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[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

Ok, here we have some pics of one of these 'hybrid' Spitfires.

I have some more of others also, but they are all the same. Exactly the same as a Mk IV bike of 1968.
We can see the differences from a Mk III.
Front wheel, front brake, head light shell, fenders, tail light, rear Shocks, (since changed in this pic), engine cases, (both crankcase halves).

We can see this bike was made in 1968 because the transmission dipstick is in the inner timing cover and the right half has not been drilled or machined.
The left case is also 1968 was it has the cast alternator mount (not seen externally) and we can see this example was stamped in 1968. Although the numbers appear to be the 1967 sequence we can see the suffix is just Y and not the Dash Y seen on many of the 1967 season bikes. This engine number is a classic in that it has been stamped with the enlarged '8' stamp that we associate with the 1968 season. It is never seen in any other years.

I have a pic of the frame number and it does not have the suffix. We know all of the hybrid bikes are just like this one. They are all basically identical and indistinguishable from a 'normal' MkIV Spitfire.

I cannot see how this can be anything other than a new build bike made in 1968. The only 1967 feature is the number... nothing else.
I firmly believe that the first date that appears in the despatch book , if before July 1967, has to be extremely suspect. These bikes just did not exist, at least physically, before that date.
They are not refurbished 1967 bikes, these 478 bikes have every 1968 feature available at the time.


Why, Y, Dash Y..



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I know a lot of research would have to be done in what appears to be some hard to follow dispatch records. From what I have seen here some members have already done a lot of good research trying to track this down.
Could there be duplicate serial numbers used? I know it would cause a problem if two turned up on records with identical numbers. We have to remember in those pre computer days that national data bases did not exist like today where numbers can be easily checked.
If I was going to use this kind of deception I would reasign numbers from a Thunderbolt just changing the T to a S to make it a Spitfire, that way the numbers would not quite be the same even though they were "supposedly" made in the same year. This would work even better if the original numbered Thunderbolt was sent to somewhere like the Nigerian Police Force. I do not suppose many Spitfires went to Nigeria.
Just some thoughts from a twisted mind.

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Kevin, I'm completely in agreement with everything you've said in post #426163, except perhaps for this sentence.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I firmly believe that the first date that appears in the despatch book , if before July 1967, has to be extremely suspect.

Your suspicions seem to be that the original serial numbers, the ones entered in the normal locations in the 1967 books, were merely numbers entered with no actual bikes existing?

While we can't yet prove this one way or the other, I think it's very doubtful for the following reasons.
A) It would likely be illegal, a fraud.
B) There doesn't appear to be a motive worth committing fraud for. When I mentioned "exports bonus program" earlier I was referring to the "Queen’s Award for Export Achievement", which both BSA and Triumph won in 1966 and 1967. While this award was prestigious, I don't believe that there was any direct financial return of any significance from it. The "Export Credits Guarantee" program would have required much more than just extra serial numbers in the book. There would have to have been actual physical verification of the bikes being exported before any funds were released. Plus, the North American Distributors would have to reimburse the fund once the bikes were received. There would be red flags everywhere.
C) BSA was in very good financial shape, they weren't desperate at that point in time.

I have also been having a difficult time coming up with a reason that propels what I believe happened. I have a pretty good idea of what they did, nothing really solid for the "why" though. There has to be some fairly large reward for doing what they did, otherwise they would have just used the current years (1968/1969/1970) numbers for all the current year bikes.

One possibility, which still seems a little weak, was that it was to maintain the integrity of their 1967 "Queen’s Award for Export Achievement".

Or perhaps it really was to square the books for the "Export Credits Guarantee" program. If these bikes were all returned from dispatch, the North American Distributors would not be reimbursing the fund and BSA would have to return all the funds that had been advanced to them for those export bikes. Perhaps the best way out for them was to send acceptable replacements and have the North American Distributors repay the fund as they were originally supposed to. Current model year bikes with 1967 serial numbers may have been an acceptable compromise for government officials, the Export Credits Guarantee managers, and the North American Distributors. May be onto something here.





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This is the number off my 68 Spitfire project. engine and frame numbers match. what do yoou guys think of these numbers? to low?
Bob

[Linked Image]

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Looks good to me Bob. I've got a picture of LB 9114 and it's number position is very similar to yours, maybe just slightly higher. Same horizontal location relative to the casting line.

