Forced mar­riage

Old Bike Australasia - - CLUB DIRECTORY & MARKETPLAC­E - Edgar Jes­sop

Last is­sue’s rev­e­la­tion of the cu­ri­ous and to­tally in­ef­fec­tive Spagis has prompted a stream of cor­re­spon­dence on Spag­forth’s pre­dictably fu­tile ef­forts to cap­ture a sec­tion of the niche mar­ket. Peter Ad­di­son, who has con­ducted nu­mer­ous new model road tests for OBA, is a stu­dent of lu­di­croc­ity as ap­plied to mo­tor­cy­cle en­gi­neer­ing and con­stantly trawls the world search­ing for ex­am­ples of fatu­ous two-wheeled cre­ations. Re­cently he un­earthed what he be­lieves to be a pho­to­graph of the Jag­forth (also known as the Spaguar) which was the off­spring of a short-lived li­ai­son be­tween Sir Car­ruthers Spag­forth and Sir Wil­liam Lyons.

Both ti­tled gen­tle­men were pa­trons of WAFT (Work­ing Against Flat­u­lence & Tym­pa­n­ites) – a roy­al­sanc­tioned so­ci­ety that con­ducted its bi-an­nual meet­ings at Le Casino de Monte-Carlo. Af­ter a stren­u­ous ses­sion dis­cussing the ef­fects of polysac­cha­rides on in­testi­nal gas pro­duc­tion, Spag­forth and Lyons switched the topic to the prod­ucts of their re­spec­tive fac­to­ries, and specif­i­cally the pos­si­bil­ity of in­cor­po­rat­ing ex­cess Jaguar XK120 en­gines into sim­i­larly stock­piled Spag­forth Lurcher chas­sis. Ini­tial work on the Jag­forth was un­der­taken by a team selected from en­gi­neers rep­re­sent­ing both com­pa­nies, but af­ter an all-in brawl when Spag­forth bof­fin Hugh Jel­bows ac­cused his op­po­site num­ber, Arthur ‘Bluey’ Zar­zoff of pla­gia­ris­ing the for­mer’s white paper on Juglans Re­gia Com­bus­tion (us­ing wal­nut ker­nels as mo­tor spirit), the team was dis­banded and de­vel­op­ment and con­struc­tion of the Jag­forth – con­se­quently re­named Spaguar – was taken over by Edgar Jes­sop him­self. The Lurcher frame, which had orig­i­nally been de­signed to house the ca­dav­er­ous 98cc Spag­forth Limpit en­gine, coped sur­pris­ingly well with the 3.4 litre six-cylin­der XJ120 en­gine, pos­si­bly due to the fact that its frame tubes had been pur­loined from sec­tions of the de­com­mis­sioned Sev­ern Bridge when it was re­placed with a mod­ern con­crete struc­ture. Work pro­gressed at a typ­i­cally woe­ful pace, with lit­tle in the way of re­sources, hu­man or other­wise, be­ing placed at Edgar’s dis­posal. Even­tu­ally, a thun­der­ous memo from Sir Car­ruthers, de­mand­ing the Spaguar’s com­ple­tion prior to the next WAFT meet­ing, re­sulted in Edgar tak­ing the cre­ation to the nearby Santa Pod Drag Strip for shake­down tests. Just one run was made, re­sult­ing in a stand­ing quar­ter mile of 1.21 sec­onds with a ter­mi­nal speed of 916 mph. It took the Spaguar crew hours to lo­cate the pro­jec­tile, which cov­ered a fur­ther eight miles whilst de­cel­er­at­ing – its hap­less pi­lot eject­ing along the way and lick­ing his wounds in the Weasel & Stoat Inn.

Not sur­pris­ingly, the Jag­forth/ Spaguar failed to reach pro­duc­tion, join­ing a long list of doomed dal­liances be­tween once-great or­gan­i­sa­tions.

With great trep­i­da­tion, Edgar Jes­sop ma­noeu­vres the Spaguar to­wards the stag­ing area for its one and only test run.

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