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Gang of One

I came across this photo of one of my sons-in-law’s grandfather. It was taken we think late 40s or early 50s, probably in the English Midlands.

Anyone recognise the ride? The photo absolutely crackles with atmosphere.

2 additional images. Click to enlarge.

28 responses to Gang of One

  1. Hey Rob ,I’ve been a biker all my life but not well up on British vintage bikes however it might be a Velocette, if you really want to know you might be able to trace it through the DVLA using the number.

  2. Great picture! I’m not an expert but seems like a Matchless or a Norton to me…

  3. We’re now thinking that this might even be 1930s. Thanks for your thoughts on this, thus far.

  4. Rob, I with Neil but not sure.
    Here is a link if you can find out the make.

  5. Hey Rob, Is there a reward for identifying it? HA HA.
    I immediately thought Norton, and the closest I have found is:
    1950 Norton Model 18
    However the one image I have found so far is of a restored one that may have dad different forks installed. The one in your picture looks like an earlier style front end with a single spring in the middle at the tree and multiple rods, the image I have seen has 1970’s style telescoping fork tubes. I will keep looking….

  6. Not sure the year but possibly 1948 Norton Model 18- I have seen an image of a ’48 with the same single spring multiple rod fork setup.

  7. I think this bike looks too beefy for pre war, my guess is late 50’s,it does look like a Norton but every image I have looked at shows a Norton logo moulded into the diagonal casing below/behind the cylinder.It might be ex army which would explain the lack of makers name on the tank and also how a young fella like him would come to own what would of been an expensive bike,you have my full interest on this one Rob!

  8. Right ! this will drive me bonkers I think that bike is a Triumph 3H or 3HW, 350cc and was used by the army in the 1940’s,but I could be wrong it’s happened before……

  9. Great photo, nice brain tease, got no idea.

  10. Rob ,I have say I think the kit is the same bike as your photo and is a single cylinder the picture of the restored bike is twin cylinder and a different bike.Like I said I think the bike is an ex MOD 3H .

  11. It would be nice to try and recreate the photo which I am sure has crossed your mind, a couple of things to note are that the bike in the picture has the rubber knee pads on the tank which were really just a styling thing and served no real purpose,I notice the kit fuel tank has the locating lugs moulded in so they may be included in the kit and also if you look closely you will see a horn with rubber bulb on the handlebars that the chap in the picture may have added.

  12. BSA? Just building Tamiyas little BSA M20 in 1/35.

  13. 1935 Triumph, capacity 500cc? reference – Pictorial history of Triumph motorcycles by Ivor Davies 1985.

  14. triumph 3t 350cc…1946 to 1948

  15. I must say, having started as a general technical query, this thread has ‘grown like Topsy.’ Thanks everyone for your comments.

  16. Pretty sure it’s a Triumph T80 which was the bike that the 3HW military bike was based on hence the similarity. Year would be late ’30s. Main difference is the cover at the top of the push-rods for operating the valves.
    The 3HW had a circular cover. The photo of course could be a bit later – folks made things last in those days! But it does have a pre-war look about it.

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