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  • Calling all BSA Experts

    Hello, I was wondering if the BSA experts on here might be able to help?

    I have a friend who is a classic car guy but recently he was going through his late fathers stuff and found a couple of old pictures. They are of his dads motorcycle and if he can identify exactly what it is he is planning on getting one like it. (I believe the bike was history by the time my friend Mike came along)

    This is what we do know. The pictures were taken in 1950 and in Mikes words "knowing what my father was like I am certain that he didn’t buy it new"

    I have looked at the pictures and a few things were obvious to me but not being a BSA guy this is as far as we have got.

    We believe it to be a BSA A7 as it has the characteristic "Y" shaped timing case found on that series of twins. The photo is dated around the time when the A10 came out but given that Mike is certain that it wasn’t new we are happy to rule out an A10. It has a rigid rear end and we note that it has panniers which is not a factory accessory so would have been added by my friends dad or a previous owner.

    We know it was registered in South Wales (from the registration number) but as yet we don’t have a date.

    So the question is. Is there anything else in the pictures that can identify a year or is there any other feature that can point to a particular model or variation of the A7.

    My guess is that the early A7's were all the same but like I said, I am not a BSA guy so any additional information would be very appreciated.

    The bad news is that these 2 pictures are the best that we have. One is the bike with my friends dad on it and the other with his mum on it although in 1950 they were not married yet.





    John
    Last edited by TechNoir; 07-02-2017, 04:09 AM. Reason: Spelling

  • #2
    I can't give the answer, but I can narrow it down further based on the post-war magazines and BSA sales catalogs I have. Unfortunately, I'm missing the 1947 catalog but I have the rest.

    1945/46 "The First Post-War Models." The A7 hadn't been born yet so that narrows the range of possibilities to 1947-50.

    1947. Sadly, this catalog missing from my collection. However, the photos of the then-new A7 in magazines show no features that appear to me to be any different than those of the next two years. So, 1947 is a contender.

    1948. The A7 in this catalog definitely is a contender.

    1949. Unfortunately, either BSA precisely placed the camera and bike in identical positions as the previous year, or the bikes were similar enough that -- as was common practice -- BSA simply reused last year's photo. This means 1949 is a contender as well. Note that a spring frame ("plunger") was an extra cost option in 1949.

    1950. At least in the U.S. the A7 came only with a spring frame, as did the then-new A10. If it were a U.S. bike this would eliminate 1950 as a possibility, but perhaps(?) rigid frame versions were still being sold in the U.K. at that time.

    So, based on the above, it very likely is a 1947, 1948 or 1949 A7. It is going to be very difficult (i.e. probably impossible) to narrow it down further based on your two photos so the only hope to do better is if records still exist of the registration no.

    Comment


    • #3
      If you can read the registration number you can go to the link below and it should give you the details on the bike assuming the number was not transferred. I can't quite read the number in your pic.
      I have a 1924 British bike and it came up as last registered in 1927!
      Good luck.

      https://vehicleenquiry.service.gov.uk

      Comment


      • #4
        Hi All, thanks for the replies so far.

        BoschZEV, your comments tend to confirm what I had already thought which was the earlier rigid A7's were all very similar. I bet there are some very small differences which are too small to see in these old pictures and you would need to be a true BSA nerd to know about them.

        Midman, thanks for the link. We had already thought of that but it obviously only works for vehicles that were re-registered when the DVLA computerised their records in the 1970's. Unfortunately this vehicle wasn’t re-registered so is either rusting in a barn/loft/garage or, more likely, is scrapped.

        John

        Comment


        • #5
          Originally posted by TechNoir View Post
          Unfortunately this vehicle wasn’t re-registered
          It's still not hopeless. I infer from your post that you're able to read the registration number (it appears to me to be RT6927, although the 'R' is far from certain). If so, since registration numbers were issued sequentially, you just need a helpful clerk to agree to search for nearby numbers until they find one that is still registered, from which you will then learn the date that machine was registered. Even if that turned out to be, say, RT7155, odds are very much in your favor that will be enough to identify the year of your friend's bike.

          Of course, even if the bike had been registered sometime in 1948 you still wouldn't know for absolute certain it hadn't been leftover dealer stock from model year 1947

          Comment


          • #6
            John, I am not at all familiar with British motorcycles, so I looked at Google. The BSA A7 is a beautiful, and perfectly proportioned bike and your friend is wise to start looking for one. How good are his prospects of finding one in Great Britain?

            https://www.google.com/search?q=bsa+...=1499030661357
            Eric Smith
            AMCA #886

            Comment


            • #7
              The speedo is on the fork crown so that makes it a 1948 or later model.
              1947 models had the speedo in the tank.
              The A7 twins were released in September 1946 so all of them were considered to be 1947 or later. Officially no 1946 A7 twins
              The rigid frame finished in 1951 but some people reckon it was available on special order until 1953.
              The photo is not good enough to see the front mudguard mounts that changed in 1949 and this would help to narrow down the exact year a bit more.
              Hope this helps
              Peter Thomson, a.k.a. Tommo
              A.M.C.A. # 2777
              Palmerston North, New Zealand.

              Comment


              • #8
                Hello all and thanks for the replies.

