Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas 2014....The Velobanjogent is off playing banjo for a week at the 69th Australian Jazz Convention...

This time of the year, between Christmas and the New Year sees the Australian Jazz Convention held in a different city/town across Australia...this is the 69th, having started just after WW2 in 1945 in Melbourne Victoria....
Its in Swan Hill on the Murray River, the border of NSW and Victoria....
I'm taking several 4 string plectrum type banjos, Vegavoxes and an unusual 4 string plectrum guitar utilising a Vegavox banjo neck....
With 1 bands to play in I'll be busy...
 All plectrum banjos....DQ...The Velobanjogent, centre with Peter Allen, left both on Vegavoxes and Paul Baker, right on a D'Oole vox style resonator banjo.
So...thanks for stopping by to look at my site throughout the past year, a Merry Christmas to yourself and family and a Happy New Year for 2015 when I hope to have you drop by to see some of my motorcycle, especially Velocette, offerings.....
                               DQ on a Velocette/Vincent Rally in NSW, 2013....

Sunday, December 7, 2014

The Velocette Venom Thruxton...a photographic history of my old Velocette Thruxton, engine number VMT458, bought new in Feb.1967......

The Velocette Venom Thuxton...when announced in the motorcycle press in late 1964 and introduced in the 1965 season I was interested. Then when with two friends we rode to the Kangaroo Rally held in Burrumbeet Park, Ballarat, Victoria, Australia in early 1966 I first viewed two of these new model from Velocette...a naked and a faired model.

I owned a 1961 Venom at the time and later in the year sold it to finance a new VMT, with a A$360 deposit to a Sydney motorcycle business, Burling and Simmons in Auburn...known as "Burglar and Simmons"....
Due in mid January 1967, it was 23rd February 1967, a Friday from memory when I went to "burglars" to collect it..arriving early, no one had ridden it and so I rode it to the nearby Dept. of Motor Transport and it  became street legal... The total cost was A$990 plus the registration.
Norm "Burglar Norm" Simmons came over and suggested I pay them an addition A$50 for the tachometer which was "an extra"....I produced a catalogue and without a word he turned on his heel and strode off....
Nice try.....
In my rear yard at 28 Astoria Circuit....
October 1967 in the Snowy Mountains area of NSW at our regular motorcycle meeting at Dalgety...

Sometime in 1968 having been invited to a friends wedding in New Zealand, we shipped VMT458 to Wellington and flew in, my then girlfriend, later wife, Judy and I with friend Jim Day and his 1956 MSS.
Pictured in the south Island of NZ at the start of the Homer Tunnel.
 Large handlebars and saddle bags were fitted in anticipation of the dirt/loose metal roads in NZ.......
 
Early in January 1969 Jim and I decided to ride across Australia to Perth and back for our annual Holidays....
Strange as the attraction to Western Australia has seen VMT458 "settle there" from sometime in the later 1980s and it is still there having passed through several owners...
 There was some 1400 km of earth/gravel/clay road in the 4500 km to get there at that time and in a tropical downpour on the clay section progress forward became impossible and I had to remove the front mudguard....
 The "sharp eyes" amongst you will note no Amal GP carb. and this is because I fitted a cylinder head from my MSS with Amal monobloc and aircleaner to make life easier for the engine...I had the GP on it in NZ and the gravel roads and the ingestion of dust wore our the cylinder bore over the 4000 miles we did at the time.....I was forced to used a really hot heat range spark plug a KLG FE30 from memory instead of the FE100 we started with...to counter the oily bore and combustion chamber...
Come 1970, Willoughby DMCC introduced the Castrol 6 Hour Race for production motorcycles and in 1971 I decided to enter VMT458 in the 500cc class....
During the several days practice period before the race....
At the start....
 #34 still on the line. The noise was tremendous and it was hard to know if the engine had started...of course later I thought "why didn't I look at the tachometer"...
 I rode the first 2 hours and we were mid field in the 500 class when I handed over to Dennis Fry....
Dennis Fry had ridden for 4 years in the IOM TT on Manx Nortons and his lap times came quickly down and he was lapping a second a lap faster than me..I had hopes for a higher finishing position....
Then in the 4th hour Dennis crashed out and the bike was wrecked, end over ending several times, collapsing the back wheel and silencer and we subsequently found a bent frame...Dennis was carted off to hospital...
For some reason I have no photos of this time and on until having straightened the frame, enamelled most items but not assembled it I succombed to an offer of A$2000 from Tony Keene.
I only have the bent silencer as a reminder....
 Tony completed the restoration/repair and it appeared at the 1982 Australian Velocette OC National Rally at Bundanoon, NSW where I was re-united with it and went for a ride....
Tony at the 1986 Australian Velocette OC National Rally on VMT458...
Shortly after it was sold on to Perth Western Australia, possible Sid East buying it or at least he was an owner soon after...
Pictured in Perth with the bike that came in the crate with it to Burlo's...VMT457, shown in the foreground, which has been owned by John Jennings from the mid 1970's...
 VMT458 was in WA until 2012 when it came across to Bundanoon for the Australian Velocette OC Annual Rally, the 30th rally held since the first..."the back to Bundanoon Rally".. with current owner Richard Blackman.....
During one evening we had a re acquaintance of VMT458 with myself and Dennis Fry in an interview with John Jennings before all the Rally entrants...
As well four of the five owners of VMT458 were present....
 At Easter 2014 at the Motorcycling Australia circuit at Broadford in Victoria the theme was the Castrol 6 Hour Race...
Unfortunately VMT458 wasn't available to be at the event, so speaking with John Jennings he agreed to make up his partner VMT...VMT457 to look somewhat like VMT458 in its race guise....
John Jennings did the honours on the circuit , myself having long ago "hung up my leathers"....photo credit SD pics website

