Spade strikes old mo­tor­bike

Auckland City Harbour News - - News - By Janie Smith

Keen gar­dener Karen Amor got more than she bar­gained for while dig­ging her veg­etable patch.

The Three Kings res­i­dent found a vin­tage 1920s mo­tor­cy­cle buried un­der 10cm of dirt.

“The wheels and the mo­tor have cor­roded but other than that it’s in pretty good nick,” she says.

Ms Amor and her part­ner were dig­ging up the lawn in the cor­ner of the yard last week when her spade hit a metal spring.

Her part­ner was us­ing a ro­tary hoe and hit the back of the bike at the same time.

“We thought there was a lot still there so we got out the smaller spades and brushes and un­cov­ered it.”

When they re­alised it was al­most a com­plete bike they dug it up.

“Our neigh­bour has lived here for 64 years and she’s never seen it. She thinks it might have been there since the war,” Ms Amor says.

She has shown the bike to col­leagues at Turn­ers Auc­tions but they have not been able to iden­tify it.

A friend who re­stores old mo­tor­cy­cles also had a look.

“He thinks it might be an Ivory Calthorpe, which is re­ally rare,” Ms Amor says.

“He thinks it’s from 1929 to 1931 but we can’t be ab­so­lutely sure be­cause some of the defin­ing fea­tures are no longer there.”

Rem­nants of green paint on the bike have prompted spec­u­la­tion that it might be an In­dian Chief, used by the army.

“It would be nice to know ex­actly what it is,” says Ms Amor.

The bike’s num­ber plate is still faintly read­able but has dif­fer­ent num­bers on each side.

Ms Amor can’t trace it be­cause na­tional records do not go back far enough.

Motat’s road trans­port vol­un­teers say the bike is Bri­tish and was likely made in the mid-1920s, but def­i­nitely be­fore 1930.

It also has a gate change which means the gears were changed by hand rather than by foot.

But the vol­un­teers could not say what make it was.

“Af­ter much dis­cus­sion it was de­cided it is ei­ther a BSA, a Royal En­field or an Ariel,” says Motat mar­ket­ing and events co­or­di­na­tor Brid­gette Jo­han­son.

Some of the vol­un­teers have taken away a pic­ture of the bike to re­search fur­ther.

Photo: JA­SON OXENHAM

Buried trea­sure: Karen Amor found this 1920s mo­tor­cy­cle buried in her back­yard.

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