Tagged: BSA

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.


1952 Ariel Square Four L Side

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!


1973 Triumph Hurricane L Side Dark


1960 BSA A10 Rocket Spitfire

$_57 (1)

I will start out by pointing out that this  1960 BSA A10 Rocket Spitfire is located in Germany, so if you had your bid ready, adjust upward to include shipping. With that said you cant go wrong with this BSA twin doing its best Gold Star impression (note single exhaust muffler). Not taking anything away from the A10 twin, but all BSA’s will be compared to the 500cc single that had such an impact in the Motorcycle world.

$_57 (3)

From the seller

This extraordinary classic motorcycle was built for vintage motorcycle racing.
Very rare and expensive parts have been used for this project. When finished, the owner didn’t want to use the
bike for racing because it seemed to be too valuable. So the bike was slightly modified for road use.
After passing the German TÜV (MOT), the machine was used on the road very carefully, just 1300km (800mls) were driven.
The motorcycle is ready to drive and a very fast runner.

$_57 (4)

I am a little confused by the Rocket Spitfire that the seller uses to describe this bike. The A10 engine had developed from the pre-war A7, and grew to become the A65 engine. First offered in 1950, the A10 was BSA’s attempt to keep up with both Triumph and Norton and their respective parallel twins. The seller calls this a Rocket Spitfire, but the A10 offered the Super Rocket, and the later A65 offered the Top of the Line Spitfire. I have been unable to find a Rocket Spitfire.

$_57 (5)

There are some mixed and matched components.

The long list of precious and rare parts includes:

-A 10 Spitfire Scrambler frame, only 800 were ever built, frame number begins with GA7A
-original BSA production racing cylinder head, twin port, extra big valves, was never available commercially
-Mondial racing pistons (ratio: 9,5:1)
-Lucas racing magneto, rebuilt to very high standard
-2 Amal concentric carburettors (932)
-original RRT2 Gold Star gearbox with reverse cam-plate (original gear positions with foot pegs moved back)
-5 gallons LYTA Aluminium petrol tank with racing cap, handcrafted in England
-Fontana double duplex front brake, specially made for racing
-Ceriani Grand Prix racing fork “Hydra Glide ” with 35mm standpipes (very rare)
-clip ons
-modified chronometric tacho, 10.000 revs
-siamese manifold with racing silencer
-Gold Star racing seat
and some more Gold Star and Manx parts, as shown on picture


The seller stats that this bike has been licensed in Germany, no small feat. With such restrictive requirements, shade tree mechanics, and high end custom builders have to jump through many hoops to get licensed, something not found in the States. The builder of this 1960 BSA A10 Rocket Spitfire pulled parts and design features from many different BSA’s, and even though you would have to ship it from Germany, I think it is very well done. BB

1960 DBD34 Gold Star Clubman


A few days ago I had pointed out a rough BSA Gold Star available as a possible starting point. Today, this 1960 BSA Gold Star is offered up as the finished point. There are some changes from how it came to from the factory, but a Clubman was the bike you wanted if you wanted to race the streets around your home.


From the seller

This BSA BIG FIN single 500 GOLD STAR with Clubman’s Trim is a beautiful example of the British road race bikes of the late 50’s and early 60’s  with correct Vin #’s for 1960 bike has had a complete restoration to it all parts engine ,gages ,new Rims stainless steel spokes all mechanical parts. bike has been retro fitted with a 32mm Mikuni Carb jetted and tuned to bike  runs like a dream This is one of the bikes that dominated the TT races in early 50’s late 60’s  bike has been fitted with a Lytta aluminum fuel tank ,also a Taylor Dow superleggera steering dampener top yoke with Tommaselli clip on bars, Rear set foot controls  8″ side brakes  typical café racer upgrade from era  This bike is a genuine café racer bike is currently in private collection of vintage bikes


The first Gold Star was offered up in 1938 with the first improvements made in 1948. The final improvements, designated by the DBD, was offered in 1956 and continued until the final true Gold star in 1963. The DBD came with a 36mm Amal and was good for 110mph. This 1960 Gold Star has replaced the British carb with a smaller Mikuni, which likely will make it easier to start. BB


1956 BSA Gold Star, the before pictures


There are lots of motorcycles out there that should be left the way that they were found. Patina is the new black, it looks good on everyone. But this 1956 BSA Gold Star may be one of the few exceptions to the rule. I can see someone buying this bike and continuing to ride it in the woods or the fields and bashing it around. But it could also be much more.


