Well, we finished the dry build on the PS. That involves assembly of the complete motorcycle but before paint, polish and plating goes on. Mainly to find the right stays (fender braces to most of us) fasteners, brackets and things that we couldn’t see at all that are hidden in the left and right side views we are working from. An example being inside the battery box. How is the battery secured or more properly, given how bikes generally were mounted and later Vincents, most likely how was it mounted originally?
Drilling holes. Well, holes move. Yes, its true. Between the times you drill a mudguard and when it gets paint and you install it, the holes might seem in some instances to move. Really. But, drilling holes through finished paint is problematic as the bit can walk and ruin the finish.
However, our bits to be painted all went to Jeff’s Resurrections in Taylor, Texas. Jeff is a master painter and for years has done the impossible. We went to him and discussed the issue of gloss. The entire motorcycle is black except a couple of gold leaf lines and a couple of decals. But, the black was not originally all the same. Some was carefully sanded and finished giving a high gloss, some was stove enameled where it was dipped in a bucket of paint, hung to dry and put in an oven to harden and cure. Finally, a fourth type of black was used on fasteners and just a few other bits and that is almost a Parkerizing; not glossy at all. Yes, bikes of this era in Britain used blackened nuts, bolts and washers. No, its was not long-wearing originally and not particularly rust resistant, but its what they did. Chrome would look more “today” but we’re not after “today.” To add to this confusion, in some instances, a stud would be cadmium plated (silver) but used black nuts and washers. The photos were vital here. So, 4 different blacks are on the bike and they give it both interest and authenticity. Restorers who use but one black on a bike from petrol tank to brackets end up with boring motorcycle restorations.
As well, research showed that for 1932, the industry used a combination of platings. Cadmium was just being introduced, but for the controls and a few other items, the plating for polished parts such as hand controls could be either nickel or chrome. Thus, when we acquired the correct type of pivoting brake and clutch levers and perches, we found they were originally nickel so they were refinished appropriately. Then, other controls such as the magneto advance lever and twist grip throttle were chromed. The color of these two is markedly different, but we wanted that variation as it is both correct and interesting.
In the interim since my last posting, we had acquired the rubber bits such as the correct round foot peg rubbers and the long and barrel-shaped AMAL grips. None of this would’ve meant as much had not MARK UPHAM at British Only – Austria had started us off with a correct set of handlebars in an unusual “W” bend. Vincents hardly ever used anything but a relatively straight bar but for this very, very early application, the “W” was correct. Thank you Mark!
One of the great artists who contributed their genius to this project besides Jeff is Jesus. He can create objects better than anyone we’ve found. In this case, Jesus carefully measured the works images and produced the only set of High Gate Silencers certainly in Texas and probably in the US. They are three-pieced and the other PS on the internet uses the wrong, later type “A” silencer. Ours had to be right. These dual systems are exquisite and use chrome, upper level head pipes. Skeleton-ized clamps are used as the images show these and some early “A” Vincents used them.
The carburettor. This early 1 1/8” instrument is of course, AMAL……BUT, it is mounted horizontally, Ok, not so hard? What if it’s a special one with the adjusters on the left side so it can be adjusted when mounted closely above the BTH magdyno and the cables exit the top on the off-side of the bike? In that case, you better have yet another genius on the team and that’s Mac Whiteside. Mac’s a welder and machinist I trusted to do a couple of missing bits on the Bathing Suit Bike years ago. So, Mac reworked our AMAL, lengthening the body to the mounting flange and moving the adjustment for slide stop and idle mixture screw to the other side of the mixing chamber. And its exquisite! Thanks, Mac!
Interestingly to me at least is the unique finish we got on the pre-war float chamber body by lightly media-blasting a chrome finish. Fantastic! The mixing chamber is cadmium plated and the BTH magdyno below is natural, unpolished aluminium.
Lastly, before closing this report, when you see the bike you might or might not notice the spokes. These are genuine ones from the period for a Vincent and very fine. Not stainless new ones, but real and very thin, adding to the vintage look. All for now; stay tuned. Oh, did anyone notice the caption on the image of the bike with two guys seated? One is good friend IAN of Falcon Motorcycles. His eye was very welcomed on some of the finishes I explained above.