Tagged: British

Sophisticated Vintage Brit: 1952 Ariel Square Four for Sale

1952 Ariel Square Four R Front

The motorcycling industry prior to the 1960’s was centered on single and twin-cylinder machines, and, at a time when simplicity equaled reliability, Edward Turner’s compact four-cylinder design would have seemed extremely exotic. Prior to the Lancia Aurelia’s introduction in 1950, car and motorcycle engines used “inline” formats almost exclusively, and although inline fours work fine in automotive applications, they can cause packaging, as well as cooling, problems in motorcycles.

Originally rejected by BSA, the unusual square-four design found a home with Ariel and featured a pair of parallel twin blocks siamesed with their transversely-mounted cranks geared together and sharing a common head with overhead cams. This compact design allowed a four-cylinder powerplant to be fitted in to frames that were normally home to engines with one or two cylinders.

1952 Ariel Square Four L Rear

The original 500cc engine was eventually enlarged to 601cc’s to increase torque for riders who wanted to fit a sidecar to their machines, but the OHC design had a propensity for overheating the rear pair of cylinders, as cooling airflow was blocked by the front pair.

1952 Ariel Square Four R Front Engine

The engine was completely redesigned in 1937 with pushrod-operated overhead valves and a big displacement increase to 997cc’s. Aluminum replaced iron in the head and cylinders in 1949 for a significant savings in weight, and the final iteration of the engine introduced in 1953 was distinguished by four separate exhaust pipes exiting the head, although this example is the earlier, two-pipe version.

1952 Ariel Square Four Dash

From the original eBay listing: 1952 Ariel Square Four for Sale

An English country cruiser capable of 100mph….

Gaining popularity as “the poor man’s Vincent”, the Square 4 is steadily increasing in value.

The current owner is the fifth (first not named David) in a line that traces this 52 Ariel Square 4 Mk I’s origin to New Jersey; where it was purchased new in 1952.

The most recent previous owner bought the bike while on a trip in N.Y. State in 1996. After the purchase he had a full restoration performed prior to displaying in his collection.

Upon receiving the machine, the current owner kicked it over twice and it started right up and ran nicely. He rode it around his neighborhood for an hour, and then carefully decommissioned the Ariel for display in his collection.

The odometer shows 56,818 km or 35,305 miles.  The current owner has done a fair bit of detail work on the machine since acquiring it – much polishing, inspecting, cleaning and servicing inside external cases etc. He removed and cleaned the oil tank & lines and installed a rebuilt exchange oil pump from Dragonfly.

The frame is refinished but not powder coated and makes it look very authentic. The tins are all superb in that they are original but refinished beautifully and correctly. Chrome is all perfect.

All of the wiring was redone correctly and everything works. Even the tiny light in the speedo and the brake light. (all the lights work in other words)  The bike includes the original ignition key and the (optional?) jiffy side stand.

The owner is in possession of a dating certificate with an extract from the Ariel Works Ltd. despatch record books confirming that all of the major components on the machine are original. With the exception of perhaps the rims, tires, spokes and buddy pad this bike has all of its original pieces, nicely and carefully restored.

Also included in the sale are the original owner’s manual signed by the first two owners and a copy of the 1970 NY State vehicle registration bearing the name and signature of the second owner who purchased the bike from his friend and original owner in 1957.

1952 Ariel Square Four R Rear2

Weight was relatively low for such a complex machine and the bike could top 90mph, no small feat in 1950, although maximum performance wasn’t really the point, since lighter, simpler singles like the BSA Gold Star could match those numbers. It was the square four’s smoothness and sophistication no twin or single could possibly match that was the source of the bike’s lasting appeal, with production lasting from 1931 until 1959.

1952 Ariel Square Four L Tank

This example is in excellent condition and appears to be well-documented. Bidding is north of $22,000 with plenty of time left on the auction. The popularity of some bikes will naturally rise and fall with prevailing trends, but Square Fours have been steadily appreciating in value for some time now, and looking at this bike, it’s easy to see why.

-tad

1952 Ariel Square Four L Side

No Haters: 1974 John Player Norton 850 in Denmark

1974 JPN L Front

In spite of all the race-replica motorcycles named after their riders like this week’s Eddie Lawson Replica Kawasaki, the John Player Norton was not actually named after a particular rider. It was named after the British tobacco company that sponsored Norton’s race teams and the distinctive looks effectively bridge the 1960’s half-fairing sportbike style of the Ducati Super Sport and the later, fully-faired GSX-R750.

