Mal­colm’s mon­ster

Mal­colm Oastler, for­mer tech­ni­cal head of sev­eral For­mula One teams in­clud­ing BAR and Jaguar, nowa­days spends a qui­eter ex­is­tence in the NSW Blue Moun­tains. His brother Mark was found­ing ed­i­tor of our sis­ter mag­a­zine, Aus­tralian Mus­cle Car but you can’t k

Old Bike Australasia - - OUT’N’ABOUT -

“The idea for the bike was born out of a search for a Tri­umph Thrux­ton in a “bikes for sale” mag. As it hap­pened, there wasn’t a sin­gle Thrux­ton in the mag, but there was a pic­ture of a bloke sit­ting on a bike with a lon­gi­tu­di­nal flat­head V8 in it. A bit more search­ing around re­vealed that the bike was some hideous chop­per thing, but by then I had the idea of a V8 Café Rac­er­ish bike in my head, so it had to hap­pen. I was ex­tremely lucky to find a Simca Vedette en­gine for sale. They’re not com­mon! The Simca en­gine is based on the Ford V8-60, but when Simca bought Ford France in the 60s, they re­fined the en­gine and put it in their ver­sion of a Yank Tank, the Simca Vedette. Most of the rest of the bike is a BMW R100/7, cut in half and re­built around the en­gine. I found just the right bike lo­cally, with the tallest fi­nal drive and twin disc front brakes. The frame is now in two halves, built onto the front and rear of the en­gine, and is vastly stiffer and stronger than the orig­i­nal. There was a lot of engi­neer­ing and fab­ri­ca­tion to do to get it all to work and be nice and tidy. I made the tank, bars, sump, bell­hous­ing, fly­wheel, ra­di­a­tor, seat, ex­hausts, and all of the ex­tra lit­tle bits needed to fin­ish a one off project like this. The en­gine has had a full re­build, with new pis­tons, rings and bear­ings, and now dis­places 2.5 litres. The heads got a shave, which brought the com­pres­sion ra­tio from a lazy 7.2 up to a scream­ing 8.5:1.

When I first rode it, it wasn’t that flash, to be hon­est. But over a cou­ple of years I’ve re­fined it, and now it’s lovely. Silky smooth, and goes any­where in 5th. Uprated springs and shocks were a big im­prove­ment. It weighs in at just on 300kg, and has an engi­neer­ing cer­tifi­cate and full NSW rego. There is more on YouTube, if you search Rat Café V8 bike. How­ever, like all of my projects, I don’t use them once they’re fin­ished (I only did 250km on it last year), be­cause I get busy on the next one. So now it’s for sale to some­one who might like to ride it a bit more of­ten! It’s quite a head turner, and rarely gets parked with­out be­ing pho­tographed. I can be con­tacted at [email protected]­ for de­tails. I’m look­ing for $32k for it.”

Mal­colm Oastler with his “Rat Café V8”. Quite a step from svelte F1 ma­chin­ery.

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