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A65 Lightning. #728097
03/09/18 1:23 pm
03/09/18 1:23 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Peter Gascoigne  Offline OP
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My A 65 Lightning was dispatched to BSA Inc. Nutley, New Jersey on 15th July 1966. Is it likely to be a 66 or 67 model, and how do you tell?


1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
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Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728099
03/09/18 2:07 pm
03/09/18 2:07 pm
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,769
Central Virginia
Lannis Offline

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Central Virginia
Can't really tell anything by that. It then got dispatched to a dealer, who got a "dealer registration", and then a guy bought it and it was titled according to the rules of whatever state he lived in, with a corresponding "year" that you could read off the title. Could be '66 or '67.

What's the engine number? That's the important one, because that's the way you'll buy parts.

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728110
03/09/18 3:34 pm
03/09/18 3:34 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Peter Gascoigne  Offline OP
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Lannis,

As this is the engine, you suggestion will not help!

Attached Files 20180309_151922.jpg

1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728144
03/09/18 9:29 pm
03/09/18 9:29 pm
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Beach Offline

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Beach  Offline

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West Virginia, United States
Huh...I'm a bit lost here.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728145
03/09/18 9:34 pm
03/09/18 9:34 pm
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 2,257
Gothenburg, Sweden
Morgan aka Admin Offline

Ride safe today!
Morgan aka Admin  Offline

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Originally Posted by Peter Gascoigne
Lannis,

As this is the engine, you suggestion will not help!


???


BSAing you
Morgan Johansson
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Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728150
03/09/18 9:51 pm
03/09/18 9:51 pm
Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 9,858
Scotland
S
Stuart Offline
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Stuart  Offline
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Joined: Jun 2002
Posts: 9,858
Scotland
Hi Peter,

Originally Posted by Peter Gascoigne
66 or 67 model, and how do you tell?

What's the full frame number, including the model code?

Regards,

Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Stuart] #728211
03/10/18 2:06 pm
03/10/18 2:06 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Southampton UK
Stuart,

A65L 1204. It that right?



Morgan and Beach,

I'm building a Beezuki, an A65L with a slightly uprated Suzuki GT550 3 cylinder 2-stroke engine.


Attached Files 20180306_173030.jpg
Last edited by Peter Gascoigne; 03/10/18 2:14 pm.

1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728218
03/10/18 4:30 pm
03/10/18 4:30 pm
Joined: Aug 2006
Posts: 1,339
SE Ohio
No Name Man Offline

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No Name Man  Offline

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SE Ohio
Something is odd here...other than the Suzi that is. A 66 Lightning would still have the A50 etc. frame stamp. A 67 would have "LA". Personally never heard of a 66 frame with that VIN. Didn't the numbers begin matching for 67 models late in calendar year 66?
Pretty sure I don't know everything though...

Bill E


69 A65T
71 B50T
85 K100RS
54/59 A10SR
69 B44VS
71 A65FS
95 Trident
Too much moderation is bad for you.

Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728222
03/10/18 5:12 pm
03/10/18 5:12 pm
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,769
Central Virginia
Lannis Offline

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Lannis  Offline

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Posts: 12,769
Central Virginia
Originally Posted by Peter Gascoigne
Stuart,

A65L 1204. It that right?



Morgan and Beach,

I'm building a Beezuki, an A65L with a slightly uprated Suzuki GT550 3 cylinder 2-stroke engine.



A '67 Lightning ENGINE number would be A65L-XXXX as you have there .... but as Bill says, the FRAME number would have two letters following the A65 - TA, SA, LA, or HA depending on whether a Thunderbolt, Spitfire, Lightning or Hornet respectively. A65L 1204 isn't a valid frame number for any year ... ?

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728224
03/10/18 5:48 pm
03/10/18 5:48 pm
Joined: Feb 2010
Posts: 441
Au
M
markoz Offline
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Au
It is a nice looking engine and will suit the build.

Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: No Name Man] #728237
03/10/18 8:22 pm
03/10/18 8:22 pm
Joined: Oct 2001
Posts: 1,136
Sydney, Oz
S
Shane in Oz Offline
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Sydney, Oz
Originally Posted by No Name Man
Something is odd here...other than the Suzi that is. A 66 Lightning would still have the A50 etc. frame stamp. A 67 would have "LA". Personally never heard of a 66 frame with that VIN. Didn't the numbers begin matching for 67 models late in calendar year 66?
Pretty sure I don't know everything though...

Bill E

Early 1966 models had A50 frame numbers, but BSA changed to using A65 during the model year.

Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Lannis] #728238
03/10/18 8:29 pm
03/10/18 8:29 pm
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Beach Offline

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Beach  Offline

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Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Originally Posted by Lannis
Originally Posted by Peter Gascoigne
Stuart,

A65L 1204. It that right?



Morgan and Beach,

I'm building a Beezuki, an A65L with a slightly uprated Suzuki GT550 3 cylinder 2-stroke engine.



A '67 Lightning ENGINE number would be A65L-XXXX as you have there .... but as Bill says, the FRAME number would have two letters following the A65 - TA, SA, LA, or HA depending on whether a Thunderbolt, Spitfire, Lightning or Hornet respectively. A65L 1204 isn't a valid frame number for any year ... ?

