Wednesday, 24 August 2011

It Came From Out Of The Shed

What Lies Beneath? Actually this is a scary movie of British origin ... After my own recent Hammer Horror story I felt strangely compelled to create my own monster ,as a distraction,and being such a beast of a project it is doing that very well.From the swamplands of Tamworth a Villiers engine was acquired that had suffered a seizure but which I will bring  to life.There's a plethora of James K7 trials bikes out there so a James Colonel (love that name!) K12 frame,swingarm and hubs came via Kent, £20 plus carriage. The trouble is the frame's mountings (for a 1H motor) have been removed,trying to position the engine correctly in  3 Dimensions and then have the chainline spot on too is enough to give you nightmares.When I've done all that there's the small matter of altering the frame's steering rake and learning how to build wheels.
A visit to VMCC Founder's Day Show became a whole new experience,me Dad used to have a stall there and I didn't mind manning it because the rest of the 'British only' jumble stuff had nothing for me,-not now though! Box upon box of rusty rubbish I'd previously avoid is now my hunting ground.Sure enough, a good bottom end & barrel/piston & clutch are soon found. "How much,mate?" - "20 quid the lot" Done! 140 mile round trip I end up buying the bits I need off a guy I've known years from the next village. It's mainly so cheap as my engine is a 30C, it's only 147cc but a chap in CDB mag built a trials bike from one,besides it's near identical to the 197cc so that could be substitued later on.Over to the trials demonstration and the biggest applause goes to a youngster on this rigid James who circuited the course in the opposite direction and had to wheelie onto the see-saw as the end was up.
The last time I had a Villiers powered machine I was 13 and getting more excited by Britt Eklund than Brit Bikes to be honest. Viewed with older eyes they do have a certain character and whilst being no advocate for "factory fodder" I would have loved to have been apprenticed at James,Francis Barnett or the like. It is funny how your tastes change though,only perhaps 5 or 6 years ago I was at Stafford Show Auction and my Dad's German friend approached us in some exasperation.He had bought his usual pre-war Norton and dragged us over to some 1960s Francis Barnett,unbeknownest to him it was part of the lot he had just won.He didn't want to transport it all the way home,would either of us take it, free? We looked at it,shook our heads and slipped away. It's probably still there.