1974 JPN R Side

For the most part, it’s a Norton Commando under the skin and features the same strengths and weaknesses of those bikes. The main changes were cosmetic, with the wild, twin-headlamp bodywork and solo-seat tail section. Road-going examples used Norton’s standard 828cc parallel-twin and four-speed gearbox, although an optional short-stroke 750cc version was available for US race classes.

This one looks to be in excellent shape, and is fitted with the road-oriented “850,” rather than the short-stroke engine, and is currently located in Denmark.

1974 JPN L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1974 John Player Norton 850 for Sale

This is a very, very cool bike.

Up for your consideration is a 1974 Norton John Player 850.  (It’s kind of like a Commando but my boss says don’t call it that…)

From the sales brochure:

“Limited production run of this eye-catching luxury machine for the connoisseur.  Powered either by the high torque 850 unit to provide outstanding flexibility for the highways or by the 750 c.c. short-stroke high output engine as a base for competition.  White fibreglass fairings give the same aggressive appearance as the machines which carried the Norton name to yet one more victory in the 1973 Isle of Man T.T.  This model offers the ultimate in exciting high performance motorcycling combining style with comfort, speed and safety.”

“Features Twin double-dip headlamps with halogen light units if required; high output alternator with twin zener diode charge control.  Rear set footrests, brake and gearchange pedals; clip-on handlebars.  3½ gallon (15 litre) steel petrol tank.  Access to flip cap through quick-release cover in the styling.  Access to steel oil tank by lifting seat panel.”

This bike comes from a good a respectable home where it has accrued only 12,198 original miles over its lifetime.

1974 JPN Dash

While somewhat awkward in appearance, the JPL has undeniable presence and is historically significant, an evolutionary step to the sportbikes of today. Approximately 200 are believed to have been made in 1974, their only year of manufacture. At the time, they were not especially desirable and were difficult for dealers to unload but this, as so often seems to be the case, simply makes them rarer and more valuable now.

There’s very little time on this auction, so move quickly if this strikes your fancy!

-tad

1974 JPN L Side

Sophisticated Simplicity: 1939 Velocette KSS / MAC Special

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Front

For many riders, motorcycles are all about simplicity: throwing off the shackles of a roof and four doors, sound-deadening, automatic climate control, lane-change warning systems, info-tainment systems. And the real purists, be they lovers of modern or vintage machines, often gravitate towards single-cylinder machines like the Velocette KSS.

1939 Velocette KSS Special L Rear

Single cylinder bikes represent motorcycling at its most elemental: fewer parts to break and fewer parts to maintain, along with plenty of torque and charisma. Who needs a tachometer with that spread of power? Just shift it by feel. And while that simplicity and economy means that modern single-cylinder motorcycles are typically of the cheap and durable variety, that hasn’t always been the case.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Engine

Based in Birmingham, in the United Kingdom, Velocette built their enviable reputation for durability with machines like the KSS 350cc. The “K” series bikes were very innovative, with a bevel-drive and tower shaft-driven overhead cam engine and a foot-operated gearshift with the very first positive-stop, something found on basically every modern motorcycle.

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Tank

Later “M” series machines switched to a much cheaper-to-produce engine with pushrod-operated valves, but used an improved frame and suspension based on the racing “K” bikes.

This particular example features the best of both worlds: a refined and sophisticated bevel-drive engine with the improved handling of the later frame and suspension, making it a period-correct hotrod. Perhaps an all-original KSS would be worth more money, but this hybrid should make a better overall motorcycle…

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear Suspension

From the original eBay listing: 1939 Velocette KSS/MAC Special for sale

The marriage of a KSS motor with the more current MAC rolling chassis was a fairly common practice that resulted in a far better platform for the OHC KSS motor.  Classic Motorcycle & Mechanics tested one in July ’92 and came away impressed with the combo.  This example (’39 KSS motor # KSS9121 and ’54 MAC chassis # RS7479) was built by a Velo expert in the Florida area during ’91 and ’92 and acquired by the current owner in 2004.  He rode it occasionally over the next few years and decomissioned it for display in his climate controlled collection in 2008.  He considered the machine to be a fine example with no mechanical issues.

