A CUSTOM SUN BEAM
It’s been interesting reading articles and letters about the Sunbeam S7/S8. Here’s a photo of a ‘customised’ S7 that I owned in the early 1960s, taken in North Wales in 1964. I think it shows they didn’t have to be dressed as a gentleman’s motorcycle. I took my inspiration from an American magazine called
Home Mechanix. As you can see, the bike had a petrol tank from a BSA C12 and its mudguards were brass, the saddle was an old racing seat I bought secondhand. Custom bikes weren’t seen much then so it really turned heads.
I don’t think you can compare an S7/S8 with a BSA Shooting Star 500. In my opinion the latter was far superior. Back in the day, considering its handling, performance, ease and cost of maintenance, the Shooting Star was thought by many to be the best motorcycle ever built. Before challenging that belief, remember that popular motorcycling had developed from the Victorian love of cycling, and motorcycles therefore had to be affordable if they were to be successful. These bikes can’t be seen in the same way as modern bikes that may arguably be more reliable, etc, but which are often expensive, complicated and beyond the DIY mechanic. I’m sure Arthur Davidson would have observed that they can’t be repaired on your momma’s porch…
Mick N, member 9986