From the seller

BSA DB34 GS 1390. Frame number. CB 32 5601. Barn find 15 years ago. Started it when we acquired, smoked a bit with low Compression, but did run.

I am not certain but we believe that motor is right for frame and about a 56 year model, any experts out there that can confirm will be greatly appreciated.

Bates seat, Cool gas tank  Spitfire?, not sure what from! Has Competition oil tank and Lucas comp. Mag . No broken fins

Great candidate for whatever restoration a guy can afford!


The DB34 Gold Star was the evolution of the model up through 1955. When Wal Handley first lapped Brooklands at over 100mph on a BSA, the Gold Star was born to commemorated Handley and BSA being awarded a gold star for their achievement. The engine in this bike was the 5th and penultimate design before the final run until 1963.


From the factory, you could get the Gold Star in Scrambler trim, but without deep research it would be hard to tell if this bike came ready for the woods. I see this 1956 BSA Gold Star as a rough canvas with potential. Sympathetic re-commission, step it up a little and transition it towards factory spec (replacing the tank, exhaust, and foot pegs), or full on nut and bolt restoration to Clubman or Scrambler. Vote with your bid. BB


1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 for Sale

1973 Triumph Hurricane X75

The Triumph Hurricane X75 was a bit of a mongrel from the word go.  Originally a BSA design, with very sleepy, Triumph Bonneville-esque style, the honchos felt it was way too conservative for American tastes.  Famous designer Craig Vetter was tasked with a stylistic redo, and the resulting bike was different, to say the least, with a very 60’s chopper style and a distinctive triple exhaust slung along the right side of the bike.  When BSA went under, 1,200 engines were put aside and the bike was rebranded as a Triumph.

1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 L Engine Detail

Because of their relative rarity and proto-cruiser status, they’ve become very valuable.  This one looks especially desirable: 1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 for Sale

This is my own personal bike that I have owned since 1973.  Each Dealer was allotted one per Dealership and it was never sold – it was only used by me on my Dealer Plate – never registered.  Time to retire and let it go.  It has been stored in my heated showroom and serviced and babied for 40 years.  This bike has NOT been painted.  You may feel free to call me at any time to learn more about this bike or to make arrangements to see it.  Ed 413 443 9407.  The buyer must make arrangements to pick it up in Massachusetts or have a shipping company handle it for you.  It must be paid via wire transfer from your bank to mine before it leaves my possession. This motorcycle is one of less than 1200 produced – Matching Numbers. Side stickers are custom but I have NOS Original black stickers for the buyer.

1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 Dash

The Buy It Now price is listed as $37,995.00, a jaw-dropping price for sure, but this one is rare, collectible, very cool, and has never been titled.  Because of the original condition and untitled status, is maybe more of a museum piece than a ridable classic, which is a real shame, considering the model was discontinued because it was unable to meet US noise restrictions…

Three cylinder motorcycles in general are pretty neat sounding machines.  Not quite as brutal as a thumping twin or single, not as smooth or refined as a four [or six!], triples make a very raw, iron-fist-in-a-velvet-glove kind of roar.

This clip [not the bike for sale] should give you a good idea what I mean: Triumph Hurricane start up and ride.

A very expensive bike but, if you’ve got a Triumph-sized hole in your collection and want something pretty wild and very cool, this might fit the bill.


1973 Triumph Hurricane X75 L Tank

Stuffing BSA A65’s

So it’s the day before Thanksgiving as I write this and I am starting to starve myself so that I can be super gluttonous tomorrow. In that light I decided to see how may BSA 650cc A65 I could stuff into one post.

The A65 650cc twin had grown to be in 1962 out of the earlier A10 and was offered up until  1970, with the pinnacle of development being the 1969 Spitfire. Along the way a touring Thunderbolt, an all around Lightning, the Scrambler Hornet were all based on the A65, with only the state of tune and accessories being different. What I was able to find today on offer is something for everyone.


From the Seller of this 1965

This bike was put away running a few years ago, I think the exhaust isn’t original, and the handle bars definitely are not. I’ve made my best effort to make this bike run, The points have been changed, I discovered the choke was set to half on one side of the engine probably to make up for one of the carbs being dirty, the ignition switch wasn’t making contact inside of itself so I jumped it to make it think it was switched on, I had the choke cables on a pair of pliers to choke it in hopes of getting it started


This from the Off Road A65 seller, short and sweet

This is a really nice Firebird, new paint, new exhaust, new concentric carbs, runs excellent, beautiful bike.


