Tagged: 1960

Elegant Single: 1960 Velocette MSS for Sale

1960 Velocette MSS L Side Front

It may have been built in 1960, but this Velocette MSS is, in many ways, a very nice 1930s motorcycle. A precursor to the evocatively-named Venom, the Velocette MSS was launched in 1935, although production was interrupted by the Second World War and didn’t start up again until 1954. Powered by a 495cc overhead-valve, air-cooled single with undersquare bore and stroke dimensions, the bike made 23hp and had a top speed in the neighborhood of 80mph.

1960 Velocette MSS R Side

Velocette was based in Birmingham and made high-quality motorcycles that featured innovative designs, with foot-operated gearshifts and the world’s first “positive-stop” mechanism for its four-speed box. Although earlier Velocettes did use overhead-cam engines, the MSS used simple pushrods to operate the overhead valves, but that cam was situated high in the head to keep pushrods short and the bike was otherwise of very high specification.

1960 Velocette MSS Clocks

From the original eBay listing: 1960 Velocette MSS for Sale   

Nicely restored MSS, runs good, motor strong.  Recently ridden on 125 mile BSAOCNC Gold Country Ride, in the foothills east of Sacramento.

Speedometer reads faster than actual speed, may need a different speedometer drive. Some oil leaks, could be from primary case, would be nice to sort out.   Not a show bike, a few nicks and chips in the paint, chrome not perfect.  All in all a nice bike.  All good with the electrics, headlight, taillight, horn, charging system working. Actual mileage is unknown, 1,228 currently showing on the odometer. Clear California title. Will include a copy of the owner’s handbook, good info on starting procedure.

No reserve

1960 Velocette MSS Engine

The seller also includes a short video of the bike running. There hasn’t been much activity on this auction, but bidding is up to $7,600 with very little time left. Compared to modern machines, the power is very modest, but the spread of torque is broad and these are both comfortable and very durable motorcycles, with excellent handling and there is room for performance improvement: you could probably fit some parts from the Venom if you want more speed with the subtle, stock looks.


1960 Velocette MSS L Side

Brooklands Bomber: 1960 BSA Gold Star for Sale

1960 BSA Gold Star R Front

In the past twenty years, we’ve gotten so used to artificially-condensed product life cycles that it’s easy to forget how durable modern machines can be. That’s one of the things that makes vintage bikes so popular: manufacturing and technology didn’t really allow for things to be as reliable as they are today, but they were built to last, and to be owned and maintained by normal people. Just look at the BSA Gold Star: built between 1938 and 1963, it had a life span that would make a Yamaha R6 blush.

1960 BSA Gold Star L Rear

Simple, reliable, and powerful, the 500cc overhead-valve single weighed under 400lbs dry and put power through a four-speed gearbox. Named for the award given to bikes that could lap the famous Brooklands circuit at over 100mph. A smaller, 350cc version was also built and both were campaigned in both on and offroad competition.

1960 BSA Gold Star R Engine

Today’s Gold Star is obviously from later in the production run, but not much changed between the 1950 and 1960 models.

From the original eBay listing: 1960 BSA Gold Star for Sale

BSA Gold Star 1960 very original and clean has been stored for years and cannot verify mileage but I would not be surprised if it is the correct mileage. Starts second kick cold and first kick warm very quiet engine no smoke sounds very tight. the front fender has some peeling chrome and the horn is missing. Pick up from Prescott AZ will help with loading if commercial carrier is used. The motorcycle is super clean and I hate to part with it as it will be very difficult to replace.

1960 BSA Gold Star R Rear

As the seller indicates, the chrome on the front fender is peeling pretty badly, but this is otherwise a very nice example. While modern instruments may be very functional, accurate, and reliable, but those Smiths clocks are works of art! And that chrome and blue tank is a combination I can’t remember seeing and is very classy.


1960 BSA Gold Star Clocks

Ironhead: 1960 Harley Davidson Sportster XLCH for Sale

1960 Harley Sportster L Side Rear

While today’s Harley Sportster sells mainly on the basis of it being a Harley, that wasn’t always true. The original Harley Davidson Sportster was introduced in 1957 to stem the growing tide of British bikes that offered lighter weight and better handling than what HD was building at the time. These British machines offered a challenge to the American company on both road and track, with fierce rivalries being born as Harley, Triumph, Norton, and BSA all competed on dirt tracks across the country.

