Sunday, March 23, 2014

1955 AJS Model 18CS Desert Sled Scrambler

After several months of chasing this AJS I finally was able to purchase it and introduce myself to the world of the Big British Single. This will be something new to me as I have always been more of a Twin Cylinder enthusiast. 

This is 1955 Model 18CS, a 500cc OHV Single. The CS stands for Competition Spring Frame.

Shipped from the factory as ready to go racers, they were very successful in both Scrambling and Desert events. This bike was registered for the street with the addition of a Head Lamp and Sparto Tail Lamp although there is not one wire on the bike! Purely to stop getting hassle from the man whilst out riding on the street I am sure. 

The CS Models were built in the AJS Race shop, basic Model 18's were taken off the production line and were given the business to produced a highly tuned thumper. Only around 200 CS's were produced   each year.

Love the hand painted graphics on the Alloy Tank, originally it would of been black with gold decal and lining.

Spark provided by a Lucas Racing Magnetos, a beautiful item, green tag and all.

Competition Oil Tank bares the decal from the original dealer who sold it new, Hunter Miller Motorcycles of Bellflower, California, mainly a BSA dealer.

I have a receipt dating from 1965 for some engine work including a new Alpha Crank Pin and Bearing as well as a used "H" Camshaft. 1965 Being the last year the bike was registered, it had been in the back of a garage until I pulled it out this March, 2014. 

Attempts to start it were set back with the clutch slipping every time I kicked it over on the compression stroke. Removed the plates and soaked them for a while, reinstalled, adjusted and job done.

After removing the Amal Monobloc 389 Carburetor for cleaning and the installation of a new spark plug and several kicks later, the old bike fired back into life filling the nearby vicinity with plumes of white smoke. After draining the sump and adding fresh oil I was able to go for ride. The motor sounds great, very quiet and smooth with tons of power.

Will be looking forward to riding this over some fire trails in the near future. Until then I will be searching for some Dunlop Trials Universals.....

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

1960's Howard Grey Motorcycle Photography

I recently came across the website of photographer Howard Grey and wanted to share some of his Motorcycle images from the mid 1960's with my blog readers. Howard Grey's photographic career spans over 50 years in which he specialized in Advertising and Commercial photography. The images seen here were taken for Triumph as promotional material. To me these they take on a different feeling 45 or so years later as the span of time has made them historical images not just. As a restorer of these fine machines striving for correctness in my work there is simply nothing better than seeing factory shots that display how these bikes were assembled. I contacted Mr Grey and he kindly gave permission for me to share some of the images. His website, has a stunning archive of his work and I would encourage you all to have a good browse through it. Prints of his images are available for sale on the website. Thanks to him for allowing the use of these historical shots and full credit is given to him for every image presented here and I must ask that if any of these images are copied that you have the respect to contact Mr Grey for permission. 

These shots above and below are of a 1967 Triumph Bonneville for the Home market.

This shot to me is the most interesting of them all. Alway wandered exactly how Triumph Tank Badges were painted and now I know. The white was sprayed and then the black lettering filled in by brush.

Wheel lacing was another of many tasks undertaken by ladies, a major part of the British workforce since the war.

Below are some shots from the factory in 1966, machines on the assembly line appear to be C Range Tigers (thanks Jon!!). Check out the shelving stocked with new Tanks....

Factory test riders ready for action. This shot also displays the correct placement of the World Speed Record Holder and Made In England Decals adjacent to the Petrol Tank Filler Cap.

Nice shot of a Tiger 100.

The mid to late l960's were the heyday for Triumph Engineering, they were selling tons of machines during this period, most of which came to the United States.

Tiger 100 500cc Twin Cylinder Engines awaiting Chassis' and more machines ready for testing.

Tanks were painted and lined in house.

This image was one of a series for Champion Spark Plugs. Champion at this time were the supplier for Triumph.

Love this shot from the design department. Machine is a Tiger 100.

The images below were slightly earlier, the bike featured is a 1965 Tiger. I doubt they were used for promotion as it appears the rider may be having the same troubles we are still experiencing today!

Again, thanks to Howard Grey for the use of his fantastic images. Cheers!

Friday, February 7, 2014

1951 Triumph Motorcycle Racing Kit Test Report.

1951 Triumph Racing Kit Promotional Advertising piece from 1951, a 4-page brochure that was first published in the November 1951 issue of Cycle Magazine. The front cover displays the kit laid out with a description of parts included.

 $154.00 Sounds like a bargain! The '51 Tiger 100 500cc Twin was put through it's paces with outstanding results.

 Open Megaphones, Rear Set Pegs, Twin Racing Carburetors. Just the ticket!

The close fin Tiger 100 Engine has to be one of Edward Turners finest Triumphs, what a gorgeous power plant.

 120 mph!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Triumph Pre Unit Twin, Tiger Cub and Ariel Motorcycle Frame Drawings

Here are some factory Frame drawings for Pre Unit Rigid and Swinging Arm Frame models, Tiger Cub models as well as Ariel Single, Twin and the Square Four. Don't think these have ever been published in any manuals unlike the Unit models which can be found in the factory Workshop Manuals. Click on the images for a full size view.

First up is the Tiger Cub T20 and Terrier T15 1954-1956.

Tiger Cub T20 and T20C 1957-1959.

1947-1953 Triumph 5T Speed Twin and Tiger 100, 1950-1953 6T Thunderbird Rigid Frames.

Triumph Swinging Arm Twins 1954-1959 (Do not include 21 and 5T/A models).

Triumph 21 and 5T/A 1958-1960.

1960 Triumph 6T Thunderbird, T110 Tiger, TR6 Trophy and Bonneville TR7 Duplex Frame.

Rigid Ariel Single and Twins 1947-1953.

Spring Frame Ariel Single and Twins 1947-1953.

1954-1959 Ariel Single and Twin Swinging Arm Frame.

Ariel Square Four 1947-1959.

Hope this information is useful to fellow Triumph and Ariel enthusiasts. Originally published in Johnson Motors Triumph/Ariel Dealers Meeting Notes, January 1960.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

1958 Triumph TR6 Trophy Desert Sled joins the pack.

This past Memorial Day was spent out in the Moreno Valley, just east of Riverside. I was out there to look at and complete a deal for this 1958 Triumph TR6 Desert Racer. Been wanting another of these since letting the last one go.

Set up in typical Desert Sled fashion with all street gear long removed, side stand chopped off to allow for the huge bash plate underneath to protect the Crank Cases from anything the Southern California Deserts could throw in it's the way.  

Bud Ekins Exhaust Pipes both up on the left side fixing to the front Engine Mounts and a Clip from the the Subframe at the rear.

Massive "cheater" Sprocket bolts directly to the stock brake drum/sprocket combo.

Riders view over the standard UK bend 1" Handlebar with a solitary Lucas Kill Button on the left side. Throttle has been shortened for a wider variety of grips.

Lucas K2FC Competition Magneto provides the Spark, a rewound armature and it'll be good to go.

Modified Oil Tank with an added Froth tower breather and trimmed down front.

Will be exciting to get into the Engine to see what is inside, Racing Pistons and lumpy Cams I bet....

Bates Racing Saddle, they must of sold tons of these back in the day....

I have already decided that I would like to restore this Sled to look as it did back in the day when it was about to do battle in the desert for the 1st time. The results on the 1957 Bike ( were very pleasing and think this will also look the business. Stay posted.....