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Bear in mind that the following were posted over a time span of many months. The later posts would have the benefit of more information being available.
I've included a couple of quotes regarding the 1970 LA/TA "Y" bikes as they also appear in the 1967 books.

-”The late '67 Spitfires in the (about) 16000-17000 number group had the engine stamped 'Y', but not the frame. These were the converted '67's to '68 specs and were dispatched April-July 1968. There are 478 SA's in the '68 factory production book. These are not the '-Y' bikes.” (GaryE, BritBike post 380745 )

-”According to the '67 production book there were 478 hybrid '68 SA machines.
(Gary E, BritBike post 384270 )

“The '68 production book, and I am verifying '68, not '67, has dispatch dates of these '67/'68 hybrids (for lack of a better term) as presented previously. They were dispatched intermixed along with the true '68 SB Spitfires.
The last '68 model dispatched had a date of 7/68 and was TB 10918 (Thunderbolt). The last '67/'68 SA hybrid (SA 17892) had a dispatch date of 4/68. It is noted that bikes off the production line were not necessarily dispatched in date order.” (Gary E, BritBike post 390783 )

-“The last true '67 (all models) dispatched was SA 16614 sent to New Jersey, May 17, 1967.”
(Gary E, BritBike post 403875 )

-“ A clarification on the last true '67 dispatched in my previous post. Note that it is the last "dispatched" in '67, not the last machine built or dispatched in later years. Book 276 starts at #16656 and goes to #18601 with it dispatched April 24, 1968 (yes '68, and they are not noted as "Y" bikes.” (Gary E, BritBike post 403948 )

-“Hybrid '67 SA's start at #11577 (dispatched 4/18/68) and randomly go to #17892 (dispatched 4/18/68). Yes the same date.
Dispatch dates are April, May, June, and July of '68 (yes '68).
The entries are in the 3rd '67 book (#276), in the middle of the book, after several blank pages. They are not in the '68 books.”
(Gary E, BritBike post 404270 )

-“The "Y" bikes are entered on the inside of the front cover of book #274 and inside of the front and back covers of book #275.” (Gary E, BritBike post 404585 ) (This is in reference to the 1970 LA/TA "Y" bikes)

-“There are no -Y entries in the books. The -Y is only on the engines. There are no Y entries in the main pages of the books, only on the inside front and rear covers of 2 of the 3 '67 books.”
(Gary E, BritBike post 409092 ) (This is in reference to the 1970 LA/TA "Y" bikes)


Gary, I'm wondering if, in hindsight, you would consider any of the above posts to be inaccurate now?

It appears that the same, or very similar, serial numbers for the SA "Y" Spitfires must show up in both the 1967 and 1968 books.
Supporting this would be BSAOC dating certificates, such as the one for SA173**Y. The dating certificate gives an initial despatch date of 12/05/67 (May 12th 1967) BSA NJ, and a second despatch date of 12/04/68 (April 12th 1968).
Does the same number, but without the "Y", appear in the normal location in the 1967 books, not just with the rest of the SA "Y" bikes off on their own in the middle of book #276?






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Hi John,

I think it has only recently dawned on us that the Hybrid Spitfires are a seperate entity, we may have had them confused with the Dash Y bikes of 1967 previously.

Much of Gary's research would have been trying to prove to me that these bikes were indeed made during 1968 and shipped towards the end of the season. Well not as I had suspected that they were left over MK III bikes that had received a styling job.

The Hybrid bikes we now know are true MkIV in every respect, complete with engine castings only available during 1968. The left crankcase half has the cast in alternator support, the right case the undrilled transmission bung hole.

I am now thinking that these 478 bikes may be the key to the Y suffix mystery. These machines seem to have been made in 1968 and yet shipped within the 1967 season shipping books.
This should be impossible in a normal situation, - shipping a bike before it is made is certainly different.

I think that what ever caused the Hybrid Spitfires to come about may have been used again a few years later.

The 1969/70 Y bikes may have been spawned when the factory thought they had got away with using 1967 styled numbers..

The only connection between the three distinct groups of Y and Dash Y suffix bikes is that they all feature in the 1967 shipping books.
We know 1500-1800 approx of those bikes did not exist in 1967,- well at least not in their final form.
All those bikes are picture perfect to their model season (with normal BSA concessions) be it 1968, 1969 or 1970.

I should add that very few parts from 1967 bikes could be used... for those that still subscribe to the 're-worked left over bike' theory.