1960 Harley Sportster R Side

Unlike today’s Sportster, the new machine was right in the mix, and offered good power and nimble handling to match the imports. The engine was decidedly old-tech: nicknamed the “Ironhead” motor, it featured all-iron construction and overhead valves, but 883cc’s gave it great bottom-end torque. The “H” in XLCH denoted the “hot” version of the engine that included higher-compression pistons.

1960 Harley Sportster L Side Front

The rest of the bike was more progressive: unlike period Triumphs and modern Sportsters, engine and gearbox featured unit construction, with the engine and transmission sharing a single set of cases. This powertrain was mounted directly to the frame for a more rigid platform with improved handling, with the added benefit that it offered improved numbness for the rider’s hands and feet… Weighing in at about 500lbs wet, the bike was good for a top speed of about 115.

1960 Harley Sportster R Details

Fast, stable, and reasonably reliable, it sold well and took the fight to those pesky imports. At least until the Japanese crashed the party and basically put everybody out of business…

From the original eBay listing: 1960 Harley Davidson XLCH Sportster

A very nice and recently restored classic 1960 Harley Davidson XLCH Sportster with Hi-Fi Blue and Birch White paint scheme. Fully rebuilt and run in motor and transmission with matching lower case numbers and high pipe exhaust. Correct alloy wheels, solo seat, and 1038 CP hardware with correct finishes and more. Recently judged and scored in the high 90% range at the 2014 El Camino Classic Motorcycle Event in So. California. Ready for show or go!

Located in Southern California. 

NOTE! This motorcycle is selling with a clear title.

With three days left on the auction bidding is active and up to $8,000 with the reserve not met. That’s no surprise: this looks like a very sharp, very nice example with the higher-performance “CH” engine and matching numbers.


1960 Harley Sportster R Front


Vintage Racer:1960 Moto Parilla 250 for Sale

1960 Moto Parilla 250 L Front

From one of our readers comes this very nice racebike, a 1960 Parilla 250 that’s also posted up on Orange County’s Craigslist. There isn’t much information in the listing, but there are some good photos that should give a good idea of what you’re in for.

I’m not a Parilla expert, but this looks like this one’s powered by their “high-cam” 250 that made approximately 26hp and was built for the US. Most countries settled for 175 or 200cc models, but here in the land of “bigger-is-better”, we got an extra large 250cc helping, which came with a side of fries and a large soda.

1960 Moto Parilla 250 R Front

Although it looks like an overhead-cam engine at a glance, it’s not: the chain-driven cam operates the valves via short pushrods you can see on the left side of the engine, where they’re protected by corrugated rubber boots. This configuration allowed the little pushrod motor to rev pretty high and made maintenance easier, since the head could be removed without disturbing the ignition timing.

1960 Moto Parilla 250 L High

Giovanni Parrilla [yes, there is a second “r” in his name] reportedly started the company on a bet, sitting around with his pals complaining about the current state of the Italian racing machinery, “Oh, so you think you could do better?” And he did. After studying the Norton Manx, he built his own single in 1946 and was very successful in racing until Japanese two-strokes dominated the class in the 1960’s, although the company sold bikes in the US as late as 1967.

1960 Moto Parilla 250 L Side

These are pretty rare in the US, and are very collectible. This one appears to be in excellent shape and it looks like a runner, but a bit of history would be helpful. Parts can be scarce for these, but the community surrounding Parilla is close-knit and should be able to help.


1960 Moto Parilla 250 R Rear


1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola for Sale

1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola L Rear

The Moto Guzzi Lodola [“Lark”] is yet another reminder that, in the motorcycling world, bigger wasn’t always considered better.  In the past, tax laws that penalized big bikes and the simple efficiency of small motorcycles was appealing in an era where the choice to ride was often driven more by economic necessity than issues of vanity or pleasure.  With cars often an unaffordable luxury, small, practical, but stylish machines were a very realistic transportation choice.

