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27th February 2006


Autojumbling For Idiots

PaulG80 is having trouble telling his Amal from his exhaust (or something like that). He needs a sure-fire method for Finding The Right Bit at autojumbles...

After spending a freezing morning having a brief wander round the regular Kempton Park autojumble (see the Events page for the next date if you want to try the next one) I was prompted to put finger to keyboard with a few thoughts.

That front wheel might not be original...

The first was 'Are we mad?' as we all braved a fiercely cold morning to attend what is essentially a market and paid for the privilege of doing so.

Secondly I asked the following leading question of our Noted Expert and Purveyor of Inoperative Junk…. errr valuable motorcycles.

'Frank, How do you know what you are looking at amongst all this?'

I asked this because to my uneducated (young) eyes all I could see was stalls with piles of scrap metal in front of them. If the stall had no scrap then there were boxes upon boxes of small items that all looked the same but were all obviously different. Some of the stalls had recognisable stuff on them and I was quite happy with this, as I knew what was to be had. But for me the strangest stalls had original Sixties riding gear on it. Would you wear a 40 year old secondhand crash helmet with no idea of its past history? I certainly wouldn't.

Fishing tackle and BSA bits; the perfect combination.

Anyway, back to my question.

Frank peered benevolently over his glasses at me and said

'It's all about familiarity!'

He then went on to explain that because he seen the insides of many, many different engines he could appreciate the nuances of each manufacturer. Then I was reminded of the fact this is a form of recycling and what I could see was other people's rubbish.

So armed with knowledge I disappeared again and was still none the wiser. Time for different tack, I thought. Ask the buyers.

It's rarely this easy...
Random AMC bits on eBay.co.uk

Messrs Ham Senior and Junior arrived at the RC Stripy Tablecloth™ and after usual round of abuse we discovered that the senior of the two gentlemen (hah) had found a toolbox for his BSA M21. We all retired to the Sporran House as lunchtime had appeared on the horizon. Surprisingly this is where another of the Kentish misfits Shaun was hiding. He asked if the toolbox was the fat one or thin one. Puzzled looks commenced all round, as apparently this difference was unknown. Shaun put his M21 anorak on and described the differences. Much furrowing of brows followed. The offending toolbox was brought before the jury, who proclaimed it to be the thin type. This was in fact the complete opposite to what should have been bought. It was then that Graham produced his ace card.

'In that case it must be right as we always do the complete opposite of what you tell us' or something along those lines anyway. Later while checking the message board the offending article was confirmed to have been the correct one all along.

This little example shows what can happen when the experts are involved.

'Like seagulls that follow a fishing boat...' E.Cantona.

What chance do I stand?

So I have thought of a few simple rules for Autojumbling For Idiots.

  • 1. Take the broken / damaged / knackered (delete as applicable) wotnot with you to aid identification.

  • 2. Have A Noted Expert on hand to answer your stupid questions and approve / disapprove of your purchases.

  • 3. If possible, order in advance from the shop attending the jumble so you just have to pick up your swag basking in the knowledge it is correct (possibly). I know AMC Classic Spares work like this.

  • 4. Take cash as this may sway a haggle in your favour (possibly, maybe).

    No two gaiters the same...

    The best rule to remember is… if in doubt don't buy it. Otherwise it's another cold morning trawling through rusty junk…. oops Valuable Spares.

    And that's no fun

    Or is it?


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