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|4th August 2010|
Ambassador built small two-strokes during the 1950s and 1960s. This new book should be hugely helpful to any restorer, says Tony Gutteridge...
Ambassador's first production motorcycle was a 197cc lightweight fitted with a Villiers 5E engine. It came out in 1947 with a rigid frame and girder forks, and a three-speed gearbox.
This model was gradually developed, gaining the 6E engine in 1949 and telescopic forks the year after, then plunger suspension in 1952.
Then Ambassador tried something far more innovative with their Self Starter model, which had a Lucas starter motor firing the engine into life via a belt.
The 8E engine replaced the earlier two-stroke, and a larger 224cc Villiers unit was fitted to the Supreme model in 1954 which also boasted swinging arm suspension and a four-speed gearbox.
Ambassador continued to make solid little two-strokes into the 1960s, even extending the range to include a twin, a scooter and a moped, but when the firm's founder retired the marque was sold to DMW and production ended soon after.
I have recently received a copy of Mick & Fred's new hardback book on the subject. The book is not, as Mick says, a history of the Ambassador company but more a restorer's guide to each of the models produced by Ambassador from the start in 1947 to the very end under DMW rule in 1965.
A page is devoted to each model produced for every year. On the left of the page is a brief description covering general specification, costs and any relevant comments. On the right hand page is a period photo where available taken from the catalogue or reprinted from the magazines of the time. Period pictures of owners' bikes and recently restored machines are also included. Early pictures are in black and white with later ones in full colour.
There are appendices covering the founder Kaye Don, the Ambassador frame numbering system, a list of various brochures, instruction books and spare parts lists that were published. Also model wiring diagrams for many models are shown.
So in all this book is a 'must buy' for all Ambassador owners who require a restorer's guide, plus it's of considerable interest to all enthusiasts of British motorcycles of the 1940s, 50s and 60s - particularly those with a preference for bikes with two-stroke power. I think this book is a jolly good read and I certainly now know much more about the different models produced particularly the older ones. I for one would recommend its purchase.
The first 102 copies are limited edition copies each numbered and signed by the authors.
RC Reviewer: Tony Gutteridge
'A Guide to Ambassador Motorcycles' by Michael Easton & Fred Hibbett costs £20 + £5 delivery to the UK, and can be obtained direct from Mick Easton via firstname.lastname@example.org or by post to Mick c/o 4 Low Croft, Woodplumpton, Preston, PR4 0AU, UK
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