Pete’s Prattle

Two recurring themes are the classic bikes we’ve loved and lost, and those now worth a fortune that we’ve sold for peanuts, and there are instances of both in this month’s Old Bike Mart.

When I was living alone in Lancaster and working as production editor of Trials & Motocross News in nearby Morecambe, I spent many evenings in a small lock-up on an industrial estate stripping down and restoring a tatty 350cc Ducati Sebring that I’d bought just for something to do.

Often I’d still be there late at night, rubbing down the frame and other components with emery cloth and blistered hands, and polishing and repolishing the chrome and alloy parts until I could see my face in them. When hunger pangs set in, I’d call it a day and indulge myself in a bag of fish and chips on the way home!

After finding a new job as editor of Motor Cycle Mechanics, and moving to Peterborough with a new family to support, the Sebring moved with me.

I could think of no one better to fettle the engine than Mick Walker, whose bike shop and second-hand Italian spare parts emporium at Wisbech drew enthusiasts from far and wide – and fettle it he did! With a higher-compression piston fitted, it had a kick like a mule and a roar like a Manx Norton.

Only a few finishing-off touches were left when, hitting a difficult financial patch and wanting to take my family on a well-deserved holiday, I sold the Sebring to a colleague on the understanding that I’d be able to buy it back whenever I liked.

In no time at all, though – and as was his absolute right – he’d sold it on.
At least the little Ducati had kept me sane for the best part of two years – but oh, what I’d give to be reunited with CDN 85K now!

In the past we’ve all sold what have become today’s expensive classics for next to nothing, and OBM would love to hear your tales, but the one that really takes the biscuit is the Vincent Comet that Ian Savage, the VOC Spares Company’s manager, bought from his brother Alan for a shilling! (see pages 50-51).

Take care till next time.

Pete

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