1939 Velocette KSS Special Dash

I love how the seller refers to the 1954 MAC chassis not as “later” but as “more current”. Ha! It’s all relative, I guess… In any event, this bike is in beautiful, but not over-restored condition, although I’m not sure just what it would take to “recommission” it for road use. It’s only been off the road for a few years, so hopefully it won’t take too much effort: this bike deserves to be ridden.

-tad

1939 Velocette KSS Special R Rear

Baby Blue: 1975 Rickman-Metisse Triumph 650 CR

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR L Side Front

Although I’m not a huge fan of the hazy edges of the photos, this blue Rickman Metisse Triumph 650CR looks gorgeous. Rickman started out making frames for offroad race bikes and later expanded into roadracing, and their distinctive nickel-plated tubular frames improved handling of the often floppy factory bikes of the era. These frames were designed to save weight and significantly improve stiffness, with the hollow frame tubes functioning to both store and cool engine oil on some models. Rickman’s bikes were generally sold in kit-form, with the customer supplying engines, transmissions, and wiring to complete the bike.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Cockpit

The company had a sense of humor as well: the name “Metisse” translates to “mongrel.” But, like most mongrels, the resulting creature is often healthier than the purebred animals that donated their DNA, and the Rickman Metisse attempted to combine the engineering of established manufacturers with the handling of a racebike, often with striking results.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR Dash

While later machines were often based around bikes from Japan, there was still room in their lineup for British machines, as this example shows. While a Triumph-powered sportbike may have been a bit moribund in 1975, this would still have turned serious heads. A Honda-powered Metisse probably would have been faster, but with a torquey parallel-twin and great looks, this combines the best of the era, wrapped up in bluer-than-blue bodywork.

1965 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Front

From the original eBay listing: 1975 Rickman Metisse Triumph 650CR

This is the last of 52 genuine Rickman-Metisse CR (Competition Replica) built by the Rickman factory in England. Rickman produced these as street-legal versions of their Isle of Man Production TT winning machine. Actual date of manufacture is September 1974. Registered as 1975 model. It is not a cobbled-together kit. Correct Rickman hubs, brakes, 41mm racing forks, all original hardware. Powered by a balanced and blueprinted Triumph T120R 650cc motor. Only 2700 original miles.

Original, unrestored, stunning. Nickel plating on frame showing some fading in some places, as expected over 40 years. Tiny ding on top of R/H silencer. A few minor chips in edges of fiberglass but not readily visible. Fuel tank showing some surface bumps/texturing in places, but was Caswell-coated inside by previous owner. I run VP110 ethanol-free gasoline in the bike. Starts first kick and runs/shifts perfectly. Handles incredibly well with new modern Avon tyres.

Please do not ask me my reserve. You find that out by bidding. You either hit it or you don’t. Clear California title in my name. Currently on non-op. No DMV back fees due. Blue California plate for display only and not associated with machine. I’ve described this beautiful bike to the best of my knowledge and ability. Sold as-is. Potential bidders welcome to make appointment to view in person, but no test rides. You will not be disappointed with its performance! The crown jewel to any British bike collection.

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR R Engine Detail

The bidding is currently at $12,600 with active interest and a couple days left on the auction. This is a great-looking, well cared for machine. About the only gripe I have is with the obviously not-period-correct grips, although they are at least color-matched… A set of Tomaselli grips would be an inexpensive way to fix that and stay with a period look and brand.

-tad

1975 Rickman Metisse 650CR L Side

 

Clean Commando: 1969 Dunstall Norton 750

1969 Norton Dunstall R Front

Today, we have a very clean Dunstall Commando 750 . The seemingly modular nature of British motorcycles of the 1960’s allowed for a dizzying number of permutations: compact singles and parallel twins from Norton and Triumph fitted to frames from either manufacturer, with non-unit gearboxes that allowed additional installation flexibility… And that’s before outside companies like Dunstall and Rickman got into the act, with purpose-built racing and road machines so different from the donor bikes that they were sometimes considered manufacturers in their own right.