Claims to be the Best A65 Thunderbolt and priced to prove it

“This is an awesome bike! It is without a doubt the nicest English bike that I have ever owned.  The “Condition” is outstanding.  It is beautiful, and runs great! Very Cool and Rare bike guys.” It is great shape for a 43 year old bike. I have not even detailed it!  It definitely does not look, or ride like a 43 year old bike. It starts quickly, and runs very well. “I was told that it is not restored, and the miles are accurate.” (I have in writing his stating this) I can not confirm the mileage.


From the Seller of a very nice Lightning

The bike is in excellent mechanical condition. The engine feels amazingly taut and fresh. It has instant and strong power, and is in fine tune. The clutch is excellent and it shifts through gears faultlessly. Brakes, suspension, and all electrical, with the exception of the ammeter, work flawlessly. The frame is straight and true, and tires are very good, not at all hard and have plenty of tread remaining. It is a true pleasure to ride. It feels bright and fresh and a more modern feel than most.


Another Short and Sweet, letting the picture tell it all

This motorcycle was in nice shape when it was torn down.

Parts missing:  Carburetor and cylinder jug, exhaust system.


The BSA A65 is a motorcycle that gave you the choice. You could Tour, be sporty, go off road, or chop it. There were other brands that came out of Britain at the time, but the BSA had, and will continue to have a following, both long time and new. BB


Don’t Spitfire in the wind

When you see two motorcycles for sale on eBay, and see that they are close in conditions, as a buyer you have to think about the added cost for shipping. Being on the West Coast, I really try not to look at motorcycles east of the Mississippi, and I am sure that some readers on the left coast would not think about anything over those tall mountains in the right center of the country. What I found for our readers are two very similar bikes, one that will appeal to the East, and one to the West.

Fighting the East Coast bias, and the fact that English is read left to right, I will start with this 1968 BSA Spitfire offered up in California. It comes with Amal Concentric Carbs and a twin leading front brake. This is an example of the last year of the Spitfire and therefore has all the improvements of the breed.

 From the seller

For Auction my 68 Spitfire.  Bike is mostly original.  someone chromed the upper fork covers at some point. Not sure about paint, may be original also.  Bike showed 2671 miles when I got it….who knows.  Has a new clutch, front tire.  Has original points ignition. Starts in couple of kicks, runs fine and shifts perfect.  Tank has been epoxy coated, engine and frame numbers match


The engine designation for BSA’s 650cc vertical twin was A65, and the Spitfire name was given to the top performing 650cc twin. Offered from 1963 until 1968, the Spitfire distanced itself from the other A65 offerings with its larger front brake, lightweight alloy rims, and racing Amal GP carbs. Later in life the Spitfire lost its GP carbs, but got a twin leading front brake. This second Spitfire offered up on Ebay, is a 1966 model Spitfire, and some discussion has been started in the question section of the Auction.

What the seller tells us

This auction is for a 1966 BSA Spitfire MKII 650.  I purchase it from a gentlemen who owned it for the past 9 years of which it had very little use and was mainly admired in his hangar.  So I can answer some questions about it, but not alot of questions.  All the while it sat it was properly pickled, fuel drained etc.  Anytime these BSA’s sit in long storage it is important to pump the oil back from the crankcase into the oil tank before starting and that was completed.  This bike is a runner driver as is, right now.  Nice rubber, no dry rot. There is a picture showing a slight gas leak in the left side of the fuel tank. (Somewhat common in these early fiberglass tanks)  Inside of the tank looks very good. Choke cable needs to be replaced. Also, it has been converted from the problematic rectifier to a magneto/alternator which drastically improved reliability and has zero effect on appearance of originality.  The charging system puts out and the amp gauge and all lights actually work. Unlike it’s Lucas heritage.  In addition the working tach is not original.  As pictures show the original lettering is still on the back of the seat and not rubbed off.  The MKII if you are not familiar with them, have a hornet style gas tank and different style paint scheme, down swept exhaust like lightning. I have taken close up pictures of the chrome on the wheels, exhaust pipes and headlight.  As you can see it is good driver condition but NOT pit free, dazzling show quality.   This model Brit was never popular in the States when they were new and I am only speaking from my date of birth experience.  Suggestion, if you don’t know how you are going to move this home, check with Federal Motorcycle Moving ( a division of Allied VanLines).  They pick up and delicver motorcycles like a piece of furniture.  Buyer to pay all shipping charges.