Why, Y, Dash Y..



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Hi Kevin,

Yes, we are on the same page here.

I'm hoping Gary can help me clear up/out some of the seemingly contradictory items in my notes. I think that will provide further support for my/our belief that the 1968 SA "Y" bikes, and the 1970 LA/RA/TA "Y" bikes, were built due to the very same reason.

The factory may have had to wait to do the 1970 bikes because of the heavy overstock of those models left over from 1967. There was an exports bonus program in effect for 1967 so they would have been trying to pump out as many units as possible then.

It's too bad that "official" sources have been so wrong/misleading regarding the "Y" bikes, especially the 1970 ones. It really does raise suspicions, perhaps unnecessarily.

Everything points to a catastrophe with a large number of the 1967 bikes, resulting in the factory having to build new bikes using the same (plus a "Y") serial numbers of the bikes that were lost, 478 Spitfires and somewhere near 1000 combined of the Lightnings, Royal Stars, and Thunderbolts.

What's your take on the 478 1968 SA "Y" Spitfires, were they all new bikes with 1967 numbers, or do you think they actually re-used parts off of the 1967 "catastrophe" bikes?
More likely the former, right?
1968 would have been their only shot at re-using parts and, as you say, very few could be used.
Maybe it's time for me to do a spreadsheet comparing 1967 parts to 1968 parts.



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My take has to be based on reasoning and suspicions. We have very few facts on these 1968 Spitfires stamped in 1967 numbers.. ie the Hybrid bikes.

I personally do not believe they are reworked MkIII Spitfires.
Yes, I could perhaps understand them changing the lower front end and tailight and whatever other differences existed between the two years. Removing the engine unit and replacing it with two freshly minted crankcase halves is really just a step too far. What is the point of doing that ? Just to reposition the dipstick.. the average owner would not know about the new one piece alternator support.

Strangely enough the existence of the 1970 Y bikes gives us even more reason to suggest that there was a fiddle.
1967 was a bumper year, - 1968 was a bad one. At least that is when we had the dock strikes and then the issues getting the new season bikes (new range A75) into production.
Perhaps it was the dock strikes delays of October 1967 until Jan/Feb 1968 that allowed BSA to consider 're-exporting' 1967 numbered bikes.

Quote
-“Hybrid '67 SA's start at #11577 (dispatched 4/18/68) and randomly go to #17892 (dispatched 4/18/68). Yes the same date.
Dispatch dates are April, May, June, and July of '68 (yes '68).


I could imagine the factory getting caught up in the shipping delays. It must have had an effect on production and some bikes must have been stranded at the ports. (Let's be clear, - these are 1968 models I am talking about).
I think amongst all this confusion BSA then made a decision to make a batch of 1967 numbered Spitfires and ship them once the shipping backlog had cleared.

They would have been late arriving in the dealers salesrooms.
I think it was this that prompted these comments;

Quote
recorded in the 1968 AGM address given by Lord Shallcross BSA Chairman, 'our motorcycle production programmes had to be held back in the latter part of the year because of the introduction of new machines in both the BSA and Triumph ranges had to be put off into the current year, mainly through the incorporation of later design improvements. High stocks of motor cycles, mostly in the USA, were either brought back to the UK or sold at a substantial discount


We have discussed this before. There were NO design improvements between 1967 and 1968 models.
The 1968 TLS brake was already in production at Triumph. All BSA did was modify the fork sliders to accommodate it.
Then there was a couple of relatively minor casting changes in the engine.

1968 must have been a complete disaster for them... we all know about the Honda Four news. I think that is why they decided to start the 1969 production at S/N 11101... a ploy to disguise the downward spirally sales.

Desperate men........



Why, Y, Dash Y..



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Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Gary, I'm wondering if, in hindsight, you would consider any of the above posts to be inaccurate now?...

Didn't respond for a few days to let my blood pressure return to normal. Disappointed to see that my credibility is on the line for the world to see. I have no regrets on what has been posted. All information is as accurate as we could interpret from the original production records.

Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Does the same number, but without the "Y", appear in the normal location in the 1967 books, not just with the rest of the SA "Y" bikes off on their own in the middle of book #276?...

We did not check for that. I was fortunate to even find the Hybrids in the book as they were located several pages after blank pages.

