top of page

1962 BMW R60/2:  Preservation of original paint motorcycle; powertrain, suspension, wheels, and brakes were disassembled, cleaned, evaluated, & reassembled with new bearings, seals, & gaskets. The cylinders & pistons are first overbore. The wiring harness is new but all the original lighting was retained.  The front engine and half-moon covers were polished by the previous owner.  The seat cover is new, as are the Albert mirrors, parcel carrier, R/L Hella bar-end signals, tires, & exhaust system.  The speedometer/odometer are original and the latter shows 49,657 miles. I rebuilt the original Everbest petcock which began to leak after several years of excellent service just before this photo was taken; hence the temporary Karcorma item. The rebuilt carburetors date from the late 1960s and most pleasing is the sign of the German pin striper on the left underside of the fuel tank, just about parallel to the remarkably intact roundel.


1964 Harley-Davidson XLCH Sportster complete restoration using a combination of OEM & NOS parts--only the seat and its posts are aftermarket.  The photo shows a cadmium plated Jiffy Stand which has subequently been correctly Parkerized. The engine number, case numbers, and frame month/year date, were verified as valid and that this motocycle left the Motor Company's assembly line 9 January, 1964. Only six years after its debut, the model shows a fine blend of its original intent as an, albeit large, desert racer and the street machine it is.


This late 1948/ early1949 HRD/ Vincent came to Wasted Spark Motorcycles on 3 October 2010 in need of extensive work. I use the above designation because this now matching number machine was commissioned in the Autumn of 1948 and released from Stevenage in January 1949 as a Standard B Rapide. As usual, neglectful, even abusive, former owners are reminders that this marque was not universally held in high regard.


The current owner's simple request to provide him with an easy starting, reliable runner required months of sorting through slap-dash repairs, competent work, & road race modifications. It was determined that this motorcycle was "Lightningized" but by whom & to what extent is uncertain. Other than that the engine ran, and the bike was capable of being ridden, nothing was assumed. Hence every system & subsystem was cleaned, evaluated & replaced, repaired, or properly adjusted. All SAE fasteners were replaced with the British equivalents.  The female & male threads of the exhaust ports & nuts were chased.  The OEM carrier was retained and a sub-tray was machined from black acetal plastic to hold a AGM 12V battery, a 12V Altette horn from a Jagurar replaced an aftermarket version, switch gear was renewed or if possible repaired.  The bike was rewired, fused, & grounded negative as per original.  The generator & VR are Alton.

The fuel tank had been cut away to accomodate the left Amal 32 mm TT carburetor.  When raced a third petcock was added to supply fuel from the isolated compartment. But was later removed for street use; only to leave a compartment of stale/ foul gasoline.  Therefore, a new third petcock boss was machined from brass bar stock and refitted to the tank which then received two coats of Caswell alcohol-proof, epoxy liner.  The 930 Amal MK1 Concentrics were ultrasonically cleaned and refitted with new internals, the manifolds were then blended to the 1.26" intake port and 1.18" venturi of the 930s.  Both front & rear wheel hubs were reshimmed after bearing renewal, the wheels were checked for axial & radial runout & tweaked to run true, new Avons were fitted, as were fore & aft aluminum mudguards after much sourcing.

In situ testing showed the Lucus KVF magneto was supplying a strong spark to the front plug but essentially no spark to the rear cylinder; despite two rebuilds by a reputable specialist. It was decided that a new BT-H magneto would be its replacement.  With the ignition timing set at 35 degrees BTDC & using a mixture of  4:1 91 octane non-ethanol & 100 octane low-lead Avgas respectively starting is no longer a problem.  The valve timing was checked, as was the shimming of the cams and the cam gear lash.  Maximum valve lift was considerably higher than stock MK1 cams would exhibit & the cam lobes were in excellent condition.  Push rods were  checked for wear, trueness & correctly adjusted--easy spin /zero play. The timed breather checked with manometer and the breather tube extended to safely remove any oil spray from the path of the rear tire.  The Brampton girder forks & steering head bearings needed no adjustment. All grease fittings were removed, cleaned, or replaced and lubricated.  Valvoline 20W-50 VR1 racing oil, Penzoil 80W-90 GL4 gear oil, Gold Brand 20W Non-detergent oil lubricate the engine, transmission, and primary case respectively.  The clutch is a Videan MK2 wet-multiplate.

The above are routine procedures.  We journey out on these veteran motorcycles expecting to return without drama:  Yes!  Vincents, perhaps more than other marques, respond well to diligent maintenance and pre/post ride checks.  After a winter of recommended reading, owner Eugene Espinosa, to his great credit, spent four days at WSMC for such a tutorial.

What is remarkable about this project was finding the correct Rear Frame Member (RFM). Standard HRD Rapide F10AB/1/1444 with Upper Frame Member (UFM) & RFM R 3434 was ordered by Conway of London 8 Dec., 1948.  It was completed & road tested by Ted Davis 12 December of the same year.  It left the factory 11 Jan., 1949.  Vincent Owners Club (VOC) archivist John Marshall cannot substantiate that Harper Engines rebuilt this machine to Black Lightning specifications, however there is no doubt that racing mods are part of its history. When Gene delivered his HRD I commented that is was too bad that its RFM went missing decades ago during a minor, rear stand lug repair.  A few days later fellow HRD/Vincent enthusiast Vince Pacilio stopped by for a look-see.  He noted the UFM number but said nothing. Within hours after leaving he called to inform me that he had RFM R3434 among his collection of spares with the said lug repair.  Purchased at a 2004 Vincnt rally in South East Pennsylvainia, it sat 15 miles away in Bradford, Vermont as if awaiting to resume its former job.  A trade & some money and R3434 was exchanged for the Series C Comet item soon to be removed. I would like to thank Sam Manganaro for finding a B Series RFM replacement for Vince.  Sam, of course, realized the rarity of this reunion.  I would also thank Coventry Spares & VOC for supplying the necessary parts to bring this rebuild to fruition.  Scott O'Donnell & Ray Atwood were the parts painters. Greg Thurston fabricated an elegant one-off  Shadow Clock bracket.

bottom of page