1969 Norton Dunstall L side

After getting his start customizing and then racing a Norton Dominator in the late 1950’s, mating the twin-cylinder engine with a Norton Manx gearbox and frame, Paul Dunstall parlayed his unlikely success with the hybrid machine into a business producing a range of tuning parts for British twins.

Instead of focusing on frames like other British businesses, Paul Dunstall tuned engines and offered a range of bolt-on parts to improve performance, as well as completely built machines based on various British brands.

1969 Norton Dunstall Dash

Although complete bikes fit into general “levels” of performance and customization, there were many options in the Dunstall catalog, and no two bikes are exactly alike. This particular bike has twin discs at the front, although the seller does mention that the original drum is included with the sale, so you can make that switch to old-school aesthetics if you like. The twin-disc set up was available from Dunstall, so the current set up is period-correct and should provide reliable stopping if you plan to ride rather than display the bike.

1969 Norton Dunstall L Foot Control

The original listing includes details from the build sheet regarding the engine and options for the rest of the machine: 1969 Dunstall Norton Commando for Sale

Here we have a Genuine Dunstall 750 Commando that that received a complete restoration early this year.  I purchased this bike from the original owner who in 1981 completely disassembled it.  It remained in boxes since 81′ until I rescued it in 2011.  This is an original bike that was ordered from Dunstall’s 1968-1969 Catalogue.  I have the original build sheet that was provided to the new owner upon purchase.  You will also see a picture from a motorcycle magazine in the UK that featured a 69′ 750 Dunstall just like this one.
 
First I want to say that corners were not cut during this EXTENSIVE AND ALSO EXPENSIVE restoration.  These early frames had a weak spot where the top frame meets the neck.  They would crack and the factory had a recall on them.  This frame was not one of the bikes that received the upgrade so I had a professional welder do this.  Pictures of the upgrade are also available (before and after).  I replaced the red plastic brake lines for more modern braided lines.  Plastic red lines are also included.  Also included is the original early Dunstall Decibel 2-2 exhaust system. These are very rare and earlier than the famous 2-1-2 system.  They were originally black so I had the mufflers ceramic coated.  The pipes need new nuts and collars soldered back on.  They are are in pristine condition.  The seat covers still wears the original leather on top.  I had my upholstery guy remake a new cover using the original top side leather.
 all sides and red bead are new.
1969 Norton Dunstall Rear Hub
With five days left and bidding up to $7,900, there’s still plenty of time to get in on the action, and I’d expect bidding to go a good bit higher: this bike is in excellent condition and represents a high-water-mark for Dunstall in terms of style and performance. While Dunstall continued into the 1970’s and added Japanese manufacturers to its range, the Norton-based machines have a definite cachet.

-tad

1969 Norton Dunstall Cockpit

The Quest for Speed: 1955 Triumph Salt Flat Racer

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer R Side

This very cool 1955 Triumph Salt Flats racer looks set to conquer the place that gave the later Bonneville its name. With its bare-metal, hot-rod style and immaculate preparation, it looks lean and stripped down to the bare essentials needed for speed on the flats.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Tank

Every year, speed junkies gather at the Bonneville Salt Flats, a 40 square mile expanse of flat ground in Utah. The site of a prehistoric lake, the water is long gone, dried up to leave nothing but a seemingly endless expanse of white salt where nothing can grow.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Rear

The endless plain has no trees, no plants, no animals: nothing to crash into as you head toward the “double-ton” and beyond. Aside from a notorious lack of traction, it’s the perfect place for folks trying to eke out just a last little bit of speed across the disorientingly featureless expanse of the Flats as salt strips paint from fairings and fenders.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Carbs Installed

There are many modern and vintage classes for bikes, cars, and trucks at The Flats, and you’ll see everything from stock vehicles with openings taped over for better aero all the way up to famous, purpose-built, cigar-shaped streamliners with multiple engines that look more like rocketships than they do motorcycles and cars.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer L Front

This example is far simpler, with a much more reasonable design brief: no front brake, bars down near the lower triple, a rigid rear, and just a thin sliver of padding for a seat, this purpose-built, unfaired machine is an elemental embodiment of the Quest for Speed.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer R Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1955 Triumph Pre-Unit Race Bike for Sale

