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Tardis Stationed in Bristol!

Laurence O'Brien

Bristol Classic Bike Show Report

The gloom of an overcast day deepened by the sad news of Princess Margaret was put aside by the thoughts of another annual meeting of old chums.  Unfortunately my thoughts were not put far enough aside since I had forgotten to charge the camera, format the floppies, dig out a notebook, etc, etc.  Usual shambles, I think it's called life.

Another healthy turn-out by Wes'vinglun sections now encompassing such diverse regions as Worcester, Wiltshire, Gloucester, Somerset, Devon, and I think Cornwall.  Jordan Miller, our youngest member (aged 8 years) came along on his 1979 Honda Express (under the watchful eye of his grandfather, Mike Jones, who had his other equally watchful eye on his rare Teagle and Cyclemaster in pillion frame).  Teagle is a Cornish agricultural machinery manufacturer based in Truro, at one time making small-engined farming tools like strimmers, but now concentrating on much larger devices.  A couple of Teagle employees called by and were absolutely delighted and intrigued at seeing one of their earlier products on display - it seems that the owner of Teagle has no interest in the past and doesn't retain copies of his production line.  When asked about the eagle motif on the engine cover, which Mike thought had Germanic overtones, the response was that it was derived from no more than removing the 'T' from Teagle!  Geoff Warren is still so impressed by his original trim Vélo 3800 that that was on show.  Ian Edwards brought his Motobécane Sports Special and a Tri-ang scooter (in very unrestored condition).  Ian showed his latest photo album which included all of his machines - this had to be done in one of those arty panoramic vista shots with 4 or 5 frames to capture the whole collection, and it all came out of an 18' x 9' garage in North Bristol - hence the Tardis heading reference - one of those "...if I hadn't seen it with my own eyes...", thingies.  In amongst the collection was a mini-collection of Reliant bikes - one of which Ian had on show at the Reliant stand.  Anyway, a gent of slightly more mature years came in search of him since that particular Reliant bike was the very one that he had bought his wife many moons ago.  And he'd like it back, please.


Ah!  Easier said than done since this is now a critical part of the collection, and it was also unusual, if not rare.  See, you never know what you've got 'til it's gone!  No more garage clear-outs then.

Buzz Howell's Hercules Corvette tucked itself away in a corner and Mike Rendall started the East Wing of our display area with his Excelsior Autobyk.  Mike Crumpton was a late entry with a Mini-Motor - and Dave Smith donated an NSU Quickly in original unrestored condition.  Alan Hibberd's VAP4 came in as displayed in shop quality.

Chris Bowden's 1940 James Autocycle Deluxe won the Highly Recommended award and a later chat over the restoration revealed some of his genius and cunning in restoration to achieve what looks like the original manufacturer's beaded edge around the pressed steel panels.

A 1951 British Salmon Cyclaid in very nice order was exhibited by Alistair Currie, and Roy Best's Berini brought up the last bike on this leg.  Now this 1951 Berini had been bought at a previous show where it was no more than a box of bits - no, more of a plastic bag of bits - I thought it was pure madness to buy, but money changed hands and Roy had himself a project.  Not all parts were present and he's had to improvise, but the finish is really quite stunning - more so since I have a Berini M13 still languishing in the shed.  And talking of sheds, and in spite of Roy denying any knowledge of computing, he seems to have grabbed the highly original e-mail moniker of or something like.

Keith Cook's Triumph mounted Mini-Motor was suspended from one of Steve Wayte's impressive Victorian cast iron cycle stands in front of the the static exhibits.

In the centre stage, the public were captured by Graham Langley's superbly restored 1957 NSU Quickly Cavallino, resplendent with an NSU 582 number plate.  But the accolade had to go to a "foreigner" in more ways than one - Dave Casper dropped in with his son Robert's delightful looking Italian model Nassetti Brunetta and stole the Best Cyclemotor award - a rather racy lady's bike married to Webb forks all done in French Blue and gold transfers, most of the gear being unused period stock.  Although the petrol tank as displayed was not for that bike, an original type is in possession ready to complete.  The project started off by Robert pestering the "old man" for a bike of his own, and this was duly presented as a 13th birthday present in 1992.  The bike has been round Silverstone with Robert in command, although since he was only 14 years old at the time he had to pedal and not motor!  A good story none-the-less.

So, another highly successful year down to Bob and Steve Wayte.  In spite of the early camera problems I do have a photo record of the exhibits which I shall endeavour to link to the Buzzing page.  Now, rather embarrassingly Bob has awarded our local Avon Engraving Trophy to yours truly for eight years of show reports.  Very generous.  Thank you.

First published, April 2002

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