Understand, we had a limited time to examine the books. We had 2 pages of questions to tackle going in for the '66, '67, and '68 books. After nearly a full day, we hadn't accomplished the list. We went back the next day for a another half day of research. We came in with 2 pages of notes and left with over 4 pages, front and back. A lot of research did not get done. All of the answers cannot be found in just a few days. The books are hard to interpet. Take a look at the '69 page Kevin posted. A lot of unanswered questions just on one page. The more you research, the more questions it generates. One could spend a week researching just one production years books, and still not get there as multiple years are interrelated.

Although possible for a small number of hybrids, it is not likely they are listed in the rest of the book. These hybrid production numbers are mostly above the last '67 model year number of 16614 (5/16/67). All my records show hybrids with numbers larger than that. Has anyone seen a lower hybrid number? Not yet. Bring it on so we have more information to digest. Any lower number than 16614 may be a blank line in the books, same as with my Wasp, which was a special order off of the normal production line.


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Gary, your credibility will never be questioned in my book. you have always come up with spot on answers to mine and many others questions. Thanks, Bob

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Gary, my apologies for any elevation in your blood pressure that I may have caused, that was not my intention at all.

Since the mystery of the BSA unit twin serial numbers caught my attention, I've tried to sort out the truth from the quagmire of misinformation surrounding these bikes. My notes consist of quotes from a very few select sources whom I consider trustworthy regarding this subject, your quotes likely outnumber the sum of all the others. We can't thank you enough for sharing the information you have gathered from the factory records.

While I'm sure that what you have posted is as accurate as you could determine from the records, there are a few places where I am having a hard time connecting the dots.

Although I didn't spell it out in my initial post, this is the main one, these two quotes seem at odds with each other. What is the missing part that makes them both accurate?

“The '68 production book, and I am verifying '68, not '67, has dispatch dates of these '67/'68 hybrids (for lack of a better term) as presented previously. They were dispatched intermixed along with the true '68 SB Spitfires"
vs
"The entries are in the 3rd '67 book (#276), in the middle of the book, after several blank pages. They are not in the '68 books.”

You've already covered the other area that I was unsure about. Hopefully, at some point, someone will be able to confirm whether or not the SA "Y" numbers had already been used during 1967 production as SA "-Y" numbers. My thoughts are that while the last 1967 model dispatched during the 1967 season was SA 16614 (5/16/67), I have to assume that they continued to build 1967 engines/bikes for a few more months based on the first quote below. These would have been "-Y" engines. Now, did they deliberately not use all the numbers in that range so that they would have numbers left over to use on the SA "Y" bikes, or did they just miss 478 numbers in error? Neither of those possibilities makes much sense. Those 478 1967 numbers must have been used, and then came available for re-use, likely for the same reason as the LA/RA/TA numbers re-used in 1969/1970. A catastrophe, with perhaps some resemblance to what's been suggested by the BSAOC and others, would be the ticket.

Note SA 11577 Y below, was that the first of the SA"Y" bikes in book 276?

"Book 276 starts at #16656 and goes to #18601 with it dispatched April 24, 1968 (yes '68, and they are not noted as "Y" bikes.”
and
“Hybrid '67 SA's start at #11577 (dispatched 4/18/68) and randomly go to #17892 (dispatched 4/18/68)."

Again, thank you for everything you've done to firm up our knowledge of these bikes.




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Having worked in a Car factory in the dept that had responsibility for stamping ther VINs on the body I can say with 100% certainty that the real truth will be even stranger than any explanation gained looking years later at the stamps wink .



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I am sure it is going to be a strange one alright. I doubt it could be any stranger than the BSAOC line where a 1967 bike is basically melted down to morph into a 1970 model..

The Hybrid Spitfires could be almost do-able but again the engines were not even cast when the bike details were supposedly entered into the shipping logs.

It can not be too far off now before we actually discover what went on.
I am pretty sure the BSAOC would want to include the correct details into their website. They are like us though, still trying to come to terms with what could have caused this numbering confusion.

I think a combined effort will crack this one.

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Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Hopefully, at some point, someone will be able to confirm whether or not the SA "Y" numbers had already been used during 1967 production as SA "-Y" numbers....


I do not believe they were. Why would they? That goes back to the old statement that there are two machines out there with the same number. No proof that there is. Can't imagine the factory doing that. What if the same number, if used twice, ended up at the same dealership, and/or it was a different model the 2nd time used, or even the same model? How would the DMV (department of motor vehicles) in that state or province react to another vehicle with the same number?

Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...My thoughts are that while the last 1967 model dispatched during the 1967 season was SA 16614 (5/16/67), I have to assume that they continued to build 1967 engines/bikes for a few more months...


I do not believe they built any more '67 engines after the last number. The hybrids are '68 engines with '67 numbers. Also keep in mind that the machines were not dispatched in numerical order. Some early numbers left the factory far later than larger numbers. I have evidence that some of the first numbers produced didn't leave the factory for a couple of months after later ones.

Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Now, did they deliberately not use all the numbers in that range so that they would have numbers left over to use on the SA "Y" bikes, or did they just miss 478 numbers in error?...


Although I do not know how many low numbers, ie 11,000's etc. are included in the hybrids, my recollection of the numbers is that most are in the 16,000's and 17,000's, all above the last '67 bike number (16614) produced. So it's not like they missed some numbers or didn't use some numbers along the way. As I indicated previously, any blank lines MAY have been for special order, off of the normal production line as with the Wasp.

You are asking some of the same question again as before. Again, some of them I cannot answer. I know, I know, some of the numbers do not make sense. I can only repeat what I saw, and that's sometimes marginal. My 60 year old pea brain is not what it used to be (if it ever was, ha!). After age 60, I'm not responsible for my memory any more.

During our research of the books, we were franticlly taking notes, and counting pages and specific bike models, and looking up specific numbers, and getting distracted by all the confusion within some of the books, which got us off the intended tasks several times. We were not spending our limited time sorting it all out and attempting to make sense of all the number confusion in the '67 books. That was left to interpreting the notes when we got back. All it did was raise more questions than the 2 pages I prepared in advance to making the trip. 50 questions answered, and 100 more generated.

Without the books in hand for a week or more, the confusion of the numbers cannot get sorted out. The '67, '68, '69, and '70 books (about 3 books for each year - 12 books) will have to be laid out at the same time on the same table to be able to sort and cross reference the confusion. A massive undertaking with a very large table (the books are big in size) needed. Think about how long Steve Foden has had access to them. Even he hasn't got them figured out yet.




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Originally Posted by Gary E
Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Hopefully, at some point, someone will be able to confirm whether or not the SA "Y" numbers had already been used during 1967 production as SA "-Y" numbers....

I do not believe they were. Why would they?
Because it makes the most sense. When you've just stamped 12345-Y, the next engine you're going to stamp will be 12346-Y, not some random higher number.
Originally Posted by Gary E

That goes back to the old statement that there are two machines out there with the same number. No proof that there is. Can't imagine the factory doing that. What if the same number, if used twice, ended up at the same dealership, and/or it was a different model the 2nd time used, or even the same model? How would the DMV (department of motor vehicles) in that state or province react to another vehicle with the same number?

That's not what I'm saying. I don't think that two bikes with the same serial number, one with a "-Y", and one with a "Y", existed at the same time. I'm sure the factory wouldn't have done that intentionally.

I believe some form of "catastrophe" brought a large number of the original 1967 LA/RA/SA/TA bikes back to the factory. I believe that the ones that were beyond relatively easy refurbishment were replaced with new bikes, and the old serial numbers were re-used but with a "Y" on the end. I believe this is why we have ended up with the 1968 SA, and the 1969/1970 LA/RA/TA, "Y" bikes.
Originally Posted by Gary E
Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...My thoughts are that while the last 1967 model dispatched during the 1967 season was SA 16614 (5/16/67), I have to assume that they continued to build 1967 engines/bikes for a few more months...

I do not believe they built any more '67 engines after the last number.

Yes but the last 1967 was apparently numbered 18601. With the production year running until the end of July, that would give them two and a half months to build 2000 more bikes after number 16614, seems reasonable. We know they were still dispatching the overabundance of 1967's until at least April 24, 1968 as this is when number 18601 was finally dispatched. That timespan of almost ten months is when our "catastrophe" likely occurred.
"Book 276 starts at #16656 and goes to #18601 with it dispatched April 24, 1968 (yes '68, and they are not noted as "Y" bikes.”

Originally Posted by Gary E

You are asking some of the same question again as before. Again, some of them I cannot answer. I know, I know, some of the numbers do not make sense. I can only repeat what I saw, and that's sometimes marginal. My 60 year old pea brain is not what it used to be (if it ever was, ha!). After age 60, I'm not responsible for my memory any more.

I'm very near 57 myself now, looks like I'm already in the same boat!