Engine rebuild by Franz & Grubb in LA to be raced in Bonneville:
Robbins pistons, Amal GP carbs, Morris magneto, 750cc …
This engine kills and is ready to get you a record.
Frame: by FactoryMetal Works, stretched, lowered first-rate build, Ceriani front forks.
Custom gas tank, custom oil tank, custom seat, by Wrecked Metals
Tarozzi foot pegs and grips, high speed tire and rims, disk brakes, Excel rims, RoadRider front tire,
lots of details for engine available for serious buyer
This bike is one-of-a-kind custom Salt Flats racer ready for 2015.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Badge

There are 5 days left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met at about $4,200. It’s hard to price something like this, since it’s obviously not in any way original, and the bike is obviously good for only one thing: top-speed runs across wide-open spaces. Although maybe it could be converted for some type of vintage drag racing? It does look similar to bikes like the famous Yellow Peril that were designed for straight-line speed contests.

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Carbs

The craftsmanship looks top-notch, with prep so clean it looks like you could eat off the surfaces, and the photography highlights the bike’s sculptural quality and elegant design. I particularly love that shot looking into the carburetor bellmouths.

What’s this worth? No idea. Do I want it? I don’t know what I’d do with it. Park it up and just look at it? Start my own quest for speed at Bonneville? Maybe.

Do I like it? I sure do.

-tad

1955 Triumph Salt Flats Racer Transport

 

Three Kinds of Trouble: 1973 Triumph Hurricane

1973 Triumph Hurricane R Side

Looking like a grownup version of a Schwinn bicycle, all the Hurricane X75 needs to be full-on childhood dream embodied in steel is a sparkly vinyl banana seat. A sort of proto-factory chopper originally designed BSA, the extroverted styling was a bit of an overreaction to the original design of the bike, which was thought to be too much like the plain-Jane Bonneville for the wild-eyed, long-haired hippies over in the USA.

So Craig Vetter, no stranger to unconventional designs, was called in to do a bit of a makeover, and his signature one-piece tank-and-tail style is on display here, although you might have missed it if you were looking at the right side of the bike… With the unusual single-sided three-into-three exhaust looking like it might make rides into one, long right-hand turn.

1973 Triumph Hurricane L Rear

From the original eBay listing: 1973 Triumph X75 for Sale

CLEANING HOUSE !!!!!!! Selling my Hurricane and several other bikes. Realistically priced to sell. Happy to answer all questions. Bike is a very low mileage machine from Canada. Absolutely one of the nicest you will find. It has not run in 2 years but the fuel and carbs were drained prior to putting it on display and the engine has been turned regularly. I have all the Canadian import paperwork but no title. I’m more than happy to get a title for an additional $500 to cover the fees for this machine or I can give you all the Canadian paperwork and you do it yourself.

When BSA went out of business, just 1200 three-cylinder engines were put aside and the X75 was rebranded as a Triumph. These are very collectable these days, and it’s easy to see why: right out of the box, they look right and have plenty of performance.

1973 Triumph Hurricane Engine

Bidding is very active on this bike, with a couple days left on the auction and the Reserve Not Met at $17,200. I’d prefer a few more high-res photos of the bike, considering the price bracket we’re playing in here, but that close-up of the stamped engine serial number suggests that the bike is pretty clean. I’ve seen asking prices much higher than this, and it looks very solid, so worst-case scenario sees a paint job and a light mechanical refresh.

So depending on where this ends up when the hammer falls, you could think of it as a bargain!

-tad

1973 Triumph Hurricane L Side Dark

 

Old World Craftsmanship: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Full

1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline. Now that’s a real mouthful of a name, but it just sounds so British. And it is, designed around a classic single-cylinder engine and built by hand by a family-owned company based in Birmingham, UK.

1964 Velocette Venom L Rear

These days, singles are most often associated with offroad and enduro-styled machines, or with practical, budget-minded learner bikes and commuters. But for many years, single-cylinder machines were a mainstay of the motorcycle industry. They played to the basic strengths of the configuration: fewer moving parts meant simplicity, which in turn led to reliability, light weight, and a practical spread of power. And Velocettes were anything but cheap and cheerful: they were famous for their quality construction and innovative designs characterized by gradual, thoughtful evolution and craftsmanship, as opposed to mass-produced revolution as favored by the Japanese manufacturers.

