Does any knowledgeable person know the final frame/engine numbers for the A65 twins. I've been doing a bit of digging and date suggested for the building of the final run is 10th December 1971. This would mean an XG frame prefix.
My A65T has PG (November '71) so comes pretty close to the end.
I've acquired the two Brad Jones books this week. Very interesting but disappointing too in some ways. A little short on frame/engine numbers and exact dates. But I suppose that isn't really the aim of the books.
One interesting thing that has emerged is that allegedly the Dove Grey frame paint ended in May 1971. Apparently due to consumer resistance in the US. So the final 2/3 months of 1971 MY bikes would have actually had black painted frames, as well as all of the 1972 MY bikes.
The dispatch books show NG models being sent out in July 1973.
That's about 21 months after the date of manufacture! Presumably this was some sort of block order that never reached its original destination ? An order from a foreign government maybe ? Just an educated guess.
21 months after date of manufacture? Remember that at this time the BSA Group went bust and then eventually the contents of the factory were sold off by the liquidator. If you were around in the Coventry/ Birmingham area at the time (as I was) then the 21 months bit would come as no surprise at all. Lots of strange things were going at that time.
Thats mildly interesting about the dove grey ending in may 71, so my black framed June model is correct, always wondered about that. i saw a pic recently of the supposed last twin to be built it was an A70 sitting in a dealers somewhere in the US. Shipped in 1973.
71 Devimead A65 750 56 Norbsa 68 Longstroke A65 Cagiva Raptor 650 MZ TS 250 The poster formerly known as Pod
21 months after date of manufacture? Remember that at this time the BSA Group went bust and then eventually the contents of the factory were sold off by the liquidator.
I hate to be pedantic but it was actually taken over as a going concern by asset stripper Dennis Poore and his Manganese Bronze group. IMHO BSA were stitched up like a kipper by the DTI and Poore working hand in hand. NVT was designed to go bankrupt from day one. Very clever but verging on criminality I think.
I don't suppose the truth of what really happened will ever emerge.
I hate to be pedantic but it was actually taken over as a going concern by asset stripper Dennis Poore and his Manganese Bronze group. IMHO BSA were stitched up like a kipper by the DTI and Poore working hand in hand.
Mmmm ... emotion clouding reality ...?
Originally Posted by ferretjuggler
I've been doing a bit of digging and date suggested for the building of the final run is 10th December 1971.
The last Rocket 3's have a DG (April 1972) prefix.
BSA was such a "going concern" that, in August 1972, Meriden had to build the last BSA-badged motorcycles - the T65 - by sticking BSA badges on TR6's.
NVT wasn't constituted until June 1973.
BSA would've been the largest partner in what became NVT but, in March(?) 1973, a stockbroker on the London Stock Exchange did something that was subsequently made illegal - he sold BSA shares he didn't have. In those days, 'trades' didn't have to be settled until the end of the day; the stockbroker (his name escapes me) banked on the price falling so that, by the end of the day, the price he had to buy at to settle his trades would be less than the price he sold for during the day.
Had BSA been in a better financial position - e.g. not owing ten million quid to Barclays Bank - any shares would've been bought as soon as they were offered. As it was, BSA's already-precarious finances caused other shareholders to sell also, lowering the price still further. By the end of the day, BSA shares were pretty-much worthless and trading was suspended.
Dennis Poore intended to keep Small Heath open, shifting complete triple production there (only Triumph triple engines were built at Small Heath, being trucked over to Meriden for assembly into cycle parts and dispatch). Because of the Meriden sit-in, NVT was forced to buy machinery to build triple cycle parts so full production could resume, rather than shifting machinery it owned already stuck in Meriden.
It's moot whether NVT would've collapsed for any other reason; what caused certainly its manufacturing collapse was withdrawal of the government Export Credit Guarantee in June(?) 1975, adversely affecting cashflow.
Especially with hindsight, Poore's major fault was refusing to reverse his decision to close Meriden even when confronted with US dealers with orders for thousands of bikes.
L. J. didn't make any decisions on a group level, so I'm with Stuart on it. T120 / 140 sold to US still presented healthy cash flow for the company. Poor's decisions about cutting production costs ignored the social network built around Meriden factory. The same mistake done before moving Norton production from Bracebridge. What John H. always said British workers weren't just workers but fitters deeply connected to their trade.
Even if you view Dennis Poore as a hero not a villain, the facts point to him doing some pretty dumb things. He didn't have the foresight to realise what the reaction of the Meriden workforce might be to the news that their factory was to be closed down. Apparently the first thing that the workforce knew about it was when they read about it in the evening papers. So not only did they instantly loose all profitable triumph twin production, but trident production too. Anyone with an ounce of slyness in them would have moved complete trident production to Small Heath first, as a precaution. The workforce at Meriden would probably have accepted that, especially if they were told that it was so that twin production could be increased. No doubt if the closure of the Meriden factory had succeeded, the Wolverhampton factory would have be closed soon after.
IMHO there was something very dodgy about the Norton Villiers takeover. But my knowledge and opinions are only based on the books that I've read over the years. Books can contain untruths, sometimes accidentally, sometimes deliberate lies. I've read that Dennis Poore was an old school friend of a very senior civil servant at the DTI. But I don't think that civil servant has ever been named. I honestly believe that there was a conspiracy to give Poore control over BSA group. But I doubt if anyone will ever be able to prove it.