If you're not wondering about the position, all the other SB numbers I have pictures of are lower than yours. smile


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Cool, thats good to know. Thanks Two Alpha. now to get this thing restored. it is getting there slowly.
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Hi Bob, no problems with your number.... I have pics of several engines either side of yours.

Now, as for the use of 1967 style numbers on bikes that were obviously made after 1967.

We are starting to guess a little what could have, or actually did, happen.

I still can't see BSA producing that many bikes in a year. If I am correct and those those bikes were not actually made in 1967 then we can subtract the 478 Hybrid Spitfires and the approx 1000 1970 Y bikes off the total.
How many did they make now ?
18,000 minus 1500 equals 16,500.

How does that compare with the figures for 1968 and 1969 ?
I am guessing now..
Gary has said this in the past..
Quote
when looking at the production numbers. About 18600 '67's (all models), about 11000 '68's (all models)
.

The 1969 models perhaps went from 11101 up to 23,000. So possibly 12,000 there.

So BSA could have possibly produced 11,000 to 12,000 bikes per year. Does 1967 stand out with over 18,000 ?
I am thinking that we should be able to nut this out by looking at production figures and company reports.

I am pretty sure BSA did not mention having to re-make 5% of the Unit twins produced in the Chairman's report for 1968.

I am equally sure it was never mentioned in 1970 also, the figure possibly closer to 10% in that year.

I cannot recall seeing it mentioned in the published books about the collapse of the British motorcycle industry.

Only Spitfires in 1968.
Only Lightning, Thunderbolts and Royal Stars in 1970.
All too convenient.....

We need to have access to the 1967 shipping books.




Why, Y, Dash Y..



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This is a bit of a frustrating exercise alright, trying to find the truth without enough of the facts.

In 1967, BSA would have been highly focused on maximizing their exports as the Japanese were really putting the hurt on their home market sales. The USA in particular was going a little motorcycle crazy at the time, I think BSA was trying to ride that wave.

Is it possible that the frames from these 1967 bikes, with minor modifications, could have been re-used on the later "Y" bikes? If they were, that would probably be enough to be able to claim that those bikes were "refurbished".


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Hmmm, re-used the frames.....

What other parts would you re-use ?

The alternator rotor ?

What say we ask someone that owns two similar bikes to see just how different they really are. Mike2937 has just joined this discussion.

I bet that if he was to undo the rotor access screws and read the dates on his rotors that they would both be just months apart. Hahaha, and both 1968 at that.

Of course the BSAOC would then say that is why the bikes were not shipped, - remember one of their stories is an electrical component supply problem.

I will be soon reminded of the differences between a 1967 and 1968 frame. It won't be much, - condensor bridge under the seat.

It is possible the frames may have been made during 1967, well at least in my eyes. That is a concession.
I cannot see BSA removing a perfectly good engine from a bike and replacing it with a new one that they now feel obliged to stamp with the same numbers. What would they then do with the engine they just removed ?
It would have had to be destroyed. So now we have the factory removing good 1967 engines, stripping them apart, perhaps re-using the internals and top end but now fitting them to new crankcase halves. (almost identical ones at that.... just a minor difference each side). Now we have them carefully stamping the same number on (this time with 1968 stamps) and then they ensure the old cases are melted down.
And this is supposed to have happened on almost 500 bikes. And to top it all off it was only the MK III Spitfires that 'required' this treatment. All other bikes survived intact and were shipped during the 1967 season (within reason).

Perhaps Mike could also have a go at making out the tank markings scratched on the underside. I doubt he will see a 1967 date on either tank.

I am going to check out the frame number of the Hybrid bike pics I have here... actually I can't remember seeing the enlarged '8'.
Perhaps the frames were stamped with a completely different set of stamps.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Kevin (NZ).; 03/26/12 10:18 pm. Reason: Photo added

Why, Y, Dash Y..



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Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I am going to check out the frame number of the Hybrid bike pics I have here... actually I can't remember seeing the enlarged '8'.
Perhaps the frames were stamped with a completely different set of stamps.

They have the big "8".


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 BSA Cyclone Competition Build
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Not sure if this proves much, the "6" in the 1968 frame serial number does appear slightly different than on the two 1967 frames. Best to zoom in on the first picture.

Comparing the 1967 frame stamping to that on a 1970 "Y", there's not much chance that the 1970 "Y" bikes had 1967 frames.
New 1970 frames and engines removes any truth from the BSAOC UK position that the 1970 "Y" bikes were refurbished 1967's.

