luxury classic weekend break for two people at www.thewindmillvillagehotel.co.uk". Mr Michael Rust from Northamptonshire won that with ticket number 1094443. Racers Nick and Tony Jefferies, by the way, drew the winners at this year's Stafford Show.


Vincent Rapide


Motorcycle raffle prizes don't come much better than this 1947 Vincent. Or do they? Tickets are just £2. If we could figure out how to rig the draw, we would. But then, for a bike like this, who wouldn't?



Meanwhile, the NMM has issued details of its Summer Raffle, the first prize being a 998cc 1947 Vincent Rapide (image immediately above) built to “Black Shadow” specification. Apparently, the museum handled the upgrade in its own workshops.


Second prize is a 1965 175cc D7 BSA Bantam. Third prize is another hotel break (surely a new leather jacket or a new lid would be more appropriate, or are we missing something?)


Regardless, the Summer Raffle tickets are on sale now. The draw will take place on Saturday 31st October 2015 at the “Museum Live” open day. And the ticket price? Two quid to you, Squire.


Telephone: 01675 444123


Del Monte



Vincent Series A Rapide


Stafford Sale: "£2,262,109: 86% sold"


Bonhams is feeling suitably chuffed at the results of its 2015 Spring Sale held on 26th April at Stafford. The headline figure is a record turnover of £2.2 million (plus change), with 86 percent of lots sold. Nice.


The top selling bike was Lot 294 (immediately above and immediately below), specifically a 1939 Vincent HRD Series-A Rapide (see February 2015 Sump). The hammer came down on this machine at £275,900. This bike, we understand, was once rescued from the scrap heap and bought for just £10 and an Amal TT carburettor.  [More...]







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