story of a BSA Dandy of note - well, someone has to love them.
(Click the photo to see a larger picture in a slide show.)
At the age of thirteen I acquired an old Excelsior Autobyk, from where,
I can't remember now. I fiddled with it for hours and never
peep out of it, so it was eventually disposed of. Then a Triumph
plunger Tiger Cub came my way from a good friend. I was fifteen at the
time and too young to legally ride it on the road, plus my parents were
dead set against motorcycles, so the bike was kept at my pals house and
I was able to have a short ride, up and down his street, on Saturday
afternoons. At the time I used to dribble over Triumph Tiger 110s, but
an illegal cub was all I had.
On the 5th January 1959 I started work as a trainee accountant with
Cardiff Corporation and travelled back and fore to work in the
centre of Cardiff with my dad in his car. Out of my £4.0.10d a week
wages, I paid my mother £3 towards my keep. After a few weeks my mother
said that her and dad had agreed that I could have a motorcycle to get
me back and fore to work. At last, I thought a T110, hooray. It seemed
that my mum had saved the housekeeping money that I had been giving her
and put a deposit on a new bike for me from Car Distributors. The
owners of Car Distributors, known locally as BSA House were some
distant relatives of ours and mum knew them well, so my new bike was on
order - I did hope that BSA House could get hold of Triumphs, but their
very name should have given me a clue.
The bike was to be delivered after the shift finished at midday on
February by one of the mechanics on his way home. Gosh, that was a long
wait until that Saturday morning. Soon the mechanic appeared, but not
T110 as I'd hoped, but a BSA Dandy - oh dear!! Never mind though, it
was wheels, I was mobile, and legit.
bike came, complete with a set of panniers and a windscreen, the size
of which was near an 8 x 4 foot sheet of plywood - well, it seemed that
way! Have a look at the
photo and you'll see what I mean. The screen soon went, in the
of making forward motion on a windy day, with the bike managing to just
35mph without it. One day I tried to tune it and removed the
legshields and a few other bits.
I set for the top of Caerphilly mountain and with my chin on top of the
headlamp I set off down the hill with the throttle right round to the
stop. You've guessed it, flat out speed was still 35mph. The little
served me well through 1959 but by November was beginning to give
trouble, so I part ex'd it into Cyril Morgans in Caerphilly
BSA 250cc C15. The BSA was £165 and I needed another £100 for a T110
but just couldn't stretch the finances that far. I did catch sight of
the little Dandy the following year as it passed my house one day -
never to be seen again.
The story moves on 49 years to 2008 and the funeral of Doug Bailey.
After the funeral we all retired to the Nine Giants pub and I
sitting with Peter Benger, chewing over old times. Peter was the
secretary from 1972 to 1976 before he moved to Andover with his job and
we'd luckily managed to keep in touch. Somehow, we got talking about
Peter said "I've got four of those in pieces". Out of pure nostalgia I
said " Sell me one, you don't need that many". Well, the deal was done
and a month or so later I set off for Andover to collect a Dandy. There
was a choice of two and one was from 1959 - maroon and cream - just
like my old bike, so I had to have that one.
was some paperwork with the bike and I wondered, as I drove home from
Andover with the Dandy remains in the boot, about
the bikes history. It had a V5C for the number AKG568A and I knew that
was a number from 1963 with the A suffix and that the KG series were
issued by the Cardiff DVLA office. So, did the bike originate in
Cardiff? Could it be my old Dandy RUH232? Highly unlikely, I thought,
but worth investigating, especially as the A suffix number was totally
out of keeping for the bike.
So where to start? First thing that I did was to establish that RUH232
was not on the DVLA computer in any shape or form. The next thing then
was to use the freedom of information act and get a complete paper
trail history of what the DVLA had. That proved quite interesting and
from the DVLA file I found the following:
It’s a 1959 model, of course,
acquired by my pal from a trader at the Netley Marsh autojumble. Prior
it had passed through the hands of two people in Birmingham. Then comes
the interesting part –
the bike went to Birmingham
from a motor dealer in Cardiff back
around the mid 1990s – so the question still nagged in my mind, ‘Could
it be RUH232’?
I just had to find out. The Cardiff motor
dealer had used the bike to obtain an age related number for his car –
system for the recovery of old reg numbers was not in place back in the
90’s and at that time age related numbers were transferrable. When my
had bought the bike, it sported the number VSU468 – but now had a V5C
AKG568A. Gets complicated, doesn’t it? However, the A suffix number was
completely out of place for a 1959 machine and would need changing for
a more appropriate
age-related one at the very least.
day I had the opportunity to research the original BSA despatch books
VMCC Library and found that the Dandy now in my possession was
the 8th January 1959 to Car Distributors (BSA house) Ltd in Cardiff –
it was, the
only Dandy sent to them that month. Their next Dandy delivery wasn’t
22nd February. Everything fitted, so far.
stop was the Glamorgan archives and a check of the old Cardiff
registration records confirmed that the
Dandy in my garage was indeed RUH232. I’ve since managed to convince
people at the DVLA to let me have the number back. The engine is not
original one, which is a shame – but the rest is my old bike.
it took a few months and two years of ‘planning’, you have to ‘plan’
things, don’t you? Anyway, at last, sitting in my garage is a rather
resplendent cream and maroon BSA Dandy, sporting it's original
visiting my garage during the last few months and seeing the creation,
wonder if I’ve lost my marbles, I know my wife thinks so, but hey, what
nostalgia!! Each time I look at the little bike I smile and wonder just
it’s been for the past 50 odd years.
that's wrong, is the seat, as in 1959 mine had the new design
rubber version. I have a frame but it seems the rubber just
away over time. So I am making do with one the earlier type of seats -
however, if anyone knows for a
proper serviceable grey rubber
dandy seat - now that would
really make my day.