13th January 2016
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Vintage Stony 2016
Richard Jones shakes off the new year blues at this classic gathering, and finds a rare old selection of veteran, vintage and classic motorcycles in front of his camera’s viewfinder...
The pre-Christmas frenzy is, by now, a distant memory and the post-Christmas torpor has finally subsided; New Year’s eve has passed in a barely remembered haze of over-priced alcohol and even more over-priced fireworks. So what can you do on New Year’s day to be able to start 2016 in an appropriate classic manner? Well if you’re lucky you can make your way to Vintage Stony, a classic car and bike show held in the north Buckinghamshire town of Stony Stratford
There was a huge turnout this year for such a relatively small show – there must have been nearly fifty motorcycles in attendance which can’t be bad if you assume some riders must have had a late night beforehand. There was lots of British machinery, spiced up some bikes from overseas. The exotic class were represented by several Vincents and one Brough whilst at the other end mopeds and a cyclemotor came along too. All in all it was well worth the early start to see such an excellent showing of classic motorcycles.
I think that the earliest two-wheeler on display whilst I was there was this 1912 499cc TT Roadster which was in magnificent unrestored condition and which deserved to have won a prize if such things were being handed out (I have to say I missed PUB and her Leon Bollée tri-car). In 1910 Triumph had taken five of the first ten positions in the 500cc single and 750cc twin event, building on some pretty impressive successes in the previous years. 1911 saw three Triumphs in the top ten and so the introduction of a TT model must have made sense. Let’s be honest – boy racers are hardly a modern phenomenon. This one was a barn-find, has a short TT frame, Triumph’s hub clutch and has completed a respectable number of Pioneer Runs.
Any prize for patina could easily have gone to this FN (Fabrique Nationale). There were no markings that I could find but it might – and I stress ‘might’ – be the M70 Sahara model, a 346cc sidevalve single with a three-speed gearbox that was manufactured by the Belgium firm in the latter part of the 1920s. It apparently got its name from the fact that a couple of French army officers and a Belgian mechanic crossed the Sahara on one over three months in 1927 without being let down (presumably by the motorcycle rather than, say, the weather or the tour guide).
Sometimes the riders are equally, if not more, interesting than the machines. This is Norman Smith arriving on his 1953, 32cc Cyclemaster, one of three of these fascinating machines he still owns after reducing his collection. Cyclemasters were manufactured by EMI between 1950 and 1960 in Hayes, Middlesex, and, as with today’s electric motor-powered bicycles, the intention was to relieve the rider of some of the effort of cycling. That being said Norman is no stranger to effort; a self-confessed walkaholic he told me that he is on the point of completing 63,000 miles of walking over a period of 21 years. He then went on to show me a prized possession, a medallion from the Centurions 1911 organisation which is awarded to ‘an amateur, (who) has walked in competition in Great Britain 100 miles within 24 hours.’ As the younger generation are wont to say: respect!
No – not a prototype Vincent Black Knight but a DMW (Dawson Motor Works) Deemster, said to be a cross between a motorcycle and a scooter with the handling of the former and the weather protection of the latter. First appearing in 1961-1962, it was powered by a 250cc Villiers 2T two-stroke motor; the square and round tube frame is surrounded by pressed steel sections which support the seat and rear suspension as well as providing helmet storage. There is a four-speed gearbox, front suspension is Earles fork type and, as can be seen, there is plenty of weather protection in evidence.
The Deemster was used by the police from 1963 although the later Villiers 4T engine didn’t suit police work and was replaced by the Velocette Viceroy scooter engine. This example is a Villiers 2T police bike – you can see the tray for the radio on the tank. The owner told me that the only unoriginal part was the front screen that had been replaced with plastic from a bus shelter.
There were a fair number of Royal Enfields on display but perhaps the best bit of the day for me was the sight of three of the marque’s 1140cc V-twins parked up next to each other. Royal Enfield had used JAP V-twins in their range from as early as 1912 but in 1925 they started using their own engines and the Model K originally came with a 976cc sidevalve power plant. In 1933 the capacity was stretched to 1140cc but was only available for export until 1937 when they were finally introduced to the home market.
Royal Enfield Ks boasted totally enclosed valves, Amal carburettors, multi-plate clutch, 4-speed gearbox, Lucas 6 volt Magdyno lighting set, 8-inch drum brakes front and rear as well as a ‘very massive duplex cradle frame.’ Cost in 1939 was £72/10s although for another £5 you could have the KX with a QD rear wheel and chromium plated fuel tank, whilst a Smiths speedo would set you back another £2/10s. Although presumably aimed at the sidecar market these machines look magnificent in solo form, especially when there are three together. Come on Eicher Motors in Chennai – please produce a V-twin like this; you know it makes sense.
I’d be happy to be shot down in flames if my model identification is wrong. This 1948 Norton appears to be a Model 18. Whatever model, it is it looked good and clearly hadn’t been a victim of over-restoration. Norton’s Model 18 with its 490cc ohv engine was the first Norton to go back into post-war production in 1946 and it remained in the range until 1954. Although it was treated to Roadholder telescopic forks at the front end, the back end remained rigid with a sprung seat – if you wanted plunger suspension you needed to buy the ES2.
I’ve included this Vincent Rapide for a couple of reasons, the first being that it was for sale (although Mrs Jones might have been a trifle unhappy if I had started 2016 by spending a large amount of money). The second reason was that the information card suggested that the bike dated from 1959 – when Vincents were no longer in production – or 1939 and it’s clearly not a Series A (handwriting on the card was a bit indistinct). In fact the engine number would suggest it came from 1948 so I am clearly at a loss. Not that any of this means a great deal as it’s a lovely looking example but if you do buy the machine I’d be interested to hear what year it dates from.
Well we’ve had a Triumph and a Norton so, in the interests of balance as the BBC says, we’d better have a BSA too. I can’t recall coming across the Barracuda model before. It was brought in to the range in 1968 to replace the C15 Sportsman and although the Barracuda retained its predecessor’s 250cc engine layout there were some changes. The top half of the engine was new with an alloy barrel, extensive square finning and the pushrod tunnel was now encased in the barrel. This was meant to be a super sports bike so there was a compression ratio of 10:1, a large Amal 928/1 carburettor and fairly hot cams. A four-speed gearbox, 7-inch drum brakes and a 12 volt electrical system completed the package which was said to be good for 80mph (if only for a while. A short while…)
Yes, yes – something from AMC too – you can choose between a red Matchless or a green one; personally I favour the red one because I’m not a fan of green and red is a fantastic colour for a motorcycle. Shallow but true.
We’ll finish with a non-British machine and it’s going to be an Italian one, again because I like Italian motorcycles although this one isn’t red which is a great shame (see above). 349cc of Bologna’s finest encapsulated in parallel twin cylinders with a single overhead camshaft and manufactured between 1977-1981. Twin Dell’Orto carburettors, 5-speed gearbox, Paioli front forks, Brembo disc brakes front and rear and Nippon Denso switches and instruments – what’s not to like? Well lack of reliability and low power apparently but come on – when something looks this good let’s not carp about minor issues like that.
If you missed the New Year’s day show at Stony then fear not – there will be another one in June. See www.ssccf.co.uk
In the meanwhile there’s more photos of motorcycles at Stony and other events over at Richard’s gallery: www.flickr.com/ ... /cerrig_photography/
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