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.

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.

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

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