 And finally in October 2014 at the Australian Velocette OC National Rally in Wirrina Cove, South Australia, Richard Blackman again brought VMT458 to the Rally...currently it has 54567 miles on the speedometer...from memory I sold it to Tony Keene with some 30000 odd miles on the clock...




Thursday, November 6, 2014

The A.T. instrument..Speedometer, Tachometer and Smiths A.T. instruments....

Sometime in 2009 I did a post on the Smiths racing tachometer, the ATRC tachometer, badged Smiths and coded ATRCxxxx...
It has generated interest over the intervening years and I've manufactured a few more as a result of the post.
so lets have another look at this instrument that carries this A.T coding...
They are characterised by the pointer rotating through a slot in the instrument dial with the pointer blade sweeping the surface of the dial rather than from completely above it as in other speedometers made by smiths and other manufacturers.
The A.T  Speedometer Company Ltd of 140 Long Acre, London WC was advertising in "Flight" magazine in July 1915 so they are one of the originals in automotive,motorcycle and aviation instrumentation....
Sometime around 1927-1930 Smiths Motor Accessories acquired the firm and they were manufactured in Chronos Works, North Circular Road, London N.W.2...
Their speedometers had been in Rolls Royce cars since the 1920's and in Bentley cars from around this time also....
Simon Roope, with who I have a correspondence has responded with some interesting, additional information in the comments section below but I've incorporated it here....thanks Simon...
 


The AT showroom was at 140 Long Acre before the Great War; an original 25 page AT Speedometer catalogue from 1912  I own has this address printed on each page.
From the early 1920s AT instruments were fitted to many prestige vintage cars, including Rolls Royce, Bentley and Frazer Nash. By then, manufacture of AT instruments had moved to West London and from October 1924 to 20 Avonmore Rd, London W14 (pg. 36, Motorsport, October 1924)
AT had German parentage (instrument manufacturers Deuta-Werke GmbH, Berlin) and under the newly formed Trading with the Enemy Act of 1914 company assets were confiscated at the outbreak of war. Ownership passed to Smiths, then to S.D Mckellen in 1920, and to Jaeger in December 1928 who in October the previous year had been bought by Smiths. In 1930 manufacture of AT instruments moved to the newly built Chronos Works. (pg. 82, James Nye's new book 'A Long Time in Making; History of Smiths' and pg. 42-44, 'Roadcraft' magazine published by Smiths for the 1937 London Olympia Motor Show).
In 1931 Bentley Motors went into liquidation and was acquired by Rolls Royce. 
Two years later the first Rolls Royce made Bentley car (3 1/2 Litre saloon) went on sale. So in 1933 it is the model of car that is new not the fitting of AT instruments to Bentley cars; this had happened ten years earlier.



Lets have a peruse of a 1934 A.T. catalogue to view the items they made then.
In the early 1950's Smiths responded to the demand for a racing tachometer without the inherent lag of the chronometric principled tachometer and introduced the ATRC version....see my 2009 post on this.


Following are examples of car and lorry dashboards from around 1955 which utilise the A.T. versions Smiths made.


Smiths AT speedometer from a Leyland bus....
During 1964,1965 Smiths made industrial versions of the A.T. Tachometer available also....
As mentioned I did a posting in 2009 and this discusses the principle of operation of the A.T instrument and is useful to assist....
Finally, Smiths made hand held industrial tachometers to measure rotating shaft speeds etc and these of the A.T principle.....
They often had multiple scales altered by a knob on the case....