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Monday 6th November 2006

Opinion: What's in a Name?

What do Sunbeam, BSA, Rover and Humber have in common? Ozboy likes classic motorcycles and loves a good list...

As Juliet says 'What's in a name'? Well, quite a lot as Romeo finds out, but first, a confession. Always best to get them out of the way up front I find. I'm a Virgo. That's it.

For those of you not entertained or impressed by the sheer idiocy of attempting to predict the future through star gazing I should tell you that this accident of birth date (I'm assuming only the date was an accident) supposedly marks me out as a man who likes a place for everything and everything in its place.

What a laugh! The whole farce and frolic I call my life is evidence to the contrary. Possessions, friends and family strewn across the world (friends and family) as well as across the floor (the possessions) with no structured orderly fashion detectable by Holmes and Watson.

Maybe I was swapped at birth? Now before you accuse of me of doing a Bullivant, I swear this is relevant to the topic. Well some of it anyway, but I digress.

Apparently Virgos like lists and in this at least, I am true to my star sign. I love a good list. Nothing to do with maritime craft or Franz the composer.

I'll skip rattling off a whole list of things I love making lists of; where we might go on holiday, what the options could be for dinner tonight, the tools to take out on the bike (open enders first followed by ring spanners; smallest first and work up or largest first and work down? Please yourself, you can do your own list). The list is endless.

As a lad I used to fantasize about groupings of bikes I'd like to own, sad isn't it, and I'd make lists of them for future reference.

F'rinstance, 'V' twins in a featherbed frame; Vincent, Harley and JAP. That'd make a nice collection I thought at the time. I still do. From these humble beginnings I moved on to family groupings, realising that with marques such as Sunbeam, BSA, Rover and Humber you could have a bicycle, a motorcycle and car in your garage all from the same maker. Isn't that a neat idea? And so Virgoan.

But eventually I moved on to a list of machines whose makers were proud, confident, perhaps occasionally foolish enough to put their name on the tank. You've got to admire them.

In no particular order as I can't decide how best to list them, people like Alfred, Phil, George, Bert, Thomas, and Albert (also representing his brothers). There's John, James, and dynamic duo Richard and Graham, and we should give a nod overseas to William and Arthur in the west, and to Soichiro in the east.

Before I finish up I'd best not omit the aristocracy, Lord Alexander, Count Giovanni and the Marquis de Dion (not forgetting his pal Georges). I suppose our own George would see his machines as aristocratic too. Oh, and I'd better add Rex for all us folk down under.

Soichiro's Finest

Can you put the marque names to that lot?

Course you can, and add plenty more no doubt.

Why, you could start a list of your very own. Now, what is the J. A. for that goes with Prestwich?



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