In or out – it’s the defining question!

Mick Payne wonders whether it will ever be possible for anyone to produce a truly definitive list of every sidecar manufacturer in history.

Who remembers the column NAIT? It stood for ‘Not Appearing in Tragatsch’ and was a regular piece on the marques that slipped beyond the radar of Erwin Tragatsch when compiling his Illustrated History of Motorcycles.

That’s one of the problems with compiling definitive works, and the very thing that would put me off ever attempting such a tome, and this train of thought was initiated through some recent correspondence I’ve been having with a sidecar manufacturer in the United States. Europe doesn’t have a monopoly!

You see, I have a copy of Geoff Brazendale’s The Sidecar: a History open at Part 2, The Sidecar A-Z, The Encyclopaedia of Sidecars, From ABC to Zundapp, and Jonny Sweet’s rigs are absent.

Jim D’Arcy of Charnwood fame is seen on his Levis bike and chair – but the Charnwood isn’t mentioned.

This got me wondering just how many other makes are missing, which is not meant to be a dig at Geoff, but rather an observation that trying to make a true list of just about anything is probably impossible.

So I thought I might, over a period of time, give a few of those elusive makes a bit of highlighting.

Of course one of the snags with any book is that it will soon go out of date. The Sidecar was first printed in 1999, and reprinted in 2013 with additions. As anything post-2013 is unlikely to be of too much interest to OBM readers, my research will stop there. Back in the day, there were probably dozens of manufacturers who built a handful of units, probably in their garden sheds, in some cases using other makers’ chassis and fixings.

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

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