Both Spitfires look in good riding condition. One is located west of the Rockies, one in the Cheese state up around those Great Lakes. If you are an interested party from the East coast, check this 1966 BSA Spitfire. If you are from the West, this 1968 BSA Spitfire may be best for you. BB

1970 BSA Royal Star A50


Here is your chance. If you don’t have a motorcycles, but want to join the afflicted owners of Classic Motorcycles, this 1970 BSA A10 Royal Star may be the best place to start. As many people who own Classic Motorcycles will tell you, there are good ways to get acquainted with older motorcycles, and there are BAD way to develop your love/hate relationship. Looking at the condition, and the design of this Royal Star, I think this could be the perfect place to start a life long problem.

From the seller.

This is a very solid A50.Compression is 120 on both sides and it does not smoke. Most of the chrome is real good except for one section of the rear wheel and the left headlight ear. There is also one small dent in the chrome portion of the tank. The rest is good to excellent. Other than the tank and side cover paint, the bars and mufflers, it is mostly original .The carb is new as is the chain. The A50 is smoother than the 650 but has of course less power. It is easy to kick over to start. It has an excellent sound to the exhaust and is very pleasant to ride. As the English say it is well sorted .Tires are ok. If you are in the area I would encourage you to look at it and ride it. If you buy it and you pick it up and it is not as represented don’t buy it. This would be a great first classic bike for someone. As always, however, this is a 42 year old used British bike.

First offered in 1962, the Royal Star was BSA introduction into Unit Construction (engine and transmission connected as one unit). The 500cc A50 was an evolution of the A10 offered as a Pre-Unit 500cc bike. The under square 50x75cc parallel twin of the A50 would give you good torque, but will have less vibration then the bigger and more powerful A65 650 BSA’s. With the 9.0: CR pistons that were added in  1964, the Royal Star has 33bhp at 5800rpm, good for a top speed of 90mph. Currently this bike looks like it would have come to the US from Britain, with high bars and a big tank. After the new owner becomes acquainted with their new Classic, it is a good platform for transformation into a Classic British Rockers ride.

The reason that I think that this is a good starter Classic bike is its condition, and the fact that it was designed to be what it is, a 500cc motorcycle for the masses. It is not a high strung stallion, but it is not a small put-put moped. A single Amal Monoblock, later replaced by a Consentric carburetor, gives easy starting; good idle, and ease of tuning. The drive side of the crankshaft was given  ball bearings, replacing bushings to improve bottom end longevity. If you are new to kick starting, or motorcycles in general, the design of the 1970 BSA A10 will allow you to learn what it is to own a Classic British Motorcycle. Much better then getting a box of British parts, and trying to put them together. (Ask me how I know)BB

1965 BSA Lightning

I will admit that I have been concentrating on Triumphs over the last few months because the boxes of Triumph parts I own are calling to me. But by doing this I have forgotten about the competition that BSA put to Triumph during the boom of British motorcycles. This BSA Lightning offered no on eBay is a very nice example of the A65 powered line of bikes offered from 1962 until 1972.

Developed as a unit engine, the A65 was BSA 650cc twin cylinder to pursue the same market as Triumph and their twins. The unique feature of the BSA design were the four pushrods for the over head valves were all located to the rear of the engine. This opened up the front end to more fresh air to help cool the exhaust valves. Offered in a touring Thunderbolt, mid tuned Lightning and super sport Spitfire gave buyers options.

From the seller

This is a beautiful lightning that has 29 miles on the total engine rebuild and runs very strong, the near perfect gas tank is a N.O.S. that had gas put in it for the first time, gauges are rebuilt, the silencers are original Burgess pipes that have the BSA stampings on them rare to find a set of these, the bike is ready to ride.

The Lightning was the middle sibling of the three levels of tune. It offered 54bhp at 7000rpm, and with its twin carbs and 9.0:1 CR gave a top speed of 110mph. This was only a 10mph slower then the super sporting, and temperamentally tuned Spitfire. Like many things found in the middle, the Lightning was more then just a plodder, but less then a prima dona. The Lightning has the distinction of beeing chosen to wear the full fairing, rocket launching, bad girl riding motorcycle in the James Bond Thunderball.

The seller tells us that this is a recent restoration with very few miles. It does look the part. The chrome is shiny, the paint is bright, the seat is warn, but in good condition. It is easy to forget that this is not a late 70’s early 80’s motorcycle, but a hold over from the 1960’s. So if you are looking for a nice representation of the British invasion of the 1960’s that is not a Triumph, this BSA Lightning would suit you very well. BB