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Engine Type


1951 Velocette MAC 1951 VELOCETTE MAC IS A TOP-SELLER The Velocette MAC debuted in 1933. It had an air-cooled OHV 350cc single cylinder engine that was capable of hustling the 280-pound MAC to 75mph. It was developed out of the 250cc Velocette MOV by lengthening its stroke for the 1934 model year, and the new …

1949 Ariel Red Hunter 1949 ARIEL RED HUNTER BACKGROUND The 1930s were indeed the Golden Age for the British motorcycle industry. At the time, nearly all of them relied heavily on one basic engine architecture: the air-cooled, pushrod OHV single, and most marques had built their lineup of 350 and 500 singles. As the 1930s …

1929 Velocette KTT Background The 1929 Velocette KTT was the first year of the KTT line that would run until 1949. Based on Velocette’s very successful 350 KSS, which won the Isle of Man TT in 1926 (10 minutes ahead of the next bike), the KTT was a very advanced machine. It went on to …

1951 BSA Gold Star 1951 BSA GOLD STAR – WHAT’S IN A NAME? Of course the origins of the Gold Star name is the stuff of legend. When Wal Handley lapped the Brooklands at over 100 MPH in 1937 on a BSA Empire Star, he was awarded the coveted Gold Star. Anyone who broke “the …

1970 Norton Mercury 1970 NORTON MERCURY BACKGROUND The Norton Mercury-series ran from 1968 to 1970 and represents the last model in the Dominator family. With Featherbed Frame production having ended in 1968 with the death of the Dominator 650SS and Atlas 750, and the launch of the new Commando. Production records indicate that all Mercury’s …

1938 VELOCETTE KTT RACING DEVELOPMENT Velocette was not only a trail-blazer in the field of advanced engine design, they were also the first and (for a while) only major manufacturer who was willing to sell the exact same race bikes and race parts that their factory teams were using to the general public. This opened …

1971 Triumph T100R Daytona 1971 TRIUMPH T100R DAYTONA BACKGROUND The Daytona became Triumph’s top-of-the-line 500 twin. The “Daytona” name came from Triumph’s 500cc racing successes at Daytona in 1966 and again in 1967. The first use of the name on a production bike was for the 1966 model year. Like it’s big brother, the 650 …

1949 VELOCETTE KTT BACKGROUND Velocette was an early pioneer of advanced overhead cam (OHC) engine designs. Designed by Percy & Eugene Goodman (sons of the owner of Velocette, John Goodman), all OHCs were designated K-series. The “K” was for “kam”, the German word for “cam”, meaning overhead cam. OHC designs in the 1920s were almost …

1959 Triumph Thunderbird ABOVE: This 1959 Triumph Thunderbird has more than a healthy amount of patina. In fact, if it wasn’t all in one piece, it might be a basket case. Sorry I couldn’t do better on a photo, but it was the only one I could find that I had the rights to use. …

1949 Royal Enfield Bullet 1949 ROYAL ENFIELD BULLET BACKGROUND Royal Enfield had been building sturdy, reliable motorcycles since the turn of the century. They produced military motorcycles for the British army in both world wars. They struggled at the edge of insolvency throughout most of the 1930s but managed to hang on until the the …

1935 Velocette KTT Background The 1935 Velocette KTT was the first year of the KTT line that would run until 1949. Based on Velocette’s very successful 350 KSS, which won the Isle of Man TT in 1926 (10 minutes ahead of the next bike), the KTT was a very advanced machine. The KTT went on …

1958 Triumph Twenty-One 1958 TRIUMPH TWENTY-ONE HAS BATHTUB STYLING. The British home market had been hungry for cheap transportation after WWII, and commuter motorcycles helped fill that role. But England being…well, England, was wet and rainy and to prevent rust an owner needed to wipe his bike down each night after getting home from work. …

1948 Ariel Red Hunter 1948 ARIEL RED HUNTER BACKGROUND The 1930s were indeed the Golden Age for the British motorcycle industry. At the time, nearly all of them relied heavily on one basic engine architecture: the air-cooled, pushrod OHV single, and most marques had built their lineup of 350 and 500 singles. As the 1930s …

1951 BSA A10 Pre-Unit 650 Twin 1951 BSA A10 Golden Flash 1951 BSA A10 GOLDEN FLASH From its launch in 1950, the BSA A10 came standard in a black and chrome color scheme. But as an option, they offered a very distinctive gold-over-chrome with red pinstriping theme that gave the BSA A10 Golden Flash its …

