Decidedly warm temperatures at the Museum means tee shirts all the time instead of thermal underwear for me. I like the warm temperatures like you get in Arizona but more to the point the connection is with Phoenix Arizona and Buddy Stubbs Museum that I have visited in an earlier posting. A young man from Phoenix, called Vincent, visited the LMM last Monday and was looking for information about motorcycles. Vincent had visited the Buddy Stubbs Museum too. He was specifically looking at Vincents and asking the question why are they so expensive. My usually reply is that some people have more money than sense and it is just an old second hand bike that was of that era. Provenance is what gives it value. Who owned it and what they did with it. Thinking of T.E. Lawrence and Boanergese, Ernie Lyons and the GP racer spring to mind and the famous record breaking Vincent in a swim suit of Rollie Free that is in the Solvang Motorcycle Museum, and how many there are reputed to be around.
The answer is investment. Good or bad it is driving the price of old, incontinent, British bikes higher and higher. I see it as a dwindling market in that the people who buy them for nostalgia are becoming fewer along with those who are able to maintain them. There are few young people interested in either collecting them, restoration and maintaining so how long is the market going to be buoyant? The auction houses are cashing in on the market and this is what young Vincent is looking at. What makes an old bike saleable. How many special Vincents are there out there that have some provenance. I can only recall a few, one is George Brown and Nero and Super Nero and not many raced the Comet so there is little racing history to follow up but other avenues about who designed what and Phil Irving is prominent with Vincent and with Velocette. He first put pen to paper in the design of the LE which was put into reality by Charles Udall the point on this is that significant people in the motorcycle world of the time add to the interest of the machine and Edward Turner being one of those people. Vincent is on a mission to visit other museums for more information before deciding on which mark to follow.
During the previous week I had put a new flywheel housing oil seal in the Valiant and after getting it running I had a leak from the oil return union on the cylinder head. The threads had given up and the union needed to be replaced. It was 1/8 BSP and 1/4 BSP. I contacted the LE club for a replacement but in the mean time I went off to a plumbers merchant and got a couple of fittings. My fiend Bob helped me out and managed to marry up the fittings to make a suitable replacement. It works too and no longer have a leak. This Valiant is the most incontinent Velocette I have ever had. My LE is dripless. Why at the LMM I noticed a magazine called “Tiger” that I had not seen before. It was from Holland and is the magazine of their Triumph Owners Club.
Featured in it was a report from a visitor from earlier in the year and I had the fun of doing the guided tour. I still need it to be translated but I’m confident that it was glowing. So for all those in the Netherlands read the feature and come to visit.