Lannis

A65L-xxxx is correct for 1966 frame.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728239
03/10/18 8:31 pm
03/10/18 8:31 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Peter Gascoigne  Offline OP
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Southampton UK
This is what I have from BSAOC as a dating certificate. Its also the number on the down tube engine mounting lugs ( before I cut them off!). The frame number must be valid, or I wouldn't have got a Dating Certificate. So what Beach is saying is that it's a 66. Happy with that!

Attached Files Dating Certificate MCY 101D.jpg
Last edited by Peter Gascoigne; 03/10/18 8:58 pm.

1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728249
03/11/18 12:39 am
03/11/18 12:39 am
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 75
MA
N
Nick H Offline
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Nick H  Offline
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N
Joined: Oct 2017
Posts: 75
MA
Sure. My '66 frame says A65L 9157 but the "L" was upside down! Thought it was a 7 for a while.


1966 BSA Lightning
1967 Triumph "Choppa"
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728257
03/11/18 3:39 am
03/11/18 3:39 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,433
Owego, NY, USA
Mark Z Offline
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Mark Z  Offline
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Owego, NY, USA
Peter, I don't know if it matters, but the fuel tank is post-1967. I would have to assume it was changed at some time.


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Mark Z] #728313
03/11/18 7:21 pm
03/11/18 7:21 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Peter Gascoigne  Offline OP
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Southampton UK
So, it seems the bike is not a 1967 model. We do know it is not early 66 or before, it doesn't have an A50 frame prefix. There is a factory record of it being exported in July 67, at a time when the factory started to build the 67 model(?). According to what I've seen in loads of different references, that frame number is not right. Except the factory record says it is. Another BSA anomaly!

It doesn't matter to me, it's going to be a mongrel. Had I not had the Suzuki engine, I would have scrapped the frame, which is what I should have done anyway, the cost of sorting it out was too much, but once started it had to be finished. The bike is what it is, and I'll get it finished and have something a bit out of the ordinary. It would be interesting to know what other middle of 66 bikes had for a frame number though.


1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728315
03/11/18 7:36 pm
03/11/18 7:36 pm
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,905
ohio, usa
kevin roberts Offline
fefsa
kevin roberts  Offline
fefsa
Joined: Dec 2013
Posts: 3,905
ohio, usa
lol

i love those old suzukis.

there's one in the shop where i dyno my race bike. when i go back i'll see what he wants for it.


live every day.
die once.
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728333
03/11/18 10:19 pm
03/11/18 10:19 pm
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Beach Offline

BritBike Forum member
Beach  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Originally Posted by Peter Gascoigne
So, it seems the bike is not a 1967 model. We do know it is not early 66 or before, it doesn't have an A50 frame prefix. There is a factory record of it being exported in July 67, at a time when the factory started to build the 67 model(?). According to what I've seen in loads of different references, that frame number is not right. Except the factory record says it is. Another BSA anomaly!

It doesn't matter to me, it's going to be a mongrel. Had I not had the Suzuki engine, I would have scrapped the frame, which is what I should have done anyway, the cost of sorting it out was too much, but once started it had to be finished. The bike is what it is, and I'll get it finished and have something a bit out of the ordinary. It would be interesting to know what other middle of 66 bikes had for a frame number though.

Do you mean July of 1966? Just wondering what you're trying to figure out here. According to the frame number it is a 1966.


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Beach] #728340
03/11/18 10:46 pm
03/11/18 10:46 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Peter Gascoigne  Offline OP
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Southampton UK
Beach,

Yes, I meant 1966! But where is a reference, other than my Dating Certificate, that shows that frame number as a 66. As No Name Man, Lannis, Roy Bacon (BSA Twins & Triples) and Matthew Vale (BSA Unit-Construction Twins The Complete Story) say, it doesn't exist!


1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728349
03/12/18 12:01 am
03/12/18 12:01 am
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Beach Offline

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Beach  Offline

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Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
I have a mid year 1966 A65 with matching engine and frame numbers.


http://www.bsaownersclub.co.uk/engineandframenumberintro.html
Read paragraph, unit A series. It does indeed exist!!!!


Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Beach] #728350
03/12/18 12:04 am
03/12/18 12:04 am
Joined: Aug 2012
Posts: 696
West Virginia, United States
Beach Offline

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Beach  Offline

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West Virginia, United States
UNIT A-SERIES
1966 'A' series machines started the season with A50, A50B and A50C frame designations with the usual non-matching engine markings. After frame 3200 the engine and frame markings were the same. There was a short period where the engine marking matched the frame marking but the frame prefix was A50; Presumably to use up stock in store prior to the changeover. Machines still in stock in the 1967 season (about 1000) were resold in the 1969 and 1970 season. These returned machines are shown with a cross at the beginning of the despatch book record; they then reappear at the end of the book with the revised despatch date. The 1969 models are identified by the adding of an extra 0 at the end of the frame marking putting the number series into the 100,000's. Machines re-exported in 1970 were stamped with a 'Y' suffix to indicate that they were 1970 models and therefore eligible for the increased warranty.