                BoschZEV, my friend believes that the registration number is FF6977 although I am not so sure. However I havenít seen the original pictures, only the scans. I have asked my friend to scan them at 1200 dpi although he says that the scans that I have are as good as the originals. He is an Engineer so I would have to believe him but nevertheless I would still like to see high res scans of them.

                The registration is from Monmouthshire and the curious thing is that in the UK the format of 2 letters followed by 4 numbers was phased out in 1932 and replaced with a series of 3 letters and 3 numbers which went up to 1963.

                However in some districts where there was a low level of vehicle registrations we believe that the earlier series continued for much longer and this could be the case here.

                We could use the registration number or numbers that we think that this bike might be and type it into the DVLA database and go up and down say 100 numbers each way and hope we get a hit on a currently registered vehicle that still retains its original number.

                Eric, yes the BSA A7 and A10 (the A7 is 500cc and the A10 is 650cc) are good bikes and good looking ones. They, and lots like them, are the result of the British bike industry having had to concentrate on Military production for over 5 years up until 1945 but even so they were at the same time preparing for resuming normal production after the war. There are a lot of A7's and A10's available in the UK although most of the ones that I see around and about are usually the swinging arm models from the 1950's. The rigid and plunger models are, I think, less common but nevertheless they are not rare so my friend wont have trouble locating one in not too long a period of time.

                Tommo, thanks very much for that information, I donít think I have ever seen an A7 with the speedo in the tank, was that an export feature of did it apply in the UK too?

                If my friend Mike can get a much better scan (and it comes out better than the one I have) we can see if we can see the mudguard mounts which sounds like it would be a good clue to the year.

                Once again thanks to everyone.

                John

                Comment


                • #9
                  I've attached a photo of a 1947 model and the speedo in the tank is visible along with the very infamous ratcheting down centre stand.
                  I hope I don't get into trouble by using this image as it appeared in a very recent issue of Real Classic magazine.
                  To the Editor of Real Classic, Sorry if I've stepped over the boundaries of copyright law
                  Attached Files
                  Peter Thomson, a.k.a. Tommo
                  A.M.C.A. # 2777
                  Palmerston North, New Zealand.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hi Tommo, thanks for the picture. Now that you mention it I remember reading about the "infamous" ratcheting centre stand. I have never seen or possibly noticed the speedo in the tank but I will certainly be on the lookout from now on.

                    I will let my friend Mike know and see if we can get a view of the front mudguard.

                    Thanks again.

                    John

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by TechNoir View Post
                      Hello all and thanks for the replies.

                      BoschZEV, my friend believes that the registration number is FF6977 although I am not so sure. However I haven’t seen the original pictures, only the scans. I have asked my friend to scan them at 1200 dpi although he says that the scans that I have are as good as the originals. He is an Engineer so I would have to believe him but nevertheless I would still like to see high res scans of them.

                      The registration is from Monmouthshire and the curious thing is that in the UK the format of 2 letters followed by 4 numbers was phased out in 1932 and replaced with a series of 3 letters and 3 numbers which went up to 1963.

                      However in some districts where there was a low level of vehicle registrations we believe that the earlier series continued for much longer and this could be the case here.

                      We could use the registration number or numbers that we think that this bike might be and type it into the DVLA database and go up and down say 100 numbers each way and hope we get a hit on a currently registered vehicle that still retains its original number.

                      Eric, yes the BSA A7 and A10 (the A7 is 500cc and the A10 is 650cc) are good bikes and good looking ones. They, and lots like them, are the result of the British bike industry having had to concentrate on Military production for over 5 years up until 1945 but even so they were at the same time preparing for resuming normal production after the war. There are a lot of A7's and A10's available in the UK although most of the ones that I see around and about are usually the swinging arm models from the 1950's. The rigid and plunger models are, I think, less common but nevertheless they are not rare so my friend wont have trouble locating one in not too long a period of time.

                      Tommo, thanks very much for that information, I don’t think I have ever seen an A7 with the speedo in the tank, was that an export feature of did it apply in the UK too?

                      If my friend Mike can get a much better scan (and it comes out better than the one I have) we can see if we can see the mudguard mounts which sounds like it would be a good clue to the year.

                      Once again thanks to everyone.

                      John
                      John,
                      I've looked at half a dozen articles on the A7 from 1946 to 1949 issues of the British weekly magazines "Motorcycling" and "The Motor Cycle" and would place the year of the BSA A7 in the pictures as a 1948 model. On the basis that it has the handlebar mounted speedometer (first on the '48s, '47 had it in the tank), the piled arms decal on the toolbox (Dec. 1947 onwards), the lower end of the front mudguard stay bolted behind the fork leg (changed for '49 models to be bolted in front of the fork leg).
                      Private message me if you want copies (scans) of these pictures and road test articles.
                      As to registration numbers, they indicate the location of original registration and generally remained with the vehicle, but in some cases a re-registration to a number from a scrapped vehicle was done, resulting in persistence of 2 letter/4 number sets. With 3 letter registrations only the second and third indicate the original registration location.

                      AFJ

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        H AJF, thanks very much for your reply it is very helpful and informative. I will send you a pm.

                        John

                        Comment

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