Unidentical twins

Although different in appearance, the 650cc BSA A10 Gold Flash and Ariel Huntmaster FH parallel twins offered identical performance as their engines were the same unit produced at BSA’s Small Heath factory in Birmingham, making them equally proficient at fast two-up touring or lusty sidecar lugging. Pete Kelly explores the Mortons Archive to compare the two.

When, in the mid-1960s, Dad took it into his head to swap his lovely BSA A10/Busmar double-adult combo for a second-hand Reliant Regal, the effect it had on Mum was the direct opposite of what he’d expected – she cried her eyes out because the outfit had gone!

If anyone doubted the popularity of BSA’s big twins, take a look at this shot from the Mortons Archive in which a fair few are apparent. Sadly no description of what the occasion was is given – but what’s the betting that an OBM reader will come up with the answer by the next issue?

I have to admit that I sided with her completely, because as a passenger either in or on the outfit, I’d always been impressed by the Beeza’s endless reserve of torque in all conditions. In looks, too, the black BSA, with its chrome-sided tank, together with the black and cream sidecar, left the grey Regal standing.

Ariel’s equivalent to the Gold Flash, the handsome Huntmaster FH, is most often remembered for its overall claret enamel finish (the nearest match being Ford Black Cherry) set off by its startling whitish-coloured dual seat, full-width polished alloy hubs and other styling touches such as the shapely headlamp surround. Introduced in 1954, both engines were identical internally, although the Ariel’s crankcase and timing covers differed in shapes from those on the BSA to accommodate on the drive side the Ariel/Burman clutch.


Huntmaster cylinders, cylinder heads and rocker box covers also differed with a more rounded shape, and the rocker box had a lid that made it much easier to locate the push rods.

Read more in the June issue of OBM – on sale now!




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