1967 Royal Enfield Interceptor 1967 ROYAL ENFIELD INTERCEPTOR BACKGROUND Royal Enfield hopped up its 692cc Constellation and created a new model, the 700 Interceptor in 1960, for sale in the US and Canada markets only (on England). They’d just lost their contract to rebadge Constellations with Indian Motorcycle regalia then selling them in the US …

1966 Velocette Thruxton 1966 VELOCETTE THRUXTON Velocette has a proven design in their 500cc Velocette Venom. Big singles had sort passed from grace in the 1960s with the advent of all the twins pouring out of Britain, and now the high-revving, and totally-reliable twins coming out of Japan. Velocette didn’t have the funds to design …

1973 Triumph Daytona 500 1973 TRIUMPH DAYTONA – WHAT’S IN A NAME? Triumph derived the name of this bike from Buddy Elmore’s win at the 1966 Daytona 200 at Daytona Beach FL riding a Triumph T100T Tiger 500 twin. It was Triumph’s first-ever Daytona victory, with an average speed of 96.6 mph. By 1967, it …

1951 Triumph Thunderbird 1951 Triumph Thunderbird Background The 1951 Triumph Thunderbird carried the model designation “6T”. All 6T’s were 650’s & came equipped essentially the same, with the same rigid frame & sprung rear hub, and the same setup throughout. Unlike the later Triumph TR6 which came in a variety of flavors (ie: high pipes, …

1957 Ariel Red Hunter 1957 ARIEL RED HUNTER BACKGROUND The 1930s were indeed the Golden Age for the British motorcycle industry. At the time, nearly all of them relied heavily on one basic engine architecture: the air-cooled, pushrod OHV single, and most marques had built their lineup of 350 and 500 singles. World War II …

1969 Velocette Thruxton 1969 VELOCETTE THRUXTON Velocette had a proven design in their 500cc Velocette Venom. Big singles had sort passed from grace in the 1960s with the advent of all the twins pouring out of Britain, and now the high-revving, and totally-reliable twins coming out of Japan. Velocette didn’t have the funds to design …

1953 BSA B33 1953 BSA B33 BACKGROUND The 500cc B33 and its smaller-sister the 350cc B31, were intended to be “everyman’s motorcycles”, which means basic transportation for budget-minded Brits just trying to get to work. As such, BSA kept costs low by sticking with the ancient plunger rear suspension, just as the rest of the …

1934 BSA Blue Star 1934 BSA BLUE STAR SETS NEW STANDARD Prior to the introduction of BSA’s Blue Star-series, motorcycles were fairly unreliable and needed constant maintenance and oiling during long trips. The Blue Star, which launched in 1932, ushered in a new age of reliability and ride-ability, being one of the first bikes that …

1969 Norton Dominator 650SS 1969 NORTON DOMINATOR 650SS BACKGROUND The story starts not with a Norton, but with the 1938 Triumph 500 Speed Twin, the world’s first “modern” vertical twin. The rest of the British motorcycle industry went nuts and rushed to field their own 500 twins. But WWII got in the way, putting things …

1933 Velocette KTT Background The 1933 Velocette KTT was the fifth year of the KTT line that would run until 1949. Based on Velocette’s very successful 350 KSS, which won the Isle of Man TT in 1926 (10 minutes ahead of the next bike), the KTT was a very advanced machine. The KTT went on …

1973 TRIUMPH BONNEVILLE MODEL DESIGNATIONS 1973 was a big year for the new Oil-in-Frame Triumph Bonneville. Starting the model year with Engine #JH15366, the T120 Bonneville 650 soldiered on for another year (it would finally be dropped in 1976), side-by-side with the new T140 Bonneville 750, which started with Engine #JH15435. BELOW: This lovely bike …

1962 BSA Gold Star 1962 BSA GOLD STAR CLUBMAN While the BSA Gold Star was famous for its off-road and desert-racing prowess, when properly fitted out, they also made excellent road racing machines, on par the a Norton Manx. The Clubman edition got a 36mm bellmouth Amal carburetor, hotter cam and timing, higher compression, a …

1957 MATCHLESS G11 BACKGROUND Matchless entered the vertical twin race in 1949 with the 500cc G9 and its sister-bike, the AJS Model 20. Both shared the same basic engine, which was unique among British vertical twins because it had a center main bearing. This made for a much stronger, smoother engine. In late 1955 they …