Our motorcycling forefathers seem to have been spoilt for choice when it came to choosing a stylish, practical mount.  It’s hard to imagine now, in an era when it sometimes seems like motorcycles fall into only one of two categories: boat-anchor, chrome-dripping, heavyweight retro cruisers and insane, race-track escapee plastic darts that require rattlesnake reflexes to ride effectively.  Heck, the smallest Guzzi you can buy these days is a 750, a machine that would have been considered big at one point, but is obviously tiny when you compare it to their new 1400cc offering…

But the little Lodola was considered to be a very sophisticated machine at the time, with a mutable character that reflected the rider’s mood, or right wrist.  The little 235cc bike is particularly interesting  for being the last bike designed with founder Carlo Guzzi’s direct input.

1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola L Engine

See the original eBay listing: 1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola for Sale

This particular example appears to be well maintained and is being sold by an owner who is clearly attempting to accurately represent the bike being offered.  From the original listing:

These are issues I know the bike has.  They are minor, but for full disclosure, here they are:  

–  It does leak a little oil like many of these old bikes do.  There is a new engine gasket set included in the spare parts if it bothers you enough to swap them out.  Never bothered me. Main issue is fixed, yet because of the age of this bike, I cannot guarantee it will not leak ever again.

–  Mileage is unknown.

–  There are two small paint chips on the left side upper fork, one small chip on the bottom of the rear fender, and a small stress crack on the left side of the rear fender that I have seen on almost every Lodola.  These can be seen in the last three pictures.  There are also a couple of small chips on the frame, but are only visible with the engine case covers removed.

– The muffler is a period Moto Guzzi replacement, not the original.  It shows some minor chrome flaking as it was not restored.  It still looks nice, but close examination will show the flaking.  Personally, I like this muffler better than an original as it is a little shorter and “Moto Guzzi” is embossed in it, which the original did not have.

The bike will come with some extra parts left over from the rebuild and reproduction owner’s and service manuals (in Italian).

1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola L Rear Low

I’ve only seen a couple of these come up for sale, and bidding is still very low for this bike, so I’m curious to see what we’ll be looking at when the [virtual] gavel comes down on this auction.  But it looks like a very cool little machine for Sunday rides down country lanes.


1960 Moto Guzzi Lodola R side

1960 Velocette Venom

The British Motorcycle Industry as a group could not evolve quickly enough to compete against the onslaught of the Japanese motorcycles. If there was one Manufacture who may have been lagging furthest behind it could be Velocette. When the rest of the industry had developed parallel twins and even triples, the top of the line Velocette would continue to be a 500cc single. Don’t take that as a negative, they were special and this Velocette Venom offered on eBay now is one those big singles.

From the seller

            1960Velocette Venom.  Very Original.  Doug Wood mag, David Lindsley dyno & solid state regulator.  VOC cogged dyno drive belt.  VOC oil filter conversion. Alton aluminum cylinder.  Top end done 3k miles ago.   S/S fenders.  Full width brakes front and rear.  Like new tires:AvonSpeed Masters.  New Monobloc carb.  Fuel tanks epoxy coated.  Starts like a Velo, runs like a champ, idles like a single should.  Tons of fun.  49,300 original miles.  Frame Number: RS17890  Engine Number: VM4518

As I have written before, there is a segment of collectors who often speak a language that cannot be understood by those not in the know. The way I interpret what the seller is offering is a well sorted list of upgrades to make this a rider. Improved electrical with the magnito, regulator and quieter belt drive. Improved ride with better brakes and tires. Mechanical improvements to the cylinder and upgrade oil filter.

Built around a square 86cmx86cm, the 499cc Venom was offered from 1955 through 1970, just a year prior to Velocettes liquidation. Developed by Eugene Goodman the engine was designed to move the cam shaft as close to the overhead valves as possible. The benefit of this would be the short push rods, but it also gave the timing side of the engine a unique map of Africa. In the Venom form you would get 34hp at 6200rpm and it would push you and the bike to 100mph.

Velocette may have stopped development with only one cylinder, but that did not stop them from competing, and winning. The Velocette Venom like this one currently holds the 500cc production 24hr endurance record set in 1961. Going around and around the Montlhery speed bowl outside of Paris a group of riders averaged 100.05 mph for 24hrs. A Velocette also just ran at Bonneville in 2011 and now can be called the fastest single cylinder British motorcycle going 147.485mph.

This bike offered on eBay appears to be a rider and not a show bike. The owner of this bike appears to have put the money were it is needed to make it “right”, and appears to have enjoyed the sound of a single cylinder through the unique  Fishtail exhaust.BB