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Quote
I believe some form of "catastrophe" brought a large number of the original 1967 LA/RA/SA/TA bikes back to the factory. I believe that the ones that were beyond relatively easy refurbishment were replaced with new bikes, and the old serial numbers were re-used but with a "Y" on the end. I believe this is why we have ended up with the 1968 SA, and the 1969/1970 LA/RA/TA, "Y" bikes.


I can't see this myself John.

Are you trying to believe a little of the BSAOC story ?
I have never seen any evidence of a 'refurbished' bike. We may have had 1967 models redone as 1967 and then re-exported but that would then have nothing to do with the Y or Dash Y suffix. It may have even happened to bikes in other seasons also. And were the B44's made so much better that they were damage tolerant ?
All this numbering is confusion is only really attached to the unit twins.

The other thing is that Gary has studied Hornets and we don't see the reincarnations of them. They were made in 1967 and sold in 1967, possibly a few into 1968. We don't see hybrid Hornets or 1970 models, just like we don't see 1970 model Spitfires.

What we have is a bike being made some time after 1967 being deliberately stamped with 1967 style numbers (not 1967 perfect) and then being shipped through the 1967 shipping logs.
Not in the normal pages but in different sections.
The Hybrids are in a few pages all to themselves and after a few blank pages. The 1969/70 bikes are recorded inside the front and rear covers.

This is all too structured and orderly.
I cannot see a link between a Dash Y bike of 1967 and one sold later. The Dash Y signifies the oil manifold.. nothing else.
Many here ride bikes sold during 1967 and 1968.

I now believe the number chosen for the bikes manufactured later(1970) were carefully chosen and that is how the ticks and crosses or whatever recorded in the books may be about.

I cannot explain how some Dating Certificates have a variety of shipping dates....

Have we ever seen a dating certificate for a hybrid Spitfire ?


Why, Y, Dash Y..



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Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
Quote
I believe some form of "catastrophe" brought a large number of the original 1967 LA/RA/SA/TA bikes back to the factory. I believe that the ones that were beyond relatively easy refurbishment were replaced with new bikes, and the old serial numbers were re-used but with a "Y" on the end. I believe this is why we have ended up with the 1968 SA, and the 1969/1970 LA/RA/TA, "Y" bikes.

I can't see this myself John.

To me, this is the only scenario that makes sense with the information that we have at present.
Somebody will have to convince me that there is a more plausible explanation.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
Are you trying to believe a little of the BSAOC story ?

You mean it's all a pack of lies? smile
Actually, I believe there is some truth deeply buried under the rest of the BSAOC story.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I have never seen any evidence of a 'refurbished' bike. We may have had 1967 models redone as 1967 and then re-exported but that would then have nothing to do with the Y or Dash Y suffix. It may have even happened to bikes in other seasons also. And were the B44's made so much better that they were damage tolerant ?

Refurbishing a few bikes normally wouldn't be any news at all. The exact same bikes would be sent back out after they had been brought back up to spec.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
All this numbering is confusion is only really attached to the unit twins.
The other thing is that Gary has studied Hornets and we don't see the reincarnations of them. They were made in 1967 and sold in 1967, possibly a few into 1968. We don't see hybrid Hornets or 1970 models, just like we don't see 1970 model Spitfires.

Even though they were re-using the serial number from a bike that was beyond refurbishment, they wouldn't have to make the replacement bike the exact same model.
Gary has mentioned seeing two models for the same serial number in the production books.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I cannot see a link between a Dash Y bike of 1967 and one sold later. The Dash Y signifies the oil manifold.. nothing else.

Agreed, the "-Y" is actually irrelevant to the "Y". The only reason it gets mentioned is because almost all the 1967 bikes had it, and it's the only way to differentiate between the two serial numbers. 1967 "A65LA 12345-Y" versus 1970 "A65LA 12345Y".

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I now believe the number chosen for the bikes manufactured later(1970) were carefully chosen and that is how the ticks and crosses or whatever recorded in the books may be about.

Absolutely. My guess is that they just took the serial numbers from all the bikes that had been returned to the factory that were beyond repair.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I cannot explain how some Dating Certificates have a variety of shipping dates....

That's an easy one. Take Bruce's for example, manufactured in 1969 with dispatch dates of Nov. 10th, 1966 and August 18th 1969. The bike dispatched in 1966 was a completely different bike, but with the same serial number! It must have been returned to the factory and been determined unable to be refurbished. There's one more serial number that can be re-used on a new bike.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
Have we ever seen a dating certificate for a hybrid Spitfire ?

