As I've finally arrived as a BSA owner, guess a couple pix are in order. For anyone not following along, I just bought a 1966 A65T Thunderbolt in nice original condition. It has 5516 miles showing on the clock. The guy I bought it from (3rd owner) had it since June 2008, rode it barely 300 miles- BUT added a Boyer + new wiring harness. The owner prior (#2), had it sitting in some basement for 30 years- as the story goes. No details on how much he/she rode the bike. I assume the original owner put the bulk of the 5516 miles on, but I'll never really know. It is certain tho that the bike sat around most of its 55 years however. Andy Lorenz tells me the bike was dispatched to New Jersey on 16 March 1966. The seller told me he somehow had the impression the bike was purchased out of Maryland? In any case, it hasn't made it very far from its original point of entry into the U.S.! The bike will be a rider for me, but it's original, complete, and clean enough to show on occasion.
"It is no measure of health, to be well adjusted to a profoundly sick society."
When my dad was in high school in Ohio—but not yet driving age—he had his older brother buy an almost-new 1968 BSA Starfire for him.
He used the bike as a runabout for a few years, but then he parked it in the barn in late 1977 or early 1978, never to ride it again.
With 6,089 miles, the bike rusted away in the barn until 2007, when I was able to convince him to bring it down to me in Texas.
From 2007-2020, I stored the bike in garages and climate-controlled storage. But the bike was getting to a desperate state.
In September 2020, we finally pulled the trigger. I worked with a British bike specialist, and we quickly assessed that the engine could indeed run. We decided to go for a full restoration, salvaging whatever parts we could.
Here's the BEFORE state:
It looks pretty good from a distance, but the condition is rough. Check out the speedometer, for example:
After a 30+ week restoration, way too much money for the bike, and numerous technical challenges due to Small Heath's proclivity for "tweaking" things continually, I'm happy to say the bike has seen the road for the first time in 43 years!
The frame was powder coated, NOS front wheel fitted, NOS rear rim with new spokes and original hub built, new Dunlops sourced from the UK, all casings vapor blasted, all brightwork rechromed (except a few small pieces that were replaced), engine completely rebuilt with MAP conrod, very slight .020 bore, Pazon ignition, spin-on oil filter kit from Paul Goff, new AMAL Premier carb, speedometer restored by Vintage British Cables, and much more. We lined the original fiberglass tank and kept it (original paint, original badges for now). We also cleaned and reinstalled the original oil tank and side cover (original paint for now).
Here are a couple of photos and a video of the AFTER state:
(restored by Vintage British Cables in Alberta, Canada)
At some point, I should probably create a whole thread about this one