Taking a grinder to Britain's motorcycling heritage.
This "Blog" represents the thoughts and actions of the author. It is created for academic interest and entertainment only. It is neither intended or implied that any person reading any article contained within, imitates or recreates any work described.



Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Set The Phasers To Smile!

Blind Melon of The Lucky Bastards MC sent pics of  this pretty tidy T140 that he saw in San Francisco on Sunday. 

Looks like all the fun you want at one time.

Weighs in at 309 lbs, and by all accounts the guy rides it...............

..............like he stole it!

Thanks to the fellahs at LBMC.

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Original Wassell ?????

Back in the late fifties, early sixties before Sochiro gave the world the Honda 50, Britain had a load of second division manufacturers knocking out cheap, get to work utility two strokes. Mostly utilising small Villiers engines, names like Norman, DOT, Excelsior, Francis Barnett, James and Ambassador are now almost forgotten by most people. They were all small time players who built up bikes using out sourced components.

Listed as a 1959 - '62 Ambassador tank, check out the A on the badge, I have just scored it for thirty quid. Purely because it looks very much like a Wassell to me and Ambassador were never a big enough concern to make their own tanks so odds are they bought them in.............from Wassell, we'll have to wait and see.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Skanking For Inspiration

Been running the various ideas and mind-builds through the old noggin of late, trying to find form for the Tiger 100 build.

As the text says, this '57 T100/RR was a US only variant built for the Flat Tracks. Educated opinion seems to agree that 130 of these were produced, along with 10 spare motors. Which of course makes them a rare sight across the pond, if there's more than a handful here in Blighty I'd be surprised.

Originally built for the 1948 International Six Day Trial, an event at which it took top honours, this is the TR5 Trophy. This bike has got the "Generator Motor" fitted, with the parallel exhuast ports, and squarer barrel, these were used from 1948 to '51. It went on to father a whole batch of Triumphs with dirty intentions all named Trophy, the last in the line even regained the TR5 model code. 
Lovely looking bike, the nicest main line production bike Triumph ever built ?? 

The Granddaddy of  'em all, the 1948 GP500.
Same motor as the Trophy, although on this early picture the casting can still be seen in the side of the barrels, these were drilled and tapped on the motors that saw service on generator sets to hold the cowling on.

All great, purposeful looking bikes where function is first and foremost yet somehow the form is almost by necessity sublime.
So, the Skankweasel build will be on the lighter side whilst leaning heavily on bikes like these for guidance.

Friday, 19 October 2012

Barnsley Shaun Back As Bold As Ever

After running into some weird sort of grief with his old blog Bobbed To The Bone, which somehow got taken down by the "powers that be" Shaun is coming out of his corner swinging with a new blog, Down and Out Choppers. Ya just know it's gonna contain some great builds and his unique northern take on the English language! so do yaselves a favour and get on it.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Word from Wes.

Photo from Four Aces

Following the mag poser yesterday, had to mail Wes to find out how it was done. 
Good man that he is, Wes answered el rapido, here's what he said;

"In the mid to late sixties, before the ARD Magneto guys made the mags that use the timing cover and divert the "mag" portion of the mag to the front of the cylinder, guys wanted to run magnetos in the desert because Energy Transfer ignitions were unreliable and the Joe Hunt and Morris Magnetos of the era stuck way out of the timing cover and could be fairly easily knocked off by a rock.  Not a good thing in an all out desert race. 
Some tricky welder guys, like Sam and Harlan Bast converted your unit cases to accept a pre-unit magneto.  This one was done by the Bast Brothers, who also made air cleaners and skid plates among other things for the desert racing market.  You basically took a pre-unit case, lopped off the magneto ear and welded to the unit cover, often not even splitting the cases to do it.  Line it up perfect and weld it up.  The reason that one looks so good is that even before our fancy tig technology, guys could make shit happen in aluminum."

There ya go then! ............... now, where's the hack-saw?

Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Attention was drawn to Wes White's Trophy Desert Sled, as featured  on CHOP CULT  a while ago.
As the article says, a 1968 Trophy motor, but with a mag ???
Can't figure out how it's been done.

Better pics would be a bonus, but the outer case looks flawless. Even an aftermarket kit would still necessitate major surgery on the crankcase half.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Cometh The Skankweasel


More of an artists impression than the start of a true mock up, but the vital ingredients are there.
Definitely going to be running an all alloy Tiger 100 motor, the cases in the pic are 47 5T, probably not going to use them but it's not out of the question. The gearbox is good though, a fully refurbished unit from The Baron, complete with needle roller lay shaft conversion, it will be staying.

The tank is the narrowed early Bantam that Toddy modified for the 350 Goldie, so although this ain't the very one that'll be used, something extremely similar will be. 
Forks are good in principle, but the sliders are the later type for a clamp up spindle. These will be swapped out for the earlier push through spindle type to accommodate the "Pie Crust" front wheel. 
The yokes are the early type with the extra 10 degrees of rake built in, have to wait until the build is further along to see if these get changed to the later parallel type.
Pipes are going to be high levels, more than likely both up the primary side, for that off roady sort of style.

Seriously considering running the muddie at this length, not the height of fashion but it does allow the number plate to be sprayed straight on to it, rather than any form of bracketry hanging off of the side.

Anybody got a set of rear engine plates that they want to part with????

Friday, 12 October 2012


Straight out of the old Pride & Clark advert in the back of the Motorcycle Mechanics,
can't say I'd ever heard of one let alone seen one.

Had to be done for a Tenner, looks more like it's been in a shed rather than pukka NOS,
gotta be late fifties, early sixties.

Now, where's that Goldie hiding.................................?

Tuesday, 9 October 2012


May well come over as a tad partisan here, but if this don't move ya in some way then get yerself to the Hospital and get 'em to search for a pulse.

Came across this beauty whilst dating engine numbers. The work of Franz & Grubb out of 
North Hollywood, this '59 Bonnie has got it all going on inside as well.

Sorry, ain't interested in any whining about a drop in the cooling efficiency of the head and cases, this is something to aspire to.

Thanks to Dan at F&G for use of the pics

Of course an all alloy Tiger 100 motor could be even shinier still.........................

Sunday, 7 October 2012


Well, that's more than likely our lot for this lifetime, the chances of seeing another one for sale in the public arena is slim bordering on nil. A good price for Annie and Reg though, should ease their Christmas worries no end. I chucked a speculative grand at it, but it was always a forlorn hope, never going to go that cheap, although it did flirt around the twelve hundred mark up until the final 30 seconds, then the big players showed their hands.
I can only hope that the new owner will be happy with it, and it gets used probably not in anger on the track maybe, but at least on a running and used motor.

Monday, 1 October 2012

Down The Road Apiece.......

.............well, up the track a bit, as it goes.
Pulls like a good 650 should, and it weighs not-a-lot so set the phasers on smile I reckon.