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Get MCN for just £7 a month when you pay by Direct Debit Or pay £97 for the year when you pay by credit/debit card/ Paypal FACT FILE Born Early 1950s High point Late 1970s Disappeared Late 1980s ( but actually they’re still around) Q Never missing an iss
It’s hard to pinpoint the genesis of the fairing. Stanley Woods had a slanted number board and attached clear screen on his Tt-winning Norton in 1926 while, through the 1930s, the BMW and Brough, respectively, of land speed record chasers Ernst Henne and Eric Fernihough gained ever-increasing aerodynamic bodywork. The Vincent Black Prince of 1954 came with a full fairing but for cleanliness not speed. Unfortunately the Stevenage firm lost money on every one and just 200 were built. However, from the early 1950s a number of firms, most notably Avon, began making aftermarket fairings that would fit BSAS and Triumphs and became very popular.
Avon? I thought they made tyres? No, you’re confusing them with Avon Tyres of Melksham, Wiltshire, which was sold to US firm Cooper Tires in 1997. Avon fairings were produced from the early 1950s by fibreglass specialists the Mitchenall Brothers of nearby Amesbury. With streamlined fairings becoming common on racing machines, sales took off and by 1956 they were selling 1500 a week.
And what about Rickman? That came a little later. Rickman brothers Don and Derek found success first making scrambler frame kits in the 1960s and later street sportster kits, complete with bodykits for Japanese multis. They stopped making bikes in 1976 to focus on aftermarket fairings, top boxes, crash bars and the like.
So all this was just in the UK? The USA got into them in the 1970s, too. Craig Vetter of Triumph X75 Hurricane fame made his first in 1966 followed in 1970 by the universalfit Windjammer. This proved such a success with touring types on their new, naked Japanese multis that he sold over 500,000 of them.
Anyone else? By the mid-1970s dozens of fairing brands had sprung up. France had Motodesign, Germany had Krauser, Australia La Parisienne (famous for the fairing on Goose’s Z1 in Mad Max).
They were starting to get stylish by then… Most were plain, white and vulgar, especially the touring offerings, but the sports ones, and especially the full bodykits by the likes of Rickman and Dunstall, were about as good as it got… designed ‘Pro Ams’; if you had a Honda Superdream it was much improved with an Invader handlebar fairing, and there were the Ian Dyson Superbody kits...
The Ian Dyson what? They were the most gorgeous full body fairing kits for the likes of the Suzuki