A Sunbeam S8 with ape-hangers!

It might seem like sacrilege to some, but around the time of the iconic Easy Rider film, Peter Gray of Dronfield bought a Sunbeam S8 sidecar outfit, removed the chair, fitted a reconditioned engine and of course added ape-hanger bars. This is his story.

In 1968 I bought a reconditioned Sunbeam S8 engine and parts from a work colleague for the princely sum of £12.

He’d done a complete rebuild on it, but on its very first road-legal day he was back-ended by a car which terminally damaged the frame.

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A good friend had an S8 outfit with a blown (definitely not supercharged!) engine which he gave me so that I could install the reconditioned engine into the frame.

All four of the bikes have high-rise bars as the gang meets at the Sheffield HQ. Peter and his Sunbeam are at the back on the left.

The sidecar was dumped, and I quickly had an almost roadworthy S8 solo machine.
This was around the time of the Easy Rider film, so it seemed natural that my S8 would look great with ape-hanger bars, as did my mates’ bikes.

The group photo shows various machines, including the Sunbeam, at our gang HQ in Sheffield.

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Read more and view more images in the September 2018 issue of OBM – on sale now!

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