1964 Velocette Venom R Front Detail

Displacing 499cc’s, the Venom’s aluminum overhead-valve engine featured a cam set high in the block to keep pushrods short. It put about 35hp through a four-speed box that included one of Velocette’s innovative features: the first use of the “positive-stop” shift.

1964 Velocette Venom R Rear Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline

For sale is my 1964 Velocette Venom Clubman Veeline frame# RS17215 engine #VM5634. It has the Lucas manual racing magneto, Thruxton seat, Thruxton twin leading shoe front brake, 10TT9 carb. 

I bought the bike earlier this year out of the Mike Doyle collection at auction. I don’t have much previous info on the bike, overall it is in great shape. The fairing has some nicks and scratches, and a crack underneath but presents well. To get it going, I changed the fluids, adjusted the clutch, brakes and installed a new 6V battery. After learning “the drill” the bike runs magnificently. I’ve put about 100 miles on it. The clutch works properly and it shifts fine. The TT carb is a challenge to tune and be civil around town so I’m in process of bolting on a new monobloc. The TT comes in a box. It does weep some oil out of the clutch while running so it comes with a new o-ring seal and felt gasket along with a few other bits and bobs like new rubber grommets for the cables and shock bushings.  

This is a very complete and highly original bike showing 6229 miles. I have a California title and it’s currently registered in my name. No reserve, happy bidding.

Update 10/7 – Finished installing the Amal monobloc and the bike runs and idles great, was able to take it for a putt. It doesn’t need a choke so I left it off, but comes with the choke parts and a new cable. I’ll post a video of the bike running on Saturday. One other item to note is that the decompression lever and cable are missing. 

1964 Velocette Venom L Side

The “Clubman” designation indicated higher-performance specifications, including higher compression and a bigger carburetor, along with a sportier riding position and a closer-ratio gearbox. The “Veeline” featured the optional fairing, making this particular example relatively rare.

Velocettes make ideal collectable British singles, owing to their high-quality construction and relative reliability. With several days, bidding is up to $7,800 with the reserve not yet met. I’m relatively unfamiliar with the current value of these, but this appears to be in very nice condition, and that fairing, will not especially sleek, is very distinctive!

-tad

1964 Velocette Venom R Front

Rarer Than Rare: 1955 Vincent Black Prince Project

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Engine 1

Ironically, while the styling of the Vincent Rapide and Black Shadow v-twins is now considered iconic, by 1954 it was starting to look dated to buyers of the period. So an update was needed to stimulate interest. Already one of the fastest bikes on the road, the Black Prince that followed was purely a functional and stylistic upgrade to the already stunningly advanced machine.

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Bodywork 3

The design brief was “four-wheeled Bentley” and changes were made that would, theoretically at least, allow owners to ride their bikes to work in their natty three-piece suits.

How very John Steed.

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Bodywork 2

To this end, a small fairing and leg shields were added, along with a conveniently hinged rear cowling that enclosed the rear wheel. A new center stand could be actuated by the rider while still on the bike, improving practicality. Top speed was down slightly from the leaner Rapide, but the bike otherwise performed like a Vincent.

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Bodywork 1

Built between 1954 and 1955, the bike was not particularly successful, although this has made the bike correspondingly rare and increased values above that of even the famous Black Shadow…

This particular example comes in kit form, with some assembly required. Once finished, it should look something like this:

Vincent-1955-Black-Prince-2

From the original eBay listing: 1955 Vincent Black Prince Project for Sale

The motorcycle has undergone a complete Mike Parti engine rebuild and many other items are completed and ready for assembly. The motorcycle is a recent restoration project that the owner lost interest in bike and wantes to move it along in it’s current condition and state of affairs. 

The Prince is an all numbers matching motorcycle with the VOC documentation as well as an earlier British registration booklet. I also sent off all information to the leading authority on the D Series bikes in the UK and he has also authenticated the bike as well as sending us some past history on it. This bike was actually the eighth motorcycle built in 1955 and the fourth Black Prince off of the line. 

This bike was sent over to the US about twelve years ago all in one piece needing a full restoration. As mentioned, the motor just came out of Mike Parti’s shop and is completely done at the tune of $16k invested to make it right. The frame sections are restored as well as a number of sub components such as newly painted forks and the like. The wheels are restored and relaced new with stainless steel spokes. The fiberglass body components are in very good to excellent shape. They have not been painted as of yet. Since the work has been halted, I am now offering it up for sale in its current condition or it can be completed by us on a time and material basis contracted separate from the auction sale. 

