True Tale of a BSA Trike by Jonathan Lines

December 1998

This story starts in the May/June of 1997 when I was asked if I would be interestedin pricing a complete redecoration on a cottage, which I was told by the builder,Colin Shipton, was in a very bad state of disrepair.
He said to meet him at thecottage to have a look around and told me it was just a few miles along the road fromSpaldwick, Huntingdonshire.
The next evening I drove there and saw Colin's pick-up truck parked on the grass verge. I parked a little way behind and got out, but Icouldn't see any cottage. I kept walking towards the pick-up truck and as I gotcloser I could just make out a cottage behind a very overgrown hedge and largechestnut trees. I went through the gate and knocked on the door. Colin answeredand asked me in.I walked into a room where I could not believe my eyes. It was like stepping back 50years or more in time. Cobwebs on vases and ornaments, full of furniture, I squeezedthrough for a look. The only heating being a paraffin heater and just one cold tap inthe kitchen. To cut a long story short, I got the job of redecorating the cottage. Astime went by I eventually got to meet the lady of the house. The lady and her hus-band had been away while the refurbishment was going on. As I was the last personworking there, they both decided to move back in. The lady in her 80's, the husbandin his late 70's, they had several carers who looked after them.
One day I was chatting to one of the carers. She said there was an old car in the sheddown the garden, which she thought to be a Morgan three wheeler. So I finished mycoffee and thought I would go for a look. I fought my way through the undergrowthand found the shed that was locked, so I looked through a crack in the door. All Icould see was a chrome headlight on a wing.I got to know the lady very well over a period of time. One day I asked her what itwas and whether she would like to sell it. She told me it was a BSA Trike 1934, fourcylinder. When it came to selling it, she wasn't too keen because it meant a lot toher. Her father had bought it as a 21st birthday present when it was a few monthsold. As time went by she agreed to sell it to me.
A lot of people had got to knowabout it and she feared that someone might steal it, as the shed it was kept in wasunsecured. A couple of people had approached her over the years and offered moneyfor it. She told me she would prefer to sell it to someone local who she knew wouldrestore it, so she might be able to see it again.
A price was agreed. The day for collection came. My brother in law Steve, who isa mechanic, "very handy", and I went to the cottage. Money and documents wereexchanged. The lady said it was a very sad day but also a happy one because it wasgoing to someone who was going to restore it, look after it and the main thing, keepit. After saying goodbye I once more fought my way through the undergrowth withthe keys to unlock the doors to the shed. Steve had already started to dig the soil,nettles etc. away from the doors. 072-asEventually we managed to open one door and I took a few photos. There she was, the BSA covered in cobwebs and dust, with threevery perished tyres in the dusty soil floor. With no trouble we pushed it out, it hadn'tseen daylight for many years. With its cream body and hood, the mudguards, wheelsand seat had beer painted burgundy in the early 50's, with the original paint under-neath showing through which was green.We got the BSA home for a closer look, which revealed it was in a very good condition with no rot to the ash frame or plywood floor, which had still got the body tagfixed to the floor under the carpet, driver's side. The engine turned over easily andwith some oil and paraffin down the plug holes and some fresh petrol in the carb, itstarted after about four pulls on the starting handle. With a cloud of dust and spidersshooting out of the exhaust pipe, the oil pressure gauge came up to pressure quicklyand it settled down to a steady tick over. All this was all the more remarkable con-sidering we believe it has not been used since the early 50's.
We are now restoring the trike sympathetically, avoiding the temptation to get carried away and end up with it in a thousand pieces, as it would be a shame to spoil itsincredible originality. Just repairing the necessary parts, concentrating on preserving it, with the intention of having it roadworthy again for next summer's 70th anniversary of the BSA trike.From time to time I pop in and have a chat and a cup of tea with the lady I bought itfrom. I could go on but I won't. Just one more thing -1 would like to thank RayYoung and Rob Gould who came over one wet windy night in January and had alook, telling me what model it was - a TW 34-10 Special Sports Deluxe - whichexplained its several unusual features, such as bright green and cream bodywork,chrome gear lever and steering column, green dashboard and steering wheel, andstill having its original single small rear lamp.
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