At one point in 1973 the DTI seemed to be quite amicable to the idea of bailing out BSA. After all, they were now showing a month on month trading profit. Then there was an abrupt change of attitude. The DTI announced that it would only be prepared to help the British motorcycle industry as a WHOLE. Effectively demanding a merger of BSA and NV The BSA board in their naivety didn't realise what was happening. I think that "bear raid" had been carefully planned from the outset. The takeover should have been suspended at that point but it wasn't. I don't suppose the real story will ever emerge. A very British stitch up.
I would attach some blame to the weak Tory government, followed by a Socialist government (idealistic Communist, in Secretary of State for Industry Tony Benn's case) letting the Meriden workforce off with the sit-in.
Am I banned now?
Amateur Loctite enthusiast.
Re: Final A65 frame and engine numbers
#724411 02/05/187:58 pm02/05/187:58 pm
We all tend to concentrate on the motorcycle side of the takeover, since we play with the things.
Manganese Bronze did quite well out of the BSA Group as a whole, which had some quite profitable divisions. The motorcycle division was viable as well, but had dug itself into a cash flow hole with the major changes for the 1971 season and missing a lot of sales in the USA. NVT was under-capitalised, with most of the money coming from the government, and very strongly quarantined from the parent group. If it came good, Manganese Bronze stood to make a lot more money than just being paid to take over BSA's profitable divisions.
The short-term events were quite probably more opportunistic than conspiracy, but could well have involved information leakage. Longer term, my speculation from quite a remove is:
Norton Villiers was Dennis Poore's hobby
The BSA board had regarded motorcycles as being in long-term decline, hence the lack of investment and modernisation, and the various diversification acquisitions
Something in the late 1960s made BSA think motorcycle had a rosy future, which led to massive new investment in modernisation, R&D and new markets
The major changes for the 1971 range were trying to do too much, too quickly, with a not entirely unexpected result
Manganese Bronze took advantage of the opportunity to be paid to take over BSA's profitable parts, and take a punt on Dennis Poore's hobby using government money
Last edited by Shane in Oz; 02/06/183:47 am. Reason: Fixed the spell checkers change of "a not" to "another" which reversed the sense
Re: Final A65 frame and engine numbers
#724448 02/06/183:15 am02/06/183:15 am
Oh, yeah, blame Dennis Poore ! And Lionel Jofeh was an angel ! There was your prize throb merchant !!
Well it is a fact and easily proven. The non motorcycling assets of BSA had been squaring up the books since 1998. Had it not been for the massive costs of the "new models" the non motorcycling divisions could have continued to square up the books for quite some time. Weather this would have been long enough for the BSA - Triump group to recover is of course pure conjecture.
The board of BSA are not without blame, successive bad decisions of previous boards had put the company in the perilios posiion it was in but it was Poore who killed off the British motorcycling industry and eventually I have no doubt it will be found he was behind the short sell of BSA shares. IMHO the BSA board had no faith in motorcycles as a major cash raisers and had set a course to acquire industries which would be strtigically important when WW III between the USA & USSR broke out then it would be "happy days" of endless government contracts. Now if you do financial searches of the companies MBH acquired for the "book" value which were substantially undervalued and see just how profitable they were in the following decade before Poore gutted them then flogged them off it will be clear who the real criminal was. BSA Powders was the largest supplier of powder metallurgy metals & pressing equipment in the world and the still are although there have been a few owners since MBH and thus a few new names.
He didn't have the foresight to realise what the reaction of the Meriden workforce might be to the news that their factory was to be closed down.
Actually he did and manipulated things to his manifest advantage.
A massive about of the government funding for the co-op ended up in his pockets. He owned the factory & the land the factory stood on plus he was a supplier of parts. HE owned the foundry ( IXON ) that cast the barrels & perhaps the alloy parts but not sure of that He owned Motoplas who supplied both parts and dress up items.
And not sure but he should also have owned the USA distribution network.
Then there was all of the government money that poured into Norton and after the collapse of the co-op even more government money that went into the rotary that BSA had ready for production in 69 but held back because they saw it as a direct challenge for the triples. Then the "research funding" that went into all the stupid projects like the stepped cylinder 2 stroke that was going to win the TT and therefor revitalise the UK motorcycle industry.
Go back to the motorcycling press of the 70's & 80's and look at all of the announcements of how Dennis's new (pie in the sky) research ( funded by the government ) project will be the rebirth of the great british motorcycle industry. So not only did he manage to fill his pockets with lots and lots of taxpayers money he also mnaged to script his own pubic image as the "saviour" of the British Motorcycle industry.
Now if BSA-Triumph had managed to hang on till the Thatcher government then the amalgamation may have worked or it might have failed like the car industry did due to pig headed brand loyalties.
It works the same way in the UK whether you're in the funny handshake brigade or not. I have the pleasure (?) of working in an automotive pressings factory. Last year a next to useless supervisor got made redundant (and about time too) This guy had worked in pressings all his life, and doesn't know anything else.
Another factory not far away reconditions large diesel engines An internal vacancy came up for a dept supervisor. But strangely, none of the candidates who applied were deemed to be suitable, despite some having 20-30 years experience. Therefore the management were "forced" to recruit from outside the business. Guess who got the job ?