The only one I've got is Eric's (Spitfire44).
"here are the dates that I got from the BSAOC dating service concerning my Spitfire A65SA 173xx Y (not a DASH Y)
initial despatch date 12/05/67 (May 12th 1967) BSA NJ
second despatch date 12/04/68 (April 12th 1968)"
[Linked Image]

You'll know by now that I think the bike dispatched in 1967 met up with a "catastrophe", the factory was not able to refurbish it so they re-used the 1967 serial number on a new bike in 1968, except this time it had a "Y", not a "-Y".


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Thanks John,

I like the mention of Eric's bike. We need more sampling of the hybrids to even think about what may have happened.

But 478 reasonably new bikes, and only Spitfires were supposedly reworked. Nothing else. I mean no other models at all, at least that we can tell.

These bikes must have cost a fortune to make also. New engines, forks and front wheel along with new rear fender and tail-light unit.

I cannot see how they transformed another bike into that. Rather why they would even want to.

I still think the later Y suffix bikes were complete new builds. Purposely built and then entered into the earlier despatch books.






Why, Y, Dash Y..



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Just realized that Eric's dating certificate provides some proof that the factory was already up to 173xx-Y by May 12th 1967.

Last edited by Two Alpha; 03/24/12 3:32 am. Reason: substitute "some" for "substantial"

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Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Gary has mentioned seeing two models for the same serial number in the production books...

Yes, but one model is crossed out.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
...These bikes must have cost a fortune to make also. New engines, forks and front wheel along with new rear fender and tail-light unit...

Even more: frame, wire harness, fuel tank, headlight shell, not to mention the various engine parts.


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Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
But 478 reasonably new bikes, and only Spitfires were supposedly reworked. Nothing else. I mean no other models at all, at least that we can tell.

Perhaps the "catastrophe" took out a larger percentage of the Spitfires than it did of the other models, or maybe they knew they only had a narrow window to replace the Spitfires as 1968 was the last year for that model.

While they pumped out the "Y" Spitfires first, dispatching them in April through July, 1968, the other "Y" models weren't that far behind with approx. 380 being dispatched in February of 1969.

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
These bikes must have cost a fortune to make also. New engines, forks and front wheel along with new rear fender and tail-light unit.
I cannot see how they transformed another bike into that. Rather why they would even want to.

No, it doesn't make sense. That's probably why they went the route they seem to have, brand new bikes branded with the old serial numbers. It makes me think that perhaps all of the original bikes, the ones that were replaced with new bikes, suffered from major engine failures. If the reasons (delays, water damage) given by BSAOC were true, why wouldn't they have just installed the original 1967 engine units into the new rolling chassis?


Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I still think the later Y suffix bikes were complete new builds. Purposely built and then entered into the earlier despatch books.

No doubt they were, and probably the 1968 SA "Y"s as well.


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Originally Posted by Gary E
Originally Posted by Two Alpha
...Gary has mentioned seeing two models for the same serial number in the production books...

Yes, but one model is crossed out.


That makes sense, cross out the one that is no longer valid.





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This is very good reading, I just picked up a 1967 spitfire with a Y. Its titled as a 68 but has all the 67 features and only 4 numbers A65SA XXXX Y. I also have a 1968 spitfire with all the 68 features numbered as a 67 with the Y. Even stranger I found them both in the same town 10 years apart.

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Originally Posted by mike2937
...I just picked up a 1967 spitfire with a Y. Its titled as a 68 but has all the 67 features and only 4 numbers A65SA XXXX Y....

Is it a "-Y" instead of just "Y" on the engine? Not uncommon to see them titled in the original year they sold rather than the actual model year. Some states did that.


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I cannot quite believe the "catastrophe" debate on this, the amount of time and effort involved to convert these would be a substantal. Serial numbers cost nothing so reusing them just to use them does not make sense.
It is perhaps outside influence that caused this deception by the factory.
The thing that comes to mind is the US Clean Air Acts of 1967 and 1970. Neither of which actually effected Motorcycle Emmissions, however there was much confusion at the time about what they would effect. California was setting up more stringent standards (as any State was allowed to do) which caused more confusion. I remember well into 2007 reading a article in a motorcycle magazine trying to explain the previous year 2006 motorcycle emmission standard changes and all of the confusion surrounding them. Having a vehicle made "before" the regulations went into effect would eliminate the need to meet those standards.
It could also be something about import restrictions or tax changes, etc. Anything that vehicles made before XXXX did not have to comply with in some market.
This has certainly been one of the more interesting threads and topic to follow.