1967 SA frame...

[Linked Image]

1967 SA frame...

[Linked Image]

1968 SA frame...

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Two Alpha; 03/27/12 2:26 pm. Reason: mention 1970 "Y" bikes

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Kevin, did someone really do what I think they did there?
A "1" dressed up as a "4"? On the engine stamp as well I see.

[Linked Image]

Last edited by Two Alpha; 03/27/12 3:24 pm.

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I have been following the twists and turns in this post and the other Y & -Y post on this site. I was pretty sure I had a Y or -Y A65 buried in the shed. After doing the limbo and crawling across bikes followed by holding the camera at arms length to take photos, I took the following pictures. It is a 1967 -Y Lightning. I was somewhat surprised when I got the photos on the computer that the frame was overstamped L over S. Probably just a factory error or a tampered with frame. Something I had never noticed before on the motor was the small piled arms logo under the serial number.

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

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I would be willing to look at the rotor markings but the 68 I have is packed away at another location kinda far off, I have the 67 in my possesion now, the original tank on the 67 has been repaired and painted, no markings, but on the upside it came with a cherry 67 steel/chrome tank.

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John, we have this number on your spreadsheet. It may be that the model number on the frame being changed will assume some significance.
While the number does fall onto the range of the Dash Y Lightnings being made in 1967 we also need to have a look at the 1970 column.

This may become a missing piece in months to come.


Why, Y, Dash Y..



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It does seem a little strange that the "S" would be accidentally applied to the frame, the bike is right in the middle of what looks like 1000 or so Lightnings.
Was the guy daydreaming about Spitfires on his lunch break?

Now if this was on one of the 1970 "Y" bikes...


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I am like you.... I doubt it was done by accident.
That in itself should be telling us something.
He was doing Lightnings so there was no need for the 'S' stamp to be out.
So if it appears to be a slim chance of an accident then do we need to regroup and rethink our understanding of the process ?

We have been missing something here.

For two years we have been treading water.... Gary gave us the 'Dash Y' bulletin over two years ago.

We have the spread sheet, we have put the hours in, we have the networking, the brainpower...
The answers have to be there, before our eyes..!

What are we not seeing here ?

My biggest question has been what happened to the original bikes ?
Where are the first bikes that were replaced ?
What happened to the first bike to have that serial number, that we know was replaced by a Hybrid or Y bike ?

ALL ONE QUESTION....

If we now look into these smaller clues then perhaps we may be able to pickup on something.
We must have been making a mistake, or assuming something incorrectly, to not be able to crack this.

Can we look into all the other bikes that don't fit the mould that were despatched from say April 1967 to April 1968.

I believe the shipping strikes were from Oct 1967 onwards.
What else was going on ?

The various BSAOC stories must have some foundation..

Do we need to look at the Unit singles of that same period as well ?

We know the Hybrid Spitfires started getting made in March 1968.... what happened in those 8 months before that ?


Why, Y, Dash Y..



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That number above with the images could be as easy as something happened on the production line. Like a chain block and tackle support beam failed, fell on the frame and the frame got bent, so they grabbed another one that had A65SA on it without the final numbers and restamped the S to an L.


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I see Gary. Would that be because the Hornets getting made at the same time used a slightly different frame ?
You seem to be suggesting the frames were already stamped up with the 'top line' before going down to the production line.

That would just leave the S/N itself to be stamped along the bottom line once it was mated with an engine.

That being the case they may have even run out of a suitable L stamped frame, or an S stamped one appeared on the line by mistake.

Do we know for sure this is what was done. I can see it has merits but was not what I had in mind.

It may just be another piece of the puzzle falling into place.


Why, Y, Dash Y..



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It's only one of several possible scenarios. I'm only speculating about the model being stamped ahead of the S/N. It would be a way for the line workers to know what to add to the frame as it progressed along the line.

I just don't want us to over think some of the various numbers that we see, when it's possible factory equipment or a worker failed to live up to the shifts expectation on any given day. They built a lot of machines in a short period of time, so there was bound to be equipment failures or worker blunders occurring on a regular basis.


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You raise some valid points Gary, and more.

I was about when brand new unit twins were being sold in the showrooms. While the BSA bikes I saw did conform to a standard the T120 was less so. We had some real mixtures and a few parts bin specials.
What we have been seeing with all of our Y suffix bikes is a remarkable conformity to the model.
They are almost 100% standard bikes, nothing out of the ordinary whatsoever.
I am sure the figure was never 100% across the board, we do know the factory fitted whatever was to hand. The dealer then did whatever was required to sell the bike as well.