Your frame number is before matching engine and frame numbers. My 1966 has number on motor mount lug.

Last edited by Beach; 03/12/18 12:16 am.

Bill
1974 Norton Commando
1966 Lightning
1965 Lightning Rocket
1966 Norton Atlas
1967 Norton Atlas
1948 Panhead
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728352
03/12/18 12:27 am
03/12/18 12:27 am
Joined: Aug 2001
Posts: 4,433
Owego, NY, USA
Mark Z Offline
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Mark Z  Offline
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Owego, NY, USA
I haven't read Matthew Vale, but I have read Roy Bacon's books, and it's clear that he didn't include many other anomalies, so I wouldn't be too concerned about this one. The rest of us, unless we have direct experience, quote from those books.

This topic came up in another thread a while back, and someone knowledgeable here said that yes, they did start using "A65..." frame numbers during the 1966 production year - unfortunately, I don't remember who it was who said that.

Now as far as anyone knows, 1967 frames were stamped "A65LA..." (or "TA", "HA", etc.), and this rule seems less likely to have been broken, so I think we can conclude that yours is a 1966.

You didn't state your reasons for wanting to know this; is it a matter of how to register it, or of what parts manuals to use? As far as the frame goes, '66 and '67 are virtually identical. There may be other chassis features that are different; others here may be able to point those out with some pictures. That's why I mentioned the fuel tank; if you wanted to source parts for that, you would have to refer to a '68-'70 Spares manual, and so on...


Mark Z

'65(lower)/'66(upper, wheels, front end, controls)/'67(seat, exhaust, fuel tank, headlamp)/'70(frame) A65 Bitsa.
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728362
03/12/18 2:24 am
03/12/18 2:24 am
Joined: Jan 2017
Posts: 8
Greenville, SC
D
Doug P Offline
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Doug P  Offline
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Posts: 8
Greenville, SC
Beach,
Thanks for the reference link regarding the "Unit A Series" machines. A few years ago I picked up an A65 with no title and a VERY confusing series of numbers. The frame has 2 serial numbers--A50B79XX on the steering head reinforcing plate and A65LA150XX on the front engine mounting lug. Adding to my confusion was an engine stamped A65SA178XXY (with 6CA points system). The front forks appear to be 1968 TLS with their unique sliders and horizontal brake cable routing. I was not surprised to find mismatched components on a 50 year old bike, but the dual frame numbers had me stumped. Thanks for letting me know I am not crazy--now I need to convince my wife smile

Apologies to all for the thread hijack.

Doug

Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728396
03/12/18 2:55 pm
03/12/18 2:55 pm
Joined: Feb 2012
Posts: 294
Southampton UK
P
Peter Gascoigne Offline OP
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Peter Gascoigne  Offline OP
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Joined: Feb 2012
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Southampton UK
"UNIT A-SERIES
1966 'A' series machines started the season with A50, A50B and A50C frame designations with the usual non-matching engine markings. After frame 3200 the engine and frame markings were the same. There was a short period where the engine marking matched the frame marking but the frame prefix was A50."


Beach,
There are three possibilities in the above statement,

1. "1966 'A' series machines started the season with A50, A50B and A50C frame designations with the usual non-matching engine markings".
2. "There was a short period where the engine marking matched the frame marking but the frame prefix was A50".
It's not either of these, because the frame number starts A65.

3. "After frame 3200 the engine and frame markings were the same".
It's not this because it's frame 1204.

Is your frame number after 3200?


Mark Z,
It started off as idle curiosity. The bike is a July bike, and around that time the factory would start building the next "Model year", so I was wondering what model year it actually is. I now know that it's not a 67, so it must be a 66. But the frame number doesn't seem to conform with any known published references....... except, Steve Foden managed to give me a dating certificate based on that frame number! The bike is UK registered, has been for over 4 years, so I don't need to worry about that, and I've got enough parts books to cover most years. I don't need to know, but now, I WANT TO KNOW! Why has a 66 bike got that frame number, maybe i'll need to contact Steve Foden, he may know.

Attached Files A65L 1966 Frame No.jpg

1971 BSA A65 Lightning "Bitsa"
1966 BSA A65 "Beezuki" with GT550 two-stroke engine
1974 Triumph T150 830cc
1975 Suzuki GT550
1975 Laverda 1000 3C
1986 Yamaha SRX 600
Re: A65 Lightning. [Re: Peter Gascoigne] #728397
03/12/18 3:02 pm
03/12/18 3:02 pm
Joined: Jul 2001
Posts: 12,769
Central Virginia
Lannis Offline

Life member
Lannis  Offline

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Posts: 12,769
Central Virginia
Having looked at the photo now, I'd bet my next pension check that this isn't some "odd outlier" or one-of-a-kind or factory-special or overstamp or other unlikely scenario on the number.

I'll bet that number starts with "A65LA" and the "A" is smushed around under the defaced and marked bit of the alloy.

Lannis


I stopped believing for a little while this morning. Journey is really going to be upset.
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