Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I scored a coveted Friday ticket to Stafford, which is meant for traders and display only, so I was able to take a good look around the grounds before the public showed up in droves. There isn't a show in the US which has the same extent of club stands, autojumble stalls, auction halls, and bikes for sale. Every small and large club seemed to have a presence and a few bikes on display; the Rudge club had a '1940 on the beach' display, complete with lots of sand under the bikes.
This first photo was taken at 8 am, an hour before the public was allowed in... as you can see, there were already a few thousand people waiting. By 10am the area was swarming with people, and by noon it became difficult to see into the vendor's stalls. The variety of items on offer was impressive - one fellow's entire tent was ohc Norton spares, including loose engines.

The second pic shows a ca. 1906 DeDion Bouton engine, lying on the tarmac, waiting for a new home. It was one of three I saw on the day... and I thought they were rare. They were a popular engine in the Pioneer days, when it was difficult to find a reliable motor for your small production motorcycle.

Another stall had not only this Douglas 90+ for £4950, but two Vintage Royal Enfield v-twins... I saw another three of these available. Was it the day for Enfields?
The earlier model used a Vickers engine (noted for making guns more than motors), the other a JAP.

Stalls tended to have a real mixed bag on offer, as did this one; a 20's lightweight, a 50's AJS thumper, 70's Triumph trials machine, a rigid BSA sidevalve, and a modern Suzuki RG500. What an eclectic collection.

The Scott club had a great stand, and Roger Moss had a corner to himself, to display the 'cover girl' of the most recent VMCC newsletter - his racing Scott. The next photo shows the bike in action at Cadwell Park; yes it is airborne, and yes it is that fast. Roger is a gifted engineer, and the engine of this machine is entirely of his own manufacture, to the original appearance of a Scott, but with a completely strengthened and improved spec to the crank, pistons, barrel, and crankcase. Roger made the double-sided front hub from solid dural, and spent time explaining the Bendix adjustment system of the single-trailing-shoe arrangement. Some of his improved parts on the table are in fact the engine of John Sims, local (to me) Velocette enthusiast.

If you needed a replica Fontana, Grimeca, or Manx Norton brake, you could find one here. They only cost money...

By noon, the crowd looked like this; a sea of people swarming in from the entry gate. Besides the outdoor autojumble, which was about the same size as Netley Marsh, there were several large halls which were full of autojumble stalls and club stands. Plenty to look at.

I loved this Panther from the Panther OC stand. The best transfer... and they had respectable performance during this period (1930) as well.

Any kind of horrible deep fried food you could need was lined up in trailers; fish and chips, burgers, panini, shredded pork, bacon sandwiches, the lot. No deep fried oreos though; they haven't discovered American bad cooking yet. Soon.

The photo of the hottie was tucked onto a wall displaying vintage Scott photos, behind the bikes. When I queried the woman tending the club stand about it, she said her husband had figured it would be much more interesting than a bunch of old bike photos! It's Helen Mirren, ca 1969-ish. I'll never look at her the same.

The Velocette club stand had a few holdovers from Brooklands, which could be observed closely as they were static in the Hall. This is the ultra-rare Veloce, forerunner of the Velocette, which is owned by Dave Masters, who literally wrote the book on swingarm Velocettes. This was the first all-Veloce model, with their own ioe engine with an in-unit 2 speed gearbox. The small two-stroke Model A in the Brooklands post was the diminutive version of the Veloce, hence the 'Veloce-ette' name... the small bike remained, the big bike was dropped, and when next the Veloce company tried to introduce a bike with 'Veloce' on the tank, nobody remembered that there had been such before the introduction of the lightweight two stroke.

Did you say you were looking for a bike for the Moto Giro? Here were 6, all pre-1957 125-175cc machines; pushrod, ohc, and dohc, increasing in price according to capacity and complexity.

If you need a set of rare forks made, for example if you shunt your mkVIII Velocette, you'll need to speak with this fellow, Ray Daniels, who will build you a brand new set of forks. A very handy skill... forks in my opinion being replaceable without ruining the provenance of the machine.


Anonymous said...

Hi Paul.

Dave Master's Veloce has a very interesting motor. It is not a bought in component, it is the 4 stroke IOE motor from Hall Green, with a 2 speed gearbox in unit with the crankcase, external flywheel, geared primary drive, hence the motor spins backwards. Ivan has another example of this motor.


vintagent said...

I knew that...but writing when you're jetlagged is dangerous! Thanks Pete!