With regard to the price of the bike, I see no down side at the reserve set, it is a very good deal especially when you compare it to the shoddy basket case Prince that recently sold at the Bonhams auction in the UK for $157k USD.

The listing also includes a comprehensive list of the included parts and their condition.

Bidding is active and up to $29,000 with two days left on the auction. Considering much of the heavy lifting appears to have been done, this could be a great opportunity for someone to get a serious investment at a relative bargain.

-tad

1955 Vincent Black Prince Project Engine 2

 

The Perfect Cafe Racer: 1966 Norton Atlas for Sale

1966 Norton Atlas Cafe R Side Front

At first glance, the tank shape suggests that this is a classic Norton Commando, but the upright engine reveals the truth: this is a very well put-together Norton Atlas café racer. When building the perfect café bike, many builders prefer the more sleekly-canted engine from the later Commando that supposedly improved center of gravity, but likely just looked cool and created additional space for carburetors. Redesigning the engine for the Commando was easy for the same reason it’s very easy to mix-and-match parts from these bikes: the pre-unit gearbox.

1966 Norton Atlas Cafe L Side

While an obviously outdated design, even when new, Norton made it work well, and their parallel-twins were the bikes to beat on both road and track: the “Featherbed” frame gave famously sharp handling and the engines could tuned to be very powerful, yet the package remained relatively lightweight.

1966 Norton Atlas Cafe Dash

The seller’s description mentions significant engine work that stresses balancing and lightening, a great idea, since the 750 twin did have some issues with vibration. The original Dominator was powered by a 500cc version of the engine, but successive increases in displacement exacerbated the vibration inherent in a parallel-twin design. The 650cc Atlas was the last of the line before the famous “Isolastic” system was designed for the Commando, intended to keep that bike from literally shaking itself to pieces.

1966 Norton Atlas Cafe L Side Detail

From the original eBay listing: 1966 Norton Atlas 750cc Café Racer

I am the second owner. I have owned and ridden this classic for 7 years, I ride it mostly on weekend rides ( about 1200 miles since purchased) and it always brings a smile to my face. It has always been stored indoors, only seen dry weather and has never to my knowledge been dropped.

No expense was spared in creating a beautiful café racer typical of the late 60’s/early 70’s; the detailing is superb. This bike uses real original café parts, not reproductions.

Slimline featherbed frame; alloy Real “Lyta” short circuit tank; polished alloy oil tank; frame, swing arm, primary cover, etc. powder coated; alloy parts are all polished; Commando forks; hard chromed stanchions; triple clamps machined from aircraft Dural (aluminum); Akront stainless, flanged wheels; stainless spokes; lightened hubs; rare, magnesium racing Lockheed front brake and master cyl. with drilled front disk; all fasteners are stainless steel; stainless fenders.

Engine dynamically balanced and head flowed; lightened and polished valve gear; genuine Dunstall camshaft; 850 oil pump with modified flow to head and spin-on filter modification; Superblend bearings; magneto ignition; new Amal 930 Concentric carbs (installed by Brian Slark); g’box also with Superblend bearings and all new gears and bushes; chain-driven Barnett clutch. Many more features.

As with all pre-Commando, primary chain Nortons, weeps some oil out of the primary case, but is otherwise oil tight. Starts first kick (usually), handles and stops as you would expect from a featherbed frame/disk brake classic. Acceleration from 4,500 rpm is exhilarating. This is a bike you can ride and enjoy!!!

The engine work should go a long way towards making this bike smooth on the road. I’d imagine this still isn’t great for touring, but I doubt anyone looking at these plans to use it for that, or would care much if they did.

1966 Norton Atlas Cafe Oil Tank

That oil tank is an especially beautiful piece, the color choice is classic and simple, and the single mirror is a very nice, authentic café-racer touch although, for US roads, I think I’d move it to the left-hand bar…

My fantasy garage definitely includes a 60’s British parallel-twin, and this is exactly the type of bike I’d want. Bidding is active and up to $9,000 with less than one day to go on the auction, so jump in quickly!

-tad

1966 Norton Atlas Cafe R Side