Google+ Followers

Monday, April 16, 2018

Tank repairs...

Sometime last summer I picked up a couple of bargain Matchless/AJS tanks from a vendor in California to experiment with.  Both had traces of original paint and chrome, the latter of which was the subject of said experimentation.  I had dropped both in wood bleach, which cleared away a considerable amount of rust from the chrome surface however the pitting was too extreme.

I can't seem to find the photos from that specific test, however I will post them when they turn up.

I shelved the one tank for later as it had a poor repair to the bottom.  The second one was a much better prospect, having few dents and a lone screw broken off in the thread for one of the badges.   I decided that removing it wasn't a big problem and I needed the practice to perform the same operation to a 1966 Triumph tank waiting in the wings.

Unfortunately I was mistaken.  While I started off with a small drill bit, I somehow ended up punching a hole right through!

With no welder at the time, it joined the other tank on the shelf.

As the ice storm was hitting hard outside,  I needed to feel some sense of achievement inside the garage.

I fired up the old Becca Mig and began to build up some material around the hole.  This was then ground down flat.  I became ambitious and began to lead fill the tank.  This probably would have worked out better in warmer temperatures as you fight the ambient temperature to keep the metal hot enough.  I will need to add a bit more lead to finish, but overall I am pleased with the results!

With an all metal tank, this opens up to another planned experiment I am saving for the summer.

A true bugger up.

Some build up of material 

After some grinding 

Some lead filled in

After the smoothing out

Until next time! 

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Firth's 1952 Catalogue!

I confess to have been sitting on this one for a while!  Sometime last year, a few more of these wonderful time capsules came my way (expect two more in the coming weeks) and I hadn't gotten around to editing them.

As I sit here in mid-April listening to an ice storm brewing outside my window, I decided to make the time!

If you have visited here before, you know that I have tremendous affection for vintage literature, spending hours pouring through them.  I hope that you enjoy them as much as I do!

Interesting to see the bilingual insert;  Mr. Firth was certainly well ahead of the curve when it came to marketing!

I recently saw one of these HMF (House Brand) Juster seats on Ebay, listed as vintage Bates Double seat!  I wonder what happened to the automatic prop stand?  Looks like a handy device...

Monday, March 19, 2018


"The heart dies a slow death, shedding each hope like leaves until one day there are none. No hopes. Nothing remains."

A 1972 Rolls Royce Silver Shadow as it should be.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

The life of an Alvis apprentice, circa 1956...

While cleaning out my father's home late last year I felt incredibly lucky to discover these intact documents from six decades ago.  It gives one a very clear snapshot of not just the era but the expectations employers had of their apprentices.  This legally binding document, makes clear the position of the employer as master and apprentice as willing servant and keeper of secrets (and the faith).

It really is a beautiful document to hold, the high quality of the paper has not dried or faded in any way.  The wax seal and watermarked paper are also in impeccable shape.   Of course, I would expect nothing less from a company like Alvis, that produced some of the most beautiful luxury cars of the time.    That wasn't their only line however, they also produced aircraft engines and armored vehicles that are still in production.  Very recently the Alvis name has resurfaced in automotive production (on a small scale) crafting and recreating past classics.  I encourage you to peruse the site, if you are a car buff you will likely find it as inspiring as I do.

I scanned the following document to the best of my ability;  The form is on the large side with rather deep creases in the center.  I will likely re-scan the middle section again,  For now, here it is.

While I had hoped to find more documents from my father's time at the factory, none have turned up yet.  I am, of course happy to be able to share this one with you.

Until next time....

Monday, February 12, 2018

Lost and Found in the never ending winter...

It has been a particularly strange winter this year, lots of snow, some warmth, subzero temperatures, rain;  Lather, Rinse, repeat, etc.  Since Christmas, MotoCode HQ has fallen into a state of disarray and as said HQ has no heat, the motivation to tidy it up has been quite low.

I am reminded of a quote from the Steve McQueen Film LeMans.

"Racing's important to men who do it well. When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting"

Substitute 'Racing' with 'restoration' and you get the idea.    For those of us who work on bikes and cars, both professionals and amateurs such as myself, Winter is about the waiting.

This year, I have decided to use this downtime to work on other non-vehicular projects.  Every once in a while it is healthy to take a step away from our obsessions and come back to them with a fresh perspective.

For me, this has been a foray into (fiction) writing and film making.  I have wanted to play the auteur for a considerably long time but was never quite sure where or how to start.  Like anything else the answer is simple;  Dive in and do it.  Take any conceptions of success or failure out of your mind and see where the experience takes you.  Letting my creativity run free and stepping away from the technical has been rejuvenating.  I often wake up energized, full of new ideas to put into action.

My format of choice at the moment is Super 8mm.  I love the look and the simplicity of camera use. The focus is on what is being filmed rather than how.  At some point (maybe the Paris Rally?) I would like to capture some classic vehicles on film and share it here.

With all that being said, I apologize for the lack of posts but they are forthcoming.  I have some Firth's Motorcycle catalogs to share and once spring is upon us, project updates.

If this winter has you feeling somewhat despondent, switching gears may just work for you as it has for me.

Until next time...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Change of heart!

I just can't do it...

Cut the roof of an original car that is.  Maybe I am still seeing images of Daisy being cut up for the sweet hereafter.

I started to measure, mark, plot and plan but I didn't feel right somehow.

If anyone is interested in the original sunroof frame it will be up on The Samba for sale.

Until next time...

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

To the fellow who emailed me....

I received your email and replied, however it bounced back.   That being said, I will post my response here for you:

Hi Scott,

I'm afraid I don't have any information on that specific bike.  I can give you a couple of leads though.  I am not sure if you knew this but Loran was the shop that took over when Harry Firth retired around 1980.  Firth's would have likely sold the bike originally (I have a 1969 myself that came from the same shop) as they were the main Norton dealer in Southern Ontario.

Mark at British Cycle Supply was trained at Firth's and had some contact with Loran afterwards.  

Mark is a very helpful guy and might possibly have some insight. Chances are very good that the owner may have ordered parts from him.  

The other lead would be the access Norton forum.  The members there are well connected, many of them from Ontario.  Someone there may recognize the name of the owner or be aware of the bike. 

I hope this helps and thank you for reading!


As for everyone else, I wish you all a safe and Happy Christmas!