1958 Triumph Thunderbird ABOVE: The 1958 Triumph Thunderbird 6T looked very similar to this 1958 Triumph T110 Tiger, with headlight nacelle and full fenders. We need good photos of a ’58 T-bird. If you own one, please send us pictures of YOUR BIKE! RACING WINS FOR TRIUMPH 1958 was a very good year for Triumph …

1955 MATCHLESS G45 BACKGROUND Matchless introduced the G45 500 twin in 1951 as a race bike. It debuted at the Manx Grand Prix that year piloted by Robin Sherry, who took 4th place. The G45 was based on the street version of bike, the Matchless G9. The stock G9 was stripped, and the cast iron …

ABOVE: 1960 Triumph Bonneville TR7/A Roadster w/down pipes. MODEL DESIGNATIONS The 1960 Triumph Bonneville was designated TR7 by Triumph Motorcycles in the US, to differentiate it from all the unsold 1959 T120s still in inventory (even though engine numbers still had the T120 prefix), and the TR6 Trophy-Bird, the Bonneville came as the TR7/A roadster …

1954 Ariel Red Hunter 1954 ARIEL RED HUNTER BACKGROUND The 1930s were indeed the Golden Age for the British motorcycle industry. At the time, nearly all of them relied heavily on one basic engine architecture: the air-cooled, pushrod OHV single, and most marques had built their lineup of 350 and 500 singles. World War II …

1939 BROUGH SUPERIOR SS100 BACKGROUND The SS100 (SS stood for “Super Sports”) was built from the very best components available at the time from a wide range of suppliers. The engines that Brough selected for his 1924 through 1936 SS100s was the twin-cam KTOP V-twin built by JAP (named for the initials of its founder, …

THE 1935 BROUGH SUPERIOR SS100 ALPINE GRAND SPORT Brough fitted the SS100 with full touring spec and named it the “Alpine Grand Sport” starting in 1925. That same year, Brough Superior Motorcycles introduced the Pendine Racing Model (named after the Pendine Sands where Malcolm Camplbel set several speed records on Brough Superior Motorcycles) which was …

1939 Ariel Red Hunter 1939 ARIEL RED HUNTER BACKGROUND The 1930s were indeed the Golden Age for the British motorcycle industry. At the time, nearly all of them relied heavily on one basic engine architecture: the air-cooled, pushrod OHV single, and most marques had built their lineup of 350 and 500 singles. As the 1930s …

1947 Ariel Red Hunter 1947 ARIEL RED HUNTER BACKGROUND The 1930s were indeed the Golden Age for the British motorcycle industry. At the time, nearly all of them relied heavily on one basic engine architecture: the air-cooled, pushrod OHV single, and most marques had built their lineup of 350 and 500 singles. World War II …

1954 Triumph Thunderbird ABOVE: An early-1954 Triumph Thunderbird with rigid frame. BELOW: Partway through the 1954 model-year Triumph converted over to a swing-arm rear suspension setup, as seen on this ’54 T-Bird. 1954 TRIUMPH THUNDERBIRD’S ‘SISTER-BIKE’ The 1954 Triumph Tiger were “sister-bikes”, in that they were very similar in appearance. In this era of Triumph …

1960 Royal Enfield Bullet 1960 ROYAL ENFIELD BULLET – A LONG HISTORY Royal Enfield introduced the 350cc and 500cc single-cylinder Bullet line in 1948, and while many changes were made in the interim, including a change of ownership of the company, the Royal Enfield Bullet has the unique distinction of being the longest-running motorcycle model …

1926 BROUGH SUPERIOR SS80 WAS AN EARLY BIKE Brough Superior was established by George Brough in Nottingham, England in 1924. He bucked convention and rather than mass-producing huge volumes of identical machines, he designed every bike to meet the exact specifications of the customers. The bikes were literally ‘fit’ to the riders’ size, weight, needs …

1938 BROUGH SUPERIOR SS100 BACKGROUND The SS100 (SS stood for “Super Sports”) was built from the very best components available at the time from a wide range of suppliers. The engines that Brough selected for his 1924 through 1936 SS100s was the twin-cam KTOP V-twin built by JAP (named for the initials of its founder, …

ARIEL SQUARE FOUR BACKGROUND The Square Four engine was originally designed in 1928 by Edward Turner, the man who later came up with the vertical twin for Triumph. In original form, it started out as a 500cc and was quickly expanded to 601cc. The Square Four was essentially two 2-cylinder engines, each with traverse (across-the-frame) …