As it was such a nice, bright and sunny morning I decided to take Little Willie out for a run. However, she took a bit of convincing to get started, and it was to take quite a bit of priming, tickling, kicking and choking, before Wilhelmina burst into life - or to be more precise, coughed and spluttered into existence!
Once on the move, and with all the excess oil in the carb burned off - leaving a rearward smokescreen that could have concealed the D-Day landing force - she burbled along quite happily. Riding into town, I parked the D7 in our usual place near the Market Cross, and padlocked the steering head lugs.
"D10, isn't it?" asked a man, old enough to know better - borne out by his garb of jeans and winkle-pickers! "I've got a Todd head at home - my father used to race them."
"No," I replied, as politely as possible, "it's a D7..."
"I just knew it was!" he replied, "that's what I was going to say..."
"I was there when they sold BSA off at auction," he continued, and there we stood, talking BSA, Triumph, Excelsior, and Ford Anglia with a V6 engine (I think!), until the cows came home - or at least till the banks opened.
Fortunately, Little Willie had decided she wanted to go home again and made no fuss about starting again, which pleased me - and the audience - immensely!
I think Little Willie likes being the centre of attraction... or is it just me?
Poor Little Willie! It seems to have slipped out of the limelight for a week or so since I took possession of the 1951 D1 Bantam. But all will change within the next few days, I hope.
The D1 electrics have been the cause of some concern with the tendency to 'blow' bulbs. I've removed the stator plate, to reveal the coils (see picture), as I wanted to see what was behind the plate.
Here we can see it's a three-coil system (ignition coil removed, by the way): two large lighting coils with the red wire, and a smaller charging coil with the green wire. The white wire is the earth wire, common to both lighting and charging.
Strangely enough, only the red wire was being used in the set up, with a black wire joining it and going to the lighting switch. It seems, from what I've gathered, the charging coil was included by BSA if the owner ever wished to convert from AC to DC! (Can that really be so?)
Meanwhile, my friend Hughie is trying to sort out the stop plate mounting lugs! A bit of grinding, then head-scratching, a bit of welding, then heating it all up... what will happen next, I wonder?
That's what I was always told at school, and it's just as true now as it was then!
Bearing that in mind, I decided to see my friend Hughie and seek his advice over the misaligned stop plate on my D1 Bantam. He took one look at the mounting lugs and remarked about the 'crap' way they'd been welded by someone!
I've left the frame with him and he's going grind the old welds from around the mounting lugs, tack them in the correct place, make sure it all works before completing the welding.
He also spotted the centre stand was 'centred' and will put that right at the same time. I'm only going to have it down once, so why not get it right? OK, I know it will coast me, but it'll be money well spent! We also looked at the colour, which is totally wrong, so I'll be redoing that as well.
I ordered a new stop plate from Bournemouth Bantams, and I have to say what an excellent service Howard provides as the part came so quickly.
I fitted it but, unfortunately, due to the mounting lugs being several degrees from vertical, it hasn't made the difference I'd been hoping. I have various theories why the lugs were 'leaning over', but that fact remains they should be vertical. The result of this is the front brake pedal, which also bears against the stop, seems to be rather high and not easy to operate in that position.
To compensate for the misalignment of the stop plate I've come up with a modification, shown in the second photo.
This will entail welding a couple of pieces of 4mm mild steel to the front of the stop plate, which will: a) lower the brake pedal slightly, and: b) make the centre a bit more upright, hopefully raising the front wheel off the ground.
I just need to 'persuade' a friend of mine in the garage business to do a 'spot' of welding for me!
There was something on in Wymondham Market Place this morning, with much activity, and a handful of classic vehicles were gathered nearby.
I parked Little Willie next to a rather nice Douglas Dragonfly and eventually got to speak to its owner, a local window-cleaner, Dave (I think his name is) who is quite a celebrity in our town, fighting off the Dragon on St George's Day every year!
Quite a few people gathered round the two British bikes, expressing admiration for the way they looked. Dave told me something I hadn't realised; BMW 'pinched' the horizontally-opposed cylinder arrangement from Douglas. Not a lot of people know that!
