Bill Little retirement sale: Sat Aug 6th
Normally, you'd never call Bill Little shy. Or retiring. But retiring he is, officially as from Saturday 6th August 2016. He's been telling us for years that he's been downsizing and reducing his stock from huge to merely large. And he's long been lamenting the changes in the classic bike scene over the past decade or so. He used to have large August open days at his emporium at Braydon, Wiltshire in which dozens of riders and traders turned up to enjoy a little honest business, tea and cakes, whilst soaking up the vibe of biking camaraderie. These mini autojumbles always took place on a Saturday.
But things changed, and they changed fairly rapidly. It was nothing that Bill did wrong. Just different rider/visitor habits coupled with harder-to-get parts, and also the loss of a number of once familiar faces on the scene. He's also cited other issues such as the unpredictable English weather which, naturally, is always better when looking back.
Also, the internet happened. Suddenly, prospective customers preferred to do their buying online, initially at least. Bill kept up with the www as far as was reasonable, but he's an old time dealer who prefers face-to-face transactions.
We asked Bill a year or two ago if he was retiring. "Not yet," he said, emphatically. And clearly he meant it. But that fateful day was nevertheless in sight, and now it's all but arrived.
With 40 years at the sharp end, Bill Little is one of the longest served classic bike dealers in the UK. He's amassed an eye-popping collection of memorabilia; everything from petrol pump signs to rare oil cans to motorcycle marketing material to odd pieces of workshop equipment to old skid lids, leather jackets and sundry biking garb.
We asked which bits were for sale, and Bill ummed and ahhed for a moment and shrugged. Theoretically, it was all for sale. But in practical terms, you'd need to draw a weapon before drawing your wallet.
Over the years, VMCC member Bill (with wife Lynne) has been a very active dealer, riding-wise. He's toured Europe, the United States and Canada. He's also done more than his share of charity riding. He likes workaday Moto Guzzis and Velocettes in particular, and is less than impressed with much of the rarer exotica currently on the classic bike market.
If you want to give him a decent send off, so to speak, best to do it while he's still around to enjoy it. So if you're free on Saturday August 6th 2016, get along to: Oak Farm, Braydon, near Swindon SN5 0AG. Take plenty of money. Tow a trailer. Or hire a van. There are some real gems down there in the Wiltshire bandit country, and we figure that Bill will be keen to make a lot of deals on the day.
Happy retirement, we say.
£14.99 plus P&P
Copyright Sump Publishing 2016