I hope that you folks can help. I have a 1970 BSA motor with a vin of A65LA 7652 Y. I know there has been discussion concerning the legitimacy of these engines. Is there any documentation that these numbered motors are legit? My vin has the raised pad with the 3 rows of BSA logos behind the vin. The vin, including the Y, is stamped through the logos. The pad is absolutely flat. Here are a couple of pictures from my cheap camera. You may have to zoom in to see the lower 2 rows more clearly.
Cr, you are correct about the numbers and the years. I think I remember somebody once posted here that the Y was stamped in an engine which was built in one year but only sold in the next year. So as LA means "Lightning built in 1967", this one was on stock in the factory for a certain period and was shipped to the dealer in 1968.
I think Kevin is just frustrated. He has put a lot of effort into researching BSA's use of serial numbers and strange sequences in the 67 & 70 model years.
The odd sequences BSA used is an easy trap for someone who has not studied the situation like Kevin has. Serial number guides just don't list the odd sequences. So no, you are not stupid, just caught by strange goings on at Small Heath.
It is just this topic has been thrashed to death several times over the past 5 years that I am aware of.
About every year we seem to get a consensus and then all of a sudden away it drifts again.
Just looking at the engine reveals it is not a '67 model. It is physically different about the mounting studs. The numbers boss has been discussed. It doesn't have the vertical casting mark down the middle of the numbers or the diagonal grinding lines.
The stamps used for stamping the engines were changed, sometime in 1969 I guess. The previous posts will have the exact dates. These engines are stamped using the new style, as would be expected.
I know both you and Crazy were only trying to be helpful, and of course that is what the Forum is all about. The problem is that this topic and the other Baconism's would keep resurfacing until we work out some method of accessing the info quickly and in an easy manner. I have to agree that the archives are not the easiest to navigate.
''So as LA means "Lightning built in 1967", this one was on stock in the factory for a certain period and was shipped to the dealer in 1968.''''
This would have to come from another source though. We know of many bikes in the show rooms well before Xmas of 1967.
... Dare I say it some on the Forum here know oh the LA65xxxx-Y bikes being shipped in April or May of 1968. But THAT is another topic altogether.
The engine in the subject photo is of the 1970 batch of bikes, stamped with a similar sequence but in a different style to the machines of 3 years earlier.
BSA knew what they were doing.... I am not so sure many Govt officials etc were up with the play. It appears to me to have been an exercise in deception.
A good one, it is still working nearly 40 years later.
I am not angry, frustrated yes. But I guess we as grumpy old men get like that at times. Well, - I will include myself in there at least. Nothing against the previous posters but we know that once a post is open to public view it seems to be just absorbed and somehow the memory just seems to cough it up.
It just happens that I am having to write long missives on another Forum.
Piper Tomahawk leg attachment bolts. Although it has been a problem for over 25 years and now I have helped get the authorities to sort it out, we still have communication issues.
Some members didn't realise there is a problem. Some don't believe there is a problem. Some are having trouble interpreting the books. Some just seem to be away with the fairies and have a different take on the situation altogether. I guess the fact that the manufacturer wants almost $700 to remedy it.... Six bolts and a couple of barrel nuts. Yep. That may have a bearing on the whole issue also. The fact is the legs are still falling off.
A little like the progress I guess I am making here. Strong headwinds....
About every year we seem to get a consensus and then all of a sudden away it drifts again
This looks like problems I see in my work at allmost every client where I make technical documentation. Would it be wise, Kevin, to document your findings somewhere where people look for motor- and framenumbers per year? On the BritBike homepage there is a tab to click on [BSA Info] and in the scroll menu below it the tab [Identification] which gives years and numbers. Morgan, if you read this, or Rich B, as moderator, is this an idea?
I knew this might once again start some debate concerning the legitimacy of these motors, but I was actually looking for any documentation by BSA proving the existence of these motors.
The reason I am asking is that I seem to have been accused by a moderator of another board of having a "blatant numbers job" motor. Additional comments included : "It is a '70 engine, due to the logo scripts.....but it has a '67 number stamped into it, and a meaningless 'Y'".
Kevin, I know that you have sent numerous hours researching these motors, and have mentioned BSA SB GEN 5-70 as proving the motors exist. How can I get a copy of the service bulletin? (I also sent you a PM.)
I am to the point of keeping this motor and using it on one of my builds. I apologize for generating any bad feelings by asking the original question!!!!
Well I have been talking to Lew about the BSA Service Bulletin he has come across. (Anyone else see the irony in broadcasting all around the world, seeking answers, and getting a vital clue from your own town ?).
I am now aware of the Bulletin contents and can state the following,
1/.The Bulletin is from BSA (USA).
2/.BSA accepted the (Y) models of 1970 existed. (At least in the USA). And it states clearly that THEY ARE 1970 MODELS !
3/. The various stories being circulated about the (Y) and (-Y) bikes are obviously being blended into one confused mess. ( Dock strike, poor exchange rate, extended warranty, electric updates, surplus frames, stored motorcycles, etc.)
Although I am not too sure how to go about it, every effort will be made to correct the BSA model identification and dating lists. Especially in regard to the A65 models of 1966, '67, '69 and 1970. At the moment no list is 100% acccurate in the coverage of those years, at least. You just need to browse a few of the Forum topics here to see the confusion being generated by the present incomplete listings. Really all that is required is a little footnote of clarification for each year. I can only imagine similar discrepancies exist within the listings for other models also. Do I need to repeat that Roy Bacon's books are excellent guides but it would be a very brave (?) man to quote them as gospel.