I decided to take a look at the electrics on my D1, as it had the tendency to blow bulbs, or so I was told. There appear to be three lighting coils on the stator plate, with three wires: white (earth), green and red.
The white wire goes to terminal no. 3 (which is linked to no. 2 (earth).
The green wire goes to terminal no. 4; but there's no wire leading from it to the wiring harness!
The red wire goes to terminal no. 1; a black lead goes from there to the wiring harness, so this must be the direct lighting lead, I guess.
Here's a view of the stator plate from the front, showing the leads from the coils going to the terminals. What there is of the wiring harness - just a black lead - is in place with the HT lead.
But what does the green wire supply and where to? Perhaps it was intended to go to a rectifier and then to a battery. Perhaps someone added another coil, or maybe this isn't the original stator plate for the D1.
Anyhow, it keeps me from doing the household chores!
Today I decided to investigate the inability of my D1 - 'Green Gremlin' - to remain upright when on its centre stand. OK, so the feet are badly worn and will need welding bits on, but there's something odd about the centre stand stop plate as well I noticed.
To get a better look - I hate getting down on my hands and knees at my age (don't ask!) - I removed the engine! Well, not straight away as I had to take off the exhaust, then the tool-box (wrong one, of course!), then the chain and chain guard, then the petrol tank, then disconnect the wiring and cables - until, hey presto! - out came the engine. Then I could take a good look at the stop plate.
Of course the plate not only acts upon the centre stand, preventing it from leaning too far forward (or back) but it's also a stop for the brake pedal.
When I took a good look at the plate I could see another bit of metal had been welded on as well as other 'additions'! All rather odd. I've included a picture of it for you to see. I guess a lot can happen to a Bantam in its 62 years of life. What else am I going to find, I wonder? However, it's all part of life's rich tapestry - or owning a Bantam! I've been there before, remember, with Little Willie. Noting is ever what it seems.....
I've decided to keep the little Green Gremlin indoors for the time being. Well, almost indoors - in my front porch, actually, with the freezer, tumble dryer and ironing board for company!
Looking on the BSA Bantam Club's website it seems I need a new centre stand stop plate (which is also the brake pedal stop plate), and I've found one on Ebay which I've put in a bid for. Six days to go!
The chunk of iron I included on this blog yesterday was originally the stop plate, but had been added to by someone over the past 62 years. So it's now up to me to put it back to its factory state - if I can! There's more fun to follow, no doubt.
In the meantime, I shall still be riding Little Willie as she is so well-loved in my home town. So more of the D7 Bantam later!
I've had a couple of rides on my latest Bantam, a 1951 D1, but the road-holding was what I can only describe as rather vague! It seemed to want to go anywhere, rather than where the handlebars were directing it. Upon taking a closer look the bars were loose, as were the steering head bearings, so, for my safety's sake I called it a day and decided to rectify the problems immediately.
Another problem that has come to light (pun?) is the ability to blow bulbs! I was warned that by the vendor, though. I decided to check it out and connected a test lead up to the wires seen in this picture - the result? You've guessed it! My test light bulb blew - and that was only at tickover! There could be a chance that - at some time - a later flywheel has been added, with more magnets, and this will produce the effect I seem to have here. Any other ideas, anyone? Or is there a gremlin here? A good name that - the little Green Gremlin!
Just before lunchtime today I received a telephone call from the courier used by Pembrokeshire Classics to say he would be delivering my BSA D1 Bantam within the next two hours. And, true to his word, he arrived on time and quickly unloaded my new prized possession - a 1951 D1 Bantam.
As you can see it's in a very good condition (OK, so the tank should have cream side panels, but that I'll do in time!) and started first kick. There will, of course, be little jobs to do - ie. a good safety check-over before taking it out on the road - but taking a quick look there doesn't seem very much to do at all.
I've been the proud owner of a 1965 BSA Bantam D7 since 1991, affectionately known as Little Willie (Wilhelmina) and love to take her out for a ride so that others can see her.