The Classic Motorcycle
Royal Enfield Constellation
Having restored a few bikes in the past,
Peter Tarrant had set out to find something a bit on the rare side. Every restorer seemed to be working on Triumph or Norton which are quite common – albeit for all the right reasons – but he wanted something a little different and, after a little searching in 2015 he found a Royal Enfield Constellation Airflow model, slowly deteriorating within a damp garage in South Wales.
A previous owner had restored it, and the current owner had been using it for about five years. Understanding that only a few Constellation Airflow models left the factory from its launch in 1958 and for the following five years, Peter was determined to restore the bike to its original condition, and work was completed in 2017.
After an initial plan to sell it was skittled thanks to some silly offers, the decision was made to keep the bike but, not willing to see it deteriorate, Peter decided to store the 700cc twin in a Vacbag with plenty of silicone gel.
However, 2022 meant that Peter had passed a significant birthday, and he’d become resigned to the fact that he’d not be riding the big Enfield at any point – it is, to be fair, quite a sizable machine, especially with the Airflow fairing and front mudguard – and realised that he’d have to decide what was going to happen with the Connie. Not wanting to see it rust away in another damp garage, he contacted the National Motorcycle Museum and they were willing to take the bike in.
On collection day, the bike was removed from the Vacbag and found to be in a pristine condition, exactly the same as when it was stored four years earlier, which is testament to how well a bike can be stored if you go about it in the right way.
The Connie has replaced a near-identical model in the museum (the flanged alloy rims that were originally fitted to Peter’s bike were swapped to the museum’s other Airflow Connie), with the bike that it has replaced being sold to raise funds.