The only item that stands out in my memory is some earlier swing arms being seen on the 1969/70 Y bikes. Certainly one bike, maybe two or three max.

Of the three groups of Y bikes they are all what we expect to see for that model, well generally as I say.

What I am concerned about are the 'zero' bikes.
I may have been wrong with Arnstein's Spitfire the other day.
While the A65SA 73430Y number he gave does fit in with our range of 'pre-hybrid' MkIII Spitfires (as 13430) he is adamant the frame stamp is a '7'.

It could be an accident, as you have suggested for this other number. We still have the issue with the 1968 frame parts though, and the condensor bridge. It was not a normal Mk III then.

John owns a 'zero' bike. There are very few of them about.
He either knows, or is suggesting, Arnstein's Spitfire is one of them.

John is saying that the S/N 7343 may have been a MK III.
The engine would have probably been a Dash Y. Unfortunately we don't have that or many details.

For the factory to add the '0' to the frame is easy. We should be able to see a pic even.
The engine would be a little different. The Hyphen and the Y would be stamped over with a zero stamp in some manner.

Ok, what should have happened to this bike.
It is a normal Y bike and with a S/N reasonably early in the season. It would have been expected to be shipped before Xmas 1966.
That is fine but obviously something else happened to this bike.

The number is now different. The frame at least has 1968 features and the engine at least now has the number 73430Y
From the registration papers. The Y must have been there.
The zero must have been added before the end of 1967 for the Norwegian papers to have that detail.

It is not much to work with unfortunately.
We don't know if the bike was ever a Mk III or was made as a Mk IV.

If we look at the despatch books it must fill in some of the blanks.
I could accept this bike being reworked at the factory and despatched in August or so as a 'zero' bike in 1968ish configuration.

John has a bike 11105, and with a zero replacing the hyphen.
Now A65LA111050Y
[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]

[Linked Image]


There are not many of these bikes about. I am sure John will be hot on the case of tracking them down.

The spreadsheet has a few but again is light on shipping dates etc. I suspect they went early in the 1968 season, again possibly affected by the shipping strike though.

I think we have a fourth group of bikes.
Indeed I believe that these were the bikes that were reworked at the factory.
That being the case we should be seeing the shipping (and receipt) details for those few serial numbers.

I am not sure we can assume the Hybrid Spitfires are in the same category.
Arnstein's Spitfire was possibly at a lesser level of rebuild than a complete whole new bike.
His has the original frame, why then was the condensor bridge added ?
Did they put new points in the engine, the later 6CA type ?
We have seen that he still has the original engine though as the number 7343-Y was modified to 73430Y.

I am thinking that these bikes were reworked and possibly had 1968 features incorporated.
Does your bike have any/many John ?

Did the original engine get put into a new frame ?

Do we know of any more ?

Last edited by Kevin (NZ).; 12/26/13 10:57 pm.

Why, Y, Dash Y..



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I've always thought something was up with my 1968 Spitfire A65SA17754Y because it was delivered to the states with 32mm AMAL Monobloc Carbs installed. I purchased the bike from the original owner who was present when it was removed from it's shipping crate in Portland OR USA. The bike has 100% all of the 1968 trappings.

I've never seen another Spitfire of any year in the flesh so I only speak from this particular one and from what I've seen in the media. I got the impression all 68s delivered to the states should have the Concentric carbs?

Another thing I've wondered about is the shiny chrome looking front drum cover on the magazine/internet bikes. This one has a brushed aluminum front drum cover.

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Post an image or two of it so we can see how it came from the factory. Being a "hybrid" '68, it's possible it could have had a lot of non-standard '68 model year features.


1967 BSA Wasp
1967 BSA Hornet (West Coast Model)
1967 BSA Hornet (East Coast Model)
1968 BSA Firebird Scrambler
1968 BSA Spitfire Mark IV
1965 BSA Cyclone Competition Build
1965 BSA Spitfire Hornet Build
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It will be a week or so before I dig it out of storage where it's sat for over 10 years. I just looked at it this morning to see where the VIN fits into what's been posted here. Tires will no longer hold air so I ordered inner tubes for it today also. I want the tires holding air before I attempt to load it into the back of my pickup. I'll be 72 this month so not as strong as I used to be

To my untrained eye it looks like any other 68 Spitfire depicted in promo adverts from the day, except for the Monoblocs.

I'll post up pics when I have it home.

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