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Thanks for your comments Craig and Mike.

We have been guilty of using threads such as this to basically think out aloud and at the same time forgetting what they must be like for others to read and follow.

To see other members understanding and following the discussion is great news.

These 'hybrid' Spitfires have only been investigated here in the past few months and we are now getting some good info together.
I can see Mike will be helpful as he now owns two Spitfires with similar numbers.
One is a 1967 with the Dash Y suffix on the engine number. (I have one also, - they are almost the norm for '67 models).
The other is a little different. It is stamped with a similar number but this time without the Dash. The bike will be a 1968 model in all respects. We seem to think this hybrid model was only built in low numbers but we are seeing evidence of a batch being built during 1968.

The crucial thing though is that these bikes have their details entered into the 1967 shipping books.
Made in 1968, stamped with 1967 style numbers and then shipped as 1967 models.

This gents, is the crux of the matter.

I think the same reasoning was then used some years later on the 1969/70 Y bikes, ie the 1970 made bikes also stamped with 1967 style numbers (this time on engine and frame) and once again having their details recorded in the 1967 books.

I will need some convincing to start believing 'written-off' bikes were returned to the factory and their numbers re-used.
I personally believe that the numbers were deliberately chosen with the intention of deceit in order to save a few dollars.

We should not forget that it is difficult to find any part of these later manufactured bikes that was actually made in 1967... if anything. It is almost as if the original bike never existed.





Why, Y, Dash Y..



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The US legislation thing seems like a very likely reason.

I have read (don't remember where, sorry) that quite a few Triumph Hurricanes were built in January 1973 and stamped as December 1972 to get around California noise standards for bikes built in 1973 or later.

I keep forgetting about US state-based regulations. Perhaps the destination of the mystery bikes could provide a clue.

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Originally Posted by craigw
I cannot quite believe the "catastrophe" debate on this, the amount of time and effort involved to convert these would be a substantal.
I'm using "catastrophe" because it appears that whatever happened to the original bikes was beyond being fixed by refurbishment. Replacing them with new bikes must have been the best option.
Originally Posted by craigw
Serial numbers cost nothing so reusing them just to use them does not make sense.
Right, they had to use those serial numbers, otherwise they would have just carried on from the serial number of the last real 1967 model.
Originally Posted by craigw
It is perhaps outside influence that caused this deception by the factory.
Almost certainly, I am leaning towards it became necessary because of something to do with British export regulations/policy.


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Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
Thanks for your comments Craig and Mike.

We have been guilty of using threads such as this to basically think out aloud and at the same time forgetting what they must be like for others to read and follow.

To see other members understanding and following the discussion is great news.

:bigt

Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I will need some convincing to start believing 'written-off' bikes were returned to the factory and their numbers re-used.
Gary has confirmed, at least in the case of the 1970 "Y" bikes, the numbers were indeed re-used. I am confident that someone will eventually confirm the same thing for the 1968 and 1969 "Y" bikes.
The factory absolutely could not do this unless they knew for sure that the original bikes were not, and never were going to be, in the hands of dealers or customers. The odds are extremely high that these bikes were indeed returned to the factory.
Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
I personally believe that the numbers were deliberately chosen with the intention of deceit in order to save a few dollars.
It's always about the bottom line.
Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
We should not forget that it is difficult to find any part of these later manufactured bikes that was actually made in 1967... if anything.
Agreed. If the factory parted out these "written-off" bikes, they would have been able to use up at least some of the parts on the 1968 models though.
Originally Posted by Kevin (NZ).
It is almost as if the original bike never existed.
Now this is a whole other can of worms!

The fact that the serial numbers of all the "Y" bikes are random throughout a much larger range of numbers makes me doubt this. That would mean that they would have had to deliberately leave those random numbers unused in 1967 so that they could use them over the course of the next three years. I don't think so.

However, it's hard to shake the thought that they were up to something underhanded when we consider how the official story was/is that the 1970 "Y" bikes are actually refurbished 1967's! We should all know by now that's a load of rubbish.


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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.


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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.
Bob

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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.




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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

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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)
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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.


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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 ?


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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.


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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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