New season reflections

Friday, 6 December 2013
And so, to the first issue of another calendar year – 2014. It’s now upwards of 10 years since I took over the editorship of this magazine, and it’s been a time of actually quite a lot of change in the classic motorcycle and, of course, magazine markets

It’s only when one goes and looks back at an issue from 10 years ago (and I confess I was prompted to do this by our contributor, Alan Turner, who’d been doing it himself) that one realises some of the changes that have taken place in the classic world.

Although the motorcycles we at The Classic MotorCycle focus our attentions on are similar now, there are some changes, especially when one looks at the ads. In 2004, a Vincent Black Shadow was being advertised for £21,500, several Vincent Comets at £5000-6000 and a few Velocette Venoms at around £4k.

Of course, a Shadow is now, what, three times that, a Comet at least double (and more) and good Venoms probably double too. But many other things haven’t changed in price anything like so dramatically or hardly at all; for example, there’s a 1961 Bonneville for around £12k and two pre-unit Thunderbirds for £5k and £6500 apiece; all probably what they’d fetch now. Anything vintage and prewar has also escalated price wise too. None of this obviously actually means anything, really, but it is interesting to see how things have gone.

I’ve always been quite fascinated by prices and what things (motorcycles) cost at certain times.

Just from interest I pulled out a couple of price lists, one from 1951, the other 1929, just for a look and noted a few down.

In 1951, a Black Shadow was £402, a Rapide £358, a B34 Goldie, £253, a Matchless G9 £249 and a Thunderbird £220, to name a few.

From 1929, an SS100 Brough Superior was listed at £170 dead, a Douglas SW5 (and DT5) £85, a Norton CS1 £77, a KTT Velocette £80 (with a KSS £62), a Model 90 Sunbeam a heady £105, a TT Replica Scott £86, a CTT Triumph £57, a BSA Sloper £51…

So if anyone wants to swap the Douglas and KTT in my garage for an SS100, I’ll happily give them the extra fiver…

The only thing left to do is wish one and all seasonal greetings and best wishes for the forthcoming riding season, and don’t forget, if you’re lucky enough to unwrap an iPad or similar device on Christmas morning and you’re itching to play with it, The Classic MotorCycle is available as a digital magazine and can be downloaded from

James Robinson, Editor

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About the Editor

James Robinson, Editor
James Robinson, Editor

James Robinson has been the editor of The Classic MotorCycle since 2002. Aged 34, he has possessed a motorcycle licence for 16 years and during that time has owned and ridden all manner of motorcycles, spanning over 100 years from oldest to newest.
Presently the custodian of a varied shed full of motorcycles, his overriding enthusiasm is for pre-World War Two sporting machines, with a couple of cammy Velos, a Rex-Acme and a Model 9 Sunbeam among those competing for attention.

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