Perhaps with the combined knowledge currently being displayed on this, and other Forums, the time is now right to pick up from where his books left off. He did not have the massive advantage of the internet when his books were published. I have seen so much valuable input in the past few months on A65 engines alone !
_________________________ Christchurch, - the place to ride....Feb 7th-14th 2010.
Darwin,- the place to hide from winter..... May - Nov 2009.
Joined: Jan 2006
I would like to thank you for your hard work. Here are two additional threads to which you contributed that discuss this subject: here and here.
I showed the guy at the DMV your two threads as proof that my Y Lightning was a 1970. He thanked me profusely for doing the research for him and I now have my correct title. I first discovered the difference when I purchased a 1967 parts manual and ordered some studs that didn't have the correct thread size. That's when I found your previous posts (I don't think it was either of the two posts above) clarifying the situation. After I received my 1970 parts manual, I ordered the studs and, voila, they fit! Thanks again for the clarification way back when!
A bit of history resurfacing here alright. I almost choked when I saw Don's post above.... the 4 August 01 got my attention. I immediately thought the crusade had been going on since then, - no wonder I am so weary.
But no, - that is my membership date..... the (Y) came months later.
Of all the above reading this is the part I especially enjoy.
The chap in the article, Bob Downs, is probably still wondering how the 1970 model bike he rode in the '70's is now titled as a 1967 bike. The original papers said 1970, BSA SB General 5-70 says it is a 1970 model, - at what stage did it become re-titled as a 1967. Did he mention he applied for a dating certificate ?
Unfortunately the link is no longer functioning. But a major motor cycle publication featured an article about a chap who bought his pride and joy back many years after first owning it. He was an early owner of the 1970 Lightning and knew it's history. From memory even after he sold it the bike never strayed too far away from his family or location. Anyway when he bought the bike back it was now a 1967 model... Go figure.
Another victim of all this confusion. I am sure he will still be wondering, unless he is watching here.
Thanks for the help and the wonderful information on the A65LA Y background. I have contacted Lew Graham concerning the Service bulletin identifying the Y motors. He has responded that he will scan the bulletin and get it to me. Once I receive it, I will share it here with you folks, and send it to the other forum moderator. I will also send it to BSAOC and see if we can get the Y motors mentioned in their list of vins. Hopefully, we can for once and all end the debate on these great motors.
As a side note, I am keeping the motor and will use it in one of my future builds. Again, thank you for all of your help!!!
Yep, that is another one of them alright Marc. The outer timing cover and rocker cover look out of place but I did note it has the solid swing arm pivot.
Makes you wonder what people make of the 1969 Federal specs decal on the headstock of some of these machines. I can't make it out on this bike but they would have been there. I guess you have to peel them off to 'legitimise' the bikes breeding somehow.
What a fun endeavor...and a stretcher of emotions and lore. Article: 1970 FS purchased from original owner-- raised pad, no background logos. Article: Flattrack A-70 (in capacity only), raised pad, background logos, A65-LA__Y. Article: 1973 B50-MX purchased from original owner, background logos, NO I.D at all, lighting kit added and rego in the `70s. Depending on the situation at the time, chaos theory, fudge factor, recycle are the operative words. Do what you could get away with without hurting anyone. Absolutes are unnatural...still so much fun to ride.
The fewer there are, the greater the value of each......particularly human beings.
Lit67,...You`ve probably gotten all the response you can stand, but here`s one aspect that has not been addressed. When some jerk overrevved his `67 T-bolt for the umteenth time, and sent a rod through the cases in `69, he went whining back to the dealer ad, if he could afford it, ordered a replacement engine or cases. BSA supplied current configuration replacements not retro. The 2 BSA dealerships in my area had their own alpha/numeric stamps, and would match the engine to the existing chassis. Easy, legal, and acceptable...back then. There is a good chance that many of the incongruous #s combinations out there are creations of this procedure. Don`t know if the MOT allowed this kind of fun. At least this discrepency usually meant an upgrade
The fewer there are, the greater the value of each......particularly human beings.
Yes, the replacement case issue has been pretty well covered here in the past. As has the additional numbers added by some of the registration authorities. Was it the Canadian members suffering the most there.
Either way there are so many other means of dating, the features changed on an almost annual basis.
That is why it is so easy to determine that the 'Y" bikes of 1970 have nothing in common with their '67 stablemates... really a completely different specification engine, at least in construction.
The poor chap trying to sell a bike on eBay is now also suffering the pain:
BSA "experts" are coming out of the woodwork to enlighten me about this bike. Anyone familiar with BSA motorcycles knows that the sequencing of VIN numbers at the factory was hap-hazard at best. Yes, the gas tank looks like '69, yes, the headlight housing looks like '68, yes, the points cover looks like '69. My best guess is that this bike left the factory in late '69 or early '70. Some bikes left the factory with original VIN stampings, some were re-stamped for export, or had suffix letters added, some bikes sat in the factory so long (dock strike, labor strike?) after they were made that the numbers were changed to try to bring them up to date. These are some of the reasons why the numbers don't match the bikes. This is not my first BSA (I've had them for forty years) and this is not the first time I've seen the numbers out-of-whack. What I am sure of is that the engine number and frame number match, and it is the VIN that is used for identification when a bike is registered, not what the gas tank looks like. The VIN on this bike indicates 1967. The only person who knows for sure when this bike left the factory is the guy who stamped the numbers on it. If one of you experts is that guy, please contact me and let me know. If you don't believe any of this, please read the history behind the BSA motorcycle. Thanks
Seems like he is being very well advised. He should make a good profit from the bits and pieces he seems to have.
Did anyone actually mention what the title reads.
Perhaps this is another one with an authoritative dating certificate. Has to be well worth the $20 or whatever.